Category Archives: Panama

Serving the Lord in Panama

Category : Panama

We always try to send out a newsletter in January, which, among other things seems to coincide with a State of the Union address. When I think of it, it is timely as we begin a new year to take stock of where we are and how things are progressing. This year begins with much excitement in the life of the church and in our lives personally. As I write this we are on “baby watch” for our second grandson who will be born any day now. We are excited to meet this new little one and especially so as we will be returning for a six-month Home Ministry Assignment (HMA). We are grateful for time to spend with our family as well as reconnecting with individuals and supporting churches. We return to Marietta on February 5th and will take a couple of weeks to acclimate and spend time with our family (new grandbaby). After that we would love to get together with various people / churches to share what God is doing in Panama. If you are interested, please let us know and we will start filling in dates on the calendar.

Personally, that is our exciting news, but we are also so encouraged by what God is doing in the life of the church here. In two weeks we will have the first election of Elders. We have four candidates who we believe are ready to take on the role of shepherding the church. It has been a blessing to watch them mature spiritually and see their hearts to serve. Time and again, we are humbled by God’s faithfulness. Along with the excitement of electing elders is watching the church understand their role as members. Membership is a new idea for most, but they have responded with enthusiasm as they have understood their unique position as founding members of this church. God has been good to allow us to be here for this full cycle of establishing a core group all the way through to seeing a “real” church established and to be able to return to the US to share that story as well as look for new partners.

This term in Panama has been a great start, but the work here is in no way finished. We are still praying for a pastoral candidate, still working to get the church registered with the government, still looking for a more permanent church location and still praying for a church planting movement. Our desire is to see Christ’s reign extended to all parts of the city and to the nation of Panama. El Cangrejo has been a great strategic location but there are other areas of the city that we would like to focus on in the future.

Finally, to sum up for you the “State of the Church”, we would say that the most important thing we have seen in the establishment of this church is lives transformed by the power of the gospel. So many people have encountered grace for the first time and some have understood it more deeply in their interaction with the church. Grace is transforming marriages, the way parents’ guide their children, the way we interact as brothers and sisters in Christ and the way we worship. Apart from any number of members or classes that have been given, this is the true measure of the health of the church and we are amazed that God has given us the privilege of being a part of this work.
If you are interested in hearing more about ministry in Panama (or know someone else who might be) or are interested in partnering with us in this ministry please contact us, we would love to share with you how you can be a part of what God is doing. Thanks to those of you who have supported us in prayer and financially, we are grateful.

God has taken such great care of us through your faithful gifts and prayers. Thank  you ! ! !
Phil. 1:4-5
4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
We feel honored to partner with you.

Some possible options to become a Financial Partner for Panama and the Summers:
Mail a check, payable to Mission to the World, and include a note stating the investment is intended for Summers, # 16932 to:

  • Mission to the World PO Box 744165 Atlanta, GA 30374-4165
  • Make an investment online at the MTW web site, https://www.mtw.org/missionaries/details/marc-and-sam-summers You’ll find
    the donation tab at the top, and you’ll be able to designate your gift as you desire (our account # 16932 )
  • Set up a payment on your bank’s web site (One-time or Monthly) (Info for checks may apply)

Serving the Lord

Category : Panama

Panama, Central America – Summer Updates

As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name — for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm — when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. (1 Kings 8:41-43a)

Refugees. It is a difficult and complicated issue. Interestingly, I’m writing this letter the morning of Election Day in the US, although it will be sent out later. The issue of refugees certainly had a starring role in this election season, but our experience
with it is not political, it is personal.
We came to Panama thinking we would plant a church populated by Panamanians, that didn’t happen. We looked for a middle-class neighborhood thinking we would plant a church populated by the middle class, that didn’t happen. We thought
we would plant a church that would be a community (hence the name Comunidad de Cristo) but what happened was more than that. We are an international church with most people from Venezuela. They are refugees…at least in our opinion they
fit the definition of refugee…a person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country, as in time of political upheaval, war, etc. I know they are fleeing their country in record numbers, not only for Panama, but Panama is certainly receiving many. The difference I see between news stories and what we see every day is there is no help here for someone arriving from any country but particularly Venezuela. There are no ministries dedicated to finding them housing, jobs or helping them integrate into the country. The government of Panama makes it very easy for foreigners to enter but to live and thrive here as a foreigner is very difficult. Panama blocks many jobs, only Panamanians can work in those careers, even for someone who has a legal status and permission to work. I’m sure the government feels there are good reasons for doing this and it is not our desire to criticize the policies of Panama but to just point out the situation that so many face upon arrival here.

The minimum wage is about $2.50 per hour; it is common for people to make $600 a month. In comparison to developing countries that may sound like a decent amount of money but when you realize that prices are comparable to those in the US, it is difficult to survive on this salary. A reasonable rental price in the city in a safe area could be anywhere from $600 to more than $1,500 per month. A minimum salary does not permit this. So, the option is to live outside the city…with commutes 1-2 hours each way or rent a room in an apartment with strangers. That is what most in our church have chosen to do, an entire family lives in one room. Imagine that, sometimes 15-20 people live in an apartment with 2 bathrooms and one refrigerator.
The cost of obtaining residency and a work permit is extremely costly and slow so many are living here illegally. Every day we encounter people who are discouraged, confused, hungry and desperate. Every day we are overwhelmed by the needs we
see around us. And every day we are surprised at the way God is working within our church. Honestly, we want to fix their problems for them. We want to help them find jobs, provide food and give them places to live…all of which we have done, but
the humbling aspect is that while God has used those things, His solution involves not just their physical needs but their spiritual needs as well.

People are finding refuge in Christ, entering into relationship with him. They are finding more than community; they are finding a family in Christ. We are amazed at what God is doing.

As this year winds to a close and you contemplate year end giving, we would ask you to consider supporting this ministry. During the year, our account frequently runs low and we need the funds that are raised during year end giving to balance out the rest of the year. While we wish, this were not the case, it seems that every year we gain new monthly supporters only to lose others during the year.

Please pray for how God would use you to minister in Panama. Pray for us as well for wisdom in how to meet needs and share the message of refuge in Christ.

God has taken such great care of us through your faithful gifts and prayers.
Thank you !!!

Phil. 1:4-5 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,

We feel honored to partner with you. Some possible options to become a Financial Partner:
• Mail a check, payable to Mission to the World, and include a note stating the investment is intended for Summers, #16932 to:
Mission to the World; PO Box 2589; Suwanee, GA 30024-0982.
• Make an investment online at the MTW web site, https://mtw.org/missionaries/details/marc-and-sam-summers
• Set up a payment on your bank’s web site (One-time or Monthly) (Info for checks may apply)

Marc & Sam Summers
El Cangrejo, Panama City,
Rep. de Panama