Living Water Costa Rica

Offering Living Water to a Dry and Thirsty Land

Archive for the ‘Missions Stories’


Then…The Phone Rang At 12:30 pm…(The Next Week)

The Next Week

If you read the previous post, then this title, “Then, The Phone Rang At 12:30 pm” will make more sense.

Michael and I have begun pursuing unity of the regional pastors and believers by attending an early morning prayer meeting every Friday of a Spanish speaking church right around the corner from where we live, called Central Christian Church.

On January 27th, the enemy tried to prevent the prayer meeting from happening by attacking the physical body of their pastor, Roger.  He was healed, however, and the prayer meeting went on!

On the next Friday, February 3rd, after another powerful prayer meeting, Pastor Roger invited us to do a “prayer tour” in the afternoon at 1 pm. However, at 12:30 pm we received a phone call to cancel the prayer tour because Pastor Roger was not feeling well…again! Hum…put two and two together. A powerful prayer meeting is set to happen, and for the second time in a row, Pastor Roger has a health issue. Clearly, the enemy does not want us to pray! Needless to say, we just simply went over to meet him, prayed, rebuked the spiritual attack, and went on with the powerful prayer tour!

The battle to plant the church “Living Water Calvary Chapel” and the battle to unite the pastors in this region; Puerto Viejo, Cocles, Playa Chiquita and Manzanillo continues!

L to R, Chaunda, Michael, Hilda, Roger

Making Connections, Building Relationships

Much of missionary work is about making connections and building relationships.  This past week, we made some “interesting connections” and enjoyed deepening other friendships.

The Translator

While on our trip to San Jose to attend the funeral of Don Julio Garcia, we stopped off at the US Embassy to turn in some paperwork.  Next we needed some office supplies, so we typed “Office Depot” into Waze (the most fabulous navigation App that has made driving in Costa Rica a possibility for us) and the app led us to the “closest” Office Depot…in an area of town called Escazu.  We don’t normally head in this direction, but there was a certain man God apparently wanted us to meet and he was “at the right place at the right time” at that particular store so that we could meet.

His name is Fernando.  He is a retired entrepreneur who spends all his time serving the one he loves…Jesus!  He is quite the evangelist, with a flair for marketing (hence being at the office depot to print a flyer for an event with his church) and he is a translator.  Actually, he introduced himself as a translator.

AND it “just so happened” that we had a conversation with a missionary from another part of Costa Rica just the day before, in which he advised Michael to get a translator for Living Water Calvary Chapel.  In fact, we’ve been praying for a Spanish speaking co-laborer to join us in this ministry.

There was an immediate connection – the kind when you just “know” God is involved in the meeting.  And to “put the cherry on top” so to speak, when we walked outside and saw what kind of car he was driving…it was the same exact model and year as our car.  Just the color is different.  Funny coincidence?  You decide!

The next day, Fernando called to say his wife is very interested to help teach us Spanish.  She is an English teacher.  They live in San Jose, so we’ll see how the Lord works this all out.

 

The Police

Driving in Costa Rica can get a bit crazy and it doesn’t even seem to matter how good a driver you are, accidents happen.  Michael has never had an accident before in his life.  However, within about a 1/2 hour after meeting Fernando, we had a little incident with another car after exiting the freeway.  Our car “barely” touched another car at a turning stop.  Actually, we had nearly missed being hit by another car that was speeding by.  I felt the enemy was trying to create a problem.  Turned out my “intuition” was correct.  There was barely a smudge on the other driver’s car, and no damage to our car at all – not even a scratch.  We really even wondered if our cars connected.  In any case, the other driver was nice…at first.  But once the other driver heard Michael is a pastor…the guy “went off” on us!  He started mouthing off, insulting us and all foreigners, and to top it all off, said “I bet you even voted for Trump”!  So there you have it – the election rage has come to Costa Rica.

