Seeds That Grow

My word... will not return to Me void. Is. 55:11

From 1980 to 1987 Lydia and I lived in Costa Rica where we taught school at Colegio Metodista and then worked with several different groups: -An English speaking Youth Group; -El Grupo PAS (University Students); -La Vida (a high school Young Life group); -La Comunidad PAS (a church that grew out of El Grupo PAS).

This November I went to Costa Rica for a reunion of the Young Life group. Those students are now in their 40's. I went a week early so I would have time to look up friends and former students and I am happy to report that many of our “disciples” are doing well. I thought of 3 John 4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in truth.” Here is a report on some of our former students and friends:

Mauricio was a high school student at Colegio Tecnico (Vocational High School) and came to our Young Life Club, where he became a Christian. After high school he went to John Brown University on a Sam Walton Scholarship. He returned to Costa Rica (a requirement of the scholarship) and worked for several international companies and just last year took a position with The National Bank of Costa Rica as their Corporate Director of Marketing. He is head of a department with 60 workers. He invited me sing for his team on the 14th floor of Banco Nacional and share the real meaning of Christmas. In all my years of singing, I had never sung to a bunch of bankers (that I can remember). One of the men came up to me afterward and said he had worked at Banco Nacional for 30 years and “I have never seen anything like this.” He was referring my singing, but also to a boss who thought enough of his team to allow them to leave their cubicles for 45 minutes for an entertaining “sermon” in song and word. Mauricio is doing well, financially and spiritually.

Benjamin is a Costa Rican who was part of our English speaking youth group and is now married to one of our “missionary kids.” He has a ministry called “Theos Place.” There are three main groups: University Students, High School students, and Professionals. I visited his professional Bible Study. Two hundred people came on Wednesday night to hear one of their own teach from God's word. This teacher had been a skeptic just one year ago, but the love and persistence of “Theos Place” friends convinced him to go on one of their outreaches to an indigenous Indian tribe, and he saw that not all Christians are hypocrites as he had thought. He became a Christian. Out of Benjamin's three groups there are 40 some home Bible Studies happening! Benjamin and his wife, Debbie, are working in the kingdom, reaching thousands!

Eliezer, Jose Alfredo, Ronald: all from the La Vida group. Eliezer, who came from poverty, is now the head of one of the branch banks of Banco Nacional (Mauricio's bank) and is a leader in La Vida. Jose Alfredo is an electrician and is on the board of La Vida. Ronald was wiped out on drugs when we left Costa Rica in 1987. He came to the Bible Study clubs, but was never real faithful. When I saw him at the hotel where the reunion was, I thought he was the hotel manager. He greeted me and called me by name and I gave him a blank stare. “No me concoces?!” (don't you know me?!). “MACACO! (his nickname)” No, I didn't recognize him. He is now a pastor, husband, father... he no longer has long hair and ragged clothes... He's drug free! God finally became real to Ronald sometime in the years after we left. He said he always knew the Truth, he just couldn't surrender. The seeds that were planted grew without us. Ronald is doing well.

Luis Guillermo is the wildest story. He graduated from Colegio Metodista the year I got there. He was a part of La Comunidad PAS. He is now The President of Costa Rica! He wanted to see me while I was there, but I was just too busy (just kidding! I'm not sure he even remembers me).

There are so many more great stories and memories, and I'm sure there are some sad ones. I suppose the folks who were not doing well didn't feel like coming to the reunion, but I was encouraged and challenged. God is working. His Word will not return void.

“If you sow and don't reap, someone else will reap. Be faithful. If you reap, having not sown, someone else planted the seed. Be humble.” -Steve Wingfield, quoting one of his professors

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John was singing in a country western band at the time of his conversion in 1972. God changed his desire for stardom in Nashville to minitstry.

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