Costa Rica (MNN) — Five years ago, the Grace Bible
Institute of Costa Rica launched, on a wing and a prayer.
Today, a Great Commission vision seems to be catching on.
Sam Vinton, Executive Director of Grace
Ministries International, says he was just in Costa Rica for a missions
conference. The question the team is
asking today is not: "How will we support this institute," but rather, "How do we, as a church,
begin thinking of praying and starting a faith promise program and then finding
someone from the church who has the desire and willingness to serve?"
Looking outward makes a big difference in growth. A Costa Rican team began going into Nicaragua
to study the feasibility of expanding the ministry into that country. Then, two things happened. First, "One
of the Bible institute graduates presented himself as desiring to serve the
Lord in that type of work."
Second, they began considering a
timeline. "This year, they're accelerating the program. They're going
every six weeks; they have a trip for four or five days. They're trying to keep the move going a lot
faster, making more contacts, starting a Bible studies. They even have Bible
studies on the internet with some of the leaders that they've contacted." The seven subsequent trips planned throughout
2012 will help them work toward the goal of establishing a grace ministry in
As they lay that groundwork, they're hoping that by 2013 or 2014 they'll be ready to
have a team in Nicaragua working as
missionaries from Costa Rica.
Then, something happened to test that timeline. They discovered the Bribri people in Talamanca, a
village located on the southeast border with Panama. The initial foray allowed them to see the
needs. Another trip is planned for this
coming fall. Says Vinton, "That's
another outreach now, trying to get our churches to get involved. There's a
group of 26 going and getting to see
what the possibilities are within their own country, but with an indigenous
tribe that still exists down in the southeast corner." Pray that this project will result in the
Bribri people coming to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Back in Costa Rica, the new church plant in Alajuela just celebrated its first year anniversary. Chuck Befus writes: "We are
really too large a group for our present church rental with at least an average
of 110 each Sunday and growing. We have seen God change the lives of many
people, and there is excitement waiting to see what God will do next. Please
pray with us."
It's hard not to get excited when growth comes easily and
quickly. However, GMI is also carefully
building the foundation for the future. Obstacles are presenting themselves, too. Not everyone has caught on. Vinton says, "My prayer is that the Lord
will use people from Latin America to catch a vision in missions. We are having this thrust of young people
excited, and now we have to get the
churches exited so that they can support these new missionary candidates."