PANAMA CITY, Panama President Thomas S. Monson and other leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met this week with Panamanian President Martin Torrijos and his wife, Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos.
The Monday visit followed the dedicatory service of the LDS Panama City Panama Temple on Sunday.
In response to President Torrijos' inquiries, President Monson shared details of the temple construction and dedication. He also accepted the Panamanian leader's gratitude for the humanitarian efforts extended by the church in Panama.
Of particular interest in the discussion were the numerous projects that benefit children, such as wheelchair distribution, measles- and polio-vaccine initiatives and literacy efforts.
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 but also suggested that the temple would bring strength and blessings to all residents of the country.
President Monson presented the Torrijoses with a sculpture depicting a child's first steps. The church leader conveyed his interpretation of the art, a message that relationships begin with small steps as we learn from and strengthen one another.
Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos described her visit to the temple open house, sharing impressions of the temple itself as well as of the church members who greeted her and guided the tour of the facility.
The first LDS congregation in Panama was organized in 1941. Today there are more than 41,000 Latter-day Saints in the country.