Panama is a country of endless potential. Yet, this potential is untapped, with 47,957 children out of school and 20 percent of the population living below the poverty line. COVID-19 only made this worse with one of the world’s longest lockdowns. Because of this, for over two years, most students were at home without access to virtual education. These circumstances seemed hopeless, leaving many teachers with their hands tied. Ultimately, they wanted to help their students, but needed help approaching such significant challenges.
How God is Making a Way
Despite these harsh circumstances, God made way for this great nation, as He always has. Panamanian school proprietors began seeking training opportunities and came across Edify before we had even started operations in the country. The network of Edify partners in Latin America began to grow. Teachers who once felt hopeless found the hope they needed in Edify’s support. More teachers began attending online training sessions, and God’s hand guided the operations with His great grace. Before long, 494 schools received Edify training, from education technology to business training, to discipleship.
Edify met the teachers where they were, and they found encouragement in talking to one another about the struggles of the lockdown and fears about returning to the classroom. After each session, Edify staff conducted intentional follow-ups with each teacher. Through WhatsApp, email, phone calls, or Zoom meetings, trust grew on both sides of the relationship. Ultimately, the teachers felt supported, encouraged, and equipped. They felt they finally had the resources needed to serve their students well during Panama’s return to the classroom. Our team walked alongside the teachers gracefully, conducting a “Returning to the Classroom” training on March 10, 2022. The Panama team recalls the excitement, “All these schools are cheering; this is the answer to our prayers!” “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 (NIV).
As operations grew and Panama’s return to the classroom continued, the Edify team created sustainability meetings to steward growth. From there, they were able to work from a place of rest as they served the teachers. Because of their commitment to building a solid foundation for the future, they were wholly prepared when God opened the door for in-person school visits in March 2022! The Edify team could not be more thrilled as virtual relationships with the Panamanian schools have finally come to life face-to-face. As the team travels to schools in the coming months, they carry a long-term vision. Their vision is to empower the next generation of Panamanians and launch them into their God-given destiny.