I am so very happy to share photos with you that I received yesterday from Brother Arley Cano, pastor of the Iglesia Apostolica de Jesucristo in San Jose, Costa Rica. I mentioned in a previous blog how the Lord provided nearly $4,000 while Brother Arley was here in September and spoke at different churches. Originally the plan was to repair the roofs of four small homes that had been used as churches deep in the jungle. Apparently, money goes further in Costa Rica or perhaps volunteer skilled labor is more plentiful. Whatever the case the church in San Jose decided to purchase materials to construct a church, rent a truck, take a few volunteers from the church and make the four hour trek to the edge of the river. Beyond that point they could go no further and the materials had to be carried in by hand many miles.
A few years ago a singles group went with me to Costa Rica and we took supplies and made the strenuous trip into the interior. I personally have never been so physically challenged in my life and will never forget the moment that I felt I could go no further, and prayed for the Lord for the strength to take one more step. Being stretched to the limit takes us into an even deeper realm of the grace and power of God to give us exactly what we need and not one moment sooner. We must grow and change as saints of God and I thank the church in Costa Rica for being such a vital part in my growth in the Lord and understanding levels of self-sacrifice that are normal for them, but are very difficult for Westerners used to the comforts and luxuries of life.
There are now four apostolic churches in the jungle. I personally have visited the Indian people perhaps 11 times over the years, but usually the saints come from the interior to the outer portion of the jungle which is easier to access. It is mind-boggling the risks they take just to come to a service. The families cross two rivers and the trip is eight hours of walking with one rickety horse to carry supplies back. We bring as many resources for these precious saints of God as each person can carry and the horses back is heavy laden on the return trip home.
There are snakes in the jungle. The trip is dangerous. Their love for God and wanting to attend a service compels them to travel on. The most amazing thing to me is that when these Indian people receive the revelation of repenting, being baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins, and receiving the Holy Ghost they are truly transformed. As the ladies cross the rivers they wear boots to protect their feet and legs and yet wear dresses to show respect for the Lord and femininity. Amazing grace! In their obedience the Lord protects their legs from snake bites and infection.
We are so grateful to all of you that have had a part in the miracle of this church plant in the interior jungle. There is more to be done to complete the building but they are well on their way. This will be the third church that Pastor Arley has planted and I believe it will also be called Iglesia Apostolica de Jesucristo (of the jungle).
Pastor Gonzalo, resting and rejoicing in the Lord.