Sunday, April 22, 2012

Curahuasi, Peru

Outside of Curahuasi, Peru
Tim and I are talking off for Cusco on Tuesday and returning to Costa Rica on May 1st.  Estimados, please pray for us as we have much to do and many miles to travel.  Pray for our safety, communication, our families back home and that this meeting will bring together us and our Peruvian brothers with like-mindedness for the sake of advancing the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ in Peru.  All the glory can only be taken by God and Him alone.  Para la fama de Su nombre.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Spanish Language Institute

I have to put in a plug for The Spanish Language Institute here in Costa Rica.  We have been so blessed to be apart of such a great language school.  Since its founding in 1942, the Spanish Language Institute has been equipping Christian workers to serve the Spanish-speaking world. During its 70-year history, over 14,000 students—most of them career missionaries--have passed through the Institute’s classrooms. Some were church planters, others seminary professors, doctors, nurses, teachers, college students, relief workers, pilots, or administrators. Many are still on the field today. A few were martyred.

Both the spiritual and academic aspects of the school are far better than we hoped.  When each student leaves the school they have to take the international ECO test and an optional 3 hour grammar test to find out what level of Spanish you are at.  If you score an advanced-low on the ECO and a certain grade on the written grammar test you will receive a diploma from the school which is a great accomplishment.  To receive a masters degree in Spanish from a university in the United States you will have 500 hours of class time but here at our language school at the end of the year you will have over 700 hours of class time.  To spend a year here will get you more than an equivalent of a masters degree in Spanish.  The school also teaches far more detailed and advanced grammer than most language schools, which is why people from all over the world come here to Costa Rica just to learn the language.

It is amazing to see new students come in not knowing any Spanish at all and at the end of the year they walk out of here being able to converse for hours in the streets. 
The spiritual aspect has been outstanding as well.  Language school is a purging of all the added junk that you bring in from the States and God uses it to expose so much weakness and sin but then builds people back up to be more like Christ.  The counseling department is ran by Joel and Krista McCutcheon, who are finishing up their masters degrees in counseling from The Masters College (John MacArthur) in California.  They are in charge of the spiritual health of the campus and not only have they proven to be essential with so many changes that new missionaries go through, but they have made huge impacts in the lives of so many missionaries in the year they are here.  With chapel twice a week, the students are feed the Word of God in English to help rejuvinate them spiritually as their brains overload with Spanish.

Our experience here has far exceeded our expectations and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn Spanish.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Andes

How we long to be in the Andes.  We are so thankful to God that He has brought us and kept us in Costa Rica for language school but we know that this place is temporary.  We have set our path toward Cusco, Peru, high in the Andes to live among the Peruvian people.  We long for the privilege of working with our Peruvian brothers for the advancement of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  How great is our God that He would give us such a great privilege?  We are unworthy of this calling and are humbled before our mighty God who has ordained this from the foundation of the world.  At times we are so overjoyed that we sit in amazement and at other times we sit in fear and trembling because of the task ahead.  We can only trust in Christ to sustain us by the power of His word in the same way that He sustains the universe.  Our dependence on God and His Sovereignty is more real and enlightened now than ever before.  We can do nothing without you Jesus.   Please pray for us brothers, as we travel to Peru in a few weeks to meet with our Peruvian brothers.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Semana Santa in Cartago, Costa Rica

Yep, that is a statue of Mary being carried around
Semana Santa, or Holy Week, in Latin America is celebrated by the Catholic church in a much bigger way than in the US.  Semana Santa is the week before Easter and there are many processions throughout the week to reenact and celebrate Christ and the events leading up to His death and resurrection.  Doesn't sound too bad does it?

Well unfortunately Catholics add to these processions Mary and various dead saints.  People show up by the thousands to watch these processions but most people use the country mandated holiday to escape to the beaches and party.  There is a law in Costa Rica that alcohol can not be purchased on Thursday or Friday, so everyone buys as much alcohol as they can Monday through Wednesday and then they drink it all on Thursday and Friday.  Most people use this holiday as an excuse to party.

Eduardo sharing the gospel with the ruins of an ancient
Church in the background.
We started earlier this week in downtown San Jose.  My friend Brandon is in Costa Rica visiting us so we went downtown and shared the gospel and gave out tracts.  We stopped in a Catholic church so I could show Brandon the many strange and unbiblical traditions that Catholics practice, like burning candles that send prayers upward for a small fee, the many relics that are worshiped, purchasing of indulgences, the mass and the many statues of saints and Mary.  The Catholic church always has a statue of Mary in an exalted position usually holding her helpless baby Jesus.  Jesus is usually a baby or a limp, dead man on a cross.

Mary followed by a Saint
I shared the gospel with 2 people in the church while we were there.  The conversation was all in Spanish, which went surprisingly well.   The girl was convicted but the guy kept insisting that he could pray to Mary.  This a common teaching in Catholicism; Jesus must do what His mother says because He respects and adores her so much, so the people pray for Mary to intercede for them to Jesus.  This is, of course, unbiblical.  There is only one intercessor between man and God and it is Jesus Christ. 

The big procession in Cartago was today (Friday) and a few of us went with one of the Elders from our church to share the biblical gospel by giving out gospel tracts and speaking with people one on one.  We talked to several people and were able to share the gospel with them as well as give out 100's of gospel tracts.  After talking with many people we found out that many people just show up to these processions out of tradition.  Just like we would show up to a 4th of July parade in the States.  For the most part the people were unaffected by what was going on in the procession.  Even some of the actors or drummers were laughing or playing on their cell phones during the procession.  The people have no problem watching this grand procession of Jesus going to the cross and then going home to eat and party with friends and family.  Things are not much different in the States as many professing Catholics spend Saturday at the bar and show up to mass on Sunday morning for traditions sake. 

Overall it was a great day, we were privileged to share the gospel with several people and give out a lot of tracts, not to mention the great fellowship with like-minded brothers.
Killillay handing out gospel tracts