I returned yesterday from a short but sweet trip to the Iglesia Apostolica church in San Jose, Costa Rica. My heart is knit with these people, and I’ve learned so much by observing how much they enjoy living for the Lord. Despite what we might consider limited material resources, they are totally dependent on the Lord as Provider. Because of their dependence on Him, each day is a new adventure and their awareness of the Lord’s delight in His people is sharp. These dear saints have truly learned to live by faith and not to revert to trying to please God in the flesh.
The highlight of this trip was visiting with Pastor Virgilio and Pastor Gonzales of the Telemanca Indian tribe. Although I have made the trip into the jungle quite a few times, this time they made the trip into San Jose. What a joy for me, personally, to see the grace of God that is upon these pastors and to witness the spiritual growth the Lord has poured out upon this indigenous people. Twelve years ago Brother Arley began to go to the mountains with the hope of befriending this quiet and shy people, who up to that point in time had remained for the most part isolated in the jungle. The country of Costa Rica had given the Telemanca Indians mountainous regions, a jungle and rivers which at first glance seems like a rainforest paradise. However, only within the last couple of years have they had electricity. Also, the heavy rains makes it impossible (without modern technology) to harvest crops as the seedlings cannot take deep root before being washed away. The only way they have been able to earn a meager living is through harvesting banana leaves, which are laboriously carried to the outside world on undernourished and overworked horses. When Pastor Arley and his church brought the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to these people they heard the word, received it gladly into their heart, and obeyed the gospel. (Acts 2:38) Now over 200 have been filled with the Holy Ghost and baptized in the name of Jesus. They are unchurched in the American tradition, and yet their worship is vibrant. The presence and anointing of the Lord Jesus always brings a freshness and vitality to my spirit when I am with them.
For the past few weeks Costa Rica has been experiencing heavy rains. It seems this year is even more intense than in the past. The rainforest and breathtaking beauty of Costa Rica’s terrain would not be possible if it were not for the rains which cause orchids to grow wild, ferns to live year round, and leaves to grow as large as umbrellas. However, too much rain is destructive. As the rains this summer have continued unabated 27 homes were destroyed in Heredia. I watched as people sifted through mud soaked goods to salvage anything that might possibly be of value. People were covered in mud from head to foot and literally lost everything. This destruction was mostly in villages close to San Jose and not in the mountains. The obvious reason is that heavy rains come down from the highest point to the lowest point and the mud accumulations intensify the lower one goes in the valley. That is why when there are heavy rains people are always looking for “higher ground”. In Genesis we read that Sodom and Gomorrah actually became a slime pit. “And the vale of Siddim was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there, and they that remained fled to the mountain.” (Gen. 14:10) When the angels led Lot and his family out of Sodom he was offered a mountain but knew his chances for earthly prosperity were not as great there and instead chose a “little” city. No mountain on this earth is high enough to save anyone from the judgment that is one day coming.
The Tower of Babel was built with human labor and reasoning in an attempt to escape further destruction. Everyone knew that God had once destroyed the world by a flood. Although He has promised there would never be another worldwide flood, scripture tells us that the day of the Lord will be a day of utter destruction for the wicked and the beginning of eternal rest and unceasing joy for the saints. By faith we can sit with Christ right now in heavenly places, which is higher than any mountain on this earth.
At Brother Arley’s “casa” gathering at the dinner table is a precious time of communion and fellowship. Through this daily event we glean a tiny glimpse of the wedding supper of the Lamb, where we will all with one mind and one accord join with the angelic host and the saints of all ages singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy is our God”. As we see the day approaching how much more should we gather together as family, in prayer meetings, and in faithful church attendance. “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 2 Peter 3:12