I’ve been back a few days now from a twelve day trip to Costa Rica and contemplating what it is that draws me back again and again. This was my 16th trip to my beloved Iglesia Apostolica de Jesucristo pastored by Arley Cano. Since my son Caleb lives there that is one reason I really look forward to my visits. Anyone who is really in love with the Lord Jesus loves to see Him working through so many different kinds of people. My Spanish has improved over the years and each time I am able to understand more of the preaching and can fellowship better with the saints.
Brother Flowers recently took a mission trip to Costa Rica with a few members of Emmanuel Pentecostal and they came back with the same report that I experience time and again. The people are so fervent in worship and warm and humble. It is nothing to stand for one hour in fervent worship before even beginning a service. There were times during the many services I went to that I wanted to sit down but I fell under conviction and determined I wasn’t going let these people out worship me. So I went the extra mile in worship and guess what – the Lord blessed me more than I dreamed possible. We just can’t give outgive God. No matter what we choose to give to Him He takes note and finds a way to repay us. I was really having a lot of back pain before the trip and as I walked so many miles while in Costa Rica I found my back getting better and better and my overall attitude improved 100%. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivereth from them all.”
Visiting the Telemanka Indians up in the lush mountains is one of the highlights of the trip. I was able to take 100 lbs of clothes and toys and toiletries for the people. What a joy to hand them out to the children and those that had gathered. In the past I had noticed what a shy people this particular Indian tribe is but as we’ve gotten to know them over the years and Bro. Arley has presented the Apostle’s Doctrine to them, I’ve noticed the joy on the people’s faces that I hadn’t seen before. The worship was sweet out there and I always enjoy the services where three languages are spoken – English, Spanish and Telemanka. The Lord’s presence is so real.
When I spoke to the Indian church and the church in San Jose I reminded them that this trip would not have been possible but for the many prisoners who send their tithes to Jesus Wept Ministries and enabled me to purchase my plane ticket with a surplus to give as offerings to the Indian pastors and the church in Guassimo and San Jose. Jesus Wept Ministries is the only prison ministry that I know of that has incarcerated individuals giving back to society in such an awesome way. Perhaps that is one of the reasons so many of them are getting out and the Lord is making a way for them out here to lead productive lives.
I have so many lasting impressions of this trip but what really stood out to me was the joy of the people. Someone once said that JOY simply means J = Jesus, O= Others and Y= Yourself. When we put Jesus first and others second God will take care of our needs. To find our life we must lose it. It is in serving others that the greatest joy in life is experienced. My Costa Rican friends are humble servants. I miss them but it was good to get back to my Mesquite family at Emmanuel Pentecostal and oh what a service we had to day. God is meeting the hunger that is growing in so many hearts.
Yesterday as the jail service we had the most show up that we’ve ever had. We had to keep on bringing in new chairs as more men kept coming in and eventually we had 18. We taught Into His Marvelous Light and I was amazed at how closely they followed the study and paid attention. God had His way and 4 received the Holy Ghost. Others were weeping in the presence of the Lord. I love going with the Keiths and Alan Keith because we work so well together as a team and I believe those men could feel that unity of the Spirit the Lord has given us.