First and foremost, I want to thank all my sponsors and donors for making this missions trip possible for me to attend. Because of your love and financial support I was privileged to share God’s love and hope with disadvantaged families in Costa Rica. Wether you purchased a t-shirt or gave a generous donation, your investment did not return void. God moved in a mighty way everywhere we went. Children, youth, and adults of all ages were impacted by God’s presence. Lives were brighten with joy and love. Seeds were planted and several accepted Jesus as their Lord and savior. In the following paragraphs I will share highlights of what took place in Costa Rica. I hope you feel the power of God’s presence as you read along and see pictures of what was an amazing and unforgettable experience.
Known & Claimed by God
On our first full day of being in Costa Rica we drove about 3.5 hours up the mountains and then crossed a river by foot to minister to an indigenous community.
According to our host pastor, this community is unclaimed and unknown to the government of Costa Rica. They live isolated deep within the forest and hardly communicate with others except with their own relatives. Sadly, this indigenous community is set in their cultural ways and as a result they reproduce among themselves and never actually marry. In simpler terms, the people of this indigenous community are living in sin. They are oblivious to the truth of God and live a closed minded life due to the lack of morals and understanding. Our host pastor also shared a few facts about the type of culture these people live by. She told us most girls within that community get their period at the age of 12 and approximately 2 months later they become pregnant by their fathers. Sadly, this is normal to them. It’s part of their culture. A group of us toured their homes and prayed over them believing for a complete transformation of their minds.
In addition, the children struggle with low self-esteem. It is the pastors’ goal to teach the children in hopes they would grow up with a different mindset than their parents. Please join me in praying for these individuals who God sees and knows and loves. This indigenous community may be unknown and unclaimed by others, but to God they are valuable despite their flaws.
Service without Electricity
We hosted an evening service (6PM) for the indigenous people. 95 individuals including children attended service that night. One of our team members preached on The Reason for The Mission. He preached on following Jesus, fellowshipping with Him, and repenting from our sins. Despite the darkness and rain, people still attended service and God’s presence was there. We used flashlights and musical instruments like the tambourine and cajon to conduct service.
A church is not simply a building. We are the church and therefore we don’t need anything other than God’s Word to lead others into His presence and salvation. I was privileged to share a part of my testimony with the people that night. I shared how God had strengthen me and given me peace when I was going through a very difficult season of my life. I read John 16:33 to them, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
“Tree House” Experience
That same night after service was over, the girls slept in a two story wooden house. There was absolutely no furniture or anything inside this wooden house. We slept on hard wooden floor. There was all kinds of bugs crawling everywhere but thank God for insect repellent! Although sleeping that night was difficult, I was reminded of God’s goodness and how overly blessed I am.
Did I mention there were no showers? I don’t think so. But there was a river! Some of us bathed in the river the night before or early the next morning. The water was cold yet very refreshing. You gotta do what you gotta do right? Anyway, it was quite the experience to say the least.
We visited several schools and presented God’s love via our human videos and skits. Children of all ages were ministered to. Our first school assembly involved youth in 6th-11th grade. At first the youth were very shy but once we engaged in conversation with them, they became more social with us and asked us questions about our country and personal life. We talked about our families and career plans. Some of the youth shared their academic goals with us. Some want to become teachers, others want to work for the FBI. We played games with them and worshiped together. With the younger children, we did face painting and blowed balloons for them. Some of these children walk long distances to attend school (20-30min).
In addition to ministering in schools and churches, we also went into the streets of Costa Rica and evangelized. We prayed for healing, restoration, and blessings over the people we encountered in the streets. We also led people to the Lord and prayed with them. We freely praised and worshiped God in the middle of the street. It was indeed a great feeling and amazing experience to simply pray for people and their needs.
The last two days of our missions trip consisted of hosting church services for a community in Sarapiki. This community was very different from the indigenous community we encountered the first day. Unlike the indigenous people, these individuals were hungry for God’s presence in their lives. Most of them attended church and were happy to see us. When we arrived, they greeted us and welcomed us with coffee, refreshments, and sweet flat bread called “arepas.” Services were hosted in a church called Iglesia Cristo el Rey which translates to Christ the King Church. Every service that was hosted in the church was amazing! The Holy Spirit moved in that place and it was evident the people wanted more of Jesus. It was such a joy to minister to the people of this community.
A Greater Need
While evangelizing in the streets, I came across the most handsome little boy in Costa Rica. His name is Heric and he is 6 years old. Heric randomly came up to me and asked me what I was holding in my hand. I was holding small new testament bibles. I gave him one and invited him to join us for evening service that night. Sure enough, Heric showed up to service all by himself and brought his new testament bible with him. He even opened up his bible when the pastor instructed the congregation to do so. He sat next to my friend and I and like any child, he began to speak and ask questions.
First, he told us he knew how to play the guitar and he kept saying he wanted to play. We asked him if he had a guitar at home and he said no. So my friend and I prayed over him and declared he would receive one of the best guitars out there so he can practice and glorify God with it. Later, he asked if there would be food after service. Unfortunately, I told him no. But I also told him that we would be serving food in tomorrow’s service. The next day, Heric brought his mom and 2 younger brothers with him to church. As I got to know Heric, the Lord spoke to me and showed me there is a greater need that needs to be met. Rather than focusing on our own needs, we are to focus on the needs of others and love on them. The children of this community don’t eat three meals a day like we normally do. They are in need of basic essential needs like food and water. Through Heric’s life, God showed me we are to love our neighbor and be a reflection of his love everywhere we go. Serving others and meeting their needs is important to God. Only then will others experience the love of Christ when we walk in His love.
These are photos of people’s homes and their means of transportation. This is what they wake up to every morning.
I had the opportunity to connect with one of the church leaders and volunteers, her name is Maria Elsa. She guided us through the streets of the community and helped us minister to the people. While conversing with her, she shared with me how God had placed a burden in her heart for the people there. She hopes to establish a clinic where children can obtain essential medical needs and improve their education. God has given her wisdom and knowledge to lead these people into a better lifestyle. A lot of the people living in that community are immigrants from Nicaragua and by law they can’t stay, but Maria Elsa is believing for God’s intervention in their circumstances. I prayed over her and told her I believe in her vision and most importantly God believes in her and has chosen her to bring freedom into this community. I told her I will be praying and expecting great news from her in the future. I hope to go back and visit her and be a witness to what God has already begun through her and in this community.
Hard Work Pays Off
We ministered for 3 full days. From 6am to 10pm almost every day. Most times we went to bed passed midnight because we still had to drive back to our camp ground and take showers. Every day was a new adventure with new opportunities to share God’s love and hope with people. We didn’t complain about anything because our hearts were full of joy and peace since day 1 and everything God had done. On our last day, we were blessed to experience some fun attractions like zip lining and white water rafting. We enjoyed the forests of Costa Rica and its river through these attractions. Here are a few photos of us enjoying God’s goodness.
Hasta Luego Costa Rica. PURA VIDA!
“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these sign will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons, they will speak in new tongues, they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
“Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.”