Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall in Costa Rica

I just wanted to let everyone know that we will be going back to Costa Rica again on October 27th.  The September trip went very well and we have a lot of people to visit and study with and hopefully lead them to obey the Gospel.  Please continue to pray for the work in Costa Rica as we continually endeavour to show  the light of Christ to everyone we meet.

I have not been able to keep up with the blog posts like I thought I would and I am not sure I will be able to.  It takes a lot of time to say everything I want to say and it has just become harder and harder to keep up with everything else going on.  At some point I have to prioritize and right now my time is better spent putting in extra time studying my bible, studying Spanish, etc.  So what I will do from this point forward is that I will make the time to do 1 or 2 posts summarizing each trip.  I won't be able to go into as much detail, which is unfortunate, however I will be more than happy to tell anyone that is interested, everything that they want to know.  Just contact me by email or phone.  Evenings from 8:00-10:00 are the best time to call me (kids in bed by that time)


We truly feel that the fields are ready for harvest in Costa Rica and the work there is becoming more and more promising with every minute we are there.  We are excited and blessed that the Lord has allowed us to be a part of his plans and we look forward to the journey ahead and what we will find down the path that he has set before us.  Thank you so much for your prayers and your encouragement is very much appreciated.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Building Relationships

The next day (Tuesday) we had the first part of the day free because Myra had to work.  We had arranged to be back at her house later that afternoon because she wanted to introduce us to some of her neighbors.  Hopefully we would gather up a few people and then have a church service that evening.

Earlier that week we had met another Nica, housekeeper, named Maria and we called her that morning and arranged to go to her house in Atenas.  We arrived at her house that morning and met her husband Rider.  Maria asked us if we would like something to drink and asked if we liked Coca Cola.  We all agreed that would be wonderful and she said something to her husband and then proceeded to walk out the front door.  I could not see her once she went outside but Kalina could and once she was a few steps past the edge of the door, she took off running down the road!  Kalina did not know why until she came running back a couple minutes later with a 1 liter bottle of coke in her hand.  There was a little store down the road from her house and she had run to buy us something to drink.  I was constantly amazed how these people that had so little to give would go out of their way to give food and hospitality to a bunch of strange Americans. 

We had a very good conversation with Maria and Rider, telling them about ourselves and why we were in Costa Rica.  They told us about themselves as well and Rider showed us a Bible that someone had given him.  He liked reading the Bible but unknown to him, his Bible was not the correct word of God.  It was a version that had been twisted away from the truth by Man.  We gave him a Spanish Reina Valera Bible and explained to him the difference.  He was grateful for the Bible, and we were very encouraged by their interest.  We told them about Myra and her family and  where they lived, thinking that they might know each other.  They did not know each other, however, we found out that their daughter lived a few miles from Altos de Naranjo.  Maria was planning to take the bus to go see her that afternoon so we offered to drive her there instead.  She gladly accepted and wanted us to meet her daughter and family.  They had some things to do before then so we agreed to come back to pick her up after lunch.  We drove back into town to get something to eat, very encouraged that we had made another promising contact.

After lunch we arrived back at Maria's house to pick her up.  It turned out that her other younger daughter and son were coming along too.  We barely had enough room but they are small people, so we made it work.  The place we were going was on the road to Altos de Naranjo where Myra lived.  When she told us to turn I was amazed because it was down a very small road that I had never seen before because it was almost hidden in the vegetation.  It never failed that we thought we were getting to know a certain area pretty well and then we go down a little road that looks like it goes nowhere and find more small country communities.  There are a lot of people living in the most unlikely places in this country.  What looked at first to be a small country road turned out to be a private driveway for a very big expensive house hidden away in the jungle.  It turns out that Maria's son in law was the grounds keeper for the house and several acres of property surrounding it.  He and his family had a nice little house (rustic cabin by US standards) not far from the main house that the owners had provided for them to live in.  We did not get to meet him since he was out working somewhere but we did meet Maria's daughter.  She wanted to show us around so we followed her as she guided us through the amazing landscaped grounds that her husband took care of.  It was easily the most beautiful tropical landscape I had ever witnessed.  We did not stay long but we invited Maria and her family to come to the church service we planned to have that night.  We gave her our number and asked her to call us and we would come pick them up if they wanted to attend.

