“President Monson Meets with Panamanian President,” Liahona, January 2009, N3
Following the Sunday dedicatory service of the Panama City Panama Temple on August 10, 2008, President Thomas S. Monson joined with other Church leaders in a Monday meeting with Panamanian president Martín Torrijos and his wife, Vivian Fernández de Torrijos.
In response to President Torrijos’s inquiries, President Monson shared details of the temple construction and dedication. President Monson also accepted the Panamanian leader’s gratitude for the humanitarian efforts extended by the Church in Panama. Of particular interest were the numerous projects that benefit children, such as wheelchair distribution, measles and polio vaccine initiatives, and literacy efforts.
Mrs. Torrijos described her visit to the temple open house and shared her impressions of the temple and the Church members who guided her tour of the facility.
During the discussions, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, offered his perspective on the value of the temple to the members of the Latter-day Saint community in Panama and suggested that the temple would bring strength and blessings to all the residents of the country.
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles discussed the impact of the Panama Canal on the world and noted the changes facilitated by the construction and operation of the canal. He shared his feelings that the Panama City temple would also become an important part of the country’s landscape.
President Monson presented President Torrijos and his wife with a sculpture depicting a child’s first steps and explained his interpretation of the art. He believes it sends the message that relationships begin with small steps as we learn from one another and strengthen one another.
The first congregation in Panama was organized in 1941. Today there are more than 41,000 Church members in Panama.