Ron and Jeanie Burgin
Campus Crusade for Christ
Latin America and the Caribbean
Greetings from San Jose, Costa Rica!
Greetings from Costa Rica!
Over the months, we have shared about ministry activities and the vision we have for spiritual movements throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. This month I thought I would share a couple of stories from our life in Costa Rica: one about a man at our church who became a Christian this week, and another about a man who is finding a place to serve at Guadalupe Gathering Place. Typically in Campus Crusade, we tell stories of college students, but these men are older, with some tough life stories to tell.
I had met Roy a couple of months ago, but never really talked to him until this past weekend. He was sitting alone in the back of the old movie theater where we meet. He seemed a little older than our usual attender. In fact, he is 51 years old. As we talked, the story became very interesting. Although his English was not great, he had lived in Los Angeles for 25 years. He was very vague about why he came back. I have learned not to ask too many questions about people returning to Latin America after many years in the USA. (It frequently has to do with deportation following an arrest.) Roy is single and now works as a correctional officer in the prison about 20 miles from here. He has an 8 days on, 8 days off schedule, so we see him every other week at church.
As we talked I asked him about his relationship with Christ. He said, “Well, I’m a Catholic”. I told him that many Catholics were Christ-followers as well :) When I asked how he hoped to be received into heaven, he gave the traditional response about good works vs. evil deeds. I shared the Gospel with him and told him that he could be sure of his standing with God not because of what he had or had not done, but rather what Christ had done for him on the cross. He was so excited and prayed with me right then to ask Jesus to be his Savior. He said, “I will never forget this night!”
The second man is Mauricio. He is over forty with a great smile and a desire to serve. In fact, he is anxious to be able to help. Mauricio didn’t speak the first months at the church and indicated that he was mute. He is gifted however, in using puppets to teach stories to children. He came alive when we scheduled him to take the children’s ministry one evening. He brought his puppet stage and puppets and God used him with the kids.
A few weeks later we learned more. Mauricio has a cleft palate. He had surgery as a child to repair the outside, but the palate is still open. He was never able to speak. One Sunday, in a smaller group, he spoke to us. It was very halting and difficult to understand. He shared how God had given him the gift of speech later in life. For him to communicate he needs to know people love him and will be patient to listen, because it is hard both for him and for the hearer.
Mauricio’s story is the same for most of us. We want to be loved and for people to be patient to listen. He lives a very humble life of dependence on God. We are praying for a way for him to not only feel loved, but for him to be able to serve every week.
Whether in the USA or in Latin America, people have hard lives that only Jesus can heal. Will you pray for Roy as he begins his new walk of faith and for Mauricio as he walks day by day with the comfort of His Savior?
For our new grandson, Micah Stephen Burgin, 7 weeks old and growing strong.
For Guadalupe Gathering Place as we share the good news of God’s love and forgiveness.
For our Operations team as we serve our national ministries throughout the continent.
For Jeanie as she prepares for our first ESL classes here at our office building.
For our Operations Leadership Conference later this month in Greece. Leaders from around the world, including five from Latin America (Jeanie, too!) will be meeting to build vision and learn new skills to serve our missionaries on the field.
Thanks for your faithful support! We love and appreciate you
Your missionaries in Latin America,