That afternoon we arrived back at Myra's house and spent a little bit of time talking and we met one of her neighbors, Jose, for the first time.  Yes this was the same Jose that I have already mentioned.  After a short time we started walking up the hill to visit the neighbors and everyone came along with us.  The first house we came to actually ended up being the only home we had time to visit that night.  The homeowner was an older man named Victor that owned several houses and a some land in the area and had lived there for most of his life.  He also had a daughter and her two teenage children living there with him.  He invited everyone to sit down on his porch and it was not very long before we were talking about the Bible with him.  We quickly learned that he was very passionate and knowledgeable about the Bible.  I must admit that I only caught bits and pieces of what he was saying because he talked very fast and ran his words together.  Some people are easier to understand because of how they talk and this was one of the hardest to understand that I had come across.  I found out afterwards that even Keith was having a hard time, but he was able to keep up with him enough using the scriptures as a mediator.  This guy was a very eager talker and it did not take much from us for him to launch into a speech about his beliefs on certain topics.  When Keith started talking about baptism he immediately got excited talking about the love and grace of God and how wonderful he is to save us from our sins and that baptism is not required for Salvation.  Our ears perked up when he said that and I just smiled to see that Keith was already turning to a verse he wanted to read.  Once Victor finished his point Keith simply pointed him to 1 Peter 3:21.  Keith did not comment he just asked Victor to read the verses and it was amazing to see how quickly Victor quieted down and did not say anything.  Again Keith asked him to read Mark 16:15-16.  Again as Victor read you could just see his mind churning, this was new information, these verses did not agree with what he had been taught.  He also had him read Acts 2:38 and Romans 6.  We could tell that we had someone with a good heart sitting before us.  He did not try to argue with the scriptures, he was just speechless as he absorbed something that had been there all along.  This was a man that already had faith in God and in his word.  He had just been taught incorrectly and had never been exposed to the whole truth of the bible.  Another thing that we had discovered part way through the study is that Victor's eye sight was not good enough to read his bible anymore, he had simply been quoting verses to us.  We had run into this problem before and we had brought a few pairs of reading glasses with us.  We had a pair that worked for him and he was so excited that he was able to read his own Bible again.  It was wonderful to see the joy in his face about something that we take for granted.  I don't know how long it had been since he had not been able to read. Once we gave him those glasses he rarely looked up.  We gave him a lot to think about and did not want to overwhelm him. So, we left soon after that thanking them for the hospitality and hoping to talk to them again in the future.

One other thing that I need to mention is about Jose.  He had come with us and as we were studying with Victor, he had his Bible out that we had given him and he was listening intently and following along the best he could.  I kept an eye on him the whole time and could not help but be impressed by his attention.  When we left Victor's house I talked to Keith about it and he agreed that we needed to spend some time studying with this young man.  Keith had spent a few minutes on the walk to Victor's house talking to Jose and he had a good feeling about him as well.  It was getting late and Jose needed to get back home since he had to be at work early in the morning.  So we headed back to Myra's house for the planned worship service.

We had a good service that night and everyone really enjoyed the singing and fellowship.  We got to bed pretty late that night but it was a very fruitful day.  We continued to be encouraged by the responses and interest we were receiving in our efforts to teach the gospel.

FYI, Keith, John and Jordan just got back from Costa Rica yesterday and I will try to post something summarizing their trip soon.

Dios les bendiga,

Monday, August 22, 2011

September trip to Costa Rica

I just wanted to let everyone know that there is another trip to Costa Rica in the works for the first week of September.  Keith and John will be going and there is a possibility one of our sisters in Christ will be going as well.  Unfortunately I will not be able to make this trip due to the lack of finances.  At this point we are hoping that we can keep a steady presence in Costa Rica by taking alternating trips.  Please remember to pray for the work in Costa Rica, for those of us traveling to Costa Rica and more importantly our brothers and sisters in Christ in Costa Rica.  Pray that they are strengthened daily in the Lord and that they continue to serve God with all their heart and soul and strength. 

As I continue to catch you up on the July trip, I will also post updates about the current status of the September trip if I have anything to report.

Dios les bendiga,