Not long after fellow MAFer, Regina Manley and I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, we made our way south using the Pan-American Highway with our colleague and driver, Mauricio Sanchez. The four hour drive to the mountainous area of Buenos Aires Puntareneas meant that we would be only two hours away from the Panamanian border. It is in this region where the original or native inhabitants of Costa Rica live to this day.
The Bribris, Cabecars, and Ngobes are three indigenous communities that received the New Testament within the last few years. It was just in 2011, that the Bribris received their own NT translated for the first time in their own heart language.
As Regina and I heard the pastors, evangelists, and missionaries tell us what they did to take part in this workshop, we were astounded. Many who attended reported walking an average of 5 hours by foot to a bus station for a 4 hour bus ride to get to Camp Bethel, our campground and workshop location.
The anticipation of learning more about God's Word was reason enough for these devoted followers to make the long journey. Our purpose for being with the forty participants was to teach them how to memorize Bible stories, make spiritual observations, as well as to look for personal spiritual applications.
One Ngobe man after hearing the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke Chapter 10, began to repent in the presence of his small group friends and asked God for forgiveness for lacking compassion toward his neighbor.
At the conclusion of our time together, a love for the Bible and a commitment to read and share the Word of God was the overwhelming sentiment expressed from the leaders who participated.
Although the sounds of monkeys, bats, and geckos were ever present during our stay, the privilege to teach Bible stories like the Parable of the Mustard Seed & the Parable of the Lost Coin taught me that these stories transcend cultures no matter where you live.
As an eyewitness to this blessed event, I long for the day when I, along with many others, will see the words of the Apostle John, in Revelations 7:9 occur before my very eyes, "After this I looked, and there before me was great multitude no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb."
|Group leaders about to kick off the event|
|Cabecar participants ready to learn|
|Martin, Ngobe leader, is greatly respected among his people|
|Yolanda, was the only female representative from her people group|
|Santos, a pastor in his village, loved sharing his testimony|
|Ngobe, Bribri, and Cabecar men enjoying a coffee break|
|The New Testament for Ngobe Speakers|
|Newly published New Testaments for Bribri Christians|