As I write this article I am in a hotel room in Costa Rica, having spent the last week getting to know all about the work that the Baptist Federation of Costa Rica is doing among its Church. We spent the first couple of days visiting a number of Church and seeing the kinds of ministries they are involved in each one of them had their own story, and they were all very inspiring. One of the things that we had in common was that they were doing ministry in an environment that is very poor, where domestic violence is prevalent. And where the drug trade is always around the corner. These churches are on the front line of the neediest people in the country. And they are serving in ways that you and I can only imagine. This morning I got to attend a Baptist church service. It was very similar in some ways to ours. They had modern technology, they had modern instruments, and their service went about as long as ours did. I was waiting to see if they would serve communion afterwards, but they didn’t. Oh well, you can’t have everything. But the most important part was the stories that the pastors told about the ways in which there Church came to be, and the struggles that they have gone through to try to stay relevant to their communities.
They face many of the same obstacles that we do, whether it is a lack of funds, or a great deal of trouble trying to bring young people into the Church, or the fact that there are so many new churches sprouting up. And yet these people are being faithful to their calling in ways that you and I can only imagine. I have posted many pictures to the Church Facebook page detailing the kinds of ministries that are taking place. Those of you who have Facebook or have internet access should take a look and see what I have posted. I will also be speaking on Sunday about my experiences. It has been tremendously inspiring, and the American Baptist churches of the Great Rivers Region will be looking closely at which projects the Baptist Federation wants us to help them with next year.
I want to once again thank those who contributed to my travel fund and helped me make this trip. It is clear to me that the American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region have a long and deep relationship with the Baptist Federation in Costa Rica. My hope is that some of you will be interested in returning with me next year to work on one of the projects. It will change your life and it will change your faith. It has changed mine!