By Kayla Hayes

Recently, twelve students from Southeastern University in Lakeland, flew to Panama in Central America to serve the children, indigenous tribes and local churches in the region. I had the privilege of being on that flight, and learned so much during my ten days in Panama.

Spending time in another country showed me that despite some cultural differences, people are pretty much the same everywhere. We all have family, close friends, a sense of right and wrong, physical and spiritual struggles, and a desire to be loved. God is the same God in America, Panama and all over the world.

I learned from SCORE International missionaries, David and Marianella Bueno, and the students that I met,  the importance of daily stepping out of my comfort zone to search for ways to serve. That may mean rearranging my priorities and physically serving more, or serving more passionately in the ‘sphere of service’ God has already placed me in. God says in Romans 12:11 that it is our job to “ fervent in spirit.” We are called to keep our spirits ablaze by sharing our testimonies, surrounding ourselves with positive influences and reading Scripture.

When asked about the importance of missions, student leader Corin Hoag  said, “Missions is the heartbeat of God. When we look at the lifestyle of Jesus, he was constantly going, helping and telling all people of the great love to be poured out on the world. As a believer in Christ, the Great Commission is something I hold as a lifestyle – to go unto all the world.”

YOU are a missionary, and you don’t have to travel overseas to live as one! In the Bible, 2 Corinthians 10:13 reveals that God has placed you in a “sphere of service” that is unique to your life. Wherever you are – work, school, home, vacation, etc. – that is your sphere of service. Your life is your mission field.

I am so impressed by people like David and Marianella Bueno who are willing to go the extra mile to share the love of Jesus. Full-time missionaries like the Buenos need our support. For details on supporting their mission, visit


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