Panama

About the Mission

Panama is a beautiful country and with a cosmopolitan variety of nationalities, great food, weather, beaches and more! Sports are a main attraction in Panama, but unfortunately most Panamanians go through life without a real relationship with Jesus Christ. We want to use sport as a platform to share God’s message of hope and salvation to the youth in schools, sport clubs and neighborhoods and see this nation reconnect with the Father’s heart. Join local SportQuest missionary staff in this initiative to train and equip a new generation of followers of Jesus Christ in Panama. Teams will enjoy a day of sightseeing, which may include a visit to the Panama Canal and/or shopping at a local bazaar. Competition is offered (in select sports) against local club teams.

Discover more about what God is doing in Panama.

Project Summary

Dates: Summer 2018 (exact dates TBA)

Location: Panama City, Panama

Training Camp: TBA

Sports: Soccer, Volleyball, and Basketball

Age Requirement: Applicants must be between 15 - 25 years old

Cost: $2,495.00*

* Includes international airfare from gateway city and in-country ground costs

* Price subject to change based on airline taxes and fuel charges

 

 

Testimonials

  • Taylor S.
    “God impacted me on the Panama project by really reconnecting me with my faith. I hadn’t shared my true testimony before the trip and, in doing so, God opened so many doors and healed a lot of things I’d struggled with for a long time. Being surrounded by His beautiful children and His creation continued to open my eyes to God’s majesty. I was just in awe of the beauty! This trip was different than I was expecting in several ways, but God used all of those things to grow and strengthen my faith. I got to make incredible relationships with team members and the local leaders, and I was able to see how God was working in their life, which helped me see all God wants to do in my life as well.”
  • Caleb H.
    "Panama was one of the most life-changing events in my life. I was able to see how God can work through people with limited resources and a language barrier. Panama is a trip I would totally recommend. It gave me a boldness to share my faith, and I have been so impacted by the friendships I made there."
  • Courtney P.
    “My experience with SportQuest this summer not only changed my life – it changed my heart too.  Through the people I met, the experiences I had, the children I coached, and even the food I ate, God was at work.  During our project, God lit a fire in me and our team that I will never forget.  It’s amazing how God can bring together people from across the world and create a bond between them that can last forever in service to Him.  It was an amazing, life-changing opportunity to see and experience how sport is the ultimate international language.  Everyone can connect and communicate through sport no matter where you are from or what your background is.  I can’t imagine a better way to share the love of Christ across borders.” 
  •  

    Panama Country Info

     

    Project Coordinator(s): Cesar and Irela Rodriguez

    Population:  3.9 million people

    Capital: Panama City

    Official languages: Spanish is the official and dominant language. About 93% of the population speak Spanish as their first language, though many citizens who hold jobs at international levels or who are a part of business corporations speak both English and Spanish.

    Currency: The Panamanian currency is officially the balboafixed at a rate of 1:1 with the United States dollar since independence in 1903. In practice Panama is dollarized: US dollars are legal tender and used for all paper currency, while Panama has its own coinage. Because of the tie to US dollars, Panama has traditionally had low inflation. 

    Most popular sports: Soccer, Baseball, Basketball, Boxing  

    Spiritual Climate:

    Various sources estimate that 75 to 85 percent of the population identifies itself as Roman Catholic and 15 to 25 percent as evangelical Christian. The Bahá'í Faith community of Panama is estimated at 2% of the national population, or about 60,000[4] including about 10% of the Guaymí population.  The Bahá'ís maintain one of the world's eight Baha'i Houses of Worship in Panama. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) claim more than 40,000 members, and there are several smaller religious groups such as BuddhistsJehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Muslims, and indigenous religions.

    In general, people in Panama are open to hearing the message of the Gospel; however, one of the major obstacles to following Jesus is the prevalence of traditional religion.  People have a tendency to bring their Roman Catholic or indigenous backgrounds into their understanding of the Gospel.  There is a great need for people to hear and understand the true biblical Gospel in which we are saved by God’s grace, not by our own works. 

