International Ministries

That´s Dedication!

December 7, 2013 Journal
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November has been a month of blessings in Costa Rica.

On November 10th the Door of the Holy Spirit Baptist Church dedicated their new building.  The celebrants included congregation members, representatives of other Baptist churches and a delegation of eighteen people from the American Baptist Churches of Great Rivers Region (many of whom had worked on the building).  These partners (mentioned in a previous journal) joined together to praise God for what had been accomplished and to set aside this church as a place of peace in the midst of a troubled neighborhood.

The service included an enthusiastic time of praise led by the young people of the church, a prayer of dedication spoken by the ministers present over Pastor Sonia and a reading of the church history.  What wasn´t told during the “official” history reading was Pastor Sonia´s experience when the church consisted of a few women and many children, with very little income. 

On the bus ride to the Baptist Federation office to inform them that the León XIII group had decided to close down the church, Pastor Sonia felt God speaking to her.  “What will you say when I ask you on Judgment Day about why you closed the church?”  Pastor Sonia turned back in mid-journey and told the church leaders that they weren´t going to give up, money or no money.   What a celebration the dedication was to that faithfulness during tough times!

Rev. John Grisham of ABC-GRR was the guest preacher and spoke on “Gathering Stones” from Joshua 4:19-24, when the Israelites bring 12 stones to build an altar as a testimony to God´s provision.  The message spoke to those present about celebrating their church as a testimony to what God had done (although the people had worked sacrificially as their service to God), as well as marking this place as a place of God´s peace and love in this marginal community.   

León XIII is not an easy place to live.  Recently, there were a series of drug-related murders, including the killing of a brother of the church´s youth group leader.  Another member was held up at gunpoint while he delivered building supplies to the church.  Yet, we thank God for this church´s dedication in reaching out to their community. 

In your prayers, please remember Pastor Sonia, the church leaders and members, their ministry in their community and my deepening relationship with them, that God will direct us and protect us.  Thank you for your dedicated support which makes this possible!