Maximum Mission: San Jorge de Upala, Costa Rica

Estefanía Amador Navas

Pastor of San Jorge de Upala Church of the Nazarene

District NMI President

Have you heard that when the Church comes together, the Lord is glorified? This is what happened with the San Jorge de Upala Church of the Nazarene in Costa Rica during a three-day Maximum Mission trip.

Nine people participated, including seven from the Poás Church of the Nazarene (Costa Rica) and two from Chicago, IL (United States), and they worked together in construction projects and compassionate ministry to serve the community.

During their time in San Jorge, the team shared the love of God in areas where the church has been actively ministering for the past year and a half.

They conveyed the love of Jesus with the children during a fun-filled Saturday morning activity and in the afternoon held a special women’s event, in which five women came to a church event for the very first time. 88191358_512084799493668_8851939653029199872_n

The second day ended with a movie in the community, in which 45 people from the community were in attendance.  Neighbor Rafael Romero said, “Thank you for the great message you came to give our community.  Keep it up!”

Ariel Gómez, Poás NMI president, said, “The Lord is listening to our prayers.  He has been acting in the midst of our service and is encouraging us to continue. It is wonderful to see God move in this town – it has been one of the best experiences of my life!”

The trip ended with a service of thanksgiving on Sunday, and five new people were a part.  The team and the church believe that God has left a mark on the hearts of the children, youth, and adults, and that the Church will continue to live and grow, to the glory and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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Encuentro Guatemala 2020

 

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ENCUENTRO GUATEMALA 2020

“Serve and experience transformation”

  1. General Description: We seek to offer a two-week missions opportunity in the summer of 2020, where youth from the United States, Canada, and the Mesoamerica Region will minister together, specifically from June 20th to July 4th.

 

  1. Objectives:

General Objective

Expose youth with a missions call to a cross-cultural experience.

Specific Objectives

  1. Provide youth from the Mesoamerica Region a missions opportunity so that they may confirm their call in a cross-cultural missions environment.
  2. Guide participants in responding to God’s call on their lives and allow them to become familiar with several different missions opportunities available in our denomination.
  3. Engage in evangelism using a variety of creative methods.
  4. Minister holistically to the communities of the Central District of Guatemala during the Encuentro event.
  5. Promote volunteer missions trips in our districts and local churches, encouraging the financial support and sending of our own missionaries.

 

  1. Justification: Encuentro Missions provides missions opportunities for any young person with a call. During the past 50 years, EM has facilitated trips to the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Peru, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. More than 250,000 students have participated, which has resulted in more than 2 million children and adults hearing the gospel message through Encuentro events. This year (2020), Encuentro visits Guatemala again, partnering with local Churches of the Nazarene in order to aide in Vacation Bible Schools, church planting, medical clinics, and small-scale construction events, all in the name of impacting the communities where the churches are located. The North Central Field of the Mesoamerica Region has the privilege of hosting Encuentro in Guatemala. We have come alongside the vision of Encuentro Missions and together will show the love and compassion of Jesus, sharing his message to the needy and lost, and provide a cross-cultural missions opportunity for all those youth from our region who testify to a call to ministry.

 

  1. Candidate Selection

Promotion:

Each GM Coordinator in the 5 fields of the region will be in charge of disseminating this information.  The idea is to recruit the highest number of youth possible.

Candidate Requirements

  • Be a member of the Church of the Nazarene
  • Testify to a call to ministry and/or a desire to serve cross-culturally
  • Have participated in a Cross-Cultural Orientation (CCO)
  • Have participated in a missions experience of at least 3 days previously
  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Be a leader in the local church or district
  • Possess an intermediate knowledge of the English language
  • Obtain a letter of recommendation from their pastor

Official Registration

After the candidate has received approval from their pastor, he/she should contact their Field Global Missions Coordinator in order to fill out the Exploring Missions Form online.  Registrations will be accepted through May 2020.

