|Posted on December 23, 2016 at 5:40 PM||comments (0)|
Are hearts are so full!! We thank God for all of you and the wonderful trip He gave us to the States. Thank you to everyone for the hospitality! You all gave us so much love and encouragement. We were also able to spend more time with my little brother, his wife, their babies, and my sister Ana's children. We made so many friends and caught up with the old friends. There wasn't enough time to see everyone and I missed my nieces in Kansas City. We are hoping to come back next November. But honestly it has been harder for us to get back into our routine we feel our hearts so tied to all of you.
What the Lord Did
Our church sent us out as missionaries to the US and not as fundraisers. We trust the Holy Spirit to do that part. We stayed in many different homes in many places. There seemed to be a common theme with many of the people that we were with, parents crying out for children who have gone astray or are at crucial moments in their lives. Overall we could just feel Father God saying "Family, Family, Unity." It was an honor to pray for these families in their homes. God wants all His church to be a healthy family.
It was also exciting to be used by the Holy Spirit and pray on the spot anywhere. We prayed for a cashier at Walmart, a waitress in Pennsylvania, a man was healed of a neck injury at Fuddruckers, and Marlon did some praying at Chick-Filet.
When we were in Washington DC we stood in front of the Capitol building just our tiny family and prayed for America. Marlon spoke at Coldspring United Methodist, Kingwood United Methodist, and Vinelife Christian Fellowship. One of our last nights in the States we ran into an old friend and ended up praising God till late at night with guitars, violins, and all sorts of Indian drums. This trip was an awesome, adventurous, time for our family. For the first time the girls got to go fishing, ice skating, roll in Autumn leaves, hike in Frederick MD, ride the Metro, tour Washington DC, walk through centuries old Moravian buildings and learn to hit a baseball. Special bonus! Felicity saw snow for the first time in her life at a ski lodge that was testing their snow blowers in PA! Thank you Jesus for planning such a neat trip for our family!
It was quite a surprise when we opened the door of our house and were greeted with mold. Fortunately it wasn't every square inch of the house. It was in patches and the kitchen was the worst. The founders and table and chairs were covered with a thin layer of mold and then giant patches of mold inside the cabinets. Then we all saw that our pillows were moldy; one was even black. Needless to say we burnt the black one, through everything in the laundry and slept without pillows the first night. Here at the Heidi House we don't have hot water so we had to get back to the routine of boiling water in a tea kettle and carrying it to the bathroom downstairs. By 10p.m. Marlon and I were a little grumpy after a long day of travel. However, we started thanking Jesus for protecting our house. "Thank you that we have a house to come back to!" While we were gone there was a 5.2 earthquake in a spot that we can see from our house. The thanksgiving Day hurricane ended up hitting Nicaragua and grazed Costa Rica in the North hitting an area called Upala. What a blessing that it did not come here! Since it had rained the entire month of November it would have been a disaster.
The CHURCH WHILE WE WERE GONE
All the church members were so pleased with all of the elders and how they led the cell groups and Saturday church. The church continued to have visitors as well as the cell churches.
Leo told us about everything that Tulio (remember the guy named Ugly from the last newsletter?) had to deal with. He had a court date for previous robberies and his lawyer had told him that he might have to spend six years in prison. When the day came he entered the courtroom smiling and cheerful telling everyone God bless you. When it was his time to address his accusers, he smiled. He told one of the accusers, "I have never stolen from you, that was somebody else. I'm sorry about it." Then he looked at the other two men and said, " I stole from you, and I stole from you. I'm sorry what I did was wrong. Now I'm following Jesus and I don't want to be like that anymore." One of the men said, " I can clearly see that he has changed and that he is not doing drugs. I'm not going to press charges." The second man said, "Well he's so happy I'd hate to be the one that sends him to jail. I'm not pressing charges." The third man said, "well I don't even think he robbed from me, I'm not going to send him to jail." Tulio was so happy that God gave him such favor in court.
Leo had to help him face his next trial. The hitman who has taken over most of the drug sales in Tuis actually came to Tulio's house while Leo was there. Tulio still owed him $300 in crack money. He said to him, "Look you know how this works, you don't pay, I kill you. I don't care that you are going to a church now. I'll send my guys in to drag you out." One of the guys who happens to live in Las Colonias has been to cell church in Las Colonias and has been hugged by Guido. He said, "No, man there's no way I'm going into that church and he started to tell the hitman how he was afraid of Guido's love! The other guy who works with the hitman is Leo's cousin, Heiner. He owed money and his family couldn't afford to pay the hitman anymore so he made him come work for him. His mother Aracely goes to our church also so he wasn't to keen on the idea of dragging Tulio out of church either. Leo told the man, "Look you are welcome to come to our church." Long story short Tulio ended up selling his nice horse in order to pay his drug debt and purchase himself an old car. Jesus is helping him to become more free everyday
GOD'S GLORY REACHING NEW PEOPLE
First time at Martha and Tony's
Tulio's mother Martha came to our church for the first time last Saturday and loved it. She went home and told her husband that she would never go back to the Catholic Church in Tuis. "Everyone loves each other at our son's church and no one makes faces at each other. These people are real." Last night we had cell church in Barrio 70 at Tulio's home for the very first time. There were several visitors there and it was amazing how the Holy Spirit worked. During worship Tulio's father Tony hugged Tulio and started crying. For the praise time and preaching Tony could barely contain himself. When the meeting was over Tulio's older brother got up from where he was sitting on the ground and told Tulio's he was sorry for making fun of him after becoming a Christian. Then he told his wife he was sorry for mistreating her and they all hugged and cried. It was beautiful, amazing.
Guido's brother Mario was also there and brought along his wife's sister. She loved the praying so much that she invited us to come to her home in San Joaquin anytime. That is awesome since San Joaquin has been a place we have been before but there was never a home that opened up to us among the non-Christians. There are nice Christian people who already go to church but we are looking for the "sick" not the healthy.
As people started leaving two neighbor women came over from across the street where they had been listening at the gate the entire service. They told everyone that the service sounded so nice and they had to get out of their house because the witchcraft that had been practiced there was reacting against the church service! They said there were sounds all over the house and things in the kitchen were moving! Leo told her that we are not ghost hunters and that she and her family need to give their lives to Jesus. She cried and said, "I did give my life to Jesus while you were praying but I am living in adultery and my "husband" allows our daughters to bring men here to sleep with them, and now we have a young man staying with us who practices witchcraft." The women encouraged her to start seeking Jesus on her own and that God would straighten her crooked paths. I hope she continues to come. Her story is not abnormal, unfortunately it is terribly common. But that's what house church is for, to break into enemy territory and give the captives a chance to see the light.
Our sweet Marielos who comes to help me once a week with cleaning while I homeschool has been suffering for her daughter. The man her daughter lived with recently left her. The daughter got depressed and started leaving her children at home to go out drinking. Right before we left for the States she visited the Platanillo cell church. When we got back from the States, Leo told us she has been coming to church on Saturdays. This past Friday we had cell church at her house and on Sunday she came to the church Christmas party. Her little boy was so overjoyed that their was a present waiting under the tree for him that he cried. He is so precious. Marielos is very happy to have her daughter accompany her to church now and so are we!
Christmas Car Miracle
Okay so while we were in the States people kept asking us what we needed. Our answer was always that our immediate need is a new all-terrain vehicle. We used to have a Toyota Lancruiser which was awesome the only problem is that it was so old. Ever since we got rid of it we have been praying for a replacement. We have another vehicle a Nissan Xterra but it only carries 5 passengers and the road up to Las Nubes and the Heidi House is killing it. When we left Costa Rica we were asking God to please find us a 7 passenger Landcruiser to replace the Xterrra and a 10 passenger Landcruiser to replace the one we used to own. Well we had only been back here a week and the 7 passenger one appeared down at a mechanic's house in Tuis. Leo said, "Marlon you've got to come see this." It was amazing it was exactly what we were looking for and it wasn't old and rusty like most. You could tell the body had never been in a crash, there were no telltale patch jobs. We prayed about it for several days and talked to Pastor Jeff, our supervisor. Ronald, our mechanic, was so happy to find a Landcruiser in that condition, he practically hopped around on one foot. The Tuis mechanic said, "Something is wrong with the motor so buy it at your own risk but I believe God is going to give you the money fast. Just give me a down payment and I won't charge you any interest on the rest." We owe him six thousand dollars but we have a lot of peace. Ronald called us yesterday to tell us that the car is going to need a new engine but he said, "Please keep this car, it is worth fixing." I know it is unreal how expensive vehicles are in Costa Rica but this car with a new engine will be worth about $14,000 here. We are getting it for $6,000 plus $3000 for the engine. God has assured us that this deal is from Him and He will provide. ( It’s kind of hard to believe since we have no cash at this point. But God has told us to be content with much or with little. No Christmas turkey this year but turkey makes people sleepy anyway.) So I see it as a double miracle. First, that we found it without looking and the second miracle will be when He gives us the money to pay it and the engine off!! That being said}, if the Lord prompts you to help with this major ministry need, please email us. Oh and it is bright red, very Christmassy.
FOR THE CELL CHURCHES TO CONTINUE GROWING
FOR PROTECTION FROM DANGER FOR OUR FAMILY AND CHURCH THERE IS INCREASED GANG ACTIVIY MOSTLY IN TURRIALBA
A RENTAL PROPERTY FOR OUR CHURCH
FOR GOD'S GLORY TO CONTINUE TO INVADE ALL THE HOMES AND NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE WE WORK. MAY THOSE WHO WALK IN GREAT DARKNESS SEE AND RUN TO THE LIGHT OF JESUS!!!
PRAY FOR THE LORD TO QUICKLY BRING THE FUNDS TO PAY FOR THE NEW CAR AND ENGINE!!!
AND THAT EVERYONE WHO IS SUPPOSED TO COME TO COSTA RICA IN 2017 RECEIVE CONFIRMATION IN THEIR SPIRITS AND MAKE THE JUMP!! WE ARE WAITING FOR YOU!
WE LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH AND YOU ARE ALL SUCH A BLESSING TO OUR FAMILY.
|Posted on November 2, 2016 at 11:05 PM||comments (0)|
TWO MORE HOUSEHOLDS FOR JESUS
It´s October, MAP Costa Rica turns 8, and my baby Felicity turns 9!! Time goes by fast. This newsletter has some amazing stories that I just feel so privileged to be a part of. We are so blessed to have leaders that are just being Jesus out in the streets. A month ago a friend sent us a text message and told us we needed to pray for the Fear of God to fall upon all of the towns where we work or have worked. That was a good prayer. Let´s do prayer first.
FOR TULIO´S HOUSEHOLD, AND BRYAN´S. MAY THEY FALL MORE IN LOVE WITH JESUS EVERYDAY AND BE PROTECTED FROM THE ENEMY.
THAT THE NEW CRIMINAL WHO ARRIVED IN TUIS BE TOUCHED BY GOD OR BE TAKEN SOMEWHERE ELSE.
FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO PULL MORE YOUNG MEN OUT OF ADDICTION. IN SIX MONTHS WE HAVE SEEN 5 YOUNG MEN RESTORED FROM DRUGS AND THE STREET. THANK YOU JESUS FOR REINER, EDGARDO, BRYAN, CESAR, AND TULIO
GOD´S BLESSING AND PROTECTION UPON THE CHURCH AND THE CELL GROUPS WHILE WE ARE GONE
FOR OUR TRIP TO THE STATES: TO BE A BLESSING EVERYWHERE WE GO, FOR US TO RELAX AND ENJOY SOME DOWNTIME,(SOME PEOPLE HAVE TROUBLE RELAXING) AND FOR THE LORD TO PROVIDE FOR ALL OUR NEEDS WHILE WE ARE THERE , MAY HE OPEN NEW DOORS FOR MAP COSTA RICA, NEW FRIENDSHIPS AND REENFORCE THE OLD ONES!!!
