Living Water Costa Rica

Offering Living Water to a Dry and Thirsty Land

Archive for August, 2016


What Are We Doing With Our Time?

What are we doing with our time?  Great question!

We just arrived in Costa Rica a month and a half ago…July 12th, and things moved sooooo fast!  Even before we found our place to live, God had arranged for us to have a meeting place for our church!  I lead worship, and Mike serves up the Bread of Life!  Since this is the beginning of Living Water Calvary Chapel, it is fitting that we start…at the beginning…in Genesis!  LOL  At the core of Calvary Chapel is the desire to simply teach the Word of God verse by verse by verse.  Funny how the message of the plan of salvation through Yashua (Jesus) the Messiah finds its way easily into every service!  🙂

We have a core group of people attending our services already, and visitors too.  One of the ways we are getting the word out about our church is through flyers.  We have a printer – you can see Mike using the cutting board (photo)- and we just go out to the town and meet people, chat, and hand out flyers.  Word of mouth is also bringing in more visitors, and recently we were called upon to visit a US citizen who has lived here for 14 years, who has been very ill.  He’s now attending our services and feeling better and better!!!

An English Speaking Church

We are an English speaking church in Costa Rica.  Why is that?  Well, for one thing, locals here have been praying for it!  God does indeed answer prayer!  There are about 500 “ex-pats” – people who for a variety of reasons have left their own countries and live here instead.  Others have retired here.  Others have married Costa Ricans.  For whatever reason, they are here and there has not been any place for them to go and worship and hear the Word in a community setting.

We provide coffee and I’m making banana bread…and yes, I’ll get creative and use other ingredients…like raw cacao (chocolate)…!  Some people do not have their own english bibles, or never owned one, so we are providing that too.

Prayer Requests:

Our prayer is that YHWH will stir up the hearts of the people here (all people, of course) to become FAMISHED (Matt 5:6) for the Word of God and come to our fellowship and be FED!  That the god of this age would be removed from their minds so that they CAN comprehend the light of the Message of Salvation, and be SAVED (2 Cor. 4:4)!  And that we would wisely MAKE DISCIPLES so that they move from “milk” to “solid meat” (Heb. 5:12), having “Christ be formed” in them(Gal. 4:19), so that they are mature, lacking nothing, and bearing much fruit (James 1:4, 2 Peter 1:8) (aka doing their part to further advance the Kingdom of God – (Book of Ephesians)!  LOL  HalleluYAH!

Oh what a joy it is to do the work of God we’ve been called to do!  May each of you, as you do as YHWH calls you to do, experience this joy!

 

“Divine Appointments” Abound

Divine Appointments…

This ministry should have a nickname something to the effect of “divine appointments” in abundance, because we’ve had so many!  Psalm after Psalm admonishes us to remember, testify, and give thanks for the great things YWHY has done in us and for us.  Pray for me (Chaunda) as I work to diligently journal of all our happenings, and eventually write an ebook to tell this story.  I trust in will be a ministry in of itself, bringing great praise to what God is doing, and to encourage more participation in the great commission to make disciples of all nations!

On August 11th, my husband and I traveled to San Jose to process the paperwork required in the purchase of a car.  Instead of taking the bus, as we did the week prior, we rode with Jessica, the person we purchased the car from.  In Costa Rica, all car sales go through the services of an attorney to complete the registration.  During our first Sunday in country, at Leonel’s church, we had met an attorney who offered his services to us should we ever need them (divine appointment) and that “chance” encounter led to using his services for this car purchase.

God GAVE us a car:

(Backstory on the car) My husband and I quickly realized how important having a car would be for ministry purposes.  So we began praying that God would give us a car.  I had heard a testimony this past spring, at a women’s bible study I attended, of a dear sister in Christ who had experienced God giving her and her husband several cars during the years they were in ministry.  Since that time, I had been asking God to provide us a car.  My husband was praying the same thing.

We had looked at a few different cars.  One night, I saw a “for sale” sign on a car parked next to the grocery store.  It was parked outside a cute clothing store, so we went inside to inquire.  The store owner, Jessica, was selling the car.  We inspected the car, and test drove it, and felt it was a very good fit for our needs.  It’s a 2002 Honda CRV 4×4 (good thing for this area).

