COSTA RICA RENDEZVOUS: Part One
Connecting with dear friends, Eddy & Silvia Vidaechea and their son, Cristian & his wife, Ale, plans were made for me to speak in two churches that Pastor Eddy had planted and at a teen youth camp. I asked if they could find a place for me in the mountains above San Jose, the capital city. The need to “get away” was strong as it had only been about 40 days since my dear Lynne had passed.
It was just what I needed … a rustic mountain hotel … very little English spoken … good Costa Rican food … and sleep. Sleep? I must have been exhausted and drained emotionally because I slept the better part of three days. It reminded me of God putting Elijah to sleep. God really knows what we need.
The final two and a half days were so special because I had my rest and my focus was upon God. I recalled that I had made a “prayer mind map” a number of years ago, so, I outlined my prayer requests on paper. I was totally involved, zeroed in on prayer … it was an incredible experience. My talks with God brought me into a close presence or nearness to God. I poured my heart out to God and it was as though He was there with me. This “mountain top” experience electrified me … I came off of that mountain “on fire”. Words fail me to adequately express what I would like to tell you . . .
Rendezvous? Very appropriate word to use … I had a meeting with God. Better yet, God had a meeting with me!
COSTA RICA RENDEZVOUS: Part Two
Speaking at the El Lugar Church in San Jose, Costa Rica, God used what He had taught me through Lynne’s suffering and homegoing to encourage the believers. It was a great service … a special time. The next day I was taken to Camp Brittney where I spoke to 68 inner city teens from broken homes … youth who had suffered abuse, disappointment and unreal pressures … every single one of them received Christ … all 68! Did I tell you that I was “on fire”? Well, it was not “me”, it was God working through me. Then, at the Campfire Service, all 68 dedicated their lives to God stating that they are willing to do whatever God would have them to do. Incredible!
By the way, I picked up one of the small sticks to throw into the fire just like the teens. Through my translator, a wonderful young man brimming with potential, I said something to this effect, “Just because Lynne has passed … nothing has changed … I am totally committed to God … willing to do whatever He would have me to do.” My translator joined with me in this as he picked up a stick. The teens were pressing on us as though each of them wanted to be the first to cast his or her stick into the fire to symbolize that are giving their lives to God. Oh dear friend, THAT was a special moment.
A male social worker came with one of the group of troubled teens to be with them at the camp. His life was changed as well as he received Christ. What a change in his countenance by the end of the week. Also, a 9 year old boy, son of one of the camp staff families, made this decision as well.
An attractive girl, around 17, wore an elastic sleeve over her upper arm during the camp. During a volleyball game I noticed that this sleeve had worked its way down her arm somewhat exposing a severe skin condition. Later that day the camp director told me her story. I was aghast! A man in her section of San Jose, sort of like a mafia leader [not mafia, but, a tough, evil man who controlled that section of the city] told this girl that he wanted her, but, she refused only to be horribly abused by the anger of the mean man as he threw acid on her arm. The girl’s camp counselor had explained that there were holes in her arm all the way to the bone … her arm was emaciated. Well, this poor girl would hardly look at me or at the camp director at the beginning of the camp. Who could she trust? She received Christ and she dedicated her life to God … what a difference in her spirit as it showed on her face with a beautiful smile … what a change. Pray for her as her parents are too afraid to go to the police because they know that this vicious man will attempt to kill them. On the positive side, let’s praise God for His grace to reach out to this young lady and all of the other troubled youth.
Seven of the camp counselors come from these violent areas in San Jose. Boy, they really connected with these teens because they see the difference in these counselors knowing that they truly understand what the teens have to deal with when they return home. These counselors and others are already involved in follow up work to encourage these new young believers. Pray for this.
There is a “Costa Rica Rendezvous: Part Three” … wait, I can’t tell you about this just yet … stay tuned.
SAN DIEGO ENDEAVOR:
Rendezvous … now endeavor … here’s the story … last summer a man, Bill Evans, and his son, Brad, made a father-son trip joining Rick DeYoung, Brad’s business partner, at Camp Monty in Montenegro. They coached baseball, yes, good, ol’ American baseball demonstrating this sport to young Montenegrins. The youth loved the sport which made Bill and Brad very happy. Bill wants to share the blessing with others in his area in California, north of San Diego, in Carlsbad and Solana Beach. He organized meetings for Rick, who is directing Camp Monty, and me … lots of meetings … plenty of great conversations. I had the privilege of speaking to the Band of Brothers, a group of men committed to pray and to encourage each other … what a receptive group! Now, Bill has a group of 12 or so, maybe more, who are talking about joining him at Camp Monty 2014. Quite an endeavor!
PRINCETON NJ [No, Not the University]
From San Diego to Philadelphia [what a change in weather] I flew from sunny California to the snowy, cold Northeast finally arriving in Princeton, NJ. Two churches in that area are interested in bringing teams to Montenegro this summer. Mitar Rudanovic, youth pastor and of Montegrin heritage, came last summer with his young people. A former star football player at Rutgers, he introduced American football to a soccer crazed nation and they loved him. I spoke to his young people giving an invitation for them to dedicate their lives to God just like the 68 Costa Rican did. Nine of them made this commitment!
Pastor Andrew Straubel is organizing a group from his church at Windsor Chapel. What a great time of fellowship with this pastor and his people. It will be great to see what God does with those who come with him to Montenegro. It’s always a win-win situation … a winner for the group coming over with spiritual growth in each person’s life and a winner for the youth of the country.
LET’S NOT FORGET ??
LIFE Romania! Last month I met with two churches in West Virginia who are planning to come to Camp MIA this summer. Both groups are working hard to get ready and I will connect with them soon. Director Iulian Avramescu had a Sports Rally in Dambovita, Romania seeing seven soccer players coming to Christ. Some of them had never heard the Gospel before. Iulian and his team will have another Sports Rally in Pitesti on Feb 21-23. Pray for a good response to the message of God’s love.
SUBSTITUTE FAN: Calendar
Seems like the page of the calendar go by so fast that it is a substitute for a fan … the days, the months and the years are flying by … faster and faster. But, I would not have it any other way. What fun!
Another year older this month, but, it feels like 2014 is going to be an incredible year. As you have read the previous articles in this Update the year is off to a great start.
The gang at LIFE Romania put together a special birthday tribute for yours truly. Click on it. Enjoy!
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