FOR GOD TO HAVE MERCY ON TURRIALBA AND SPARE US A LARGE EARTHQUAKE. FOR THE VOLCANO TO NOT BE DESTRUCTIVE AND INSTEAD BECOME A SOURCE OF REVIVAL, TOURISM AND JOBS FOR THIS IMPOVERISHED COUNTY.
TAKING A NAP OUTSIDE THE CHURCH
About a month ago Guido was down at the mission house in La Selba with my mom-in-law. She said, ´´Guido there is some drunk guy lying on the ground in front of the church. Should we call the police?´´ Guido is very relaxed and he went to check the guy out. He was too drunk to even talk to. So Guido let him continue his nap. A few hours later he came back out and the young man started to come to himself. Guido said, ´´Do you know where you are?´´ ´´No I have no idea,´´ the guy answered. Guido responded, ´´ You walked up a very steep driveway and came to a church that is hidden from the street. You are lying in front of a church. This is not an accident.´´ He went on to tell him that Jesus loves him and doesn´t want him to live like this. Guido found out that his name was Michael and he had come from Heredia to see his mother in Tuis. Guido wanted to pray with him but Michael was reluctant until Guido gave him a hug. After talking some more Michael agreed to give his life to Christ. As he walked down the hill he kept looking back at Guido and smiling.
Hitman Brings People to Jesus?
In the middle of Tuis every night there were crowds of young men smoking crack and marijuana. Three weeks ago it was only 4pm and one of these young men was already ´´flying high.´´ His language was awful and he was screaming at the top of his lungs on the side of the street. They have funny names like Boatman, The Ugly etc…I have to admit there were many times where I felt offended by these young men doing their drugs and fights in front of me and my children. Suddenly, all these kids just disappeared from the night scene. On Thursday night we were discussing it with our leadership team. A man and his buddies have come from San Jose and he wants to be the big new dealer. All of these little tiny ´´businessmen´´ have been threatened out of business. Two young men have been found dead in the past 10 days. One was from San Joaquin. Police found his motorcycle had gone over the cliff. There are lots of cliffs on the way to San Joaquin and accidents happen but when they found his body at the bottom, there was a bullet in his back.
The second victim was unrecognizable and left in a field behind the Tuis elementary school. The police said he had been beaten and his head was run over by a vehicle. For some reason we just started to wonder if it was the same guy Guido had prayed for, Michael. Sure enough a few days later it became clear that he was Michael from Heredia visiting his mom. Apparently he had been doing some crazy stuff and was already on this hit man’s wrong side and they caught up with him here in Tuis. I´m glad God brought him to meet Guido and Jesus before he was killed.
Leo´s cousin H. on his father’s side was also someone they were going to kill. But they told his parents, ´´if you pay us $200/week we won´t kill your son.´´ They were only able to pay for a couple of weeks. His drug debts still have not been cancelled and now they have him working as a ´´burro´´ someone who hauls cocaine from one point to another.
The other local young men are scared for their lives. Now, these guys actually have a curfew. The hit man stuck a gun to their chests and said he didn’t want to see them in the streets past a certain hour. We prayed that God would not permit this man to take any more lives that instead God would use this man for his kingdom purposes and that many young men come to Christ.
(This is a personal account of what happened to The Ugly on Friday night the 14th of October)
´´I couldn’t sleep I wanted to get high so bad. When I closed my eyes I could see a pipe and my little bag of marijuana floating around. I took a shower then I felt a little better. It had been a week since I last got high and I really was sick of myself. No matter how bad I wanted a joint I was just determined to not go back to that life to that scene. There was a voice that kept telling me ´go on get your stuff that’s all you need and you´ll feel fine.´ I snuck out of the house and barely pulled the door so my mom wouldn’t hear me. Then I froze on the porch. A voice said to me, ´All you need is some good strong prayer!´ I was like, ´Yeah, that’s what I need. I need to get some.´ My mother shouted, ´Tulio! You said you were not going out anymore.´ ´I know mom I´m coming back inside.´ In my room I could still feel something flying around my mind sayin, ´go on go get your stuff.´ I was like, ´you devil leave me alone.´ ´Tulio who are you talking to?´ my mom said. ´Nobody mom! I´m just crazy.´ The next morning I ran straight to Laersio´s house and asked him if he could pray for me. He told me I should go see his son Leo instead.´´
Saturday the 15th (Leo and Lily´s account)
Leo had just come up from Tuis and had a lot to do when he noticed Tulio walking up the hill to his house. Leo wasn´t sure what to think when he saw him. Recently, Tulio along with H. robbed $1,000 worth of propane tanks from the Chinese who have a grocery store in Tuis. ´´Hey Leo, I was trying to catch up with your car since I saw it in Tuis. I need you to pray for me.´´ Lily and Leo were stunned. They sat down with him and he told them about his experience the night before. Leo´s whole family gathered around and they prayed for Tulio. He gave his life to Jesus and cried like a baby.
The next day, Sunday, Marlon and Guido were in Tuis and they went by Tulio´s house to give him hugs. He and his parents were so amazed by the support. His parents said, ´´We don´t really care if you´re not Catholics, we will go anywhere to help our son.´´ Guido said, ´´This is just the beginning that whole family is going to come to know Jesus through the miracle God has done in their son.
I´m happy to report that Tulio has come to every service this week. One day he was watching the news and they were showing a gang of drug dealers that had been captured in Limon. They had tons of money and properties but they had lost their freedom. Tulio´s mother said that he suddenly jumped in the air and shouted, ´´Praise God I am free from that world!!´´ He was so loud and spontaneous he nearly scared his sister-in-law to death. On Friday he was so overcome by God´s love for him that he started crying and laughing and could not stop. His mother called Leo because she thought something was wrong with him. When Leo got there they were all laughing and crying together, even his serious father. They said, ´´What is this? Is Tulio going crazy without the drugs?´´ Leo said, ´´No! This is the Holy Spirit healing your family.´´
Visiting Bryan, His wife Gets Saved
Leo´s cousin Bryan has wanted us to visit so his wife Fabiana could hear more of the Word and to be prayed for. ´´I feel like I´m getting this great food every Saturday and she´s missing out´´ he said. She has to work on weekends and isn’t able to accompany him to church.
We usually take Sundays off but yesterday Marlon, Leo, my daughters, and I drove to Turrialba in a big thunderstorm to visit Bryan. They live across the Turrialba River where most of the neighborhoods in Turrialba are located. His mother-in-law greeted us and led us back through her laundry room to the tiny apartment that Bryan and Fabiana live in with their two little girls. It was so cozy they had their couches around the bed so the baby wouldn’t fall off and there was a little folding table and chairs in the corner of the room.
Baby Emma was just in love with Marlon and Celeste. We probably spent 5 hours in that little room. We prayed for Gabriella, Fabiana´s mother, before she went to work. She has something wrong with her blood and the Drs. don’t know what it is. I know Jesus touched her and began healing her heart. Later we did a mix of marriage counseling, personal therapy, (both of them were lied to about the identity of their fathers) and talking about how great Jesus is. Bryan told us he wanted to follow Christ with all his heart. They are not married and Bryan told Fabiana that he wants to marry her and do things right. She started crying and said, ´´ Sometimes I think he is just with me for the babies.´´ Leo said, ´´That might have been the old Bryan but I know my cousin loves you.´´ All Bryan could do was nod his head and swallow to keep from crying. Towards the end I looked at Fabiana and asked her if she had ever given her life to Jesus. Even though she spoke like a Christian she said that she had never given her life to Him. ´´ I want to,´´ she said. I took her hand and she repeated after me as we thanked Jesus for his sacrifice, asked for forgiveness of her sins, and freedom from the past. She cried and it was just awesome! She told me she felt much better. We prayed for their home, for the girls, and for Bryan. Bryan had a white light over him while we prayed and I know God is going to use him in amazing ways. The prayers of his Aunt Genia in our women´s prayer group for her relatives have not been in vain.
The next day Bryan called Leo to tell him that they were all very happy. He said his mother-in-law was willing to start going to church with them if they really want to do things right. She told Bryan, ´´You guys got me involved, I´m not turning back. The pastors prayed for me and I trust them.´´ Fabiana´s grandmother wants to come too. Praise Jesus a whole new house for Him in Turrialba.
A NEW FRIEND
One Sunday morning we were resting in our home and someone started calling from the road. I opened the window and saw a Kabecar man outside. He said he wanted to speak with the pastor and I said, ´´can you please come back in 15 minutes my husband is not home.´´ He was very polite and said he would. I was confused thinking that he might be Kiki, a Kabecar man who drinks heavily and lives nearby. Marlon came home and the man arrived again. Marlon brought him in a few minutes later and said this is a brother in Christ from Berre.´´ We ended up having a lovely time getting to know him. His name is Candido. He and his family were staying in a little shed nearby for coffee picking season. Candido played Christian songs in Kabecar on Marlon´s guitar. Then we played our songs for him. Right before he left he stuck out his hands to grab ours and said, ´´Let´s pray. I´m going to pray in Kabecar and you pray in Spanish.´´ Marlon and Leo wanted to go visit him in Berre, so a week later they were off on an adventure. When Candido and his family came back out the next week, they went to cell church in Tuis. There was lots of joy and dancing. I asked his wife Rosibel if the two boys had enjoyed themselves and she said, ´´Yes, they have never been to a service before.´´ I don´t know if she meant they´d never been to church ever, or if they´d never been to a dancing worship service. In January we promised to go back to Berre and visit them again. We have heard from missionary friends that Candido´s brother claims to be a Christian but still practices witchcraft. ( Hmm, someone who says they are a Christian but hasn´t really been changed by Christ. That sounds familiar anywhere in the world) I think God wants to use Candido in a powerful way among his own people but he will have to overcome the local customs. What I´ve heard from friends who work with the Kabecar is that they stay in their family groups for church or with their tribes and are not very friendly with people who are not their own. Ironically, everyone will show up for a white guy, but if the pastor is Kabecar, he´s lucky to just get his relatives. I don´t have much personal experience to know how true this may be but I do not know of any Kabecar pastor that has united many different families into a healthy community of believers. I hope I´m misinformed, but if not, I want to see this happen.
Esteban who is a policeman in the Santa Cruz vicinity is dating Henry´s daughter. One night after church he told Marlon to warn our church to be prepared for a big earthquake. Santa Cruz is the closest town to the Turrialba Volcano and Esteban speaks with lots of geologists and volcanologists. They mentioned that the lava was about 200 meters from the top and they are predicting a large earthquake. 8.5 is what they said but only God knows. My house has such a great view of the volcano and the city of Turrialba down below. We have asked God many times now to have mercy and that the scientists would be wrong. I know he has heard our prayer but I´m sure that this is also helping to put more fear of God into people. Nelson had a dream that the volcano erupted and afterwards we had cell churches all over this county. He said in the dream there were not enough people to even send to all the small villages. Wow!