 

  1. Financial Timeline

 

Description

7 Days

14 Days

Food

45

$ 90

Transportation on site

35

$ 70

Housing

70

$ 140

Tourism

30

$ 60

     

Total

$180

$360

 

If you would like to download the complete document with Encuentro information, please click on this link

A Sent People

By: Dr. Verne Ward

Global Missions Director, Church of the Nazarene

Now there were these prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch…. While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, after they had fasted and prayed and placed their hands on them, they sent them off.”
Acts 13:1-3

God’s people are a sent people. God calls each church to preach the gospel to its Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the furthest ends of the earth.

In being sent by God, sometimes the local church sends missionaries to areas beyond the congregation’s immediate reach to fulfill Christ’s words in Acts 1:8.

God calls and the Church sends. It has always been this way. Before there were denominations, local churches sent missionaries. Within individual congregations, there were people who sensed and accepted the Spirit’s call to preach the gospel to places and peoples where the Church was not yet. These local faith bodies anointed, commissioned, and supported these gospel emissaries.

Today, the ancient responsibility for preparing, discipling, and sending missionaries still rests primarily with the local church. Who, besides the local church, is better positioned to walk with them in discipleship as they explore the shape of their call? Where better to provide opportunities to gain critical experience and vital skills for cross-cultural ministry? Where else will experienced leaders mentor them as they grow into spiritually mature Christians? Who will fervently pray for and support them if not those who discipled and sent them?

Over our denomination’s 100-year existence, responsibility for walking that journey with missionaries has shifted from the local church to the global denomination. Yet, a small global or regional team cannot disciple missionaries-in-training as effectively as the local church can—and is called to—do.

To return this responsibility to the local church, we have created the Office of Engagement, a small team within Global Missions, led by Rev. Joyce Tempel. Joyce works with Regional Engagement coordinators, and these teams are tasked with coming alongside and resourcing candidates and the local church as each fulfills God’s call.

As you communicate with local churches, you may have opportunities to answer questions about the church’s role in sending and how Global Missions can help. In Mesoamerica, please contact Scott and Emily Armstrong (sarmstrong@mesonaz.org; earmstrong@mesonaz.org) with your questions or to request resources.
In December, I spent time with Nazarene leaders in Korea, bringing them this message: Missions is the heart of God for the lost! The Church of the Nazarene needs you to accomplish missions.

“This is a message we haven’t heard before from the global church,” they told me. One leader added, “We always saw the USA as the big brother who doesn’t need our help.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Just as the local church meets its pastor’s needs so that the pastor is free to care for the church, local churches and districts around the world sustain Nazarene Global Missions with their support. As a result, we can pioneer where the church is not yet and develop and resource the local church as God’s primary agent of mission in the world.

God calls the whole church to missions, and the local church sustains missions. May we live into this call as we start a new year together in His mission.

 

From the City on to Bigger Things

From the City on to Bigger Things?

By: Scott Armstrong

We are nearing the end of our annual 40-day emphasis on praying for the cities of our region. Have you been a part? Thanks for praying and for mobilizing others to do so too! Did you miss out? No problem: although we suggest congregations and individuals start the year by praying in a focused way for the city, you can do it any time. Our document of the requests isn’t dated, and they can be used all year long.  Just visit our website or head over to our Facebook page for the daily images we have produced.

Every February 9, when we get to the end of the 40 days, I get a little worried.  Will churches forget about our cities the other 325 days of the year? Is urban mission a program that gets focused on for a while and then we move on to other things?

I hope not.

I honestly pray not.

For many years as a missionary I lived and ministered with a passion for the entire world to be saved. I still have that same longing, by the way.  But even up until ten years ago, I did not much think about why cities are important theologically, biblically, and strategically.  It wasn’t until I moved to Panama City, Panama in 2011 and I lived on the 19th floor of a high-rise apartment that I started to understand.  As I looked out each night from the balcony on the thousands of lights and buildings and families that they represented, God began to change my heart.  How many of these people in this enormous city did not know Christ as Lord and Savior?