On Monday, August 8th, a dear brother in Christ from Colorado called to tell us he wanted to purchase the car we had been considering!  What a blessing!!!

While in San Jose…

So that Thursday, August 11th, we traveled with Jessica up to San Jose to see the attorney and process the paperwork.  We arranged to stay overnight at the YWAM base in San Jose – the place where “everything started” two years ago in April 2014!

While there, we had another “divine appointment” type of “just so happened” story. Ready for this? Hospitality forgot to put bath towels in our room, so I went to get some. When I went back to the room, Michael was washing his shorts because of a stain…and ended up getting all of his shorts wet! (he did not have a change of clothes). “Luckily” I had seen a washer and dryer at the hospitality room that I would not have seen if we hadn’t needed the towels. So I took his shorts there to use the dryer and while I was waiting…I met a lovely lady named Nell. We got to chatting and it just so happens she is from the YWAM base in Montana, and has brought a small team of worship leaders with her. We decided to meet a little later at breakfast…and that turned into such a fabulous conversation that has ended up with this young worship band coming to lead worship for us on Sunday, August 22nd.  We’ve been praying about a worship team joining us.  We are called to establish a worship center, and guest worship bands is a big part of that vision…So already, we’ve had our first guest worship band!!!  All this because someone “forgot” to put towels in our room! Praise Jesus!

First Guests To Stay With Us:

The worship team from Montana consists of Nell, who has worked with YWAM for 30 years, serving in various places from Holland to Morocco to Hong Kong, her daughter Jael, who has recorded four albums as a singer/songwriter, her friend and co-worship leader Caleb, and Josiah.  They were at YWAM San Jose to lead worship and deliver worship training at a conference there.  When we met them, after sharing our stories and visions, we invited them to come visit us and lead worship on Sunday August 22nd.  They arrived on Friday the 20th, and stayed with us through Monday noon.  What a blessing!

Ministry Happening Everywhere:

Of course we didn’t pass up the opportunity to talk with Jessica about Jesus, and she shared that she’s been a Christian since the age of 12 – but she wasn’t going to church.  So we invited her, and she came to our service this past Sunday!   She is Costa Rican, speaks excellent english, and her husband is a US citizen who’s been here for 15 years. Normally she works on Sundays at her shop – but she made the effort to change her schedule and now she’s inviting her friends and family to join her. All this because we “bought” (via our friend) her car!  God is good. 🙂

Summary:

So…we met a Christian attorney…who later helped us with car registration…that God gave us through our brother in Colorado…and while registering the car we met the Montana team who became our first visiting worship band…and the woman we bought the car from is now attending our church.  HalleluYAH!

 

Our First Church Service

In The Beginning…

We held our first ever church service of Living Water Calvary Chapel of Costa Rica on Sunday, August 7, 2016!  Halleluyah, rejoice with us!

There’s a story behind this location…see our blog post titled “Home Sweet Home”.  I just love all the “it just so happened” events in our lives these days – constant reminders that God is in charge of us!

Last week we traveled by bus to San Jose to purchase a projector and screen for our church, and to have some meetings.  While there, we also came across a sound system; two speakers, two microphones, and a mixer.  We couldn’t pass up the incredible deal, and God seemed to be showing us that we needed it right away. So we brought all these back with us…on the bus!

We took a taxi for the 1.5 mile trip from our house to our church because we had all this equipment and gave ourselves two hours to set up – plenty of time to work out all the little kinks.  We had four souls show up for our first service.  All of them wonderful believers we had met in the past two weeks, plus one who told us he’d been praying for an english speaking church for two years.  His name is Jim.  What a blessing it is to be an answer to prayer!  Very humbling.

 

 

 

Meeting Local Believers

On our fourth day in the area, we met a man named Ronny who was working at one of the houses we looked at to rent.  He just “happened” to be a pastor of a church in Hone Creek – not far from Puerto Viejo.  When he heard our story, he knew he had to introduce us to Heike.

Heike is a wonderful German woman who has lived here for about 25 years and is a strong believer.  When she heard our story, she decided to host a pot-luck and invited the other believers in the area to come meet us.  So we had the potluck on Saturday, July 27th.