THIS IS MY LIFE
Everywhere I go, everything I do I feel more consumed with the desire that people know Christ. It is not His will that anyone perish. Jesus came to save the world and not condemn it. Every smile every handshake, every God bless you is purposeful. If I see the Holy Spirit has softened the person and they want more, I´ll give them more. Not everyone can be won by persuasive arguments or human logic. The Father has to be calling them. I love it when people come to my house unexpectedly. I want them to feel Jesus love in my home, in my food, and in communion with us. Felicity ended up having quite a few more people attend her birthday party than I had planned. I was compelled to invite women who I knew would be sitting alone in their homes. I want everyone to come together and be warmed in the fire of God´s presence. Is it tiring? Yes. But I feel so much joy and peace.
We have put off coming to the States for a while because we wanted to grow our leaders more. But in July we started talking about October. In September I didn´t like the ticket prices I was seeing. November started looking better. We bought the tickets in faith. Marlon´s passport got washed in the laundry along with his US visa, Oops! Before you judge me, know that they were in a bottom pocket of cargo pants, very well hidden. About three weeks ago we found out the discouraging news that they would not replace the visa, Marlon would have to reapply. How would we get the visa in time for the trip? I spent five hours filling out the visa forms online. I couldn´t get him an early appointment though. One day I logged in and the appointments had changed from October 27th to October 22nd. Praise Jesus! This past Saturday we went to the embassy. We didn´t take any bank statements (they wouldn´t have impressed anyone) this time or other paperwork. ´´Jesus, if you want Daddy to go to the States, you will get him that visa,´´ we prayed as a family. Fifteen minutes later he came outside and said, ´´I´m coming with you guys!´´ What joy!
We have always wanted to go further North, so the girls can see where I grew up and to visit with old friends. We haven´t actually felt led to go by the Spirit until now. God immediately confirmed that we would have a place to stay. Then Marlon asked God for a sign, quite a funny sign, and it actually happened. I had my browser on the phone ready to purchase Maryland tickets for weeks I was just waiting for the money and the word from my boss, Marlon. Well God gave Marlon his sign and we sold three small cows. I bought those tickets as fast as my fingers could slide across the screen. So everything that seemed impossible and so far away is only eight days away from happening! Thank you Jesus!
|Posted on June 25, 2016 at 4:20 PM||comments (0)|
Greetings to God's beloved,
I just can't churn these letters out fast enough. The Lord is answering so many prayers, it is Awesome!! This is what has been going on the past few weeks. Our congregation has grown by 20 members in the past 6 weeks!
Men's Retreat at Finca Beth'El Salvations and Transformations!
Beth'El the place where angels descend! Our fellowship farm was revving up last month for some action. The 13th of May the men had another 3 day retreat. The girls and I had great fun watching everyone head up to the mountain. Now that we live at the bottom of the road leading up to the farm, we are close to all the action! The journey for one of the men who went started a few weeks before.
Recently the son of one of the property owners came up here to see Marlon. His father Henry is a friend of ours. Marlon and Henry's son, Tom, had grown up together in the church. When they were teens they went their separate ways. Tom got lost in drugs,alcohol, and other things. He is divorced now and lives with his parents and sometimes Henry has to pay child support when Tom gets behind. Now, though he had come to Marlon to tell him something." I want to talk to you as a pastor. I'm sick of how I'm living my life. I'm moving up to the top of the mountain to live in Dad's little cabin. I will keep an eye on the place and get away from everything. I would like for you to pray for me." Marlon did pray with him and blessed him on this new journey. This was a radical decision, just like our farm, there is no electricity or running water up there and his only transportation is a horse. As the days passed there were several times where he and Guido would pray up there together. After a while Tom started coming down with a big smile. The men's retreat was only a few days away and he kept asking questions about it. Felicity prayed for him several times in her prayers, "please make Tom go to the retreat." (to be continued)
Adam is a policeman and a friend of Leo's, he met Marlon a few months ago. They got along really well talking about manly things. However, when Leo would invite Adam to church, he said he was scared of Marlon as a a preacher.......But God....
All the women and children decided to take food up to the men on Sunday instead of waiting for them at the church. Marlon told us to be there at 11 a.m. for the morning service. It was a surprise and none of the men knew. In the morning women and children started arriving at my house in large groups. Even Tony's wife Olga made it!! I saw Henry going up on his horse and I said, "Henry please don't tell the men anything. You haven't seen anything!" He laughed and told me how overjoyed he was that his son was on the retreat and how it had taken the whole family by surprise. Tom hadn't told anyone that he was going. Henry told me that his daughter Marsha and her friend Adam (yes Adam the policeman) had already gone up to their farm. I invited them all to the service.
We made our pilgrimage on foot with all the food and children up to Finca Beth'El. When we got there we hid in the worship pavilion. The men started to come in and they were overwhelmed with tears. Tony was especially surprised to see his wife. He was overjoyed! Julian cried when he saw that his wife had made it even though she is at the end of her pregnancy. (That walk up to the farm is not something I would want to do if I were pregnant) The worship service was wonderful and the picnic that followed but the most amazing thing was to see what God had done in Henry's family. Guido stood up and told Henry, "You have a new baby boy now. He has been born again and passed from death to life." The change was obvious to everyone! Even though Adam had wanted to run away when he found out that he was at a service from Leo's church, he broke down crying like a baby. Marsha also cried and Guido and I prayed for her it was as if I could see God mending her heart before my very eyes. Henry saw his son filled with such joy and peace as he danced before the Lord like David. Precious! Amazing! Praise the Lord!
Baby Dilani asleep at retreat in the Sunday House Hugo Kenneth and Johnny in the Sunday House kitchen at retreat
A JOB FOR KEVIN
Kevin is one of our youngest charter members. He started coming on Tuesdays to Guido's house with a Bible that was bigger than him! He has been through a lot over the past few years and done some wandering.
He and his fiance Tatiana, have an 8 month old baby girl named Dilani. Marlene has been asking the Lord for months at Ladies Prayer to provide a job for Kevin. (As you all know this is a very hard region to live in, unemployment is very high) Well in another story I will tell you how God has blessed us with milk cows and between us and Guido, Kevin has a job now!
When baby Dilani was still quite young she had trouble urinating and cried a lot At the Children's Hospital they told Kevin that one of her little kidneys was all shriveled up and that she had an irregular heart beat. They were devastated. All of our prayer groups started praying for Dilani. Kevin wept and prayed before the Lord. Suddenly the baby started urinating more regularly and wasn't as fussy At the next hospital visit they were told that her heart was perfectly normal and last month the doctors said there was nothing wrong with her kidney and they discharged the baby. Kevin tells everyone the story with tears. This youth that had wandered away from the flock is now a transformed young man. He has been working with us for two weeks now up at Finca Beth'El. He and Guido both come down from the farm full of joy. One of Guidos' most important jobs is praying as he works. Kevin is becoming a little disciple of Guido. Recently Kevin and Tatiana were finally married.
TOM AND HIS FAMILY
Now Henry, Tom, Adam, Marsha and her daughter Genesis have all joined the church. They have also opened their home for cell church. This is exciting because they live in the center of Las Colonias. We have waited many years for the Lord to open a door there. One day Henry stopped Leo's dad and said, "My son is making me crazy! I just can't believe how much God has changed him. I went up to the farm today to and I found him in a field kneeling in prayer! A week after that is when we had our first cell church meeting at their house. The social worker that makes sure Tom's daughters get their child support got a phone call from Tom's older daughter. She said, "I heard my Daddy has changed and I want to get back in touch with him." The social worker spoke with Tom and when she had a meeting with his wife, his wife started crying. Let's pray that God bring a total healing to this family in the name of Jesus!
NO DISTANCE IN THE SPIRIT
We have had the honor of praying for some seasoned brothers and sisters in the faith in the country and out. On the first occasion our whole family took off in the truck and wen t on a two hour trip. The second time we prayed with a couple over the phone in the States who we had never met. The Holy Spirit is so awesome He is the one that sets up these divine appointments and knows what is going on. In both circumstances His presence was so strong with absolute certainty I can tell you that He set things in motion and the prayers are answered. When are prayer time was finished I could feel the party in the heavenlies. Prayer is awesome even if you are far away you can really make a difference in someone's life.(I'm sure you already know that, but it is so neat) There is no distance in the Spirit! He is everywhere!
Tony's whole family came to church the weekend after the retreat in support of what he did. It was so wonderful to see his three teenagers walk through the door. I remember greeting the warmly. The one who has drug and alcohol problems was especially happy. By the middle of the service they were crying and worshiping with their hands lifted in praise. At the end, the young man I mentioned went over and gave Marlon a big hug.
When it was Tony's turn to share his testimony from the retreat, he grabbed the microphone with such confidence. He spoke like an evangelist with fire as he told people not to let sin master them through their cell phones. He publicly apologized to his family each one by name for what he had made them suffer.
The next Saturday his wife called me and asked when church was. "We want to surprise Tony and be ready for church when he gets back from work." Wow! Obviously he is being a good testimony to his wife and kids. The son who is stuck in drugs told Olga, "Mom, I really like that church but don't tell Dad. I don't want him to put pressure on me." We as a church have to pray for this precious young man, his name is David. Olga told me, "My children like your church. They say it doesn't feel like an Evangelical church. Instead, it feels like a family." That is such a wonderful thing to hear from someone since that has been our dream from the very beginning. No "church" but a family. Tony told Marlon he is super amazed at what is happening in his family. I know it is due to all the prayers. He said, "My daughter Yuli comes up to me every night and cuddles and asks me to read the Bible to her."
ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD
Well we've had some animal sadness this past month. Celeste's sweet little hen was stolen off her nest by a possum and eaten. Later one of the four baby goats died. I think it was our fault, we took him off the milk too soon and I hadn't been to Guido's barn for several days.
On Thursday morning I was in the bathroom and had to come running out. A neighbor was shouting, "Get Guido, his young bull is stuck and could drown." By the time Marlon and Guido came down from the farm the bull was already drowned. Guido's other bull had jumped the pasture fence and attacked the new bull. When he got stuck he rammed him into the water until he drowned. Guido has to pass through our pasture to get to his. As he was passing he saw something dart through the grass it was a small snake a fur de lance. He quickly killed it with his machete. It was scary because it had been in the lawn above our house where the girls play.
The guys spent all morning butchering the bull. We were all sad for Guido he had had this young bull for less than 24 hours and it had cost him $200 that he hadn't even finished paying. At the end of the day though he said that God comforted him, "if it hadn't been for that dead bull I would never have been there at that moment to kill that deadly poison that was heading down to our homes." He cried and we all cried and said, "Thank you Jesus." Needless to say we are on a boot alert. No one is allowed to go outside without their boots on.
Macho after many trials finally married his beloved Olga
BAPTIZING EFRAIM AND A SPECIAL HUG
Well six months have passed since 85 year old Efraim had his dramatic conversion where he heard the Holy Spirit speak to him and he said, "Who are you?" Then he heard, "I am the Holy Spirit." After that experience he gave his life to Jesus and burned all his items he had used for witchcraft. Due to his bad health and his extreme shyness, he has not been congregating. He has prostate cancer that has spread to his intestine. Lily prayed for him at ladies prayer on a Monday that in his self-imposed isolation he would grown in the Lord and ask for baptism. The next day he asked his daughter Miriam, "Can I have the pastor, and Leo come visit me? I want to be baptized. I had a dream where I saw a flower that was as white as snow I want to be white like that flower." Praise God! It was exactly after the day that we had prayed for him.
