is a country of over three million people in population. Panama is between Costa
Rica and Columbia. This country is most known for the Panama Canal. There are,
at this present time, nine Independent Baptist Missionaries who have started a
total of 20 Independent Baptist Churches in the whole country.
and Elaine Willis and Family
Willis was the first Independent Baptist Missionary to come to Panama back in
1974, having been sent by the Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas. He
moved, along with his wife and four boys, to the town of Las Lomas, in the Province
of Chiriqui. He started the Templo Bautista de Las Lomas, which is the oldest
Independent Baptist Church in Panama. All of the churches started in the Province
of Chiriqui, and in other places of the country, are a direct result of James
Willis's ministry. James Willis went home to be with the Lord on December 24,
2000 and his widow, Elaine Willis, is still faithfully serving the Lord here in
Byron and Briceida Willis
James Willis's third son,
Byron, was saved at the age of five and surrendered to preach when he was ten
years old. At age 16 he started his first church in the small town of El Valle.
This church is still reaching the lost in this small town.
Byron was married on February 23, 1987 to a Panamanian
young lady named Briceida. They moved to Texas and after a year of praying
and seeking the Lord's will, went back to Panama in February, 1989 on
$400.00 a month support. During their first two years on the field, they
lived and worked in the small town of El Valle and Byron did his Bible
College through Correspondence Schooling while Briceida did her studies
at James Willis's Bible Institute. In 1991, Byron moved his family to
the City of David, Province of Chiriqui and started hosting Bible Studies
in his home while still pastoring the church in El Valle. David is the
Capitol City of Chiriqui and the third largest city of Panama-(100,000
Bautista Bíblica de David
turning the Work in El Valle over to their own pastor, Byron Willis and Family
started the Iglesia Bautista Bíblica de David in January, 1993 in their
own living room. Six months later they went on furlough for a year to raise more
support. They returned to Panama in July, 1994, with over $2,000.00 a month in
support. That was the last one year furlough the Willis family have had.
After arriving back from furlough in July, 1994, he was loaned a tent and,
with a bus he brought back from the States, began to build the church. The Willis
Family shared their home with the church for over 8 years. Three years ago they
moved into their own home. The church has gone from an attendance of just the
Willis family to over 600 in it's eleven years of having started. There have been
over 1000 public professions of faith and over 250 people baptized each year since
moving into their own church building in November 1999, with many more saved through
the soul-winning programs. This is now the fastest growing church in Panama and
the largest Independent Baptist Church in the country.
Thanks to many
churches in the States, Byron was able to buy a piece of property in July, 1996
to build a building. After battling the City Officials for over two years for
their building permit (religious opposition), they finally received their building
permit, thanks to the President of Panama, on July 24, 1998.
building was begun with only $8,000.00 ($3,000.00 saved by their church here in
Panama and $5,000.00 from churches in the USA).Thanks to much prayer, fasting,
hard work and blessings from God, it took the church only 18 months to build their
church building and be able to move into it. This building today is valued at
For more information on present
ministries, see the Ministries page.