This week, hear from Semesters by World Race participant, Hannah Jones, on what ministry has looked like in Potrerillos, Panama! Her team has been supporting ministries that are committed to providing opportunities for locals to engage in provisional opportunities, intentional community, and experiencing the love of Christ. Check out the full story below with photos from Devin Helm!

My squad and I have currently been in Panama for almost a month, living in the mountains of Potrerillos, a montaineous area right outside of the town Boquete; we live in full view of a volcano on a Jucum (or YWAM, Youth With a Mission) base!

In Potrerillos and the surrounding communities, there is a lack of education. After the sixth grade, there are little to no opportunities within the indigenous communities for higher education. So, Jucum Panama has a program called Hogar that exists to educate indigenous youth and assist with the completion of junior and high school boarding school. Students live on base, being discipled and educated within a God-fearing community. 

Additionally, it is common for indigenous families to be filled with incest. There is a lack of understanding of what a family should look like and how familial relationships should function in God's design, therefore generation after generation continues to walk in this same struggle. Each student of the Hogar program comes from an indigenous community. Through discipleship and lifestyle, the staff and volunteers desire to shape the students' view of family and relationships, demonstrating God's design in these areas.

Lastly, there is a continuous cycle of substance farming and low-end, manual labor jobs. Families raise their children to continue in the monotonous cycle of intense occupations. This cycle of poverty has gone on from generation to generation, limiting each individual in the pursuit of their passions and skills. Jucum Panama is working to develop workshops to equip and empower the indigenous to break generational labor jobs. It is their desire to raise up entrepreneurs and business men and women who pursue their God-given passions and learn how to make an income from occupations other than low-end, laborious jobs. 

Our day starts at 7 am each morning, beginning with breakfast on the YWAM base, an hour for quiet time (time to spend with the Lord), and then a time of base intercession (prayer and worship with everyone who lives on the base). Each day ministry looks different! Sometimes we partner with missionaries to clear land and create space for their future ministry opportunities to help bring their God-dreams to life! And sometimes we partner with multiple sustainable ministries/businesses such as: Global Food Providers (a farm) and Damarli Estate (a coffee farm), and Mechanics with a Mission (an auto-shop empowering locals to learn a trade while also focusing on discipleship). Each of these function as a business as missions, existing to provide needs to others and employ/love the locals in the community. 

In addition to these opportunities, we have also many days doing door to door evangelism and prayer walks in the surrounding community. We have also had the opportunity to work with the indigenous communities; the main heart of this Jucum location is the Panamanian indigenous communities. They desire to not only love on these individuals, but also tangibly meet needs and disciple. Many are in desperate need to know the Father and see his true design for humanity.

As I have had the opportunity to partner and live on the Jucum base, I have learned so much about truly being the hands and feet of Jesus.

"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land." (Deuteronomy 15:11)

Whether addressing physical, emotional, or spiritual poverty, Jucum is truly seeing the gaps in these communities and partnering with Jesus to bridge them. I tell you all of this to let you into the huge blessing that has been my time in Panama! I ask that you continue to pray for this ministry, the additional ministries we have partnered with, and each individual/community that is surrounding. God has been working here for quite some time; so why not pray big prayers asking for more of Him?!

Are you interested in helping to build sustainable ministry opportunities around the world? Our teams are partnering to bring the Kingdom of God by meeting tangible needs, sharing the love of Christ, and being a light in dark places. If that sounds like you, check out our upcoming trips!