Tolé kids campaign and teacher training, March 2001

I held a weekend training and kids campaign in Tolé. The village is in the central part of Panamá surrounded by many Guaymí mountain communities. Rev. Euclides Samudio is the pastor recently installed there. He has a burden to reach the children and so invited me.

When he first arrived, they had about 15 children attending Sunday School. The Sunday I was there, over 50 children came.

They were very hungry for training on how to reach and disciple children. As you can guess, that made it very fulfilling for me to be able to teach them.

After the first evening service of the children's campaign a lady came up to talk with me. She introduced herself as Rita Castrellón. I had noticed her during the service with almost a constant scowl on her face. I also got the impression that she might be mentally or physically challenged. While we were talking she told me that she had limitations. It appeared to be a type of palsy. However, she really wanted to serve the Lord in some way to reach children.

While she was expressing this to me her countenance lit up and the most pleasant smile replaced the scowl I had seen earlier. Since I was not aware of the extent of her limitations and didn't want to overburden her, I encouraged Rita to consider becoming an intercessor for each of these children--laying hands on in class and praying during the week. She simply responded positively saying, "I could do that."

After the whole service was over I mentioned to the Pastor in Rita's presence her desire to serve in children's ministry. He said, "Rita, you need to become one of our teachers." She smiled her crooked smile and nodded her head. It wouldn't surprise me to see Rita as a teacher the next time we visit Tolé.

Right after that, Pastor told me that Rita's family was the wealthiest in that town and, in his words, "owned" the town. A few months ago God saved her and her sister and is working on their father. Their influence is now the testimony of a changed life more than money and political power.

Pastor Samudio asked if I could give a ride to Panamá City for him, his wife and baby girl, Ruth. She was born with two holes in her palate and her jaw pushed way back. Doctors are examining her to decide on the best procedure for surgery. Please pray with us that God will intervene so that surgery is not even necessary for this little 4-month-old.

Nancito insertion Report:

In the little town of Nancito there is a daughter church of the Tolé Assembly of God church. The worker (pastor in training) in charge of the congregation is Pastor Santamaria. He was present at our training/campaign weekend and related the following interesting report…

The Catholic Priest of Nancito convinced the children in his parish that they would not receive any Christmas presents if they continued attending the AG church in Nancito. Our Pastor Santamaria told me after that all of the kids left except for the children of church members. But he didn't let that stop them from ministering to the children. They held a community-wide Christmas program giving gifts to all children from whatever church or religion. God really blessed them for this benevolence in the face of religious persecution.

Thursday, March 29, 2001
Kirk Antonio Jones
Missionary to the Children of Panamá