My first recollection of Costa Rica was while Dianne and I were members of Temple Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1991 a group from our church took a missions trip to Costa Rica to see Brother Bill Murdoch. While in Costa Rica, Brother Bill took us to visit many parts of the country. One day, he took us to Cartago to see the beautiful and ornate Basílica de Los Ángeles, the center of Catholicism for the country. The one thing that struck my heart the most was seeing a family enter the church, drop to their knees and crawl all the way to the altar to worship a statue. At that moment, God spoke to my heart. Later that evening at devotions, I shared with the others that God wanted me to return to Costa Rica as a missionary.
Dianne and I attended the missionary Candidate School in 1993 and were accepted by BIMI as missionaries to Costa Rica. We then left on deputation to gain support for our ministry. In August 1995, we enrolled in language school in San José, Costa Rica. While in language school, we attended and worked in a local church, Abundant Life Baptist Church, to use and increase our knowledge of Spanish. Upon graduating from language school, we went to San Ramón to oversee a church for a missionary family on furlough. In San Ramón, Dianne and I were able to head up a Vacation Bible School and to start a special "Super Saturday" for the kids. After returning to San José, we then helped another missionary couple with their work in Turrialba. We had to travel two hours by bus to get to services, but it was worth every bumpy ride.
On our furlough we learned that Dianne had CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease). She was in stage 3 at that time. With doctor's care and proper medicine, Dianne would be able to return to Costa Rica. After furlough the Lord led us to Paraiso de Cartago to start a new church. Being that we were only 15 minutes from the Basilica in Cartago, the people were not that receptive to us. However, the Lord blessed the work and the church began to flourish. I preached and taught Bible courses. My wife worked with the children and also had Bible studies with the ladies. While in Paraiso, we also helped in a rescue mission, Cordero de Dios, for drug addicts and alcoholics. I had the privilege of seeing several of these men accept Christ as their personal Savior. One such man was Orlando Romero. He became a very faithful member of our church in Paraiso.
On our second furlough we discovered that Dianne's kidney function had diminished greatly. However, the Lord did give us almost three more years in Paraiso with our people. Then she was told that the medicine was no longer working and that she would have to return to the States to begin dialysis treatments.
As a part of ARM, we will continue with the ministry that we have been a part of for the last several years, ministering to the Latinos at La Iglesia Bautista Gracia (Grace Baptist Church) in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. We will be working with another missionary couple. Dianne is teaching in junior church. I am teaching Sunday school and leading the singing and the Scripture readings. I also will handle the services every other week.
Our hearts will always be in Costa Rica. Even though we may not be able to return to Costa Rica, our love for the Hispanic people will continue to grow no matter where we are. We ask prayer for the health of Dianne that she will receive the call for a kidney soon. Also, continue to pray for our ministry in Ocean Springs. Thank you all so very much for supporting us financially and prayerfully all these years. You will never be forgotten. We love you.