Last Saturday before church started Leo, Miriam and Marlon went over to his home. His wife, Teresa, is a Jehovah's Witness. All of his daughters except for Miriam are also Jehovah's Witnesses. Teresa did not want to be in the same room as the baptism. Once Marlon arrived she changed her mind and said, "I don't need to leave you guys aren't doing anything bad." Efraim wrapped a towel around his shoulders and Marlon asked for a small cup of water to pour over his head. Efraim said, "What, I don't want that tiny cup! Bring me a pitcher full of water. I want to be cleansed. Bring me that whole pitcher." It was a beautiful moment, tears filled his eyes and he said, "Thank you boys, I feel like a great weight has been taken off my shoulders."
While Marlon was in the kitchen, Teresa grabbed his Bible and started flipping through it. Miriam looked at her in surprise and Teresa said, "Shh!" When Marlon turned around she grinned sheepishly. Marlon said, I would love to give that to you Teresa but I have to be at church in an hour and I need it. Then he said that he felt the Holy Spirit telling him "Go give her a hug." Marlon thought, What I barely know her and she doesn't seem very friendly." He walked over and said, "I love you in Jesus Teresa," and proceeded to give her a big hug! A few days later Miriam and Leo went to visit. Efraim was telling his daughters, "I might not be able to go to church regularly but I know I have a big family now. Teresa we need more unity in our marriage, we can't be unequally yoked. W e need to be in the same church together." Leo and Miriam tried not to laugh as they heard him speaking with such conviction from the Bible. Saying things that a year ago would have never crossed his mind. Teresa's other daughters looked at her to see what she was going to do. All she said, "I've never ever received a hug from my pastor. In that hug that Marlon gave me I felt more sincerity and love then when my own sons hug me. I might not know anything about Protestants but this man that I have watched since he was a little boy is a true chosen one of God." Wow! Praise the Lord even though she doesn't believe in the Holy Spirit, He is revealing things to her.
THE BEGINNING OF CHURCH. THE MIDDLE AREA IS FOR DANCING WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT!
MISSIONS TEAM FROM KINGWOOD UMC YOUTH MINISTRY
We have been blessed to have an amazing group of students and chaperones come stay with us for a week. I will not write about all our adventures since we are still in the middle of them. However God has already done many great things. It has been a privilege to leave the Heidi house behind and come down to the mission house and spend time with them working alongside them. VBS in Tuis has been such a success that some religious groups are trying to find away to sue us. Our message is about a relationship with King Jesus and love. Nothing to intimidate or put any denomination down. It has been so pure but that's how Jesus was on this earth and He scared people too. Thank you HOly Spirit for using these students!
PRAY FOR THE TEAM THAT IS HERE VISITING US. PROTECTION AND MAY LOTS OF COSTA RICANS BE TOUCHED BY THEIR HARD WORK IN VBS.
PRAY FOR HEALTH FOR OUR FAMILY AND PROTECTION
CLEAR VISION AND DISCERNMENT
MAY WE ALL DRAW EVEN CLOSER TO JESUS
FOR DAVID TO BREAK FREE FROM DRUGS
TOTAL HEALING FOR TOM'S FAMILY
FOR CONTINUED MIRACULOUS PROVISION
BETTER HEALTH IN OUR FAMILY WE HAVE BEEN SICK TOO MUCH
|Posted on June 2, 2016 at 1:25 PM||comments (0)|
NEWS FROM APRIL AND PART OF MAY
PICTURES AT Obando MInistries Facebook
Okay more Amazing things happening!! I mean powerful come to Jesus things! I can't get it all out in 1 newsletter so expect to hear from me in a week or so. I continue to have problems with the website. I am sorry, there are great pictures you need to see so please go to Facebook Obando MInistries for the pictures. Peace be with you, The Obandos
Joheydi is Joselito's sister in law. Julian, Joselito's brother, kept getting into arguments with his parents. Joheydi would get involved and it wasn't very pretty. They eventually stopped going to church, gossipped and hurt some people and later moved to Northern Costa Rica for Julian to get a job in the pineapple fields. If I haven't mentioned it before, the province of Cartago where Turrialba,La Suiza, and Tuis are located, has the worst unemployment in all of Costa Rica. Just six months ago several large factories were shut down in the province and moved to other countries. In Turrialba the baseball factory closed leaving 500 people without jobs. Anyway Julian had to go a long way to get a job but it is very hard to work in the pineapple fields. The heat is so intense and there is no shade. No matter how great it was to have a job, Julian and Joheydi were not prospering and they missed everyone. A couple of months ago they returned to their little shanty that they had next to the parent's house. When we had a service one day at Joselito's house, I ran over to say Hi to Joheydi. It was if nothing had ever happened! I love Joheydi, she has been in the ladies prayer group in Tuis and gone on both of the women's retreats with me! I didn't feel awkward at all I gave her and her two little girls big hugs and noticed that she had a tummy. She thinks the baby is due the first part of June. I then blurted out, " So when are you coming back to church?" She looked at me confused and said that she needed some time. I said, "Oh sure don't worry about it we always will have a spot for you.
About a month later she and Julian began coming to the cell church in Tuis and later started attending the main church services!! One day I noticed a group discussion on my phone that the ladies of the Tuis prayer group wanted to throw her a baby shower. I felt like a proud mother. What love, what forgiveness, truly they chose the better path. The shower was a suprise and they all worked hard on decorating Leo's mother's house. Some people did the cooking, others the baking, and Yamilet set up a donation box at the private school where she works. Her co-workers and many of the students parents donated baby clothes, baby wipes, and diapers! We don't know if it is a boy or a girl. So there was a lot of white and yellow! The beautiful thing was the moment she arrived. She came with her mother in law Olga and her two little girls. They opened the door and we all shouted, "Suprise!" The women from Tuis, Turrialba, Las Nubes, and even some new women from La Selva were there all bearing gifts. She went right back out the door and stood outside crying. When she came back in tears were just streaming down her face. We laughed and cried and hugged. Yamilet read from the Bible about how we were knitted together inside our mother's womb. Then we all prayed for the baby. After that, it was a pure joyfest. One woman who was visiting said, "I've never been around this many women so happy without there being bottles of wine!" I think God really lavished His love on her and her family. Julian at the end made a little speech. "A few days Joheydi asked me to put a shelf in the house to put the baby's things on. But I didn't want to do it because we had nothing for the baby and it would just make her cry. But now I have to go home and make lots of shelves. Thank you for taking this horrible feeling of not being ready away!"
MIRACLES IN TURRIALBA
Friday, April 22, the cell church was especially packed. Leo brought all the men from Las Nubes and Marlon brought us and the missionaries. Nelson's brother Roy had come with his wife Magdalena and their daughter. Nuria, the mother of Nelson, Kenneth, and Roy had been inviting Roy for awhile. Magdalena was not very open to the idea, but she said they could at least visit. When the prayer started it was very intense. There were so many prayer requests. Magdalena was praying for her mother who was in the hospital waiting for an aorta operation. She also was praying for an allergic rash that covered her arms. Guido was praying next to her then turned towards her and started praying for her, her mother, and her marriage. Yamilet called me laughing the next day. Magdalena had sent Yamilet several audio messages at 1 a.m. and Yamilet wanted me to hear them. "Yami," she said. "I could see a bright light all around me and I felt such a peace, I could see God answering my prayers! I felt an intense heat and was sweating! Sweating like when I am at the gymn! I felt God's presence, I can't believe it! I am going to go to every whatever you call it, cell meeting?! on Fridays." I loved it!
Another amazing thing happened that night. We were praying and asking Jesus to reveal to us whatever might be in our lives that is getting in the way of our relationship with him. Tony (the repented man from the last newsletter) was on his knees crying and he said, "Pastor my hands feel heavy and I don't know why." Marlon said to him quietly, " What have you don with your hands?" He didn't say anything but he stood up in anger and got a nice touch screen cell phone out of his pocket. "I don't want this anymore, it has brought nothing good to me!" he exclaimed. He lifted it high in the air and threw it onto the ground. Then he stepped on it with his bot and smashed it as if it were a cigarette butt. He said, "I'm not even going to pick it up and throw it away. You guys can throw it in the river. All the newer men to the group were astonished by his commitment to free himself from his phone.
The next week the testimonies were great. Tony told me that he had just cried off and on for the next few days as he felt the Spirit loving on him. He looked so happy and free. Magdalena was also overflowing with joy to share the answers to her prayers. Her mother was dismissed from the hospital, they had done some more tests and decided that her aorta was fine without an operation. Magdalena's strange allergy had also gone away.
On May 13, the Turrialba volcano had its biggest eruption since 1866. Fortunately no one was injured at all. We didn't even know that anything happened even though we had a great view; it occurred at 1:19 a.m.! I'm usually not looking out my window at that time of night. There was lava reported being seen but mostly just tons of ash and rock. Lots of the ash made it to San Jose covering the streets and cars of the capital. All of last week before the explosion there were signs. We even had a little tremor. It just felt like someone slammed up against the side of the house. The strangest thing we saw was on Sunday the 8th. There was a smoke/haze covering all the nearby mountains and valleys and even floating around outside in the yard. God is so merciful that we have a volcano that is slowly letting of "steam" so to speak. Many people have been praying about this volcano. The general consensus in Costa Rica is that everyone will be fine as long as they stay out of the evacuated areas on the mountainside. I remember when I was 18 how the mountainside was lit up with lights closer to the top but now it is just black against the night sky.
One night a mother and daughter came to Saturday church. I remember teaching the daughter English when I was a newlywed here in Costa Rica Her mother, Bernarda, had visited our church when we were just starting out. After the service she came up to Marlon and said, " I wish that I had kept coming." The next week she brought her husband, Hector. After the service he said "I am going away impacted. I love how the children worship." He had stopped going to church and was disappointed with all the local churches. But,a week later he came back with his whole family and joyfully said, "I want to be a member if you'll have me." "Yes!" He is so ready to jump in to the thick of things that he signed up for the men's retreat. He is not shy at all and is a real joy to be around. We visited Hector and Bernarda the other day. He is an experienced construction worker but is out of work right now. He told us about something that had happened to him during the church service. During worship he was kneeling and Guido came up to him to pray and Guido mentioned something to Hector "You need to let go of what happened to you when you were 8." Hector couldn't believe that the Holy Spirit had revealed that to Guido, "This is something I've never even told my wife about. I've been crying like a baby for the past few days,"said Hector. We prayed with him for some upcoming job opportunities. I know God has great things in store for this man and his family.
We were super blessed to be visited in April by my mom and a group of missionaries. Pastor Jeff and a wonderful couple from Vinelife came for a week along with another brother from Kingwood, TX. They provided much needed encouragement, discipling, and intercessory power. In the words of Nacho Libre we, "spoke of Holy things." Our family is so blessed that the Lord always sends us such wonderful visitors.
The only person that lives at the altitude of Finca Beth El is Mario. We can't see his house because itis blocked by a hill. There is a creek and a little jungle that separates our two farms. Every time we've had a retreat he has heard the music and seen us dancing. He has said to some people that we are crazy. Once during a women's retreat he said to my sister-in-law (who had stayed home), "These women have been up here cooking and laughing for 2 days. Tell them to go home and do laundry." All we could do was laugh since his house is far enough away there was nothing to bother him. We just imagined him hiding in the trees staring at us with disdain. Needless to say we moved the worship to a different location where he couldn't see us. Then God gave us an opportunity to get closer to him. We went to help him in November with a bad calving. It was a Sunday and he was so thankful that we came to his aid even though the calf still died.
A couple of weeks ago Guido got a phone call from Mario. "Guido I was walking on the edge of my farm and I felt a strong presence coming from Marlon's. There was a wind and I just had to bow down and pray. I want you to tell Marlon that I want to give him water for his farm. Tell him to bring his family over for cafe." Wow!! Guido was just as surprised as we were. God has been so faithful, truly the verse he gave me before we bought the land has come true. Isaiah 41:18 NKJV "I will open rivers in desolate heights.."
