Compassion in difficult times

Panama | OM International

hopd21942A migrant shelter received a visit from a team of Logos Hope volunteers, who joined an outreach alongside local staff from Gideons International. They spent time with the men staying at the centre, and offered sight tests and free reading glasses to those who needed them.

One of Logos Hope's crewmembers, Martijn Duijst (Netherlands) explained that the men at the shelter were mainly between 25 and 50 years old, with the majority having come from Colombia and Latin America. Several shared that they were looking for a better place to live and hoped to make their way to the USA. While facilities struck Martijn as basic and dismal, and there were 80 to 90 men living in the temporary accommodation, he found the atmosphere was calm and receptive to visitors.

As the team were looking to connect with the men in the shelter, some of them admitted wanting to simply go back to their country and be reunited with their families, having lost interest in looking for a better life elsewhere. “They just wanted to go back to be out of this misery,” said Martijn.

Tim Rieger (Germany) sat down to talk to some of the men and hear about their lives. “We were singing some songs with them and many sang along. They were interested in the personal stories shared with them, and they appreciated the one-to-one conversations,” Martijn added.

Several men had their eyes tested and had smiles on their faces when they were finally able to see more clearly. The ship brought donations of books to help occupy the men's stay in the shelter, for which they expressed their gratitude.

Arcelio Hartley, who came on behalf of Gideons International, worked together with the crewmembers and helped them bring joy to the shelter. During their one-month stay in Panama, Logos Hope's crewmembers will be joining the visits to men's and women’s shelters each week, to bring help and hope to people in a difficult situation. "I have welcomed the opportunity to have this experience with Logos Hope," said Arcelio, "And it is a rich experience for me as well.”

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