International Ministries

An "Attitude of Gratitude" for Open Doors

November 19, 2015 Journal
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Thanksgiving is celebrated in November, but an “attitude of gratitude” should be evident all year!  I attended an inspiring worship service on Sunday where the church reported on their mission work this past year using the theme: “Thank you, God”.    We all have so many reasons to be thankful to God, one of which is the opportunities God gives us to serve Him.   

At the beginning of this month I accompanied a Mission Discovery Team from the American Baptist Churches of Great Rivers Region.  I was grateful for Pastor Adolfo and his openness to the Spirit when he shared his church´s story.  “Our church is building as we can save the money for materials.  We weren´t looking to start any missions apart from our local church ministry, but God presented us with these opportunities so we decided to accept the challenge and see where God leads.”

First, within the last two years the Oikos Baptist Church received a donation of a property from a departing Baptist agency in the town of Guápiles, a good 90 minute drive from San José.  The facility was once a gym, although now half is being used as a sanctuary.  The pastor spends one day a week doing visitation in the neighborhood and then teams from the Oikos church and another Baptist Federation church visit every Sunday to lead worship and Sunday School.  The church neighbors are low-income so the Oikos church is helping them learn to make things to sell and bring in income.   

The latest opportunity that God has given them is in Sarapiquí, near Guápiles.  In September Oikos (in San José) held a special program with traditional Costa Rican music and folk dancing to which many participants invited family members.  A couple came to watch their aunt and heard Pastor Adolfo preach at the end.  They said, “We wish you could come visit us, but we know it´s too far away for you to come.”  Pastor Adolfo promised to visit and then kept his word.  They really had not expected to see him.  In the ensuing conversation, he was able to lead the wife to the Lord.  She then invited him to visit her mother, who runs a childcare service for at-risk children (often there is alcoholism or drug abuse among the adults of the family). 

Pastor Adolfo followed God´s leading, and discovered that this woman is struggling to license her service so that she can be eligible to receive donations, since she is paying for everything herself.  He offered her free legal help from members of the church.  Now the church visits this mission every other Saturday to meet with a large group of both adults and at-risk children.  What an opportunity to share God’s love!

Please keep Pastor Adolfo and the Oikos Baptist Church in your prayers and give thanks to God for these openings for evangelism and pastoral care.  Let us be thankful to God for opportunities to reach out in His name no matter where we live  – and also be thankful for those who faithfully follow God’s leading to serve.