Praise The Lord
Love and Unity in the Body
Revelation and clear spiritual vision
Protection for us and our church from all danger and forms of evil
Thanks for his constant 1 month at a time provision and the grace to run this ministry by faith. He is so faithful.
May more people jump into this incredible journey with Jesus and us: more people getting saved more people helping financially and more people come see and be a part of this
|Posted on March 13, 2016 at 3:40 PM||comments (0)|
I emailed this update to everyone on our list, but I am posting it on the blog to keep a chronological order! If your not on the email list let me know. Hopefully there are no typos, I just copied and pasted. Happy Sunday everyone
PRAYER WAR THURSDAY NIGHTS
In the last blog I mentioned how on Thursdays we were getting together with the elders of the church to pray. Almost everything I am about to write about I believed was conceived and birthed through these prayer meetings as well as the three other prayer groups we have during the week. Thursdays are a time for the elders to bring forth concerns that might be personal or have to do with the church, or community. We start around 6pm and finish around 11pm. It is divided up between sharing, encouraging, counseling, reading the word, at least two hours of prayer. It is really neat when the group focuses in on a certain person or family the volume rises and I can imagine that the prayer is rushing through the night air and surrounding that person and unbinding them.
HUGO'S IMPROMPTU CHURCH SERVICE
Hugo sells cheese and spends many afternoons walking around Tuis, mainly Barrio 70. He has preached the gospel in many homes and countless people have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. One of these families invited him over last Tuesday to anoint and pray for their home. When he got there he was amazed to see so many of her neighbors there, including Manuel and his wife who accepted Jesus with Leo a couple of months ago. The funny thing is that one woman who has a large family and is constantly trying to find fault with the church was there. She had recently prohibited her younger children from coming to our church after becoming offended by Leo's message to the Friday night group about the need to congregate regularly.( she comes to church maybe twice a year) Her anger had the opposite effect however. Her older children stood up for Leo and our church. Her son-in-law, Junior, who never goes to church anywhere, actually went to visit Leo and tell how much he liked the preaching and how he wanted to change. THIS GUY WANTED TO BEAT LEO UP A YEAR AGO! Anyway this woman and all her children were present at Hugo's service and she was quiet and submissive to his authority. Praise God, Hugo spoke with authority and was not intimidated! What a miracle we have been lifting this woman up on Thursdays.
YAMILET'S POWERFUL PRAYER
On Tuesday a student from the private high school in Turrialba was hit by a car. He was badly injured and in a coma. Yamilet works at this school in the administration building. At 5 am Wednesday morning she received a text saying that it looked like he wasn't going to make it. When she got to work her boss told her, "Look I am going to get the whole school together in the auditorium to pray for this boy and I want you to pray." When Yamilet became a Christian 3 years ago many people at her job made fun of her and couldn't believe it. She always prays for her meal in the lunch room and sometimes makes her coworkers pray with her. Her husband Nelson said, "before she went out on stage to pray she asked God to show these kids what a big God serves." Thirty minutes after she lifted up a powerful prayer in front of the whole school, they got a phone call that the boy had come awake and was asking for food!!! On Thursday he was released from the hospital. What a powerful thing God backing up the prayers of His children!
GABRIEL AND ANDREA, LOSS AND GAIN
This couple celebrated their one year anniversary in December and by the end of December she found out she was pregnant. The week after Valentines Day she started bleeding.
They went to the hospital and they scheduled her for an ultrasound 4 days later! Her husband wasn't going to wait that long. They went to a private Dr. As she lay on the table and he passed the ultrasound scanner over her tummy, she saw that the Dr. didn't want to say anything. She said, "Dr. I know something is wrong please tell me." The Dr. looked at her and said, "I am sorry there is no life." She was supposed to have 17 weeks but judging by the ultrasound the baby had stopped growing about 2 months ago. She covered her face and wept. He sent her to the hospital and she cried even more when they checked her in and separated her from her husband. They didn't know what they were going to do with her. The OBGYN wasn't coming in till Monday and she was not dialated at all. They called it a retained miscarriage. The next day an OBGYN arrived from Cartago and told her he would do a small surgery. As she was lying down waiting to enter the surgery room she began to tremble all over. Her hands turned purple and she thought she was going to die. Suddenly she heard a voice that said, "Do not be afraid your son is with Me and I am with you." She told me she felt so much joy and peace, all the fear left her body. After the surgery she was able to go home that same night and be with her husband and family. The next day she and her husband requested to hold youth group in their home.(FYI in Costa Rica young marrieds are often part of youth group) I visited her that day and we all cried together especially when she told us what the Lord had spoken to her. She said, "Now we have another reason to go to heaven our son is waiting for us."
DELIVERANCE IN THE TIRE SHOP
Last week Nelson was getting ready to close his auto parts and tire shop when a drunken man came in off the street in Turrialba. The man was asking for money but Nelson looked at him and said, "I don't have any money to give you, but I will give you what I have. In the name of Jesus receive a touch from the Holy Spirit!" The man stared at him and Nelson said, "Out all demons of alcoholism in Jesus name!" He said the man fell down on top of a pile of tires. Yamilet's 11 year old son who was there said,"Wow!" The man started sweating profusely and Nelson sat down by him and told him that he too had been a slave to the things of the world, but Jesus Christ is the answer. The next day the man came back to the shop to tell Nelson thank you.
LEO AND THE PRIEST
A couple of months ago Leo met another priest while milling lumber. They had a long conversation. As he preached to the man he had no idea the man was a priest. He shared the gospel with the priest and told him that there is no other mediator for sin besides Jesus Christ. In spite of all the priest's arguments Leo was able to respond with verses directly from the Bible. The priest was astounded that this simple man who had never been to seminary was able to knock down his arguments. It turned his world uside down. He opened up with Leo and told Leo that he was a priest but he couldn't deny what the Bible says and that Leo had spoken truthfully.
On Thursday of last week the priest asked Leo to come visit him. He said, "I quit, I'm done being a priest." Leo noticed that his walls were empty where once there had been crucifixes, diplomas and numerous saints. Wilbur, the ex-priest looked at Leo seriously and said, "I need to tell you something. I am the biggest hypocrite. I wasn't honest with you last time we talked and I owe it to you to tell you the truth." Leo was shocked and a little worried about what this ex-priest wanted to confess so badly. Wilbur said, "I have a son. The woman I told you I loved and had to say bye to in order to become a priest, she is the mother. I married her in a secret ceremony in Colombia." Leo said that he was shocked. Wilbur continued," I have lived a double life for the past 16 years and none of my supervisors, fellow priests, or parishioners know about this. They lived in a different home in San Jose and sometimes they would visit me and I had to pretend they were cousins. Now though I was able to spend a Sunday in the middle of San Jose with my arm around my son. Oh how good it feels to stop living a lie!" He thanked Leo for preaching to him that day and told him that one day he would like to come visit our church. Now he lives in San Jose with his family and already goes to an Evangelical church. Leo gave Wilbur a big hug and told him goodbye. We want to lift this man up in prayer so that the Lord will protect him from persecution. And if any of his parishioners find out, they would realize that their hope can't be in an earthly man but must be in Jesus.
It seems that Marlon's grandfather is slowly dying. One day he was clear minded and my mother-in-law was able to talk with him and pray the sinner's prayer. A week ago Sunday Marlon was at the grandparent's house. They have had so many visitors between their 11 children, 40 grandchildren, cousins, and friends. When Marlon was there his cousin Haivy said, "Marlon my sister Yancy wants you to come pray for her health." Yancy is younger than all of us but she is fighting breast cancer and has an eight year old daughter. Marlon started talking to Haivy about Jesus and she said, "I like what you are saying but tell me the truth, are you trying to get me to change religions?" Marlon told her, "I want you to forget religion and rituals and know Jesus. The Jesus who saved me and loves you." She said, "Can you come to my house in Cartago and do church in my house?" Then the man who lives with Haivy's mother spoke up, "I don't believe in anything I am a big doubter but I want to hear more." So the end result is that we are going to Cartago to do a church service next Sunday. It seems too easy how they were persuaded but Marlon told me he felt a powerful presence upon him when he spoke. He felt authority and boldness. God's power is real power.
In a couple of weeks I plan on writing about the Turrialba cell church and what God is doing there but these are the testimonies I felt that I needed to share. I hope they bless you. Keep praying for us to stand firm. It is so easy to be fearless like Elijah on Mt. Carmel and then the next day worry about paying bills (like Elijah when he was overcome with fear of Jezebel and ran to hide in a cave).
PROTECTION FOR OUR FAMILY
FOR THE CHURCH SERVICE IN CARTAGO IN A WEEK
FOR GABRIEL AND ANDREA TO BE COMFORTED
FOR GOD TO PROVIDE FOR OUR EVERY NEED IN THE MONTH OF MARCH. FOR US TO BE BRAVE AND BELIEVE EVEN WHEN WE CAN'T SEE THE WAY
FOR GOD'S HAND TO CONTINUE TO MOVE IN MIGHTY WAYS
FOR THE EX-PRIEST TO CONTINUE TO WALK IN THE TRUTH AND BE PROTECTED FROM PEOPLE WHO MIGHT WANT TO HURT HIS FAMILY.
|Posted on February 9, 2016 at 8:05 PM||comments (0)|
Wow! what a lot has happened since my last entry. Some major changes, good things, sad things, and well you'll have to read everything! (I hope you read everything every time I send out a newsletter) Really great news is that the "Family Bar" closed in Tuis!! No more prostitution, strip shows, and easy access to a variety of drugs. Although crack and marijuana are still a huge problem everywhere. But we are inspired to continue praying. In fact we had our third annual 12 hour prayer vigil in January and Pastor Jeff Callicott and his wife Yvonne from Texas were there.
Daniel 11:32 NKJV "..but the people who know their God, shall be strong and carry out great exploits." This verse spoke to us so much about the Lord's desire for our attitude and focus in 2016. To know Him means that we have actual relational experience with Him and His ability to take care of us. It is not about who we are or what we can do it is about Who He Is. He told Moses all they need to know is that I AM. We cannot deny who He has been to us. Out of 7 years of throwing ourselves into the Lord's arms and allowing him to provide for our family; there were only two years that we actually began the year with the sponsors lined up and the months budgeted out!! Seven years after beginning this journey, He has given us a growing church, a retreat property, a mission house, dormitories, a church building and now a home for our family. Over 500 people have come to our ministry for help and there have been more confessions of faith than we can count. I told everyone last year in a newsletter to pray every month for us to meet our $3,000/month budget which includes our family, Guido, Marielos, property maintenance, insurance and taxes. I remember saying to everyone "prepare to be amazed at God's provision!" Well He did it!! We made it! Be amazed!
Now in 2016 we have sponsors for a little more than half of the monthly budget. We still need $1300/month. Praise Jesus! This is not a big deal for Him. Believe God with us and I tell you we will see above and beyond. Not only the money for each month but extra for the larger vehicle to go do mission work with our church leaders, and to pay off the $18k mortgage for the land where Guido's house and our house sit. This same knowledge of God's faithfulness to answer prayer and bring family members to Christ impulses us to pray with even more fervor. I believe at the close of the year there will be many more new souls sitting in church in answer to our church's prayers. But not to the glory of any man but to HIs glory; it is not His will for anyone to be lost.
