Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Un Milagro (A miracle)

We want to share with you a miracle that has happened before our very eyes. For those who doubt the power of God and His ability to perform miracles, please read further. The first week we arrived here to Jaco, we met a guy walking back from the beach named Palmera. Everyone calls him this because he makes baskets, purses, animals, etc out of palm branches and sells them in town to support his family. He offered to make our kids something. We began talking to him and realized very quickly that he was under the influence of some major demonic powers. He shared with us about his addiction to cocaine and marijuana, his addiction to cutting (he showed us the HUNDREDS of scars all over his body), and the fact that he has worshiped satan for a long time but decided it was better to begin just worshiping himself. He shared how empty he was and how much pain he was was very difficult to hear and I don't know why he felt the need to begin sharing all of this with us. Well, we as a family prayed for him right there on the beach, invited him to church and committed to praying for him from then on. We later realized that everyone in town knows Palmera because he is "the guy who makes stuff" and he is constantly causing problems in the street due to his addictions. We began seeing him almost daily and developed a friendship with him---I hate to admit that Daniel had a lot more faith than I did that he would ever come to church let alone anything else because he was so far gone.

Back in November he came to church for the first time and it was a miracle. He was obviously wrestling with spiritual things inside and he paced the entire time. He then brought his kids to kid's club on Sat. morning because they live in the neighborhood we work in. We returned from Christmas in the States and saw him once before his 3 kids were removed from his home due to all that they were witnessing with him. He was totally broken. He was angry. Later that week he got in a fight with a group of security guards in town and they broke his knee with a metal pipe. He was taken to the hospital, operated on and got an infection. He ended up having to stay there about 3 weeks. We truly believe this extra time in the hospital for him was of the Lord. He asked his wife to find us and get a Bible brought to him. Daniel, Gabe and Mike decided to travel to the hospital to visit him--and what a visit it was! After talking for a while, he said he wanted to be done with the drugs, the cutting, etc. He wanted to be free of all this. Daniel asked if they could pray for him and as he began praying, Palmera began weeping uncontrollably. After praying, he said he felt his body get all warm while they were praying and he truly felt the presence of God there. They asked him if he wanted to accept Jesus into his heart and begin living for him and he said he did. He received Christ and had never felt more peace before in his life. That night in his room he had an experience where we was awakened by a demon face to face with him and he began renouncing it with the name of Jesus and has not seen one since. He is a NEW CREATION!!! It is a miracle!! A few days later the hospital had talked about amputating his leg. We were all praying and a few days later he was brought home. We have been over at his house regularly visiting with him and his wife. They have asked us to just sit and read the Bible to them and pray with them so they can hear God's word. Palmera weeps every time! While he was in the hospital, we kept in close contact with his wife who began seeking the Lord as well. She, too, is a new woman and so hungry for The Word!! To witness these transformations in progress has been nothing short of a miracle! We know Satan is not happy that he has lost one of his and is constantly attacking--he will not give up so we are really praying for Palmera and his wife, Gabriella, that they would remain steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord....that they would rest in His love and peace--for it is there that we find safety (Ps. 4:8). Please pray for them with us---they are in a WAR and praise God He is getting the victory! Here are a few pictures of Palmera...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baptism and School Supply Drive

Lots and lots of amazing things going on here in Jacó! We have been so busy that I am trying to catch up with blogging...

We had a another baptism/dinner celebration at our home and what a blessing it was! Alejandro, Jorge, Alondra and Julissa were baptised. Alejandro came to us off the streets in May desperate for a change. We helped get him into "Casa de Amor"--a Christian drug rehab/discipleship program run by Calvary Chapel Quepos (45 minutes from us)--and he has been there 9 months. He is doing great and is walking with the Lord while transitioning back into society. He came to visit 2 weeks ago and was baptized. It was so special! Jorge gave his life to Jesus when one of our mission teams was here evangelizing in the streets. He returned to Nicaragua shortly after that but returned here to Jacó and has been growing in the Lord and working here. Alondra and Julissa are 2 girls that attend our Kid's Club we do on Saturday. They accepted Christ and wanted to be obedient through baptism so they were also baptized. It was a wonderful evening of food, fellowship and celebration of new lives in Christ!

Another thing we have been working on is collecting school supplies to provide to the children in INVU, the neighborhood we work in. The kids returned to school last week from their summer vacation. (The school year here is opposite of that in The States because during June, July, and August the rainy season is beginning--this is their winter) Anyway, many of the kids in this neighborhood won't go to school unless they have the necessary supplies and many start 2 or 3 weeks late waiting to get them. The public schooling system here is really sad in many ways and many children drop out of school while still very young. We were able to give each of the kids we work with most of what was on their "School Supply Needs List" and we delivered them on Monday night. It was such a blessing to go house to house blessing these families and making sure they know this is all a gift from the Lord. The kids were super excited and just being there reminded me more and more of why the Lord has us here! It was beautiful!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Conquerors Strength Team

Many of you know we had the privilege of hosting The Conquerors Strength Team this last week here in Jacó. The Conquerors are a group from Michigan who travel all over the world doing amazing feats of strength and then sharing the gospel. We did a few events at the local schools and then "ambushed" the neighborhoods one by one with the Gospel using The Conquerors' feats of strength as a great "attention grabber" (to get people out of their houses). The week was a great success and we really appreciate all of your prayers! Many prayed to receive Christ as their Savior and many asked for prayer for sickness of a child or loved one. We then passed out The Book of Hope (Libro de Vida--in spanish) which is a book of relevant topics applicable to different ages and what the Bible has to say about each topic. We also passed out information on the church throughout each neighborhood with the goal of plugging these new believers into a church. We had a lot of fun ministering alongside this amazing team of men who desire nothing more than to see every soul in Jacó sold out for Jesus!! It was wonderful! We are, of course, very tired from the week. Jacob was sick all week with what we think was a parasite. After medication he seems to be doing much better. Again, thanks to all of you who were praying specifically for this was a success!! Here are some pictures from the week...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Back in the Groove

Well, we have been back in Jacó for 2 weeks and we are very settled. In some ways it feels like we never left because we just picked right back up where we left off and the kids have done such a great job adjusting to being all over the place! Daniel jumped right back in to leading worship on Sundays and teaching a CORE group bible study in our home on Thursdays. We are currently studying through the book of Galatians and it has been great! We have also been busy getting ready to host The Conquerors strong man team next week. They will be here all next week doing "ambushes" in the neighborhoods and local schools doing demonstrations of strength--from folding frying pans to breaking bricks--they do it all and definitely draw a crowd. We had them here last year and their ministry was really effective. At the end of the "show", they share testimonies and present the Gospel. Then we as churches pray with individuals and are able to follow up with them at a later time. We are looking forward to them being here and we will definitely post pictures after next week.

Please pray for us as we are praying about starting free English classes soon. We are working on the details and this could be a great ministry opportunity for us in the community. There are so many people here who want to learn English so we are really excited and want to bless them. Just pray that all of the logistics come together and, above all else, God is glorified in all that we do!

Below are a few pictures of our time in the States....what a blessing it was to be with family and friends...
My mom reading with the boys With their buddies, Bo and Roma Dad's 60th birthday party Daniel's parents with all the cousins Sledding in Chattanooga Dad and Jan with the grands...