Trust in God Alone

Not a beautiful building
like the Catholics, but
The most loving people
found anywhere!
Today’s sermon at Iglesia Biblica was very well presented and in two languages! After the Lord’s Supper (communion) we heard an exposition of Psalm 27 with the closing challenge to memorize the last verse (14): 

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and courageous.
Wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 HCSB

And last night’s devotional in Open Windows was sort of my answer to Psalm 27 & today’s sermon with the first two verses in Psalm 62:

Psalm 62
Trust in God Alone

1 I am at rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from Him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will never be shaken.

My faith is as strong or stronger than it was in the states with a lot less church activity but just as much or more dependence on God. And I am at peace. Tomorrow I will tell you about the latest development with what is left of my family, my son and ex-wife, though I have hesitated to share publicly, I’m feeling led to do so. And regardless what happens next, I live by the above verses and “I will never be shaken.”

And one of the neat things from church today is that the translator between English and Spanish (Both directions, depending on who is preaching each 1st Sunday) is named Zaray, a local school teacher and one of my two Spanish teachers who this week started a new “Intermediate Spanish” class that I’m in with 3 other students. I am a very slow language learner, but it is beginning to “click” and be more fun and I have hope of improving, “poco a poco.”   🙂

Christmas Eve Anniversary! One Year in Costa Rica!

Merry Christmas from my Terrace where I added Poinsettias to a potted palm.
A cell phone selfie.

And the poinsettias, well, they grow in some people’s yards! Year around!
And most of the people are loving and Christ-like year around. Always Christmas!
And I have been here a full year on Christmas Eve!
It is home now! Pura Vida!

AND TONIGHT I DID WHAT I WAS TOO SICK TO DO LAST CHRISTMAS EVE! I went to the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and Lord’s Supper at Iglesia Biblica:

It started with some from the Spanish congregation singing two Christmas Songs in Spanish. Beautiful!
Then with the help of screens, we sang Christmas Carols, most with one verse in English & repeated in Spanish. Nice!
In between the carols the English pastor read portions of the Christmas story from Luke.

We ended with candle-lighting and singing of Silent Night.
Then to fellowship hall for punch and Christmas Cookies plus visiting.
I decided tonight to start attending regularly again, even though I still don’t care for praise bands
or all the Wednesday night Bible studies (too complicated to explain).
But I need the Christian fellowship!

And now that I am home it is noisy with Christmas eve celebrations around town. There are two competing concerts or singers plus fireworks. And last night it was a soccer match celebration. These are partying people here! Any excuse will work for a party!  🙂

I Wish You A Happy Christmas!

“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
‘Maybe Christmas’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store…
Maybe Christmas perhaps… means a little bit more!'”
– Dr. Seuss

Internet Friends, Church, Funeral Procession, Gringo Brunch and Pura Vida!

Funeral Procession in Atenas, Costa Rica

Another eventful morning! Yesterday I was contacted my a couple from Minnesota who are in Atenas for two weeks as a base for exploring. They came across this blog and asked to get together for coffee or a meal and how to get to the church I reported on last Sunday. So we met for the 8 AM service at Iglesia Biblica Atenas and after the all-Spanish worship walked the 7 blocks or so to Kay’s Gringo Postres, where everyone eating there was a gringo. It was a very nice American-style breakfast buffet with great omelets and all the trimmings plus lots of fruit and even a peach cobbler. Yum, yum!

On the way we picked up a group of Americans from Indiana looking for an American-style breakfast and just took them with us. We are all friends here! And it was fun getting a new friend from my blog meaning someone is reading it!  🙂

Two blocks from Kay’s we passed this small funeral procession, my first here.

First sighting of the Funeral Procession in Atenas January 11, 2015.

There were no noisy sirens, hired cops clearing the way, just a family walking behind the hearse (station wagon) with its lights on and flowers on top. Since it was approaching midday, several walked with umbrellas for protection from the heat. Behind them was maybe 5 or 6 cars following with their lights on, of course moving at a walk pace. Along the street locals stop what they are doing in respect to the deceased like we did in the old days in the states. It was solemn and respectful. Another new cultural experience today.

Tomorrow’s adventure is a trip to San Jose to see my local lawyer. I’m splurging and hiring a driver rather than the uncertainty of when the bus would get me there. Next time will be by bus. Pura vida continues in the happiest place on earth in the town with the best weather on earth! I am truly blessed! And then new friends pop up from my blog today! Wow! Pura Vida!

All Day with Church Folk! Wow!

Phone Shot of 10 AM Worship

Mark and Tina let me walk to church with them this morning around 9:30 for the 10 AM service. In the future I will probably go to the early service but this was good on the first Sunday, since every first Sunday the expats get together after church for a potluck lunch.

The worship was all in Spanish with an English interpreter for the sermon which was on submission to God and we had the Lord’s Supper which they call Communion. The praise band and music was similar to what we had at First Baptist Nashville in the alternative service in the chapel, EXCEPT the choruses were all in Spanish and were mostly different songs. My favorite was urging us to swim in the river of God. There were more Ticos than expats which is good! Gringos don’t need to take over! But more expats today because of the potluck lunch. Lunch was at one of the expat’s huge, beautiful house, maybe 15 miles away with a more gorgeous view than our apartments. They love to entertain and we had lunch outside by their pool in a covered outdoor kitchen area called a “rancho” here. After another hour or so of visiting on their big wrap-around veranda, most of the people left. But the four of us whom the host had to drive over stayed until evening when he went out to get pizza and we ate absolutely wonderful pizza around their long dining room table with four of their 6 kids included. Quite a day! We were brought home at about 8 PM.

This week I will try the 6 PM Wednesday expat English service. Then I will determine how much I’m going to be involved. It is a good group for networking and I got some leads on houses closer to the center of town, if I decide to move. One of the lady’s in the late group lives near the center of town.

Whew! I’m tired!

Church Possibilities in Atenas

“Atenas New Community”

About 4 or 5 blocks from my apartment in Atenas is a non-denominational Bible Church Iglesia Biblica Atenas

They have Sunday morning services in Spanish language that I’ll attend.

Iglesia Biblica Atenas

Connected with it is an English-speaking Atenas New Community with Bible Study on Tuesday night and English Language Worship on Wednesday evening in the same building.

Both the Tico church and the English speaking community are somehow affiliated with LifePoint Church in Plano, TX and the English leader, Steve Lucas, was formerly on staff at that Plano church. The auditorium above seems to be used for Spanish on Sunday morning and English on Wednesday night.

40 minutes away in Escazu is the large, English-speaking International Baptist Church if I really get in the mood for a larger North American style Evangelical Church, though I expect to stay close to Atenas at first.

International Baptist Church
Escazu, Costa Rica

Click the links to each church above to see what I have to look forward to. The two in Atenas just have Facebook pages, but IBC has a full website and busy program. Christian fellowship and worship is important to me. I may try others I discover in Atenas.

And oh yes, I have already been invited to the Atenas New Community Christmas Eve service in English if I get in and settled in time. I am to arrive at airport at 2:00 and service is at 5:30 – so we’ll see!   🙂