Dear Friends of Panama Missions,
This has been an amazing summer for the Lord's church in Panama involving several FIRSTS.
The Office of the new FIRST LADY of Panama, Marta Martinelli, was made accessible to Mike Ray and me in June. We found a warm reception from her staff who asked many sincere questions about our work. They wanted to know why we concentrate our efforts in The Darien, and they showed great interest in the scholarship program, which opened the door for Mark White to visit as well. I told them that The Darien is called "The Forgotten Province" and I spoke of our desire to help the "whole man," physically and spiritually. I brought Bibles for President Ricardo Martinelli and the First Lady. We left with assurances that we would receive help when/if we encountered obstacles. I feel very positive about the Martinelli administration.
Also during the June trip, the a cappella singing group, FIRST DAY from Arkansas, presented concerts across Panama, performing for people who were excited to be attending their FIRST concert. This group of five Christian men did more than sing. They distributed food purchased with their own money and helped with a medical campaign. Everything we do in Panama provides an opportunity to teach the Gospel. A young lady named Millie who I have known since she was a child attended a concert, giving me another opportunity to speak to her about the Lord. She was later baptized.
During May, several of us, including a team from Denver, Colorado, worked tirelessly on the new building in Sanson, the "Building of Hope," finishing drywall and other details. July 10, the date set for the official Dedication, was fast approaching! Another FIRST for Panama Missions.
By July 10, we had teams of workers in Sanson accomplishing so many great things. My son, David, and his brother-in-law, Mark Snow, from Birmingham brought their sons Logan and Matt to install playground equipment and a basketball court. The project was the boys' idea and they raised much of the money for it as well. There was also a medical team, a VBS team and a construction team who did fantastic jobs.
More than 300 attended the dedication ceremony including reporters from several newspapers and radio stations. It was exciting to talk about our dreams for this place of HOPE, but during the following four days, we demonstrated our mission, serving hundreds of medical and dental patients and arranging for the care of seriously ill patients at hospitals in Panama City - such as the four month old baby born without a rectum. Our commitment is this, "If we cannot help you here, we will get you to the help you need."
Especially encouraging were the Panamanian medical people - a doctor, a dentist, a nurse and a pharmacist - who came to work with us. They praised the type of care that we provided, and committed to helping on a regular basis. The doctor commented, "This is the way that a clinic should be run!"
Through the evangelistic preaching and teaching, there were six precious souls added to the Lord's Kingdom. Completing our week, we conducted a one-day medical mission in the Ipeti Kuna village, ending the day with an evening worship service at the Torti Church. Jose Calderon preached to an overflow crowd. Sanson and Torti are our two strongest congregations and have outstanding preachers.
Now I must tell you of our urgent need!
When I am in Panama for extended periods of time such as this summer, our funds become depleted. Without money in the bank, some of our work comes to a halt - even paying our preachers can be affected.
I know that you have an interest in our work in Panama. Won't you please send what you can at this time, or ask your elders to help us. Perhaps you would like to invite me to speak at your congregation. This is my 26th year in Panama and I am continually grateful for the opportunity that God has given to me more than you could ever know.
I hope that I will hear from you. Please keep our Panamanian brothers and sisters in your prayers.
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