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Costa Rica Campaign

January 12-27, 2001

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It was Bob Grady, a Departmental Director for the Washington Conference, that approached me about holding a Campaign in Costa Rica in conjunction with a group of seniors who would be building a new church. His group, "S.A.G.E. (Seniors in Action for God with Excellence) was but one of 35 groups scheduled to build 35 Maranatha churches and schools in Costa Rica during 2001.

After living in Central America for many years I was interested in participating with such a program. I suggested, however, that I would like to contact the leaders of the Costa Rica Mission and Maranatha Volunteers International regarding a national campaign of which mine would only be one.  The Costa Rica Mission leaders enthusiastically agreed to plan and conduct a Campaign in every organized church and company during 2001.  However, the Campaigns to be held at the locations where a Maranatha was to be built would be scheduled at the time the volunteers were present and building the new facility.  The Maranatha leaders and Board were equally enthusiastic about the idea.  If possible, those Campaigns were to be preached by a guest evangelist who came with the Maranatha team.  But, if a team failed to provide an evangelist, the Costa Rica Mission agreed to provide a speaker.  Of course, there was to be no added expense to Maranatha or its teams for this simultaneous evangelistic initiative.  So, that's how the Costa Rica national campaign was born.

Costa Rica, known as the Switzerland of Central  America, is a beautiful country with a dominant mountain range, and bathed by both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Its capital, San Jose, is located on the fertile high central plateau, located between some dramatic tentatively-dormant volcanoes. It's elevation ensures a year-around springtime climate. Soon after arriving, on a very clear day, the group of guest evangelists drove to the top of Poas (right), the volcano that rises immediately behind the Central American Union's University.
When Anita and I moved to Central America in 1966 we drove through Costa Rica on our way to Panama. On that trip we saw a full-size cart (like the one at the left), pulled by a pair of oxen, and loaded with manure!  Yes, the one we saw was as beautifully decorated as the model pictured here (left).
The craftsmanship and artistic decoration (right) made smaller versions of these carts an attraction to the tourists. So one day we drove to the nearby village of Sarchí where these are made so the visiting evangelists could see the work in progress.
We are presenting, in fact, two reports. The first is about the five evangelistic Campaigns conducted by guest evangelists and the other report is of the construction by SAGE of the new church for the congregation of "La Esperanza."  Since the Campaign began three days before the construction got under way the first part of this report will be the evangelistic phase.

Four laymen, two women and two men, from the United States accepted my invitation to try their hand at public evangelism. They each had some experience preaching in their home churches but only one had ever tried evangelistic preaching. In anticipation of the Campaigns a) laymen and women in Costa Rica did excellent personal evangelistic work preparing individuals whom they invited to the meetings; b) each of these guest evangelists received a set of sermon notes, that showed them what points should be made with each picture that would be on the screen, along with PowerPoint presentations (slides) in Spanish that matched the English version in their notes.  They each preached with a translator but the words on the pictures the attendees saw were in Spanish.


Ellie Green (below), was the evangelist in this team.  But her husband, Bunky, a retired NASA engineer, was her cheering section and moral support.  Ellie, a gifted and dynamic speaker, had previously held a Campaign in Charlotte, North Carolina but she was anxious to try international evangelism.

Though Costa Rica is not accustomed to women preachers, they quickly warmed up to and accepted Ellie with open hearts.  Soon their attention shifted to the message of God's love she was delivering and away from the messenger. The Lord blessed her ministry in the Hatillo church in San José and at the close of the Campaign already 95 precious souls had been baptized and 4 more joined on profession of faith.  She and Bunky have decided to go with me to Kenya in March of 2002 and hold a Campaign there.


Sheryl Juhl (right below) has been an Adventist for only a year and a half or so.  For some time she served as an Associate Pastor in the Nazarene Church.  After the death of her husband she put her nursing profession to good use and currently serves as a consultant and educational speaker for Johnson and Johnson. She and a friend, Bev Schickling (left), who became an Adventist at the same time, also responded to our invitation to preach an evangelistic series.  Her Campaign was done with the support of the members of the church in Moravia (a suburb of San José) but was held in a theater in the town of Coronado in order to establish a new congregation in this very difficult and consequently previously unentered area.  The Lord also blessed their ministry and as of the last information I've received about 50 new souls have already been baptized and a new congregation is now meeting there.


Marvin and Wendy Mosher own a roofing contracting business in Concord, North Carolina.  Though they have been very active in personal soul-winning for many years Marvin had never preached his own evangelistic Campaign.  When they heard of this opportunity the Holy Spirit touched their hearts and they contacted me and decided to accept the invitation.  Marvin then contacted his brother, Gilbert, who decided to join the team and preach his own Campaign.  Elder Gary Gregory, a very good friend of mine for thirty years, translated for Marvin in the church in Heredia.  And the Lord blessed them as well with a similar amount of baptisms.


