God’s Word Today …
In a rich diversity of voices
Jocabed Solano is the National Coordinator and a facilitator of Langham Preaching in Panama. Jennifer Cuthbertson met her last year in Bolivia at a Preaching training event:
I am from the Guna people, one of seven original ethnic groups in Panama. My parents minister in a rural community named Guna Nega. When I was 5 years old, I began to collaborate in the ministry with them and my sisters. They taught me God´s word, and I shared the stories with my friends, who came to listen. That is how my Bible exposition journey began.
Jocabed has made a unique contribution to how women are perceived in ministry in the Guna community:
I want to tell you about a surprising invitation recently to preach at the opening of the National Association of the Guna Baptist Churches. Perhaps for you it is not a big thing, but I want to tell you how God opens doors.
The preacher for this opening service was to be selected at a meeting of church representatives. The presiding pastor asked who might be a good candidate. Many hands rose up to propose names. It was all fine until someone suggested my name. The audience began to murmur, ‘She is a woman and never has a woman preached.’
A theological debate followed. Some argued. But the pastor leading the meeting, who is much respected in the Guna Church, said: ‘What stops a woman preaching? Furthermore, we’ve never had the opportunity to hear a Guna woman preach!’
As a result, my name was included in the list of names put forward. Then voting started.
What happened? A miracle!
God opened the door, and I was selected to preach. God gave me the responsibility and privilege to help open the way for the women of my nation.
God wants to be heard through Guna women, too.
More than eight hundred people from the Guna communities gathered for the opening meeting where Jocabed preached:
I prayed as a child asking God that one day I would be a light to my people (the Guna), to my nation (Panama) and to the world. God never forgot that prayer.
Jocabed continues to minister with her parents. As a member of the leadership team of their church she has a new prayer today:
My prayer now is that God will be heard through the voices of many who have not been allowed opportunities to preach.
My request is that the church will be humble and listen to God’s word (as it comes) through the most diverse voices.
Jocabed is studying Psychology as part of a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Theology.
by Jennifer Cuthbertson, Coordinator for Trainer Development for Langham Preaching