Seer Stevens, who is from Burbank, Ca., came here as a missionary back in the 80’s, and now comes here 2-3 months out of the year. Aldo and his wife Mar, from Peru and Spain, respectively, have been here for about 30 years), Jeff and his wife Sherri, who are from Florida have been planting churches in South American countries for 30 years and now live here and own a Cocoa Farm. They are not church planting here. Susanna from Minnesota (30 years here), is a biologist who originally came here with the peace corp.  It was Seer who led her to Jesus years ago. We also met (not pictured) Paul and his wife Jeanne, who own and operate “Carabeans” – a coffee and chocolate shop (the local “starbucks” style place)(Much better than Starbuck, btw). They came as missionaries 12 years ago and now live here as tentmakers and the coffee place is a meeting place for locals where much one-on-one ministry occurs.

What we learned is this area is known to be a “missionary graveyard” – many come with great enthusiasm and plans, and things don’t quite work out. While we’ve only begun to know these blessed people, and they are glad to hear we are starting a worship center – there is no place for them to all come together regularly and do “church”. They do meet in homes, fellowship with each other, etc. What we would call a “cell” church. Yet there is no “place” for a greater group to meet, and where newcomers can easily find a church. That is why we came – that is what the Holy Spirit called us to do.

We have been told, by numerous people all over that this is “very dark territory” that the enemy has had a strong grip on. But the enemy lost his authority when Jesus said “It is finished”! It is our job to enforce that victory and make His enemies a footstool for his feet! (1 Cor 15:24-25)

met Seer Ronny, Heike, Leo and Mike

The Region We Are Called To

About the region we are called to:
We are located in Playa Cocles. This is a “connector” village 1 short mile from the main tourist town of Puerto Viejo, which some have called the “Las Vegas” of the Caribbean.  The last town on this long strip of road on the Caribbean coast is called Manzanillo.  The region is a “unique blend of Latino, Afro-Cribbean, Bribri indigenous cultures and foreigners living side by side.
From Manzanillo to Puerto Viejo, the population is approximately 5000 souls.  Approximately 500 of those are “ex-pats” – people who have left the United States, Canada, European, Australian, and other countries to live here full time.  Thousands of tourists visit from all over the world.  Thousands of Costa Ricans regularly “flood” the area on the weekends, looking for relaxation after their busy workweeks.  There was no english speaking church here until we arrived.  We have been told by several separate people that they have been praying for someone to come and plant an english speaking church.
We felt led to specifically place the building in Cocles.  It is in between Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo – a good spot along the one main road on the coastline.
Playa Cocles itself is a very small village with just two stores, a school and a soccer field. We are currently renting a house from a beautiful christian couple who’s family has been here for generations.  They are leaders in a strong spanish speaking, indigenous church here.  There are actually a few small churches in this area.  There are also several people who live here who were once missionaries to this region. They have, for various reasons, shifted their focus from being “sent missionaries” to “tent making believers who live here and share their lives with the locals.  They don’t have a “church building” but instead meet from time to time in their homes.
 
Information about the County: Talamanca
Even while we have found ourselves living amongst the poorest of the country, according to this report in wikipedia, we have found the cost of living
here to be equal to where we moved from, the San Bernardino County of California.  For one thing, we live in a tourist area.  Also, there is definitely a double standard here.
We have clearly and specifically been told by many people that the local Costa Ricans pay one price, and foreigners pay another.  While some products
are clearly marked with a price tag, many products, including food, are not.
We have also been told that this region is known as being a “missionary graveyard”.  Many come here with zeal and plans, and leave a year or two later having run out of money, or for other various reasons.  On our first trip here, one of the local women we met – Kisha – told us that often short term mission work will happen, and there will be great fruit because the people are hungry for God.  But once they leave, the principalities “take it back, saying “this stone is mine” ( See our first blogpost – a video of Kisha).
We believe this is a new season here – God is doing something different.  You will see as the blog report begins to recount everything that has happened and the people we have met already, that God is preparing to do a large, permanent work here.  We will not look on the past, but we will hold firm to the vision God has given us for this season.  It is God’s work we are privileged to participate in.