MOVING FOR CHRISTMAS
On December 25, our Christmas wish came true. We moved into the Heidi House! My godmother, Anita Powers, and her son Isaiah were with us. It was hilarious on Christmas Eve eve we went to look for a tree and there were only two left. The family that sells the trees looked at us as if we were crazy. Hint, most Costa Ricans start Christmas in October. We got a discount since the tree wasn't super fresh. We thought we would spend Christmas Eve up at the new house before we actually began the move but we had to clean up all the construction mess first! . The Lord had other plans that night. Marlon's grandmother was lonely and we spent part of the evening with her. We were exhausted from all the cleaning and decided to spend the night on Christmas Day. The tree now had two days tied to our car! We took up all the bedding, Christmas decorations, and gifts. Then Marlon and Isaiah decided to fill our little trailer with a table, chairs, couch and mattresses. We decorated and organized and the girls opened their gifts around 4p.m. I don't even remember what we ate. Once we were up there, we felt so cozy and blessed we didn't want to go back to the old house. With Isaiah and NIta's help we steadily continued to move our stuff up the mountain over the following days. We had all the dogs with us pretty much from the beginning and Celeste's chickens that do nothing. Mr. Daisy, the cat, was the difficult and dramatic one to bring up. We lured him into a cage with sausage. The cage was so bulky we had to tie it to the top of the car with a sheet around the cage. The wind blew it back though and the sheet flapped in the wind as he let out ghostly meows all the way through Tuis and up to Las Nubes. He quickly recovered when he got to the house and found out where all his dog buddies and the chickens had gone off to. Everything was perfect except for the showers. The water is super cold and so we have to go back to the mission house for showers!
In the last newsletter I wrote about how Miriam's father was saved and abandoned the occult. I am happy to report that Miriam continues to see changes in her father. He told her that one day he was sitting on the couch watching television on the couch with his wife and suddenly he felt his wife lean her head on his shoulder. He caught his breath and didn't know what to do. This hadn't happened for years. He was afraid to move. After a while he leaned down and looked at her and said, "How about you kiss me?" He told Miriam it was the sweetest best kiss he had ever had. Let's continue to pray for this elderly couple that are extremely shy and are not able to come to church due to health problems. But praise Jesus for what he is doing! For those of you who might have missed out, in the last update, I wrote how he turned to God after being spoken to audibly by the Holy Spirit.
Joselito's mother was finally able to be baptized as well as his step-father. Melo's sister Carolina was also baptized as well as Yamilet's brother Abilio. It was a precious experience all of them came to Jesus as a result of the prayers of their relatives.
It was amazing to be with all those wonderful people up at Finca Beth'El all night long. For some it was their first time and others have come to all three. I was just so thankful that God gave us all the strength to stay awake. Seeing the dawn rise with everyone is such an amazing feeling of victory. Everyone was blessed by each others spiritual gifts including the teaching and words of Jeff and Yvonne. This was different than any other vigil because we did not push it as a must-go church activity. We really wanted people to come from their own desire to seek the presence of God. About 65 people were there.
ON THE WAY UP TO FINCA BETH'EL
92 year old Moncho has been going downhill for awhile. He didn't want to eat anymore and many days he spent in bed. He was not sick with anything as far as we knew. He has been to weak and dizzy and has fallen several times. Marlon's mother has been staying down at the house with them. She hasn't lived in Las Nubes since October. All of a sudden he couldn't urinate and they put in a catheter at the hospital. The hospital scheduled him for an ultrasound in 10 months to find out what is blockng his urine!! He was very uncomfortable and not happy about wearing a diaper. One day we saw him curled up in bed and he looked at Marlon and kept saying "God and the Virgin have been good to me. I can't complain." I wanted to cry he has spent most of these past 7 years sort of in his own little world. Always sitting all day on his front porch, with the broad brimmed hat we bought for him, not being able to see or hear well. The family decided to pay a private Dr. who immediately did an ultrasound and confirmed that he had a cancerous tumor. Surgery was scheduled at the private clinic two days later. That was two weeks ago. The good news is that now he has more of an appetite!
Marlon's mother had bronchial pnuemonia twice last year and the Dr. told her that if she wanted to live longer she needed to come down from Las Nubes and live in La Suiza. It was quite a shock and very hard for her and Guido but God only knew how much her parents were going to need her. She is the only one of their 11 children that doesn't mind changing diapers, bathing him and washing his dentures. She also cleans their house since the grandmother has osteoarthritis. Now that we moved out of our house we let her move her stuff into part of the mission house so she could have her own space and keep her eye on things. She and Guido spend the weekends together down there.
OUR NEW DAILY LIFE
We are very busy: taking care of cattle, sheep, goats, and Finca Beth'El, the fellowship farm. Then there are all the cell churches and prayer services at night. It is amazing how this move has changed our lives and ministry. We feel at this time such an urgency to gather together with our leaders in prayer. Most of the leaders live in Las Nubes and It has now become a weekly thing. It is so awesome we can feel the love and unity increasing in the church. The women's group in Las Nubes has continued to grow, and women who had bad attitudes are actually asking each other for forgiveness! In both prayer groups, Tuis and Las Nubes, we continue to lift up more unsaved friends and family members expecting a harvest of salvations at the end of the year.
There is so much work to do here just to keep the household running and we have more people visit us now than they ever did when we lived down in La Suiza. Like I mentioned in a previous newsletter, we are the last house on the "frontier," "the last homely house." We are only 400 meters off-grid. We still have electricity that travels the 400 meters along a really expensive electric line. We can't use too much electricity at night, but the most important thing is that we have light and the refrigerator runs. I just can't dry clothes and use the toaster or hair dryer at the same time. Whenever we hear visitors shouting up from the road we feel excited. I always have to be ready to serve up cafe (coffee) to the farmers that work on the lands above us.
Homeschool is very important to me and that takes up a lot of our time. However, there are many days where the excitement/drama of farm life takes over. One morning at 5 am Boomer decided to attack the cat. Celeste came flying down out of the house to defend him. Later around 7 I looked out the window and saw that Timothy the lamb was in another pasture. I went out to see what happened and I saw blood on his leg. I thought maybe the barbed wire had cut him but there was too much blood. I called Guido and he came and put the lamb around his neck. When we got him to the other side we saw where something had bit and chewed his leg. The bone and tendons were exposed! He was shaking and we had to slaughter him before a fever set in and made the meat inedible. Leo came over to help and he took home most of the meat and hauled away the guilty German Shepherd, Boomer. BIG SAD FACE We know it was Boomer because it was obvious he knew what he had done. Marlon had seen him the other day trying to sneakup on the baby goat. I just thank God that the baby goat didn't come out to the pasture that morning because he probably would have gone for her.
Our small cow gave birth to a giant calf in December. He has been drinking most of the milk since Guido just milks her once in the afternoon. He is very healthy and looks bigger than a 5 month old calf. The milk has been a blessing although it is a different taste than "store" milk. The girls are not drinking it nearly as fast as the "store" milk. But this milk is free and super healthy. I try to skim off as much fat as possible after I boil it. We make our own yogurt now!
APPENDICITIS FOR FOUR MONTHS!!
Joselito back in the summer started having stomach pains and the Dr. had him make some dietary changes. As the months rolled on the pain became worse and he would convulse and fall to the floor. Everytime they took him to the hospital the Drs. would tell him it was gastritis. All the men prayed for Joselito and laid hands on him every Men's Prayer meeting and he would find relief. But the horrible pain regularly came back. In December they finally took him to a private Dr. The Dr. did an ultrasound and told him his appendix was about to burst and he needed emergency surgery. At the hospital they immediately operated on him but during his recovery they laughed at him instead of admitting their grave error. They thought it was hilarious that his appendix had lasted that long. Thanks to the power of Jesus Christ Joselito is still alive.
It was a wonderful whirlwind visit from Jeff and Yvonne. Three days but we are so grateful for their discipling and love. Lord willing Pastor Jeff will be back again in April to check on everybody.
Father I thank you for your abundant provision and ask you to continue to glorify yourself in our family, (your) our finances and (your) our church and Costa Rica
May your will be done
May you fill us and our church with boldness and love
Father let us be that people that seeks your face, that knows you and can bravely accomplish great exploits for you without being distracted by circumstances.
Glorify yourself in the life of Marlon's grandfather and give him joy and peace.
Bless Miriam's parents and help her father to continue to grow in you
Thank you for rescuing Joselito from certain death and please give the Drs. in Turrialba more wisdom and compassion.
|Posted on December 11, 2015 at 4:10 PM||comments (0)|
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM US AND TIMOTHY THE LAMB!
One thing that makes good news "good" is that it comes at times when there is lots of bad news. I love counting down the days on an advent calendar with the girls. However, at the time Jesus was born those last 25 days of Mary's pregnancy weren't cozy, safe, and holly jolly. That's why the shepherds rejoiced when the angel told them a savior had been born and that this Savior would bring peace on earth and most of all peace with God! They knew they were sinners, they knew the world was a mess, and that they were tiny subjects ruled by power hungry men (Herod, Romans). The angel's news was really great news! Some people might argue that they didn't get to see the fulfillment of it. Even now we await Jesus millenial reign and Eternal kingdom for peace on earth. But for these shepherds it didn't matter. They got to hold the Good News in their hands and see it with their own eyes!
I don't talk about the witchcraft here much because it doesn't deserve to be spoken of. But in order for you to enjoy the good news, maybe the best news of 2015, you have to here this part.
Leo had a rough week. He went on a milling job and had no idea what he was getting himself into. He knew that several people in this small town practiced witchcraft but this guy he was working with was a nice guy! They even invited him in and gave him something to eat. Sadly witchcraft is something that is all around us, oppressing the people. Putting poisons and weird stuff in food is part of it. That night he couldn't sleep, and felt a strange oppression. One of his little boys without knowing what was going on came into his room in the middle of the night and prayed for him. The next day he just didn't feel like himself and the following two nights a high fever would set in. On that second night his wife, Lily, called Marlon at 1 a.m. asking him to take Leo to the hospital. They were there for 7 hours and ran all sorts of tests and could not find anything wrong with him. They gave him medicine to bring his fever down. The doctor said that there was no reason for him to have this fever. (Here in the jungle the dr.s always test for all the exotic illnesses as well) It was Saturday and he came to church with his family. A visitor from Cartago walked up to him and said, "You don't look well. Tonight God is going to remove from you that which has come against you." Whoah, he didn't know anything about Leo. During worship Guido prayed for him and the Lord removed this disgusting oppression. Yay! Jesus is more powerful than the evil weapons the enemy sends against us!
OKAY HERE IS THE AMAZING NEWS!
"Jose" felt a sudden warm embrace all around him like the "embrace of a mother," he said. Then he saw this white robe all arojjund him and heard a voice say "Don't take your laxative anymore, I have healed you." He wasnt very convinced so he asked "Who are you?" "I am the Holy Spirit," the voice said. Jose fell to his knees and started crying. For the next five days he had no digestive problems for the first time in years! On the fifth day he saw the pills and thought, "I might as well use them up." But as he reached for them, his hand slipped and all the pills spilled onto the floor. He felt the warmth come back, even though this time he saw nothing. The voice said, "You are healed you don't need the medicine." He laughed as he looked at all the medicine on the floor, this was no coincidence. He was overcome with joy and tears and he prayed to God to forgive him for his sins and for not believing. He told his wife, "The Holy Spirit is the boss around here now. What he says goes. If I want Leo and Marlon to come over and pray they will be welcome in this house." He immediately called his daughter Miriam to tell her what had happened and that he had given his life to Jesus!!
