International Ministries

God-given Opportunities in Costa Rica

May 25, 2012 Journal
Join-the-network.sm Tweet

In April I had a golden opportunity to visit a ministry in Costa Rica called Pastoral Care for Women.  I was interested in this ministry because it uses the Bible to help women in a male-dominated culture realize their worth in Christ; not for what they do but for who they are in Christ.

At the beginning of one of the classes the students were asked to share with us visitors what they had learned from the class so far.

I´d like to share Cecilia´s testimony with you.

I am so thankful for my friend Yahaira who brought me here and paid my way.  I have learned so much,especially that I have value in God´s eyes and to believe in my own worth. 

My partner of 25 years (and the father of my children) always taunted me, saying that he would never marry me because I was fat or because I was ugly.  Just last week his divorce papers came through.  (Hidden meaning: Probably Cecilia is a woman he “kept on the side” while also having a wife.)   He came to see me and offered marriage, saying that he would provide everything that I needed.  But he put two conditions on the proposal:  I can´t come to this class anymore and I must stay at home (i.e. give up my job, not attend church). 

Because of what I learned in this course, I won´t marry him and I don´t want him as a partner. 

Cecilia´s testimony shows that she has learned her worth in God´s eyes, and also recognizes that she was living with a verbally abusive man.  If she married him, the cycle of abuse would begin again because he was already trying to isolate her from her support circles.  She decided to stop this cycle in her life.  That takes courage – and encouragement from classmates, friends and church family. 

At the end of the class, Cecilia handed out a paper flower to each person there.  The Bible verse attached to mine quotes Psalm 66:9 “God has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.”  Materially she is poor, but now wants to share her God-given hope and creativity with others.  Cecilia is only one example of women changed as a result of this ministry. 

I feel blessed to have been invited to participate in this ministry in Costa Rica.  I am blessed to see God bring healing and new life to these women and I am blessed to be one of God´s partners in this ministry.  I see that my gifts in teaching, in working with biblical applications to daily life, in editing and writing fit very well into the future plans of this ministry. 

But I also felt the confirmation of the Holy Spirit when the Board closed our meeting with two well-known choruses in Spanish.  One is roughly translated:  “God has not brought us this far to go back” (referring to the Israelites going toward the Promised Land).  It was the theme song for the Editorial Group in Cuba during their intensive training to produce Bible study materials; we were charting new territory then. My life experiences have also brought me to a new place and I don´t want to go backwards, but forward with God.  Then they sang: “God will make a way where there seems to be no way.” (Don Moen)  It was a meaningful song in my past which represented my acceptance of the challenging ministry and life in Cuba.  Now it felt like God was telling me that he was making a new way for me -- in Costa Rica. 

It´s not easy making changes, but I trust that God is in this call.  One of the difficulties in making this change is the added expense of doing ministry in Costa Rica.  I now need approximately $3,000 more commitments to reach my personal support goal necessary for my ministry with International Ministries.  This is mainly due to the high rents and an English-speaking school for my daughter Katy, expenses that I did not have in Cuba.  Just as God has provided partners up until this point who have given toward my ministry support, I continue to believe God will “make a way”, by leading others to partner with God and make a financial commitment. 

I see the current International Ministries Matching Grant Opportunity as part of this new way which God is opening.  The Matching Gift Opportunity runs from May 18 through July 31, 2012.  Any gifts by new individual donors or increased gifts by existing individual donors can be doubled when given between those dates.  Please go to www.internationalministries.org/drives/6 for more information.

The short version: You may give 

·         Online securely, using a credit card

·         By personal check (you may download a form online by clicking here and then scroll to the bottom on the page and look on the right side for the link)

·         By phone at 1-800-222-3872, ext 2323

I give a special thanks to those who are partnering with me already in prayer and financial support.  Please rejoice with me for this new opportunity to serve in Costa Rica and prayerfully consider how you can support an ABC missionary at this time or share this partnership opportunity with someone else!