Operation Mobilization (OM) has a base in San Jose, Costa Rica. This operation has blossomed over recent years, and I have had the privilege of traveling for week long missions there for the last three years.
There are many advantages of traveling to the same place to do mission work year after year. One advantage is seeing the progression that takes place in a year’s time. It is amazing to see the accomplishments that are made, goals that are achieved, and lives that are changed through God and His incredible work in such a short amount of time.
It is also great to see the same people, missionaries and people in the community. There is great joy and encouragement when people return to a work in the mission field and express faithful love to God’s work and the people there.
San Jose is the capitol of Costa Rica. It is a large city, but it is not like any city in the U.S. There is not much financial stability there, and there is a sky-rocketing crime rate, which explains the bars on the windows, doors, around the houses, and the barbed wire over all of the rugged fences that stagger throughout the city. The half-torn roof tops and broken down walls of the stacked-in buildings reflect the poor infrastructure of the city as well.
San Jose sure has its beauty, though. The mountains surround the city and there is always an incredible view in every direction. The mist moves swiftly through the city on a regular basis like it is following a channel. The country itself is beautiful and refreshing.
Alex, the leader of the OM missions, and Pastor Mario, who heads up a large number of churches in San Jose, are working together to start a school for pastors. There are many churches in San Jose, but most of the pastors work full time jobs, and still have no extra expenses or time to get fully educated in God’s Word contextually. As a result, doctrines wane and theologies warp. This program is designed to help educate pastors in a cheap and timely fashion.
There is a mission field outside of San Jose as well. There is a region over the mountain pass and into the depths of the jungle called Talamanca. The ministry in Talamanca is the focal point of OM Costa Rica. My first year to Talamanca was spent knee-deep in mud, contributing to the early stages of construction on OM’s missionary training camp in the center of the region. My most recent trip in June consisted of more evangelistic opportunities and enjoying the comforts of the completed base. OM is now in the process of training missionaries there in Talamanca and hope to send them off to different parts of the world.
There are so many nice people there in the community and it is wonderful to see the familiar faces again each year. Their living conditions, however, are very difficult. The community is extremely poor and is not governed, leaving families fending for themselves for food, water, clothing and shelter. OM is great at taking care of needs in moderation and reaching out to the community. The light of Jesus shines brightly in the darkened places of Talamanca. Returning each year shows our friends of Talamanca that the love of Jesus Christ extends to all the ends of the earth. Indeed, there are dark spirits that roam the territory, welcomed by followers in the region.
There is hope for places like this, however. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In this same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Even so now, I can see such a difference in Talamanca because the faithfulness of OM, bringing Light to the families. The Light will always overcome the dark when the Light shines.
There are places like this all around the world, places that need the touch of someone who knows victory, who knows love, someone who knows Jesus. To experience a culture different than your own, to jump out of your comfort zone and plunge into God’s hands, to serve Him with no restraint, to leave all baggage behind and to totally trust and serve Him for even just a week can change your life, and broaden your world view.
One of the best parts of being in the mission field far from home is worshiping God with brothers and sisters in Christ who do not speak the same language as you do, and are different in culture, yet so close together because of the blood of Jesus. Since I began the missions to Costa Rica, I now pray for others in the world, I have dear friends in scattered places of the world, and I take deep interest in other cultures. Division only remains through the rejection of the Gospel, but unity is achieved no matter what and no matter where, when the gospel is accepted.
There are always a few in the millions waiting for the gospel seed to reach them, so they may be saved. These souls may not know they are waiting, but a child of God should, because the Bible tells us so. The ultimate truth is, whether we are home or afar, people need the gospel. We all fall short of the glory of God, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus, and it is for all who will believe.
Let us broaden our worldview, and together, we will reach the ends of the earth.
Stay encouraged and God bless.
Redman is a 22-year-old youth pastor at Pleasant Grove Church. He is a servant of Christ and loves music and the outdoors.