The Red Devils are going away!
Change is happening rapidly in Panama! The buses, affectionately known as “Red Devils”, which have been a means of transport throughout the capital and across the isthmus for over 50 years, are now being replaced by new air conditioned buses with provision for handicapped passengers.
Riding in one of these new buses is a far different experience from the past where loud music, coin‑tapping passengers, bold artwork both inside and out along with slogans often boasting the owner’s prowess, were part of a culture that is fast disappearing. Flying past the city towards the airport and seeing the high buildings reaching skyward is reminiscent of cities such as Miami, Florida.
Construction has now started on a subway system, a first in Central America. With all the changes happening in this hot tropical country which bridges the Americas, we can only wonder how the Truth will prosper in the rapidly expanding Panama City and the fast deteriorating city of Colon.
With few young people in the two ecclesias on each side of the isthmus, both groups are
aging and only two sisters remain from the early work done in preaching during the 60’s. The faithful example of those who make up the ecclesias in Panama City and Colon is a joy to experience as I was privileged to do for a week over the New Year. Brother Ian and Sister Nishla Neblett provided their commercial banquet hall for a buffet breakfast followed by two Bible Studies which were well attended by the brothers and sisters in Colon. The day following, Sunday, almost all the Brothers and Sisters from Colon travelled in three vehicles to Panama City where we enjoyed fellowship at the Breaking of Bread, a lunch prepared by the Sisters and a further Bible study. These times of fellowship are precious indeed and become a very joyous occasion for the two groups who are quite isolated from each other by the distance across the isthmus, and even in Panama City itself it is now progressively more difficult to get around due to the increase in traffic.
For the brothers and sisters to visit each other requires a bus ride of up to two hours each way and this limits the amount of fellowship that they are able to have during the week.
Looking back over the thirty-nine years since my wife, Beth, and I first arrived in Panama for a four‑and‑a‑half year stay, I marvel how quickly this country has changed. I also give thanks to our Heavenly Father and to He “who walks amidst the lampstands” that there remains a remnant, a small group in this small but vibrant country, who keep the faith. Our prayers are with them.
Brother Gordon Dangerfield