Around that time our region did some research and found out that the majority of the population of our countries in the Caribbean and Mexico and Central America lived in big cities (think 100,000 or more).  But only 29% of our Nazarenes lived in those same places! We had some work to do.

Now we as a family have dedicated the last ten years to learning about city ministry and immersing ourselves in urban mission.  It’s what we talk about every day.  It’s in our blood.  We have actually started to understand more about God as we have comprehended his redemptive plan for the city.  As Pastor Tim Keller, founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York as well as City to City ministries, says, “It’s true that we must bring the gospel to the city.  But we should also recognize how much the city brings the gospel to us.”

Are you there yet? Or is urban ministry just a 40-Day emphasis for you and your church?

In the days following our 40 Days of Prayer, my prayer for you is that you’d get up and get into the city, and that maybe, just maybe, the city would start to get into you.

 

More Testimonies of Impact: 4×4 All-Terrain

In our last few entries, several youth that were a part of the 10th Anniversary of 4×4 All Terrain a month ago have shared their experiences.  Today we are wrapping up this series with some brief testimonies from four more participants.  We certainly hope they challenge you to pray, serve, and participate in future mission trips like this!

“We noticed the community of Oak Valley was different; they had their own type of needs.  We had been evangelizing in other places, but this time it would be door-to-door, which made me afraid.  I had no idea what the people would be like or how they would react.  But the majority of the people accepted Christ! That surprised me!  I was so excited, but I asked them again if they were certain of their decision to follow Him.  They again said yes, and I know God was speaking to their hearts.” – Abdiel Isaac Rodríguez.

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“The enemy was extremely angry.  During the event we encountered many obstacles like illnesses and bad reports.  At one point the vehicle that we relied on to get from place to place broke down.  However, the Lord gave us the strength and the wisdom to keep moving forward without letting any of that get to us.  He was always there accompanying us.

I invite you to get out of your comfort zone and preach the gospel.  Don’t waste a single opportunity, and above all, when an event like this comes your way, don’t hesitate to participate. It will be a massive blessing, and you will experience indescribable things. My experience in 4×4 changed my way of thinking and seeing the world.  I thank God for that.” – Daniel Alexis Aguayo

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“I could sense God’s Spirit in me, speaking on my behalf.  He used my lips and guided my steps.  Although I had thought I wasn’t spiritual enough to be used in ministry like that, God showed me on more than one occasion that He has control of my life.

Besides, being able to share these experiences with other teens who are my brothers and sisters in Christ is another reason to celebrate.  We aren’t talking about just one or two willing people; I was with so many who constantly responded in love and obedience.  Each one of their lives confirm why I believe in God and why I desire to follow his plan for my life.” – Navith Paolette Ayala Bedolla.

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“I truly invite you to participate in a 4×4.  I thought when I signed up that it was to be a blessing for others, but I never imagined how blessed I would end up being.  God confirmed my call, not necessarily to be a missionary, but it was through ministering to others that he started to deal with me.  I have to wonder: if I had never participated in 4×4, how long would I have gone without realizing what he wants for me? I’m not sure.  I can only thank God for moving in that way.” – Saraí Avelino Castillo.

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What Type of People?

In our previous post, we reported on the 10th Anniversary of 4×4 All-Terrain in Monterrey, Mexico, a missions trip that ended January 1, 2020 and brought significant results.  In the following days we will publish various testimonies from several youth who participated, starting today with Valeria Rodríguez.

My name is Valeria Rodríguez Valdéz and I’m from Monterrey, Mexico.  I’m 14 years old, and it was two years ago that God confirmed my call to missions.

During 4×4, my team and I visited a very needy home and offered to clean it.  We met a young woman (Kelly), 19 years old, who cared for her grandmother (Cristina) that was bedridden: she couldn’t move or even speak.  Evidently, we were a huge support for them – they told us they did not know how to thank us.  What impacted me the most was the moment when we prayed for them.  We could not stop crying as we asked God to heal, protect, and give them strength in the days ahead.  We left there rejoicing, and we did the same thing the next three days.  Seven people ended up accepting Christ in their hearts.