Gilbert Mosher is normally spends far more time behind the wheel of a large, 18-wheel freight truck hauling loads long distances to every corner of the United States than he does behind the pulpit.  Though he has done some preaching in his home church in Muskegon, Michigan, yet preaching this much and doing so through a translator was enough to cause him a little nervousness.  Yet night by night he opened the Word and preached it with power to the members of the "Dimension Profética" church -- named after the Kenneth Cox Campaign which led to its establishment in the late 1970s. The latest word I have is that almost 50 new believers were baptized at the close of Gilbert's Campaign.


I held my Campaign in the church on the campus of the Central American Union's University (below).


Elder George Reed (on the left in the right-hand picture below), pastor of the university church, and a successful evangelist for many years, worked with the senior theology students to develop Bible studies among those living in the previously unentered nearby town of "San Pedro de Poas." Under the supervision of Elder Reed, the students regularly visited these new interests and many of the 100+- who were baptized during the Campaign came from this town and are the heart of the new company that is meeting there.

Pastor Ivan Montenegro (on the right in the same picture) is pastor of the congregation called "La Esperanza" which met literally in a "tin shack" at the very back corner of the university campus. This company was one of the congregations in his district and it was the place where SAGE was putting up a new church building.


Jerry and Sharon Jones (left, below), who pastor a church in the Seattle, Washington area, were part of the SAGE team and worked every day on the construction project.  However, in addition to this. Sharon contributed her beautiful soprano voice to the musical program almost every night.

"Radio Lira" (right, below), the FM station located on the university campus, broadcast the program each night to almost the entire country of Costa Rica.  Having been involved in the founding of this station I was so happy to see it continuing to operate successfully after all these years and playing an instrumental role in the life of the church.


This (left, below) was the church home for the congregation of "La Esperanza" before SAGE arrived. And these (right, below) were the Sabbath School rooms!  No wonder the members were thrilled at the arrival of SAGE.


Bob Grady (in cap, facing camera) was able to lead the SAGE group only through an answer to many prayers. He had been seriously ill for many months including a lengthy hospitalization. Though in a great deal of pain he was able to come to Costa Rica. Charlie Hinkelman (extreme right) was the construction manager for this project -- which was his 40th Maranatha construction project.

When the SAGE group arrived on Sunday evening the foundation was poured and the steel beams were up. By Tuesday noon the walls were already up.


By the first weekend the walls were completed, the roof was on, and the plastering was ready to go on.  Meanwhile, the SAGE kitchen team was working its miracle of preparing delicious food, in borrowed quarters, for almost 50 people, three times a day.


Sunday of the second week the "tin shack" came down, the concrete floor and sidewalk were broken up with sledge hammers and hauled away -- by hand!  Meanwhile inside, paint was going on the plaster, Bob Grady was installing carpeting on the platform, and water was going in the baptistery.
SAGE is committed to fully completing every church it starts. This means new benches, platform furniture, paint inside and out, lettering and logo on the outside of the church, as well as landscaping all around!  And on Friday afternoon, with several hours to spare, the job was complete ready for the dedication on the final Sabbath.


The final Sabbath was a BIG day!  Buses from all the churches in the central plateau started arriving at the university church at 8:00 a.m., in time for an early Sabbath School.  "Radio Lira" set up a remote operation at the entrance to the church (right below). Two portable baptisteries were set up outside the church on Friday.  Together they were big enough to baptize ten people simultaneously.  Video cameras were set up at the baptisteries and in the main sanctuary so the program could be transmitted by closed-circuit TV to the overflow crowds in the gymnasium and college auditorium making it possible for an instant transition from the worship service to the baptism without waiting for thousands to move outside.


I was invited to join the university Glee Club for a special number and then, after the shortest message I've ever delivered, we went right into the baptism.  By 11:20 all 150+- candidates had been baptized.  Both Marvin and Gilbert Mosher (below right), as ordained local elders, were invited by the Mission President to participate in the baptism.


Early Sabbath afternoon many gathered at the new "La Esperanza" Church for the dedication program.  The SAGE team were present in their matching shirts for the celebration.  

The formal ribbon cutting (below) was followed by a service of thanksgiving to God and to SAGE for making this dream come true.  Mission President, Eugenio Vallejos, gave the message.


On behalf of SAGE Elder Grady (left, below) accepted the statements of appreciation from the congregation, and the I had the privilege of "breaking in" the new baptistery with a baptism of six new members.


