Panama: Natalie steps forward

Word spread fast about the new cell group started by Natalie Jordán in her faculty at the University of Panama, but not everyone was supportive. Nevertheless, Natalie was confident of God’s continued provision and presence. “Even though we sometimes fear what the future brings, God is present as a firm rock,” she says.

Last year, Natalie, a student leader with CEC Panama, set up the student group in the Faculty of Architecture and Design to provide a meeting space for fellowship, worship, and Bible study.

“It was challenging because there hadn’t been a Christian student group in the faculty for the last few decades, so there were many professors and administrators who were unaware of CEC and what we do,” explains Natalie.

In addition, when more students heard about the group, Natalie learned how sceptical and atheistic mindsets can be a stumbling block. Even among the Christian students, there were not many willing to help lead the group. On top of this, the staff worker left at the end of 2022 and a replacement has not yet been found.

But the Lord provided committed believers from other faculties who have stepped up to help lead. And because her group is one of only two cell groups at her university’s central campus, it draws students from several different faculties.  

“The Lord has provided everything we need over the years,” shared Natalie. “Even to see just one person interested in knowing more about Jesus shows how he is using us to impact the university. In the end, everything comes from him; we do what we do because of him and for him.”

After the challenges of setting up her group, Natalie is looking forward to learning from other members of the IFES fellowship this August at World Assembly. There she will join approximately 1,000 students, graduates, faculty, staff, board members, and supporters from around the globe as they meet in Indonesia for IFES’ quadrennial conference. They will experience teaching, study, worship, the arts, and fellowship, all focused on the theme of being resilient witnesses in the university and beyond.

“I am looking forward to meeting some of my brothers and sisters in faith from other parts of the world, especially those who may be experiencing persecution,” says Natalie. “I feel that this may help fuel my passion and efforts to share Jesus among my peers and encourage me to take of advantage of the opportunities I have in Panama to do so freely.”

“I also hope to receive training in sharing the gospel effectively with any type of person I encounter at the university – something I often feel I lack.”  

Trusting in the Lord’s provision and the generosity of our supporters, IFES will provide scholarships for many attendees like Natalie at World Assembly 2023. These scholarships will ensure that World Assembly has a truly global voice, regardless of financial barriers. With this support, scholarship recipients can connect with the global fellowship, share their experiences, ideas, and testimonies at this transformative event, and return home freshly inspired and equipped to face the challenges of their context with increased resilience. 

Please pray with us for Natalie and for World Assembly:

  • Pray for student leaders like Natalie in CEC Panama, that they would be guided by the Lord’s wisdom and filled with courage to do his will in the university.
  • Pray for CEC Panama, that God would provide the right people and resources needed to continue his work. Pray especially for a new staff worker and for the training of new staff.
  • Pray that the Lord would use World Assembly 2023 to strengthen faithful, resilient witnesses of Jesus Christ, in the university, and beyond. 
  • Pray that the Lord of the nations would provide the funds needed for World Assembly scholarships.

If you want to help leaders like Natalie share their experiences and be better equipped at World Assembly, now’s your chance. We’re seeking to raise USD 37,500 for World Assembly scholarships over this year’s Global Giving Day. You can donate here, learn more here, and follow the campaign on Facebook and Instagram for updates and more stories from scholarship applicants.

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