In any case, we had to wait for the insurance guy to arrive, and also the police.  The police told us the other driver wanted to fight Michael! They said he was crazy.  We understood.  The end result is that, through our insurance company, everything should be taken care of, not a big deal.  On the off-chance the other driver actually files a complaint against us at the police department, there could be a legal case – involving court.  But that would take years, the police officer said.  Hum.  Please pray this guy just drops his anger and lets the incident go away.  The insurance person and the police were very polite and spoke english enough that we had the issue taken care of.

New Years Eve

Happy New Year!  Our dear friends, Leonel and Georgina Pacheco – whom we first met back in April of 2014 on our first trip to Costa Rica – came over from San Jose to Punta Uva (next town over from us) for the weekend.  We spent New Years Eve with them at their family farm, enjoying dinner and great fellowship.  What a blessing this family is to us.  This is the couple who welcomed us into their home for our first week in Costa Rica back in July, and then Leo accompanied us for the next week here in Puerto Viejo/Cocles/Punta Uva so we could get established.  Please say a prayer for them as they serve the Lord with their lives in many ways.

Happy New Year!!!

 

 

December Activities

Busy December Activities:

December is always busy with plenty of activities, isn’t it?! There is much to report of how good God is in the midst of everyday living.  We handled a few administrative activities like finishing the application to Go Ministries so we can provide tax deductible receipts for ministry donations (yay), and residency application activities (please pray for these to be finalized).

Of course every week we prepare for the Sunday service.  Mike preps the message and I prep the worship music.

We go visiting people we’re building relationships with – like Cacao and his wife Amelie, who make the coconut shell and silver jewelry, and Bruce and Lynn Blessing, who’ve lived here for 3+ years and are from the States.  Bruce plays guitar and sings at a local restaurant.  So we invited him to help us sing Christmas songs for the Sunday before Christmas service.  That was fun!

Visit To A Nursing Home

A highlight of our month was joining Pastor Roger of Central Christian Church of Cocles (a Spanish speaking congregation), and Pastor Enrique and his wife Carol from a mission in Heredia, Costa Rica, to visit a nursing home in the small village of Bratsi, aka “Bambu”, about 45 minutes away from us.  The Home is called “Al Hogar de Ancianos Santa Luisa”  So on December 15th we traveled out to join in on their Christmas party.

The road there is gravel, once you’ve passed Bri Bri, and we had to drive through a rushing creek…oh what fun…and to see the smiles on the faces of the nursing home residents made it all worth it.

We were asked to play music, so we sang Christmas carols and a few worship songs (even in english, they loved it).  We prayed with them and danced with them and just had a wonderful time watching them have a wonderful time.  🙂

 

 

What Did We Do For Christmas?

Our photographer (me, aka Chaunda) seemed absent minded because she didn’t take any photos of our Christmas Potluck or our Sunday services!  LOL

We sang Christmas carols for worship both Sunday the 18th and 25th.  I love those songs, because they’re so full of the message of the birth of our Savior and full of praise!

We held a potluck at the church on Christmas Eve.

Michael preached from Luke 2 and shared that even while December 25th is not the real birthday of our Lord (there are excellent arguments for the possibility that he was born in any of the 12 months of the year), the reason we celebrate is the fact that he was indeed born, and we have historical records of this fact!  Halleluyah!

Service on Sunday, Dec. 25th – Christmas Day

It seemed popular for churches everywhere to take this particular Sunday off.  We prayed about that, and decided we would have service as normal.

Because we held service on Christmas Day, we were able to be a blessing to holiday tourists.  We had a family from the UK come to our service because they saw our flyer next to the community dumpster!  We had a couple from Utah (who attend a calvary chapel there) join us after seeing our road sign, and another gal from Tennessee joined us after asking around if there was an english speaking church.  She also found us because of the road sign!

On bilboard

Road Sign next to resort entrance

 

Something Sad to Report

Our dear friend, and owner of the resort where we hold the church services at, lost his battle with cancer on December 23rd.