Philippians 4:1 Our Purpose

“So then, my brothers, beloved and longed-for, my joy and my crown, stand firm in the Master, beloved.”  Philippians 4:1 (ISR version)

Our purpose in being here – in this region of the world – is first and foremost to answer the call God gave us to be his witnesses, and to build his Church.  We have been commissioned with the task of providing a place of worship and feeding with the Word to the people of this region called Talamanca.

I (Chaunda) sensed the Lord leading me on a season of studying Philippians, and today, specifically the 4th chapter.  I couldn’t get past verse one!  Those disciples of Jesus Paul the Apostle had reached in this particular city were so precious to him.  He called them “my joy and my crown”, “my longed-for beloved”, “my brothers”.

These people were the fruit of Paul’s labors – his very reason for doing what he did.  The level of persistence and the tribulation he endured in order to produce these results was tremendous.  Paul said he “labored with the strength of the Holy Spirit that so mightily works in him” (Colossians 1:29).  He likened his labor to being “poured out as a drink offering on the offering and service of your belief” (Phil. 2:17).

My heart’s cry is that our King would grant us a mighty harvest of souls and raise up a mighty army of disciples, transforming this region from the “Las Vegas style” that it is, into a “garden of Eden” where we all dwell in the secret place of the Most High and rejoice in his Presence all the day (Ps. 91:1)!

Partner with us!  Petition the Father with us for this manifestation for we did not come here for nothing!  🙂  Let us bear fruit, together, that we may harvest a host of beloved brothers in Jesus Christ; that we can, like Paul, have such a joy!

Home Sweet Home

Yes, we’ve found a place to live.  The adventure of seeing this manifest enabled us to meet many people – an amazing network within this community that will provide friendships and ministry opportunities for years to come.

It’s furnished and clean and even has AC!  Now that we have a place to live, we can begin to establish ourselves and learn to “do life” here in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.  Actually, the name of the “town” we are in is called Cocles.  Here is a link to a map to our almost exact location.

https://www.google.co.cr/maps/place/Toucan+Road,+Limon/@9.6438296,-82.75208,14z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8fa645552ae1def7:0xc04b07352f3bac3f!8m2!3d9.6438243!4d-82.7345705

HOW IT HAPPENED

The way we came across this property is a pretty cool story. Since we flew in a small plane to this area, we left our main luggage to be brought within a few days by our YWAM friend “Rasta”.  But then Rasta was called away to go to Panama.  So our host family’s daughter said her friend was coming down to our area for the weekend, and would bring our luggage.  That friend just “happened” to know someone who has a house that might be available (in this area) so she called him.  Well, this friend “happened” to be the son of the owner of a very specific resort hotel that I had spied out two years ago on our first trip here.  I had walked by this resort, and saw a meeting room and thought to myself how perfect that place would be as a place to start our church.  So…two years later, this friend’s father owns the resort, and he is a strong believer!  Not only that, the resort manager, Carol, is a strong believer, and also said her daughter just “happens” to have a place to rent.  She normally rents to tourists, so it is furnish.  (no way, right?!)  (the resort owner’s house was occupied by a long term renter so wasn’t available).

It also “just so happened” that our host, Leo Pacheco, is a personal family friend of this resort owner, so he had his phone number!  We spoke with the owner directly and asked if we could use the meeting room as a place to start our church.  He said yes!  He would only charge for electricity and AC; $50 per week.  Oh, and it just so happened that one of our supporters had just pledged to provide us $200.00 per month – we had learned that just two days earlier!  So God had provided the money for our monthly church rental expenses even before we had the place, which we acquired two days later!  Wow, right?!  That’s the way things have been going for us!  God is really on the move!

WHEN THINGS DON’T “WORK OUT”, DON’T WORRY!

So because Rasta had to go to Panama instead of bringing our luggage out to us, this young gal’s connections enabled us to 1) get a place to rent that is already furnished so we don’t have to buy a bed, furniture, kitchen items, etc.,) and 2) establish our church meeting place!

 

front door kitchenkitchen our cute bedroom

 

Our new church meeting place:

new church bldg new church bldg 2