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Lives Changed For Eternity…Costa Rica Missions
By Terry Schwartz - August 19, 2005

"We are handicapped in the U. S. We have so much, but on a missions trip all you have is faith," said Dru Teves as he began to talk about the two week Costa Rica Missions trip.

Thirty-eight people from the Rock met up with about 150 people from Calvary Chapel churches throughout the United States. Those from the Rock were divided into a surf team, three drama teams, a medical missions team of about seven nurses, and a construction team.

Salvation via Illness and Surfing

Dru shared that, although it might seem strange, the highlight of the trip for him was when he became ill.

He had a bad fever and lost about 10 pounds. He didn't know if he would be sent home or not, and he could not imagine what would happen if he could not lead his group.

But the Lord revealed His design for Dru during that time. Speaking to people and praying comes easily for Dru, who is the Rock's Junior High pastor. But being all alone, sick, and unable to lead was a revelation of God's grace and providence.

Dru said, "I had to let go and give [the Rock team] into the Lord's hands. They came back with stories of all the things the Lord did and that was good for me and for them."

The surf team worked in Jaco Beach and was able to help a missionary pastor with planting a church. The church will be able to partner up with local Christian surfers to reach that area with the Gospel of Christ.

By the end of the two weeks, Dru was able to give the missionary pastor over 300 names of people who had been saved.

Healing Amid Warfare

Some of the group praying together with the kids at the work site
Some of the group praying together with the kids at the work site

Erica Payne shared that the drama team witnessed a tremendous amount of spiritual warfare and incidences of demon possession.

During one drama team performance, a man came up to the performers and fell down, screaming and having convulsions. The drama team continued as though nothing was happening, and when they finished, the man arose and calmly walked away.

Johnny Martinez said prayer was the key for the drama team. A lot of people watched the dramas without responding, he explained. But after members of the team approached them and prayed with them, the former spectators were in tears. No one refused prayer, and these prayers had a great impact.

Johnny's most memorable moment was when God healed a crippled little girl. Her mother brought her to them and they prayed for her, but as they walked away, God said, "Now go back and really pray!" They returned to the girl and Johnny laid his hands on her legs and as he prayed he felt God's power moving through his hands and healing her.

Johnny shared that although their minds were on the next task, God was saying, "Take care of what I sent you here for, and then think about the next task."

The medical team also had a big impact as they were able to treat hundreds of people in the area and from the Nicaraguan Refugee Camp. The team saw many people saved as the physical and spiritual needs of the people were addressed.

Building Foundations and Staircases to Heaven

The construction team worked on improving homes, reinforcing foundations, building retaining walls, and adding framing.

The construction team also built a staircase that went from the center of the valley in Los Guidos to a bus stop, a squatter's medical clinic and a community center. Before the staircase was built, it was a mud path that was continually being washed out, and as people traversed the hill they would often fall flat on their face in the mud.

Now there are steps. It is amazing how something as simple as steps can impact a community and be a testimony of God's love. The staircase was the highlight of the trip for Erica Payne, she said.

Different Experiences, All Heart-Changing

Just as each team made a different impact, each person on the trip had their own different but relevant revelation from the Lord.

John Darrow, who worked on the construction team, said, "It seemed that things were not really happening as I expected them to. I didn't really get to talk to as many locals as I had hoped because I was doing construction. But during one of the service meetings the theme was 'Let go, let God.' It seems so basic, but it hit me hard. God had opened my eyes. I was serving by building stairs so the kids wouldn't hurt themselves."

John continued, "If someone had told me three to four years ago that I was going to go on this trip and do all these things, I and most of my peers would have agreed that would be crazy and never happen. But it has, and I'm excited and ready for more."

Dru Teves shared that the kids there seemed to have nothing, but still seemed content and happy. "It is a lesson for American Christians; it puts into perspective of how little we really need," said Dru. "We can say 'no' to God so much easier because we have our own agendas. The Lord asks us to do something and we say, 'I'll do that later.' But when we are [on a missions trip] and God says to do this, you say 'okay', because you are more in tune with the Lord's voice."

One of the best things was being able to spend time with the Costa Rica kids
One of the best things was being able to spend time with the Costa Rica kids

Like Dru, Joshua Massieh endured the ravages of a high fever.

"My experience in Costa Rica was short lived, but the things that God taught me will last a lifetime. Fever of 104 plus, vomiting and diarrhea in a foreign country and being sent to a Costa Rican Hospital- nothing can beat that experience." But he added, "Everyone should go on a missions trip. It strengthens you in ways you can only imagine."

Johnny Martinez agreed, saying, "I think it's important that every Christian at sometime in their walk go on a missions trip." He added, "I went for the wrong reason, but God sent me there for right reason."

At the end of the two weeks, Johnny stayed for an additional five days to travel around the country.

He said, "I have a calling here. I feel like God is going to call me back. I think I may go back to minister and to live." In closing Johnny stated, "God gave me new eyes, new eyes and a new heart."

Johnny's encapsulating statement for this experience was, "forever changed."

On A Mission

Dr. Bruce Wilkinson said to a group of short term missionaries going to Russia and the former Soviet bloc, "You think you are going to accomplish great things for Christ. But you are going to find out that God is going to do more in you than through you."

All of those who were on this trip will testify to the truth of that statement.

As Pastor Bob Harrington once said, "Wherever there are lost people, in your family, work, school, neighborhood or the far corners of the globe, it is a mission field. The mission field is all around you."

If you are interested in becoming a part of what God is doing you can contact any of the outreach ministries at the Rock. You can also contact Nick Zadrozny, co-leader of the Rock Missions Ministry at www.bfintl.org. This nonprofit can help you get involved in a short-term or long-term missions project.

Missionaries survive on prayer, and if you cannot go, you can intercede through prayer for God's front line troops.

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Check out some photos from the trip.