Changed Lives / Latin America

Transformed, Renewed: The Spirit at Work in Anita

Called to a transformed life: Anita, right, displays her Projecdt JOEL certificate.

Called to a transformed life: Anita, right, displays her Project JOEL certificate.

Over the past few years, staff and volunteers from Lutheran Hour Ministries—Panama have paid many visits to the Pedro J. Sosa School in Panama City as part of the ministry center’s Project JOEL partnership with the school. They returned in March this year with a program that focused on the events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection and included a film about the life of Jesus. Students were invited to participate in devotional, prayer and Bible study times to be held during Holy Week; all they needed to do was register and get the permission of their parents.

Anita wanted to go, but there was a problem.

“Anita was not a model student,” an LHM—Panama staff member says. “Her grades were not good; neither was her behavior—or her language!”

But the Project JOEL program struck a chord with Anita. She recalls, “The day the film about Jesus was shown, I cried a lot and I was sad because I realized that my poor grades, my bad language and my disobedience all showed just how guilty I was. I asked Jesus to change me.” Craving to know more about the One Who had enlightened her and called her to a new life, she asked her father for permission to participate in the Holy Week Bible studies and devotions. But her father, concerned that the Project JOEL activities would distract her from her studies, refused.

Anita was not ready to give up. But to be able to be involved, she would have to demonstrate a transformation–to exchange her rebellious attitude and poor grades for obedience and hard work. She went to her father and promised a real change—and her father agreed to give her a chance.

In two weeks both her grades and her behavior had improved, and her father gave his permission for her to participate in the Holy Week activities.

Thinking about the change in her life, Anita says, “I did not go to church because I thought it was not important, but now I think differently. Now I want to learn more about God and the things that are in His Holy Bible.”

Interested in partnering with Lutheran Hour Ministries—Panama or one of LHM’s other ministry centers that uses Project JOEL to help introduce young people to Jesus Christ? Visit

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