Costa Rica update! Plenty to read and see of what The Lord did! †

 

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As you know, myself and the Rock Harbor Youth leaders and youth just got back from our 9 day trip to Liberia, Costa Rica. And what a blessing it was. For many of these kids this was their first mission trip.
Two years ago a Jamie, a Calvary Chapel Pastor from Virginia and his family felt called to Liberia. Originally from New York this move, especially for their two young children would be life changing, and challenging.
Not knowing what they would find, they packed up all they had, landed in Liberia, found a place to stay and began to reach out to the locals.
What they were greeted with, was lots of religion (booo), but no relationship.
Plenty of locals with smiles on their faces, living as if having it together, while behind the scenes was a society of broken homes that was rampant with substance abuse, prostitution, molestation, and suicide.
Where would they turn? Why were they there?
As they began to faithfully preach Gods Word, and step out into the local marketplaces, places of meetings and even skate parks, soon a handful of locals were engaging.
Without knowing Jamie, but his being a skateboarder many years earlier, he had felt led to invite me over in July of 2015, so we could put on some events, reach out and invite people to the church services. 
8 months later as we returned, it was amazing to see these same locals, fully invested in the local church, eager to serve the community, and able to connect with our crew for the 9 days, as bonds were made and Jesus was lifted up.

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The first day we headed out to the local schools. Myself and some local skaters, with skateboards in hand, ready to put on a demo, while others of us had soccer balls, face paints, and other ways to connect with the kids.
We skated, shared, others painted flowers, mustaches and glasses upon the kids faces. Soon we were bombarded by 6 to 15 year olds who wanted nothing more than to chase us all over and beat us “gringos” at soccer. Don’y worry, though they had 25 groms per side to our 5 or six, using our size we tackled them and our soccer match soon turned into an all our wrestle fest, even with some jiu-jitsu thrown in. And they loved it!
At the end of the day though, our focus was simple. As much as we can do for anyone in one day, or even a lifetime for that matter, we understand that it is only Jesus Christ who can change lives for all eternity. We loved them as best we could, we engaged them as best we could, but it was the sharing of The Gospel that was most significant each and every day.

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Many people believe Jesus spent long lengths of time getting to know people, but we don’t see that in scripture. While He did relate, and meet people were they were, He pointed to the reality that all people need to “repent”(Matt 3:1, Matt 4:17, Acts 2:38, Acts 17:30),  escape Gods judgement, as we are already “condemned” (John 3:18),  so we can be forgiven, which is only possible in Christ.
He did say “I am The Way The Truth and The Life” and that “no one comes to The Father but by Me.” 
Our days were made up of more schools, demos, handing our cards, visiting the local Old persons homes, and even skate outreaches.

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As we sat and shared with these kids, the schools gave us as much time as needed, which was necessary for translation. (And I don’t mean just because of the way I sound.)

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We did make a point of inviting people down for prayer at the end of every time we presented The Gospel. While many question this point today, and I agree, it is dangerous to “bait and switch” people if they do not know what The Gospel truly is, please be assured, this is not the case. I often hear push back that we simply share The Word, and that we don’t truly know who responds and who doesn’t, who is in Christ, and who isn’t. While this is true, I have to look to the pages of scripture for myself, and see that “3000 were added” (Acts 2:41),  once Peter told them to “repent”. Does this mean they raised hands, they went down to an altar, or that God is simply letting us know? At the end of the day, the purpose of an Evangelist is to share The Truth, point to Jesus, and believe that as God saves His sheep they will continue to get discipled at the local church. We can just as much believe people are in Christ because they sit around quoting scripture, or have record church attendance, but truth be told it is Jesus who is “the author and finisher” (Heb 12:2) of our faith, and The One Who said “all that the Father gives Me, will come to Me, and I will lose none.” (John 6:37). 

The same people you see in the photos with us, traveling around, are some of those who responded to the Gospel presentation last time.
And based on the “Parable of the seed” only 1 in 4 truly remain anyway. My point? Share, lift Him up, connect with people, get them into church, and community, as we only “know in part”. 

 

Did I mention that Costa Rica also has the best surf vans ever? Well they do, and you can sit on them, hang out in them, get out and clean up trash at the local park, even escort everyone to the local skate event in them.
We also made it to a mini city, outside of town, one that is built upon the old city dump. Through your donations we were able to give out school supplies, lego’s for the age of 3 and under, stuffed toys, plasticine, and soccer balls.
For just a few hundred dollars you can stock the whole town for a semester of school.
E-mail me if you want to help them direct!

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As the days rolled on and we tried our best at speaking spanish, or the locals like Rhumba, Kevin, the other Kevin, Fanny, Ronny, Kevin, Jordy, Christian, the other Christian, Gato, Michelle, Chami and more tried to speak english, it was evident that a new family was being forged. Each day while we would ride the bus for 20 mins to an hour, each person was encouraged to share their testimony, of howChrist had changed them. Here is Kyle sharing, while Paula translates, and Rhumba and Christian read on. What was amazing to hear, was that these kids, though they grew up in the same rough neighborhoods, have known each other a life time, for the first time more often than not were hearing of their childhood struggles, or adult challenges as they shared the truths of what God has done in their lives this past year.
Not a day went by where tears of joy were not shed, and bonds were built all the more.

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If you are still here, and enjoying this mini novel, then Itruly did save the best for last. Many times we are told to write 15 minute updates as no one has the time to read anything anymore, but I cannot think of anything more we as believers would want to do with our time than pause and be grateful for the work that God is doing.
The day before we left, after church service, we headed to the beach where 6 people had chosen to get baptized. The pictures below tell of our drive, time of worship, testimonies, prayers, baptisms, heavens rejoicing, and especially great fellowship.
Yes, that is Jamie’s son Noah, getting baptised, just like his brother in Christ Rhumba did on the same day. It was an honor as a Dad to see Dakota stop Noah to encourage, and hug him, walking his own path towards friendships.
Thank you Jesus †

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What an amazing week, what a blessing to both myself, our youth, and the family we now have over in Liberia. As if this trip was not already encouraging enough, before our flight took off on tuesday, we stopped into an old persons home for songs, bingo, and down time.

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Thank you for your interest and continued support.
We are already planning to go back in November of this year.For myself I am constantly updating my calender and week with places to travel, speak, share, and serve. Please stay updated with our calender in case we are near you or you would like to get involved.

Please know all of this is possible only because of your prayers, and financial support.

As has been stated, the book sales, product sales and funds raised all go towards my using my time and my families time for The Kingdom.

If you would like to know more please visit https://www.briansumner.net/support/ for more.

For those of you who gave towards and made this trip possible, thank you for doing so, and please know, that you deposited into your heavenly account, and eternal inheritance, even as Jesus Himself said. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:19-21)

You are a blessing, and have changed lives forever.

Heading out to night service. See you there.

Be praying for Costa Rica, and please send me any prayer requests or updates.

Brian!

 

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