    Political Situation:

    Panama’s politics take place in the framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state and head of government, a multi-party system.  Executive power is exercised by the government.  Legislative power is vested both in both the government and the National Assembly.  The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.  The Panamanian Public Forces are the national security forces of Panama.  Panama is the second country in Latin America (the other being Costa Rica) to permanently abolish standing armies.  Panama maintains armed police and security forces as well as small air and maritime forces.  They are tasked with law enforcement and can perform limited military actions.

    Challenges for Prayer:

    • Panama is a nation of great diversity and great potential
    • Panama’s strategic location and stability
    • Spiritual unity and vision
    • Effective ministry to young people
    • For the local church to embrace the vision of using sport as a tool to make disciples

     

    Points of Interest:

    http://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-panama-city/

    Panama Canal

    The Amador Causeway connects the three islands by the entrance to the Panama Canal to the mainland. From the causeway, there is a             terrific view of Panama City, and the Bridge of the Americas. Many Panamanians like to spend their weekends jogging, riding a bicycle or               rollerblading down the causeway, or having a meal or drinks in one of the many restaurants and bars on the islands.

    Following the destruction of the old city in 1671, Casco Viejo was built as a walled city on a peninsula a few kilometers away from Panama Viejo to protect its settlers against future pirate attacks. At the beginning of the 20th century Casco Viejo formed the entire city but as Panama City expanded, the city’s elite abandoned Casco Viejo, and the neighborhood rapidly deteriorated. However, following an ambitious reclamation of this colonial district in recent years, it has regained some of its former glory and has become one of the main tourist attractions in Panama City.

    Typical Weather:

    Panama City has a tropical savanna climate with dry winters.  Over the course of a year, the temperature typically varies from 75°F to 90°F and is rarely below 72°F or above 95°F.  So basically it’s always summer in Panama!

    Typical Foods:

    • Tortillas
    • Bollos: corn dough wrapped in cornhusk or plantain leaves and boiled. There are two main varieties: fresh corn bollos (bollos de maíz nuevo) and dry corn bollos. The dry corn type is sometimes flavored with butter, corn, or stuffed with beef, which is called bollo "preñado" (lit. "pregnant bollo").
    • Empanadas: Which can be made either from flour or corn, and stuffed with meats, cheese, and sometimes sweet fillings, such as fruit marmalade or manjar blanco (dulce de leche).
    • Hojaldres/Hojaldras: A type of fry-bread, similar to South American sopapilla.
    • Patacones: Twice-fried green plantain disks, known in other countries as "tostones".
    • Arroz con camarones y coco: Rice with shrimp or chicken and coconut milk.
    • Lengua guisada: Stewed beef tongue.
    • Bistec picado: Chopped beefsteak.
    • Pernil de pueco al horno: Roasted pork leg.
    • Chorizo con vegetales
    • Ceviche: a raw seafood dish cured in citrus juices. 
    • Fried fish
    • Potato salad with beetroot
    • Tamales
    • Plátano en tentacion: Ripe plantain cooked in a sweet syrup.

     

     

     
                                              
     
                                              
     
                                              
     
                                              
     
                                              
     
       
  • Dear Parents,

    We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in your child's life this summer. Thank you for supporting your son or daughter as they step out in faith and seek to encounter all that God has for them. May this moment remind you of the dreams that God has placed in your heart over the years. Are you walking in all that God has for you? We want to encourage you to believe that it is never too late to step out and surrender your will for His will. What we do in this life really does matter for eternity and obedience is always better than sacrifice. We love, appreciate, and pray for you as a parent. Please let us know if you have any specific prayer requests or questions.

    We understand that the safety of your child is very important to you and it is equally important to us. In the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS, we highlight and discuss questions that are important for you to review. We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have regarding your child's upcoming SportQuest experience.

    Below we have included two letters from SportQuest parents.  We hope these letters encourage you, excite you, and bring you peace as you prepare your child to "Go" on this experience of a lifetime!

    A Mother's Story by Carrie, Kansas

    We have three sons who have all traveled multiple years on PWP Projects. We have had a son travel with SQ every year since 2000! I asked each of our boys how SportQuest made a difference in their lives. Each one of them mentioned that it was through SQ that they became aware of the need to share the gospel to every corner of the earth. Ryan mentioned that it made him see things in a different perspective and made him grow in different areas of his life. Kyle and Chris mentioned how it made them want to reach out to others.