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY
We have been praying for Miriam's father for over a year now at Ladies prayer time in Tuis. He came to our church a few times but decided that he didn't believe in the Holy Spirit and never came back. All the older neighbors of La Suiza that have known him for 40 to 50 years are afraid of him and say that he practices witchcraft. However, he has been in very poor health and Miriam has had to spend the night there many times to take care of him and her mother. Her father would lash out at her for being a Christian and say blasphemous things about Jesus. Theresa, her mother, doesn't care since she is a Jehova's Witness. Miriam's custom is to always pray before bed but she felt such a heaviness she wasn't able to. She finally let them know that she was not willing to spend the night any longer. When Miriam received his phone call on December 2nd we were amazed at God's mercy and faithfulness. You might recall that Miriam is Leo's mother-in-law. Lily and Leo are rejoicing over her grandfather's conversion!
HOUSE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Ok, so once again I am behind on decorating. Our goal is to get into the Heidi House before the church Christmas party on the 20th. We want them to have full use of the house. We have been putting in some long hours at the house the past week. I think we have become quite the plumbers! Haha. I'm sure a real plumber would call our work infantile. We have been also doing a lot of carpentry. Marlon is exhausted. I have to get up at five every morning and make breakfast and lunches. Cooking takes alot of time here.
Thank Jesus for Leo's cousin "Miguel"l who has been helping us the past few days. He is such a hard worker. He was really excited and coming to church two years ago but he didn't get any support from his girlfriend and stopped coming. Too long a story for now. But we are praying for his salvation.
PRAISE FOR CELESTE MY BIG 13 YEAR OLD
PRAISE JESUS HE IS OUR RESCUER FROM EVIL AND ALSO THE ONE WHO CONVICTS AND SPEAKS TO THOSE WHO ARE DOING EVIL!
PRAISE JESUS FOR THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE HE USES TO SPONSOR OUR FAMILY AND MINISTRY MONTHLY OR SPONTANEOUSLY
MORE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES AND CHURCH. WISDOM, PATIENCE, UNITY, AND LOVE
PROTECTION FROM EVIL AND DANGER FOR OUR FAMILY AND THE FAMILIES OF MAP CR
FOR OUR FINANCES IN 2016 MAY THE LORD LEAD INDIVIDUALS TO MONTHLY SPONSOR OUR FAMILY AND BE A PART OF MAP CR
SALVATION FOR MIGUEL
THANKS FOR FELICITY VOLUNTARILY WEARING HER TURKEY SHIRT FOR THIS THANKSGIVING
|Posted on November 23, 2015 at 1:30 PM||comments (0)|
- CONTINUED PROTECTION FOR BOB'S FAMILY AND EVERYONE IN OUR CHURCH. INCLUDING GUIDO AND OURSELVES IN LAS NUBES WITH THE "MACHETE WEILDING NEIGHBOR".
- PRAY FOR MY SISTER IN ARMS AT VINELIFE THAT THE CANCER WOULD RETREAT AND RUN AWAY SCARED LIKE THAT SYRIAN ARMY IN 2KINGS!!
- PRAISE! JOSELITO GOT A JOB!
- FOR THE LORD TO MAKE US AND OUR CHURCH MORE BOLD IN PRAYER AND SHARING THE GOSPEL
- FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD TO NOT GROW DISCOURAGED BY ALL THE BAD NEWS IN THE WORLD. JESUS PROPHESIED THAT THESE THINGS WOULD HAPPEN. BUT IT IS OUR TIME NOW TO LOVE PEOPLE BOLDLY AND SHARE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS WHEREVER WE ARE. THE LORD IS DOING MIGHTY THINGS BUT THEY DO NOT SHOW THAT ON THE NEWS. ACCORDING TO "VOICE OF THE MARTYR" MUSLIMS ARE DAILY COMING TO JESUS DISILLUSIONED BY THE RADICALISM. COME HOLY SPIRIT RAIN DOWN ON YOUR PEOPLE REMOVING ALL FEAR FILL US WITH YOUR LIGHT AND CONFUSE OUR ENEMIES.
|Posted on September 28, 2015 at 5:10 PM||comments (0)|
Marlon's sister and mother in front. Joselyn and Leo in back
Praise the Lord! He is good and his faithfulness and love endures forever.
Thank you for your love, words of encouragement, prayers, and financial support.
Well it has been a while since I posted on the blog. My last report was sent out by email because it was just such an intense time for us. If you would like a copy you can email me at: [email protected]
Thank you to everyone that has been praying for us, God has done great things for us. Or I could almost say to us, trials have a way of bringing about change. We have had burdens taken off our shoulders, the church members are growing in unity and love and we have the money needed to cover our budget for Oct and November and confirmation for our purpose in being here!
After the situation with the neighbor that viciously cut off Guido's water and the water to the Heidi House; the community of landowners and people who live in the general vicinity have been very supportive of our family and Guido. We can feel the support and are happy because that is an answer to prayer in and of itself. The water committee of Las Nubes has given us permission to use their water. We would just have to purchase the pipe ourselves and get permission from some of the neighbors to have the pipe pass their land. Another neighbor was just horrified about the other man's behavior and also gave us and Guido permission to hook up to his water. The best part about it is that all of these waters we are being offered are much better than the one that was taken!
The man responsible even now is not satisfied with his last attack on Guido. One day a neighbor stopped by our construction site to talk with Marlon. He said, " I am worried, Fernando was telling me that he hates Guido and wants to lie in wait for him and jump him when he's not suspecting it." Marlon told the man not to worry that he would tell Guido to watch out. Guido's brother Gilbert is the one who offended this man but it seems like the Devil is just driving him to attack Guido. We have many people praying over this situation and people advising us. The prayer we have been led to pray is just for this man to have a dramatic encounter with Jesus or just move.
i love sharing my kitchen with my sisters!
Mission Trip from Vinelife Christian Fellowship
The non-denominational church from Hufffman, TX where Marlon was ordained as a pastor, came down with a big group for the first time! They were led by Pastor Jeff Callicott and his wife Yvonne. It was unique for several reasons: 1. they came specifically just to see and feel what we are doing here,and 2 the makeup of the group. There were four couples, a fourteen year old boy, and two married men who were not able to bring their wives. One of the married men who left his wife and babies at home was a youth who we had met when we were youth pastors. We have known Mark for over ten years! It was such a blessing from the Lord to have him come and see the Costa Rica we had long been telling him about. He is actually now the son-in-law of the pastor, Jeff Callicott and worship leader at Vinelife.
The timing for this team's arrival was perfect! About two weeks had passed since I sent out our email. They literally came to "support" us spiritually and physically. The upper floors in the Heidi House seemed to sag in spite of the fact that we had changed builders and taken apart one of the floors and had it rebuilt. Fortunately for us Pastor Jeff also has his own construction company. We got these giant metal beams to put up under the flooring. They used the car jack to support the floor as we slipped new supports in place for the beam. It was a big project, we also had to relocate a window! But that was nothing compared to the adventure of their first day of work when they went out in the pouring rain wih Marlon and Leo to chop down a tree and get wood for the projects. Manually hauling and loading the heavy logs onto the trailer was adventure enough. Leo's car began to slide in the mud and the trailer swung around to the side hanging over a drop-off! Most of the logs went tumbling down the hill. Leo's car looked like it might go too. They had to wait for a tractor to come get his car and trailer. Then once again they had to load up those heavy logs.
Good Old Costa Rican Roads
Working at the Heidi House
Nice job Rick Havens!!
Aside from all the work by day they accompanied us to all the church cell groups. And the other nights were spent worshipping on the balcony of the mission house. It was wonderful to worship in English! The first night we were all together praying and I had this sudden sensation of sitting around a fire surrounded by seasoned warriors.
Translating for Pastor Jeff was exciting I always translate into English but this time I was translating into Spanish. I think he is the first Pastor to ever preach a sermon in English at our church. His message was about unity in the Body of Christ and the importance of each person and the part they play in the Body. Our whole church loved hearing him speak and especially loved the live music and singing at the end. They didn't care it was in English. Another memorable thing was the giant thunderstorm, the first we have had this year. The water on the tin roof made it so hard to hear and we had to speak loudly in our microphones. Water was dripping from the roof and making puddles all over the church where it has never happened. My feet were wet and I tried to ignore the bright flashes of lightning outside as I held the microphone. As soon as the service was over everything quieted down! There was lots of flooding throughout the area. This picture was taken by Marlon's cousin in La Suiza while we were having church
A place for the Nations
There is a song we often sing at church called "Sube, Sube" translation "Up, Up." Anyway there is a line in the song that says
we are in the tabernacle of David
where children and adults worship with freedom..
a place for all nations
Anyway this year we have had more visitors than any other year. And almost everyone has something to say about their time here. " I feel so revitalized spiritually!" or "the people of your church have changed the way I see things" or "Thank you this was wonderful"or in the case of several students "lifechanging" and "words can't really describe this." All glory and Praise to Jesus because the only thing I'm doing is praying and cooking rice and beans. After Vinelife was here we felt the Lord confirm to us that one of the important parts of our ministry is to host people from the States so that they can stop their fast paced lives and see and hear God in ways that they never imagined.
Mark Bierma having a devotional
Well the broken down F350 sitting at the mechanic's shop in Platanillo had been a burden on us for many months. But we are finally free! We thought about buying a new motor but the car has been so expensive to keep up with even though it hasn't hardly worked this year! My funny Step Dad called it the Vampire truck. When my Dad was here in August he said, "Put a stake through it, kill it get rid of it." On October 5th I fasted all day and I just told God we wanted "peace and for this to be over. A miracle, a confirmation, something!" At 5p.m. a man drove up the hill to our house in an old 4 door Toyota pickup. He said, "I want to make a deal with you for that black truck." His car wasn't new looking at all. One of the doors doesn't shut well, but guess what? It is running! I told Marlon in English do whatever you think is best. He gave us his car and some cash in exchange for the Ford. Today is October 12 a week later and I marvel at how fast God got it out of our lives. We don't need a fancy big truck. We only got the Ford as a deal to get rid of the Toyota Ambulance that had given us so many scares! All we want is to blend in and work our little pickup up on the land minding our own business. Hauling our pregnant goat around, or the three sheep. That's the life!
THE NOT SO FAMILY BAR
A new bar opened in the center of Tuis a couple of months ago. It has been attracting large crowds of youth. The name on the bar is Bar Familiar (Family Bar). Well I have written before about the regular drug deals that happen all around us or sometimes right in front of us. Well we never stop in Tuis at night but Leo frequents the bakery next to the bar. He says that the smell of marijuna smoke floating in from outside actually is making the poor lady that works in the bakery sick. One Saturday after church, in fact it was the night that La Suiza flooded, he stopped at the bakery for bread. A man came out of the bar drunk and tried as quickly as he could to cross the street. Soon a woman ran out of the bar after him yelling for him to come back. The woman passed right in front of Leo's three little boys in nothing but her bra and a thong. Apparently the woman wanted money for something. Then they noticed a sign on the bar that said "Strip Tease Tonight!"
The week before, Leo had been out milling some lumber in a field when he came across a youth that used to sell vegetables door to door. He doesn't work now and is addicted to crack was kicked out of his home by his mother. He told Leo, "I don't want to keep on living like this but it is hard to get out, don't judge me when you see me out there in front of the bar with my friends. Right now they are the only family I got. We sleep together on the porch of the community center" (where we do VBS). Then he started to tell Leo about the bar. "There is this guy there that can get anything for anyone. They built tiny rooms on the back of the bar and now they are bringing girls from Turrialba." Leo told him what a church family was like and freedom in Jesus Christ. "That sounds nice, I want to come sometime but I can't promise you. I steal from my own mother. That's why she threw me out."