We met Don (Mr.) Julio Garcia by phone in late July of this year.  He offered the meeting room of his resort hotel Villas del Caribe to us, thrilled with the fact we had come to start a church in this area.  We met face to face in August.  At that visit, (to his home in San Jose), he and his wife Lavinia shared with us that they had been praying for an English speaking church to be started in Cocles/Puerto Viejo.

Chaunda, Michael, Julio, Lavinia

During our visit in September, Michael was able to pray for Don Julio, specifically for healing.

Two weeks after this prayer, Julio shared that his energy had increased, he was gaining weight, and even took a helicopter ride from San Jose to Cocles, to visit his resort staff and friends in the area he loves so much.  He seemed on the road to recovery.

We were able to visit Mr. Julio two more times – once in late September, and once in November.  During all our visits, our hearts were knit together with the common vision – seeing the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

Michael had shared his vision of a worship center, complete with children’s outreach, a women’s shelter, a bible/ministry training school, and a children’s’ school – in Cocles, perhaps even transforming the Villas del Caribe resort into this worship center facility.  Don Julio pumped his fists into the air saying “yes, yes, yes”.  Lavinia wiped tears away from her eyes and said they have been praying for this very thing – for years!  And that actually, long ago this vision was something they had on their hearts to do.  That blew us away!

We did notice, however, on that last visit that Don Juilo was quite tired and retired to his bedroom early, unaware at the time that this would be the last time we would see him this side of heaven.

Peace fills Lavinias’ heart now, because she knows her husband has gone ahead of her and is with Jesus.  Their sons are also at peace, thankful that their father is no longer suffering.

We attended the funeral in San Jose and accompanied the family and friends to the cemetery.  This being our first funeral in Costa Rica, it was good to see what the customs are for Costa Ricans.  The message of the funeral – Jesus was lifted up and glorified in all Don Julio Garcia did with his life!

I will close this blogpost now, because there are a few stories left to tell and they deserve their own blogposts…

HalleluYah!  God is Good!  🙂

Baptism At Living Water Calvary Chapel

The First Baptism of Living Water Calvary Chapel

We were blessed to be able to baptism Charlene in the Cocles river that flows into the Caribbean ocean on Thursday, November 24, 2016.

This was the day that hurricane Otto was supposed to hit our coastline.  It didn’t!  This happened on Chaunda’s 50th birthday – what a wonderful present!  This happened on the USA holiday of Thanksgiving – what a blessing to give thanks for!

To YHWH be the Glory!

 

 

Reaching The Prodigal Sons And Daughters

One of our key outreaches is to the prodigal sons and daughters who have left their christian roots and squandered God’s gifts, talents and time He invested in them,  running from responsibilities and opportunities.

While I (Chaunda) was on my trip back to the States in October, I went to the evening prayer service at our sending church, Wildwood Calvary Chapel.  My ears picked up when I heard the word “prodigal”.  It was like a bell went off in my head.  Many people are praying for their proverbial “prodigal sons and daughters” who have wandered off into the world, leaving their faith (and their bible) behind.  Where do they go?  Well, many of them are right here on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica!

The Prodigals of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

I would venture to say a strong percentage of the ex-pats we’ve met so far were raised in “christian” homes, went to church, perhaps were even “on fire for Jesus”, but for whatever reason, left.

Just this past month, Michael and I have been able to help a young couple return home to Canada.  Each has his/her own story of becoming a believer in Jesus as their Savior, growing in Christ, then being sucked into the world of drugs.  When we met Ian and Charlene, they were eager to get involved in the church.  As we got to know them, it became apparent there were some things that did not add up.

Charlene & Ian

Charlene & Ian

I was able to spend many hours with Charlene, doing bible study and discipleship.  What a great gal she is.  Michael was able to spend many hours with Ian, doing the same – what a great guy he is!  Because light shines into darkness, the darkness could not hide and the “stuff” came to the surface.  We began to do some relationship counseling.

