Small Church Has Big Impact

Ripples grow from Florida to Costa Rica and beyond

They prayed regularly for the ministry in Costa Rica and the needs of the local church. One of their own members faithfully pursued a call to full-time missions with ProMETA (an accessible, online Master’s-level theological education program for Spanish-speakers throughout the world).

In 2008, Faith Evangelical Free Church in Spring Hill, Florida, deepened its role. To their regular prayers, they added a prayer for how they might be used to serve the churches and pastors in Costa Rica.

The Lord brought them two ministry contacts in Costa Rica: Jorge, a pastor, and Mauricio, a missionary with a ReachGlobal partner ministry. Jorge and Mauricio brought Faith EFC a vision for Ortega, Guanacaste. In this small rural community in northern Costa Rica, a local pastor was working to build his church body, but he lacked a church building. They asked Faith EFC to help.

A big step for a small church

Asking God to supply the necessary funds, Faith EFC committed to the church building project in Ortega. Pastor Jorge encouraged them to come in July – the best time of year for Costa Ricans to participate in building efforts – dodging the worst of rainy season and the peak of sugar cane season.

Funds came in slowly. With July creeping closer, the Faith EFC missions committee decided to postpone the trip until the following July. The next day, a local foundation in Spring Hill called the missions director – through this foundation, God was providing the full $14,000 required to move forward with the trip that year.

With the money in the bank, a team of seven volunteers prepared for the trip and for the construction of a new church in Ortega, securing building materials in time for their arrival. Mauricio had stressed the need for biblical pastoral training, so the team, accompanied by their pastor, also prepared to deliver a five night Bible study on the Panoramic Plan of God to seven local churches in Guanacaste.

God worked out every detail. The team arrived in Costa Rica with arrangements made and the building materials at the site.

A life-changing work

“We worked all day, mixing cement, laying block and building the church,” shares Frank, Faith EFC Missions Director and team member.” At night, our pastor delivered his study to the local pastors and a few wives. Throughout the week, the work continued, and the Bible study grew bigger and bigger each night.

“By the end of the week, the building was completed, with a wonderful, packed, dedication service. And the Bible study concluded with so many people, still wanting more of God’s word.”

The new church building in Ortega was christened Jehovah Nissi (meaning the Lord our Banner). After seven years of praying, the church body had its building.

“The community kept saying that God had forgotten about them, and He does not see them,” Frank says. “With the finished church standing, the pastor did declare that God, in fact, does see. Many villagers are now attending and being fed God’s Word.”

God doesn’t stop there

The Bible study was so well received in Guanacaste that Mauricio asked the church to create a video version so it could be added to a bigger training curriculum.

ReachGlobal sent a videographer to the church in Florida, and the Faith EFC congregation participated in the five night study as it was videotaped. Afterwards, the study was translated into Spanish, Portuguese and French. Soon it will be available throughout all of Central and South America.

Committed to continuing the relationship in Guanacaste, Faith EFC recently raised funds and helped provide multiple copies of a children’s Bible study (created by a missionary in Bolivia) and 100 Spanish Bibles to the local churches.

What’s next for Faith EFC? The congregation hopes to return to Ortega to build a community center that would serve about 300 local families. As they continue to fundraise and await the necessary resources, they covet your prayers. So does the church in Ortega.

* * * * *

CONNECT

latinamerica@efca.org

SERVE

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PRAY
  • For the church in Ortega — that God would grant growth and spiritual health.
  • For Faith EFC in their endeavors to return to Ortega and assist with the construction of a community center.
  • That the impact of the video Bible study would be far-reaching in Latin America.
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