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Christmas In Panama

Judith Yonan

Our volunteers with The Family International in Panama offer many thanks to Activated Ministries for sponsoring the wonderful Grandpa Jake storybooks, CD’s and DVD’s for us to distribute to the people of this impoverished country of 2.6 million people. Since many Panamanians aren’t able to afford books, reading is not very emphasized to children as an important skill. Because of this, we were eager to fill this need by giving away read-a-long books to a large number of kids, and it is our prayer that these books will help to inspire a love of reading in the children and their families.

Following are some brief accounts of the foundations and organizations here in Panama that have benefited from Activated Ministries’ generous donations.

The Fatima Foundation

Fatimais a children’s center located in Panama City where underprivileged kids go after school for care, playtime, tutoring with their homework, and activities.

The director, Senor Javier Manas, was especially grateful when we donated a variety of books that the kids would be able to take home and share with their brothers and sisters. We were told that these books were a great asset as they are not only simple enjoyable reading but also teach good morals and values, which is something that the educators at this center strive very hard to emphasize.

Our volunteers were happy for the opportunity to assist the dedicated and hardworking staff at the Fatima Foundation. We ask that you please keep this foundation in your prayers as they are in a difficult and dangerous part of the city and are always in need of regular help so they can continue their work.

Women’s Bible Study group in Villa Lucre

We distributed children’s Christmas Activated magazines to the children of the local women’s Bible study group in Villa Lucre, which is taught by our neighbor Abuela. On Christmas Eve, Abuela also delivered the magazines to the many children in her church on the outskirts of Panama City.All expressed appreciation for the beautiful magazines.

Foundacion Amigos

Thisis a Ronald MacDonald type house that was set up more than five years ago in order to help needy families that must travel to the busy capital city in order to ensure that their sick children with leukemia and cancer receive necessary medical treatment.

Before the establishment of Foundacion Amigos, many parents had nowhere to stay while their sick children were hospitalized. Parents ended up sleeping in chairs oron the floor beside the bed of their kids while they received medical treatment, sometimes for days on end. This foundation provides housing forthese families and has grown by leaps and bounds in five years.

Our volunteers’ little singing group performed three times at this center for three different audiences. The first time was for the visiting kids who were there for their medical treatments, our second performance was for a large gathering of volunteers who share their time and contributions with the foundation and the third time was for the grand event – the huge Christmas party on the 21st of December.

The Christmas party was attended by the children who are battling cancer and leukemia, their personal families, and the many willing volunteers who work at the center. We gave many of the sponsored Grandpa Jake books and music CD’s to their Santa’s Workshop toy room, which was specifically set up so kids could chose their own donated toys, games, and books to take home with them.

Our contribution to the party was to make sure that all the kids knew whose birthday we were celebrating on Christmas and to help them think of a loving gift they could give to Jesus for His birthday. As each new group of kids entered, we introduced ourselves, sang well-liked Christmas songs in Spanish, danced and also sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus! Then children were given a special card and pencil to write what they wanted to give Jesus for His birthday. Once done, this card was hung on a large Christmas tree, and in exchange for their gifts to Jesus, we presented each child with a lollipop and a copy of a children’s Activated Christmas magazine.

Foundacion Amigos was very thankful for our participation and the additions of the sponsored books and CD’s to the Santa’s Workshop room.

The Salvation Army

We have been familiar with thework of the Salvation Army for years and have met many of their hard working captains, staff and members. This Christmas, we decided to contact the local chapter in Panama and ask if we could be a help in any way.

We met and were able to spend time with Captain Smith, a very dedicated and hard working man who, along with his wife and children, travel into the countryside, visiting many branches of their church in order to minister, reach out, counsel and help their congregation. They also have a large work in an inner-city area called El Congreho. This area is particularly ridden with problems of poverty, theft and violence.

Since Captain Smith makes regular trips to outlying villages, he was thrilled to be able to take copies of Grandpa Jake’s storybooks with a read-a-long CD to give as gifts to the poor families that he ministers to.

Foundation Remar

Foundation Remar was founded years ago in Spain and now has branched into many Latin countries doing a great variety of nonprofit worksuch as assistance for people with AIDS, the homeless, the forgotten elderly, single mothers, and abused women, to name a few.

Our team visited one of the Remar centers in downtown Panama City and held a special Christmas party for the children. We sang, danced, played many games, face-painted, and gave out Christmas Activated magazines to each child.

We were able to meet with many of the foundation’s hardworking volunteers and the director, Senior Guillermo Lopez. After ourvisit, we arranged to have some of the sponsored CD’s mailed to this Remar center. When they arrived, Senior Lopez called us to say that the music on the CD’s was exceptional.

On behalf of the The Fatima Foundation, the children of Villa Lucre, Foundacion Amigos, The Salvation Army, and Foundation Remar, we sincerely thank Activated Ministries for your gifts to so many needy children and worthy foundations. Our Christmas season was packed to the brim with the rewarding work of giving gifts, time, and love to the less fortunate. Thank you for playing a pivotal role in our mission.