When those three days were finished, we were encouraged, and we could answer the question: What type of people pay their way to go to an unknown place with people they’ve never met, so that they can clean houses? The answer: the type of people that don’t care about anything as much as they care about sharing the Word of God with others.

The very first time we walked the streets of Valle del Roble we realized how needy that neighborhood was.  We had the opportunity to pray for a teen on drugs, for some brothers who had consecrated themselves to death, for a married couple that had been using drugs, and for a father and his sons that had formed a prominent gang in that sector.  We also prayed for the daughter of a Christian woman who had been begging God to send someone to share hope with her daughter since she would not listen to her mom.  Her prayer was answered.  It was wonderful to know that we were the ones God had sent to fulfill that request.

What type of people pay their way to go to an unknown place with people they’ve never met, and offer to meet a stranger’s need? The type of youth that are attentive to the guiding of the Holy Spirit and are interested in those who don’t know the Lord.

After speaking with a police officer that had gone through some bad experiences with Christians, we decided to go house-to-house in that community and ask forgiveness for the bad experiences that they may have had with other Christians.  We realized that people started to react to us differently.  They were more interested in listening and sharing what had happened to them, and we saw a greater response there.  It was an extraordinary and surprising day.  We sensed the Holy Spirit guiding us.  I want to feel that guidance every day of my life.

What type of people pay their way to go to an unknown place with people they’ve never met, in order to ask forgiveness on behalf of hypocritical Christians that have come before? The type of Christians that love sinners as Christ loves them and are willing to humble themselves at any moment so that one person might be reconciled to God.

I want to invite the Church to give a good testimony.  Let’s begin with ourselves, and let’s evangelize right where we are.  Let’s allow the Spirit to guide us wherever we may go.  I exhort you to think of evangelism as a lifestyle.  Everyone without exception is called to share the good news.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before; when God speaks, we must obey.  His Spirit leads us and will give us the words.  Don’t miss a single evangelistic effort of your church anymore.  Be encouraged; God is with us!

 

10th Anniversary of 4×4 All Terrain

The program known as 4×4 All Terrain was designed for youth that, having participated in a Cross-Cultural Orientation (CCO), would be able to have a missions experience and confirm their call to missions during the best time of the year: the last week of December, between Christmas and New Year’s. It is typically a time when families come together to share in harmony, and exchange gifts and warm embraces.  Festive music is essential, much food is eaten, and relatives visit from far-off places.  The earnest desires of love and peace fill the hearts of all involved.  Through the years 4×4 All Terrain has become an event that also brings urban homes hope, peace, love, and salvation through the sharing of Jesus Christ as the best gift that anyone could receive all year long.

From December 26, 2019 to January 1, 2020 we held the 10th Anniversary of 4×4 All Terrain, and it took place in the city of Monterrey, Mexico in support of the missionaries with the Genesis ministry, Daniel and Andrea Santiago.  An extremely talented and great-looking group of 22 teens and young adults from the South, East, West, Northeast, and South Border Districts arrived impassioned to be used by God in the Fomerrey 23 and Oak Valley colonies.  Participants were organized into teams and, after being trained in various ministries, they evangelized house-to-house, held Vacation Bible Schools, prayed for the sick and for families in general, cleaned homes, made friends with community members, and presented Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, which was the greatest need of the people.  After meeting in prayer groups and sharing a Bible story, each person was invited to identify with a character in the story, and during that time many came to know Jesus Christ.  The morning devotionals and the feedback during the debriefing times every night were key in order to consistently get better and minister more intentionally the following day.

We could continue telling much more; however, I’d just like to glorify the Lord God Almighty for his love and protection over this group.  I am also thankful that he has given me the privilege during these ten years to lead many youth in this ministry, and to see them develop and grow in favor with God and men.  In the coming entries, you will read their testimonies of victory.  Let’s keep praying, giving, and going.  Let’s obey His call and participate in his reconciling of the world to Himself.

January, 2020

María Eugenia Rodríguez Urrutia.