Dear Family and Friends,
This past weekend six of us from the ministry here in Costa Rica headed north to Nicaragua for four days in order to better prepare for our mission trip in August. We stayed with our friends, Jorge and María Elena, in the town of Nagarote, who were so gracious to share their home with us. This past Monday was Mother’s Day in Nicaragua, so as we passed the Mayor’s office on Sunday while walking back to their home, the street corner was full of beautiful flowers of every color imaginable. We decided to buy several bundles of flowers for about $5. When we got back, Emiliano gave the flowers to María Elena and she was happy to receive them. Jorge then pulled Emiliano aside and asked if he purchased them on the corner by the Mayor’s office. He told Jorge that we had. Jorge started laughing as he told us that those flowers were to decorate the grave sites just down the road from the Mayor’s office. That explained why everyone stared at us as we walked the opposite direction to Jorge’s house with flowers meant for the cemetery.
Please visit www.clarks-costarica.com to see pictures of the trip and a map of Nicaragua so you can get a better idea of where we traveled from north to south in the western region of the country.
A year and a half ago we had a Bible study at the home of a lady named Rosa María. She became a Christian at that Bible study and we have been in contact ever since. Over the weekend we stopped by her house to chat and to encourage her. However, what she did was encourage us. For us Americans, it was Memorial Day weekend, but I don’t think I have ever heard such a timely definition of freedom as what she told us. Though she lives in a house made of wood boards with a metal roof, she does not consider herself poor.
Nicaraguans live under a socialist regime and Rosa María understands exactly what that means. As we sat out behind her house talking, she put her hand on one of her fruit trees and told us how she planted it and watched it mature. She went on to tell us that the government has no right to take the fruit from her tree in order to give it to someone else just because they want it. Rosa María is by no means selfish. To the contrary, just last August she worked all morning preparing the food she had to serve lunch to our team of eight. It was a great lesson that she taught us. One of the other great blessings of the trip was to visit Marvin who we met last August. Since last August Marvin has completed two courses in Grace Bible Institute via the internet and is now taking two more. When we spent time with Marvin last weekend he told us about all the people with whom he has been sharing what he has learned in the Bible Institute. Last January I sent out an email advertising Bible Institute shirts that we were selling. Marvin responded immediately telling me that he wanted four. As soon as we arrived he wanted to know where the shirts were and pulled out the money to buy them. As far as I knew they were for his family.
On Sunday night Marvin invited our group of six to his home for dinner. He also invited three of his friends with whom he has been studying the Bible sharing the things he has learned in the institute. Before dinner we studied the Bible together. It was such a blessing to be with these men who were so hungry to hear the Word. After dinner as we were heading out the door, I realized why Marvin bought these shirts. He gave a shirt to each one of his friends. To one of his friends, Dulas, he said, “These are the shirts we are going to wear when we go out evangelizing.” We pray that in August we can work with Marvin in a way to help him reach more people for the Lord. We are excited that this door in Nagarote is open and we intend to walk through it while it remains open.
On Friday afternoon, we arrived in Managua where we visited relatives of a family that attends our church here in Costa Rica. We didn’t know either Raquel or her father, César, but we easily spent two hours with them talking about family, life, and ministry. We plan to visit them again in August reaching out more to their neighborhood.
The next day, on Saturday, we traveled from Nagarote north to the city of Chinandega. From there we drove ten minutes to the west to a small town where Calixto and Carmen live—the father and mother of a man who attends one of our church’s cell groups here in Costa Rica. Again, we had never met them before, but they were so happy to visit with us and are looking forward to our return in August. Neither Calixto nor Carmen are Christians, but they want to open their home in August so we can study the Bible with them and reach out to their community.
Aside from visiting so many people, one of the blessings of the trip was to watch how our team handled itself. Being in my thirties (ok, later thirties), I was the oldest one on the team. Of the rest of the team, there wasn’t anyone older than 25! However, they understood the purpose of our trip and took it upon themselves to ask all the people we met the right questions so we can be prepared for our trip in August. The vision of ministry in Nicaragua is certainly theirs and they are ready to advance it.
On our way back from Chinandega there were a couple of young Mormon missionaries from the States hitchhiking on the side of the road. Emiliano convinced me to stop and pick them up. They were heading the same way we were and would be in the car with us for about twenty minutes. We let them know that we were Bible-believing Christians and did not believe what they did, but I told them that they could have the next twenty minutes to convince us to become Mormons. We ended up having a really pleasant and enjoyable conversation together and they left with some things to think about.
Please continue to pray for the ongoing ministry to Nicaragua. It has been such a blessing in so many ways and we are looking forward to seeing how God works there in the coming months and years. Thanks again for your support and prayers which enable us to continue ministering here in Costa Rica and beyond!
Jeremy, Andrea, Berea, Jason and Lydia
If you would like to give online to support our ministry through Grace Ministries International, click here.
San Antonio de Belén
Heredia, Costa Rica