Charlene & Chauna

Charlene & Chaunda

Charlene's new bible

Charlene’s new bible

 

Its usually darkest just before dawn, and things got a bit “dicey”, but in the end, both Ian and Charlene made the decision to put their lives back on track with Jesus.  In fact, Michael performed the first baptism of Living Water Calvary Chapel at the beach on Thanksgiving Day with Charlene!  They also made the decision to go home to Canada and flew out last Friday.

Ian is now facing the responsibilities he ran from.  Pray for him because I’m sure he’s not having any fun right now.  However, because of what we witnessed the Spirit of God do in him during the past week, we know that he is digging into the Word and prayer.  God is a rewarder of those diligently seeking him!  (Heb. 11:6)

Charlene is entering a 12 month recovery program, and is being sponsored by her family.  When Charlene was with me, she shared how the book of Esther really spoke to her – even showing me her journal, how she’d written about it.  We spoke about how Esther went through a 1-year purification and beautification program.  That was before all the dark stuff surfaced.  Now, fulfilling what appears to be prophetic, Charlene is indeed entering a 12 month detox, healing and restoration program!  YHWH is so good!  Please keep her in your prayers  – especially for these critical days before she enters the program!

Gift of Helps!

Gift of Helps!

Sorry I don’t have any other photos of Ian – he loved being on the beach, tossing a football with Michael.  They had a dog named Nugget – pray we find a new home for him!

Working Together For Good

Romans 8: 28 is probably one of the most quoted scriptures in modern history.  Let’s remember that this verse is conditional – things work out for those who love God and are called according to His purpose!  We have no doubt that Ian and Charlene have a calling on their lives.  Their testimonies have the potential to save multitudes.  They do love Jesus, and want to put the past behind them.  We bless them as they embark on this new journey in their lives.

Deceptive Ways

The New Age philosophies abound here.  Yoga classes are everywhere!  People worship the creation instead of the Creator.  The god of this age blinds the minds of unbelievers because he masquerades as an angel of light and deceives those who don’t want to “pick up their cross” to follow Jesus!  SO MANY here are bound up in these trappings.  They are part of our mission field.  They are prodigal sons and daughters.  Please keep us and them in your prayers.  Isaiah 61:11 says YHWH desires us to …open prison doors and set captives free!

If you’re praying for a prodigal in your family, then you can personally relate to who we are reaching out to.  Pray for us to demonstrate in every aspect of our lives the fragrance of our loving Savior and set these captives free so they can return home!

 

yoga-flyer

Sowing Seeds, Reaping Rewards

We all know the adage “you reap what you sow”.  Psalm 126:6 says “He that goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”  Galatians 6:7 says “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”  We are busy sowing seeds, and reaping rewards.  Some by faith, some by sight, weeping and laughing and…praising the Lord!

Living Water Calvary Chapel

Living Water Calvary Chapel

Teaching from Genesis

Teaching from Genesis

10/30/16 Service

10/30/16 Service

Before Michael became a missionary church planter, he owned and operated an auto repair shop for 19 years.  He understood marketing to be a vital key to success.  In the business world, there is a famous phrase: “marketing is everything”.

Here in Puerto Viejo and it’s surrounding Caribbean coastline towns, we have put up laminated posters and 3×5 cards to invite people to come to Living Water Calvary Chapel.  Our church back in the states, Wildwood Calvary Chapel, provided us with road signs, the laminated posters, flyers and prayer cards.

We’ve already had attendees come in from the road signs, and flyers we’ve passed out in town.  This past Sunday, we had our first attendee who saw our poster outside a grocery store, where she was posting her own flyer for a charity event.  She is Korean, has lived in Costa Rica for 30 years after leaving the USA where she had lived for about 10 years, and told us how excited she is to find an english speaking church here!

Word of mouth marketing is always the best, of course!  I (Chaunda) am now meeting regularly for bible study with a young Canadian who moved here recently and is really hungry to grow in her relationship with Jesus.  What a privilege!

Marketing without the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit is like building your house upon the sand…and we all know what that turns out like!

