Our first Sunday in Panama we were taken to a church in Gamboa to perform a piece titled Beautifully True, choreographed by Daley Kappenman, in the service and then hear the teaching. After a 30 minute bumpy, beautifully green drive we found ourselves walking through the doors, eyes surveying the space we had to work with, while simultaneously reviewing the changes that had been made the night before in order to finish the piece. We are introduced to the worship leader, set up the music and began to space the piece. The congregation begins to fill the pews, we are feeling pretty prepared, and so we head to the bathrooms to change into our costumes.
Our costumes for this particular piece consisted of a white, thin strapped biketard and a floor length, sheer, white skirt. Not by any means scandalous, but perhaps a little more daring than the commonly thought of “church dance costume” (opaque, loose-fitting fabric covering at least 3/4 of every extremity). We had discussed the possible perceptions of the costumes and prayed that the Lord would surpass any personal perceptions that might hinder His message. We were already nervous, but had peace in what we were being called to.
We’re in the bathroom, all ready, getting out the last of the nervous jitters when a older lady walks into the bathroom, surveys our costumes, and asks if we know that they’re see-through, with the tone of obviously if we had known we would have worn something different… The question is followed by silence, and then our stuttered attempts at answering the obvious observation this woman has just made, shooting doubt into our minds about the very thing we had just had peace about. We leave the bathroom, nervous glances passing between each other. Standing in the back of the chapel, in our costumes, surrounded by worship, we grasp each other’s hands and begin to pray. I prayed to hear God’s voice about the situation, not the world’s. I began to tear up as I felt His truth lightly weigh upon me. We had been called. We had been called to dance. We had been called to dance to the full extent of our ability through Him, and for Him. We had not been called to be judged by those watching. Nor to let their judgements cast a shadow of doubt onto the light we had been given to shine. So, we danced.
About a week later, we are waiting for the arts festival to begin when the pastor of the church in Gamboa came up and said he’d like to tell us something about our performance that previous Sunday. He had received an e-mail a few days after from the father of two girls who had just returned from year long mission travels. While away, the Lord had made one of the girls’ hearts extremely sensitive to the arts. That Sunday when we began and the music started, she had first wondered what was going on, but as the music began to grow she felt the Lord speaking to her. As the music and dancing progressed, she felt the Lord was asking her to surrender some parts of her life that she had not known about and she began to cry.
We did not know and would never had known how much she had been impacted if her father had not emailed the pastor, and if the pastor had not chosen to tell us. The pastor then continued to remind us that we will never know what seeds have been planted due to us following the Lord’s will for each of us, and that often times the only thing we can do is to be obedient and trust in the Lord’s faithfulness.
Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. ~1 Corinthians 15:58