News Release

President Johnson Concludes Ministry in Costa Rica 

Church donates mammogram equipment in Central America to bless women

“It’s hard for me to describe in words how I felt,” said Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while feeding lunch to those in need in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

President Johnson held back tears as she met a mother from Venezuela who brought her three children, including a two-month-old baby girl who was born in Costa Rica, to a downtown location in the country’s capital city to receive a healthy meal.

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Yumana Patermina makes roses out of ribbon to sell on the streets to make money to support her family. President Johnson was touched when Patermina gave her a blue rose to thank her for helping provide food for her family.

“She’s a valiant woman with a sincere desire to bless the lives of her children, and they were hungry,” said President Johnson. “It really felt like we were doing what the Savior would have us do in blessing these families with food.”

President Johnson and her husband, Doug, have been traveling through four Central American countries for nearly two weeks with other Church leaders, including Sister Tamara W. Runia of the Young Women General Presidency and her husband, Scott. 

Humanitarian Outreach

The Church of Jesus Christ collaborates with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA) to bring food and basic health requirements to some 30,000 vulnerable people crossing the country through Los Chiles, San Jose and Paso Canoas in Costa Rica. The Johnsons, Runias and Elder Patricio M. Giuffra of the Central America Area Presidency and his wife, Maria, visited one of the three project sites in Costa Rica.

The Church has many other humanitarian projects in the area, and the General Officers were able to visit some of the other sites during their journey.

In Nicaragua, the global leaders went to a Managua hospital for the handover of a life-saving mammogram machine donated by the Church to help detect breast cancer.

“The benefit will be very great because, in the end, they are women who will identify their problem early, and the attention and treatment will be much earlier, and we will be able to provide care to more women,” explained Ana Gabriela Morales of Hospital Alemán Nicaragüense.

“I think this is a very important donation that the Church has made to the government,” said Marcelo Rabbe, welfare and self-reliance manager for the Church’s Central America Area. “We are donating mammography machines in the seven countries in the area.”

The Church has provided two mammogram machines in Panama. The mobile units were in Panama City, where President Johnson and Sister Runia met Panama First Lady Yazmín Colón de Cortizo at a local health clinic. They also toured a nearby school where eyeglasses donated by the Church were distributed.

Relief Society President Camille N. Johnson meets Panama first lady Yazmín Colón de Cortizo at a local health clinic in Panama City, Panama, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. The Church has provided two mammogram machines in Panama. 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Ministering to Women and Youth

President Johnson and Sister Runia met with Latter-day Saint women and youth in Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica during their ministries. They also met with some families in their homes and at Church meetinghouses.

Relief Society sisters throughout the area expressed gratitude for what they learned during President Johnson’s visit.

“It was such a blessing because we are such a small country, so we do not expect to receive such a visit,” said Ingrid Chanis, a Relief Society leader in Panama.

“We feel very grateful that the Lord knows where we are and that the Lord knows that we still need to hear Him, to feel his love through the leaders that come and visit us,” added Geraldine Lopez Darce, a Relief Society Leader in Nicaragua.

Darce also expressed excitement over the construction site of the country’s first temple, which she drives by on her way to work every day.

“I had several things come into my mind, the first of which was her focus on the temple and the importance of it,” said Jami Thomson, a Relief Society leader in Nicaragua. “And having just been, we just took my son to Honduras, and she was expressing the importance of not waiting for Managua to be finished but going to Honduras.”

“I hope that I helped them feel the love of Jesus Christ, that they understand more completely what it means to be a daughter of God,” concluded President Johnson.

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