Galatians 4:19 says “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.”  As we do our part to share the Word and serve the Body, it is done both in weeping (intercession) and rejoicing.  We sow, and we reap!

Prayer Requests!

Please keep those attending Living Water Calvary Chapel in your prayers.  They all have specific needs, and while we like to keep things confidential, health and financial provision seem to be at the top of the list for several individuals.  There is a need for growing in discipleship basics, and learning the Word.  Please pray Michael and I will have the wisdom, discernment and Holy Spirit guidance as we assist people in their walk with Jesus.

The holidays are upon us.  Please pray we will have guidance in how to minister and provide YHVH glorifying celebration of Jesus’ birth!

We thank you and bless you!

 

 

 

Opportunities to Serve

Praying For The Sick

The lovely lady we rent our house from, Carol, called us, asking if we would come pray for an US Citizen who was very ill.  Carol’s sister works at a resort in Manzanillo where this man has been living.  In fact, he’s been here for 14 years.  He is fighting emphysema and heart disease.  So we went and met with Cliff, and had a great two-hour (getting to know him) conversation and then prayed with him.

The next Sunday, I (Chaunda), picked him up and brought him to church.  The car that God gave us is being put to good use right away!  He’s been a Christian for a number of years, and even though he lives right next door to a church, its all in spanish, which he has never fully learned.  So he was really thrilled to come to our church.

Slowly, Cliff is feeling better and better.  Some of the color has returned to his face (he was quite pale).  He attended church again this Sunday and said he looked forward to it all week.  Please keep Cliff in your prayers, for healing and a return to the work God has called him to do.

Meeting People In The Community

We continue to meet a broad spectrum of people in this area.  We are always looking for ways to invite people to church and give them our flyers.  So Michael and I went to the Farmer’s Market where we met Cacao (yes, that’s his name).  He makes fabulous jewelry out of coconut shells and uses a tiny wire to carve very fine line images into the shell.  He’s a believer, with some interesting twists…we’ve been inviting him to come to church, and look forward to the day when he will.

Chocolate is one of the main harvests in this area.  We met Peter (from the US) and Ancel (from Scotland) who’ve lived here for many years and have a chocolate business focusing on chocolate as medicine (uncooked).  We happily bought some of their produce, and gave them a flyer for church.

David is another (from the US) who has lived here many years and is a believer.  I call him the philosopher/poet, and he’s always up for a great conversation!

Visiting Members and Praying for their needs

This past Saturday we planned to visit one of our church attendees, Jessica, and as we were on our way, she happened to call us!  She’s the one we bought the car from, and she was calling to say she found the owner’s manual and wanted to get it to us.  This scenario was orchestrated by our heavenly Father, as she was in need of prayer for a family member in a difficult situation.  Without going into details, please lift up Jessica and her family in your prayers.

Prayer Requests

Pray that the people we are here to reach would realize how thirsty they are for the Living Water – the Truth.  Pray that the god of this age would be removed from them and they would be able to hear the message and believe (2 Cor 4:4, Rom. 10:17).  Pray for a mighty move of God in our midst!

May the God of peace fill you and bless you!!!

 

“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.

 

 

 

Day One

Today we flew from San Jose, where we have stayed for the last week with our hosts Leonel and Georgina Pacheco, to Limon, and then a 40 minute drive to where we are staying – at Leonel’s beachside farm where we had first met our hosts in April of 2014.  The circle is complete.  (See our “About Us” page for the story). The area we are staying at is called Punta Uva.

boarding pass limonplane to PVflight to PVon our way PV 2016

After breakfast, our first order of “business” was to go out to the beach, where we had prayed just over two years ago, to worship and have communion.  Of course, in true Caribbean fashion, it lightly rained on us (the rest of the day was nice).  Because of very heavy rains on Monday, the mosquitos greeted us with glee and we, however unwillingly, provided them multiple meals.

walk to beach 7-20-16drum on beachplaying in the rain CR 7-20-16

 

 

Our next steps are to find a place to call home while we become established in the community and start a bible study.