By Edi Seals
August 30, 2022
Emily Puckett, GFMA missionary to Panama, shares: “This is a story built on ice cream, Colombian pesos,
intentionality, Covid, and God’s faithfulness to each one whom He has called to serve in His field.”
God’s Word is full of stories about connections. Andrew introduced his brother Peter to Christ. The
Apostle Paul connected with husband/wife team Aquila and Priscilla who in turn connected with
Apollos, a gifted teacher but in need of having the way of God explained to him more accurately.
God continues to connect people today!
Emily served in Panama as a missionary sent through her local church. While serving at a summer camp
in 2015, she met Melissa, a Panamanian born Chinese young woman. (There is a large Chinese
community in Panama.) Melissa accepted Christ at camp, and Emily began to disciple her.
Clip, Mary, and Isaac Suddeth are GFMA missionaries who also serve in Panama. After arrival, they were
told of a young missionary lady named Emily.
One day Emily stopped at an ice cream shop after arriving back in Panama from a trip to Colombia,
South America. She noticed a “gringo” family as she entered. When she started to pay for her ice cream,
she realized she had only Colombian pesos in hand. At that moment, the “gringo” lady approached her
and said, “My name is Mary. Are you Emily?” Surprised that this stranger knew her name, Emily
responded in the affirmative. Mary, seeing that Emily did not have the correct currency, insisted on
paying for the ice cream. A friendship blossomed between the Suddeths and Emily. She states, “I’m not
sure I would have ever met the Suddeths had I not stopped for an ice cream. They were super
intentional, giving me their phone number and then following up with me.”
Emily and the Suddeths spent much time getting to know one another and eventually began working
together in ministry. Emily was searching for a mission agency to join. She relates, “I saw that Clip and
Mary had an incredible approach to church planting and equipping nationals. I realized that they and
Global Faith Mission Agency aligned with how I desired to do mission work.”
Emily joined GFMA in 2019. She, as well as the Suddeths, continued discipling Melissa who was now
A church in the States needed translators for a ministry trip to Guatemala. Emily joined the group in
Guatemala to assist them and met Ashley Moore, a nurse with the group. Ashley, the global impact
coordinator for her church, also had a heart for cross-cultural ministry.
In March, 2020, Emily returned to the States due to a Covid-related lockdown of the Panamanian airport
with no set date for reopening. What she thought would be a one month lockdown turned into much
longer. She began serving in the same church as Ashley. During the epidemic, God called Ashley to
fulltime mission work in Panama, and she learned about GFMA from Emily. In 2021, Ashley and Emily
joined the Suddeths as team members and have been assisting in a new church plant.
Melissa now feels that God has called her to be a missionary. Already a college graduate, she is doing
seminary studies online in preparation to reach the Chinese community of Panama.
Isn’t it amazing how God connects people and circumstances for the advancement of the gospel!