We had a church service at Leo's house while Vinelife was here and we looked down on the twinkling lights of Tuis and the dark mountains surrounding it. We prayed hard for Tuis. Every person that was there offered up a prayer crying out for Tuis and judgmenet and cofusion on the demons at work. We also prayed that the prisoners be set freee. It was powerful as we all stood in a circle in agreement. "Jesus we know that your words do not come back to you empty. And these prayers that we have prayed with the Holy Spirit are your words and you will do a mighty work in this town. Amen."
Recently Marlon and I have gone back to teaching about forgiveness and getting rid of roots of bitterness. In the men's prayer group and both women's groups we have been praying for more love and unity in the church. The result has been beautiful. Many men and women have asked each other for forgiveness. But the best part has been seeing mothers crying and hugging their children. In one service I saw Diana hugging and crying with her oldest son, he was crying too. She has had a hard time raising him since she was not shown love as a child. God rewarded her by giving her a special moment with her mother. Her mother has never spoken patiently or lovingly to her until a couple of years ago when she visited our church, but later she got mad at Diana again and stopped coming. Last week though, Diana was telling her mother how it hurt her that she had always preferred her older brother who died. She told her mother that when she was a little girl he used to abuse her and even raped her. Diana's mom immediately began crying and said, "Oh my baby I'm so sorry."
Hellen has had a hard time accepting hers and Marlon's biological father, Carlos Rojas. But God has been working on her heart all year especially since the women's retreat. A couple of weeks ago she brought her children up to our house to meet him. Her youngest, Brittany, just clung to him and wouldn't let him go. She couldn't get over it that her little daughter felt so much love for her father. Hellen broke down and gave him a big hug and told him how much she loved him. Gloria Dios!!
Praise the Father for bringing so many spiritual blessings to our family and church,
Praise him for providing new financial commitments,
Please keep in prayer the town of Tuis and freedom for all the young people who are stuck in addiction,
Pray that God continue to take us to homes where people are ready to hear the Gospel,
Pray that the Lord would miraculously provide for the month of December. I know He will because it is only by his grace we have made it through this year! In December we only have commitments for $785 and our operating budget is $3,000.
Pray for protection over our family from all forms of evil and the Joy of the Lord, Pray that the Lord continue to give us ways to be creative with our regular budget so we can finish the Heidi House,
|Posted on July 23, 2015 at 10:05 PM||comments (0)|
I AM TRYING SOMETHING NEW. PRAYER IS SO EFFECTIVE I THOUGHT I SHOULD PUT IT FIRST. YOU CAN READ IT AND SAY "AMEN" OR REMEMBER US IN YOUR DAILY PRAYERS. BUT THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU!
Josue so happy to be reunited with his American friends!
FIRST I JUST WANT TO THANK GOD FOR HIS AWESOMENSS. EVEN WHEN WE CAN'T SEE ANYTHING HAPPENING IN THE PHYSICAL HE IS ALWAYS WORKING AND NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM!!
I THANK GOD FOR ALL THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO HAVE VISITED THIS SUMMER. I ESPECIALLY PRAY FOR THE YOUTH FROM KINGWOOD THAT THEY HANG TIGHT TO THE SPECIAL AWARENESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THEY EXPERIENCED EACH IN THEIR OWN QUIET TIMES.
I PRAY FOR SANDRA THAT GOD CONTINUE TO HEAL HER BODY AND HER FAMILY
I PRAY GOD BRING HEALING AND RESTORATION FOR OLGA, MACHO, AND JOSELITO
I LIFT UP GABRIEL THAT HE CONTINUE TO COME TO CHURCH NOW THAT THE TEAM HAS LEFT. AND FOR THE OTHER BOYS, YANFRED AND MANRIQUE THAT THEY BE COVERED AND PROTECTED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS AND BE PULLED BY THE FATHER AWAY FROM ALL THE TEMPTATIONS AND INTO HIS MIGHTY ARMS
I THANK GOD THAT HE IS WITH US AND OUR CHURCH AND FOR THE MANY WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT ARE IN OUR LIVES.
I AM THANKFUL AND ASK HIM TO CONTINUE TO PROVIDE FOR THIS FALL. PRAISE JESUS HE HAS BROUGHT US THROUGH THIS FAR AND I KNOW HIS ARM IS NOT TOO SHORT TO PROVIDE FOR OUR FAMILY THIS FALL.
PROTECT US FROM ALL EVIL AND FILL US WITH THE JOY OF THE LORD. SURROUND US IN A GLORY BUBBLE FATHER. MAY THE NAME OF JESUS BE LIFTED HIGH AND HONORED IN EVERYTHING THAT WE DO. WE LOVE YOU JESUS, AMEN!!
Cow poop soccer in Las Nubes! It was really a rainy week, the cow poop was a bonus.
Miracles and Restorations
Last month Sandra had been very distressed about a new health development. Apparently her diverticulitis had punctured something and particles from her large intestine were making their way into her bladder. She was having difficulty urinating and and kept having all sorts of terrible infections. After many tests they also discovered a large mass in her bladder. We all cried with her the night she stood up at church and shared. Her husband hasn't accompanied her to church for three years and she faithfully comes with her two daughters. One of the daughters was a rape victim four years ago and got pregnant. Her little boy is three now and we all love him to pieces The younger daughter is Celeste's age almost 13. Everyone at church responded with so much compassion and desperate prayers for healing. I put her on the prayer list in my last newsletter. I want you all to know that when she went in to get the biopsy of the mass in her bladder there was nothing. The doctor was astounded and kept saying," I can't find it!" What joy we all felt when she shared her testimonyof healing. However, her main prayer is still waiting to be answered. She wants to see her husband join her at church. Keep her in your prayers she has been a bright light shining by herself in Platanillo through many trials.
For awhile we were really concerned about Joselito's mother Olga. She has had a very hard life and lived with many abusive men and she is still actually married to the first one. She has tried to divorce herself from this man on several occasions but he always refuses to sign. In Costa Rica a divorce without mutual consent is much more expensive and the average person doesn't care if they are living in adultery. This has been hard for Olga and her partner Macho. They both desire to be married and baptized. Macho is the man who raised Joselito. He miraculously started coming to church last year. It seemed almost immediately that he started to come to church something strange was going on in Olga. She tried to open up but I could tell she wasn't being totally honest and that she was very confusd. A month ago Joselito and Macho came to church distraught and just fell down weeping from the minute they arrived. It turned out that Olga's husband who has been separated from her for over 24 years had sent someone to pick her up and she had left the house while Macho and Joselito were out working. There was such a crazy range of emotions that they were going through. Macho has been helping us build our house and the following days we saw him fighting the sense of betrayal, jealousy, desperation, and depression. On a weeknight he begged Marlon and Guido to go pray at his home. They went from room to room praying for peace and that all heaviness and opression of the enemy leave the place. The next day Macho said he felt so much better and two days later Olga called and said she felt so bad, she couldn't stay where she was any longer. It was all so strange, I think she wasn't even with another man but had ended up staying with some of her children.
She has asked Macho and Joselito for forgiveness and they have found a new lawyer and are approaching a more agressive divorce. Olga is nervous about running straight to the altar to be married. At this point we are encouraging them to focus more on their personal relationships with Christ and wait and see what the Lord does in the meanwhile as they wait for this divorce and for their baptisms. They and Joselito are all just precious. Very softspoken people with such servants hearts. I am so proud of all the women in our church who have received her back like a beloved sister into our female circle.
One more neat story. This month during a time of group prayer, Marlon was anointing people over the head and asking God to cover them with the blood of Jesus. Several days later a young woman shared with us that she has always had horrible nightmares but since she was anointed she has stopped having them.
Month Of Visitors!
We had the opportunity to fellowship with so many great people in the last month. The only set back is I'm really behind on writing updates.
In June we had the pleasure of hosting a couple that knew my parents before I was born. Of course later on when we all moved to Maryland we would still get together. They should win a prize for being the first Maryland visitors. Anyway it was wonderful to fellowship with Martin and Mary Lee. They told me stories of the old days when the Jesus Movement had taken off and all the hippies were coming to Jesus. I remember later being a four year old seated on the steps of the OU campus eating carrott sticks watching a college student from our church as he preached in the open air. I remember thinking that that was what life was all about telling people about Jesus. Anyway it was a blessing to have this wonderful couple here to observe our ministry and spend time with our family.
In the beginning of July we had more Marylanders! A mom and her two daughters who are volunteering at an animal shelter on the Carribbean coast spent a couple of days at our house before their job started. It was great getting to know Cheryl, Carisse, and Faith. They helped us get the cabins ready for our big mission team that hit the second week of July. The rains were so heavy they almost didn't make it to their destination. The president had declared Costa Rica in a state of emergency due to landslides and flooding. God gave them a window however and they got safely to Puerto Viejo the day before our group came from Texas.
The rain didn't stop even after our youth from KIngwood Texas arrived. Every one had a great attitude knowing that missions trips have to be very flexible. The very next day after they arrived we had scheduled a Sports Day at the soccer field in Tuis. It rained off and on all day. We really had no idea what to expect but as we pulled up to the soccer field. At least 20 kids started running from the dugout in direction of the minibus. It was an epic amazing moment and no one got a picture. We looked back at Clint Wyllie the youth pastor who had come last year and said, "Wow, this is your harvest from last year." When we were all in the soccer field it started raining even harder. But to the children and many of the youth it didn't matter. They had the time of their lives. The water came up to everyone's ankles and every few seconds someone was flying through the air next to the ball and landing in mud. Cathy Parva has a great video on Facebook and I can't figure out how to put the link here.
Friday night we had cell church in Tuis and several of the kids from the soccer game came along. When Marlon did the altar call quite a few visitors came up including, Gabriel, one of the boys from the soccer field. Marlon told me later that night that Leo had found him only a week really messed up in the Tuis graveyard with several joints of marijuana. It was wonderful to see how God's timing was so perfect with this mission team and the struggles that Gabriel is facing.
Because of the heavy rains the week of VBS, Hannah, Abby, Felicity and I went door to door inviting people to VBS. The invitations had said we would be mostly in the soccer field but we had to reassure parents that there was also an indoor facility rented for the little ones and their crafts.
One Sports day in Tuis and two awesome days of VBS. One great VBS in Platanillo. This muddy soccer relationship evangelism that youth pastor Clint Wyllie has going on is quite effective. His main goal was to reach two young men that are getting into lots of trouble. They really responded to him and the team. Keep Manrique and Gabriel in your prayers as well as Yanfred!
Our little Heidi House still waiting for our move. We are closer than last month. Yay!
Our House Project
Well even though it might not appear to have advanced much. We were able to put a good month of work into it until our visitors from Texas arrived. We have electricity and have put a roof over the laundry room and bathroom. Still missing a lot of stuff. We get our water from a creek from a neighboring farm. The water is not always clean so one of our next missions is to go upcreek to find the source and put a tank there. The neighbor will benefit and so will we. I am done estimating when we will move. It doesn't really matter now. I am so blessed to live where I do ,I have decided to keep being thankful and wait on the Lord. Our biggest financial concern is not the house but just the $3,000 it takes every month to provide jobs for two families, maintain our cars, and take care of our family. MAP COSTA RICA is mostly about people and we don't worry about big sums of money unless God puts a project before us that He wants us to do. Most of the time our prayer is just, "Give us our daily bread Lord." And "Provide the lamb of sacrifice for us to fix this broken vehicle." (Hint: cars break all the time here)