    Kyle traveled to Kenya in 2010. I want to share a heart-wrenching story that occurred after his return from Africa. He had been home for about an hour and was full of stories, but because of the wee hours of the morning we all decide to go to bed and catch up on everything else the next day. Kyle decided to have a bowl of cereal and my husband and I headed off to bed. As I was getting ready for bed, I decided to visit some more with Kyle as he ate his bowl of cereal. As I entered the kitchen I noticed Kyle standing with his back to me looking at the food in the kitchen cabinet. He was not moving, not making a noise but just standing there. I asked if he was OK and nothing came out of his mouth. He continued to stand there just staring. I didn't go over there but just stayed silent, waiting for his next move. With his back still to me I heard the words in a tearful cry "WE HAVE SO MUCH. THEY HAVE SO LITTLE". He said "I thought I knew....I've heard missionaries talk....but I didn't know. Mom you think you know, but you don't know." It took him a while before he turned around, but when he did his eyes and face were so filled with tears. I will never in my life forget that picture of what I saw in my son.

    Kyle gave a presentation to our local church after his return from Africa. The church was packed with those not only from our church, but from our community. This 19-year-old son of ours was emotional as he shared about the people of Africa. His life will never be the same.  Kyle has always been a child that respected us and gave us no trouble in high school, but he now has a passion for missions and others. What a blessing to have SQ be a part of our children's lives.

    I'm tearful as I am thinking right now of what SQ means to us.  We have always been a basketball family, and we enjoy sports immensely. We believe so strongly that God has blessed the boys with a talent of basketball that can be used as a platform to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We believe this is what SQ wants to do – use sports as a platform to share the Gospel. God has given kids so many talents in different sports not to bring them glory, but to bring GOD the glory. 

    I would like to reassure any parent that is apprehensive to send their kids overseas. We know that God loves our kids more than we do and that we are called to be witnesses. We definitely prayed over the trips our children took and of course when we saw how God provided the finances for these trips it confirmed that they were to be there.  We had problems with Kyle's shots and our medical clinic was very against us sending him to Africa. However, God really taught me something when my child looked me in the face and said, "Mom, we have a God that can keep me safe, and I'd rather die sharing the Gospel than to stay back home to just work and make more money."  This 19-year-old was teaching his mom to trust in God as he felt he was being called to serve Him in sport missions.

    A Parent's Perspective by Chi-Chung, California

    My wife and I are privileged to have sent our daughter on two summer missions trips with SportQuest -- the first at the end of her junior year in high school to Costa Rica and the second after graduating from high school to Belgium. We wanted her to use her God-given abilities – in her case basketball – in an environment where she can be a blessing and encouragement to others. We looked at a number of organizations and prayed that God will give us a sense of peace and direction. There were several key reasons why we decided to go with SportQuest. First of all, they are clearly missional -- the theme of Playing with Purpose is clearly in their DNA. Secondly, they were responsive. Throughout the process of learning about the organization they were always the first to respond back. Though SportQuest is located in Indiana, they were able to put me in touch with a local staff member in California who was kind enough to meet up with us for a cup of coffee during the investigation process. Thirdly, they are serious about safety. I appreciated how much attention they put into ensuring the safety of their missionaries. On her first trip to Costa Rica, they arranged to have her fly out of California to the East Coast with another athlete so that she would not have to fly alone. Once they touched down they were met by SportQuest personnel and taken to a local hotel where they could spend the night before flying out to Costa Rica the next morning. Once in the designated country, SportQuest provided a week of training and orientation so that each athlete is prepared physically, mentally and spiritually for the work ahead.

    Fundraising is always a major concern and challenge. However, we've found that SportQuest walks with you throughout the process, providing wonderful tools and ideas to journey the fund raising process in faith. We also appreciated the updates when gifts were sent in so that we knew where we stood on the fundraising side throughout the process.

    We've been thoroughly blessed by our relationship with SportQuest. We've seen our daughter's love and passion for God grow through her time with SportQuest over the past two summers. As a parent, there is no greater joy "than to see our children walking in the truth" (3 John 4). Thank you, SportQuest, for helping our daughter walk and serve with passion and purpose.

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Contact Us: 317.270.9495
P.O. Box 53433 Indianapolis, IN 46253
info@sportquest.org

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