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Panama International Church, Panama City, Panama

Global ICN has churches in six regions; Africa, Asia Pacific, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean and Northern Asia. Each region now has a ‘champion’ whose role it is to help gather international churches into the network and create connection.

In this ‘Question & Answer’ article, we feature Nelson Lugo, the champion of our Latin America/Caribbean Region, and his church, Panama International Church in Panama City, Panama, where he serves as pastor.

Please give us some of your background in relation to how you became involved in missions and more specifically, in international church work.
I became involved in missions shortly after giving my life to Jesus Christ at the age of 26. The church I attended in U.S. was very involved in missions. This helped me to discover my calling and provide development along the way. I pursued a degree in missions at the Bible University and shortly after graduating; I applied to become a missionary.

My involvement in international church work did not happen until my family returned to the country of Panama for our second term of service. In fact, we only committed a year to be the interim Pastors of the international church because the founding Pastor needed to go home and raise a budget to eventually return. However, the Lord had other plans. He led the founding Pastor to another church in the U.S. and we remained as Pastors. It is a tremendous blessing to serve in an international church.

How long have you been involved in international church work?
I have been involved in international work for 2 years.

How old is your church, about how many members do you have and about how many nations are represented?
The church is almost 4 years old and we now have around 80 members with a representation of 9 nations.

What do you feel makes your church special or unique when people are looking for an international church?
I believe our church provides an atmosphere where all people feel welcome, regardless of different cultural backgrounds. It is an environment where people can connect with God and build community with others.

What are your thoughts about Global ICN and how it will help you and other international churches/pastors connect?
I believe Global ICN is great tool that offers resources and stories, which are helpful, inspiring and encouraging. I hope that it continues to serve as a valuable source of information for leaders who serve within an international context and provide help to people who are moving internationally and need to find a place of worship.

What are the challenges of serving in international church ministry in Panama?
The constant transitions that take place yearly within the international community and finding ways to bridge the gap among different cultural backgrounds.

Do you have a favorite resource (book you are currently reading, website you visit frequently, etc.) that you’d like to share?
I am currently reading Tim Elmore “Habitudes for Communicators”. Each chapter of the book is filled with different images that express important principles for those who wish to be effective communicators.

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