And then all the guest evangelists returned to their congregations for the concluding message that evening.  After seeing old friends and making new ones it was hard to leave for home on Sunday.  But, duty called and the deadlines were fast approaching for the Campaigns in Ghana and Venezuela.


I asked each of the guest evangelists to send me a note with their impressions.  Here's what they sent me.
Ellie Green wrote:  

Dear Bob:

For over half a century I've listened to, read, and envied the exciting mission stories of our world church. Even though I've conducted an evangelistic Campaign in my home church, my dream of preaching the gospel in a far-off land and thrilling to decisions made for Jesus Christ lingered. I did not believe there would ever be an opportunity for a lay-person, woman, and grandmother to fulfill such an impossible dream! But, I serve the God of the impossible!

Thanks to Carolina Global Missions, under the direction of Robert Folkenberg, I've just had my dream come true--and it was everything that I'd hoped it would be and I'm 'hooked" forever! I'm already "signed up" to go on another Campaign planned for Kenya, Africa in March of 2002.

I've just completed a 15-day evangelistic Campaign in the Hatillo Church in San Jose, Costa Rica. The church members were wonderful--once they overcame the shock of having a woman preach--and we maintained a nightly attendance of  275-350 with well over 400 on the weekends with standing room only.

Each night before my sermon, my husband, retired from NASA, gave 10-minute astronomy picture/lectures with emphasis on the reliability of God and His Word. 

I preached a total of 19 sermons in English with Pastor Earnal Scott as my Spanish-speaking interpreter. The response was overwhelming. At the end of the Campaign we baptized 95 people with 4 joining on profession of faith.  Well over 60 percent of those baptisms were people who had no prior contact with the Seventh-day Adventist church. They attended as the result of radio, "flyer," and word-of-mouth advertisements.

Having many of the people request that I, personally, baptize them was the  ultimate highlight of my trip. As an ordained elder, and with Pastor Scott's blessing, I joyfully performed this sacred rite. I had no way of knowing that I was making Adventist Costa Rica history as the first woman to ever baptize in that country. I was simply responding to the Holy Spirit. When one gentleman, a lawyer in the San Jose Ministry Department, came up out of the baptismal water he shouted, "Halleluiah, praise the Lord, thank you, thank you." He then turned, dripping wet, and grabbed me in a hug that lifted me off my feet in the water and I thought I was going to receive a dunking before the entire congregation--to say nothing of my worry about possible bodily exposure from the floating robe I was wearing!

The last night of the Campaign the church leaders presented us with numerous gifts and over 400 people lined up to give my husband and I thank-you letters, gifts, hugs and tears of good-bye. All of the church leaders then took us outside of San Jose to an authentic Costa Rica restaurant where they celebrated with speeches and cheers for the wonderful Campaign.

But it wasn't just the wonderful kindness of the church members that thrilled us. I wish you could have seen the reaction of the audience to our Seventh-day Adventist message. To say they were thrilled and excited is an understatement. They embraced the state of the dead, the 2300-day prophecy as well as Revelation 12 and the Spirit of Prophecy in the remnant church as the best news they'd ever heard. The night following the sermon on the Sabbath as God's holy day, the audience increased by about 50 people! 

This experience has reinforced my belief that we are living at the very end of time because this gospel is being preached with power to everyone on the face of this earth! It is happening before our very eyes. I praise God that I was able to be a small part of His closing work. You, too, can participate either by preaching or by serving in a supporting role to the speaker. We learned that where there were two of us--one preaching the message and the other mingling with the people--the Campaign had better results. Consider participating in a Campaign in the world arena either as a support person or as a speaker--the results are out of this world!! Ellie Green5648 AT


Marvin and Wendy Mosher wrote:

Dear Bob,

The experience Wendy and I have had while in Costa Rica is not difficult to put in words. Doing the Lord's work with people who are serious about getting the message to every body, has added a whole new dimension to our religious experience. There is excitement and zeal in the churches and the pastors. We saw and felt a wonderful bond with our Christian brothers and sisters across the borders. We had the privilege of  witnessing numerous conversions. We were amazed with the beautiful country of Costa Rica, enjoyed rolling coffee fields, soaring mountains, lush foliage. We even hiked to Poas The Volcano. WE SHOPPED, TOO!!! The Adventist University students worked along with the campaign. 

The students show compassion and desire to do the work. The warmth of the church members welcomed each of us in to their country and their church. We enjoyed spiritual music presented by people with rich voices. We were asked to pray with people and to stay in touch after leaving. People reached out to us.  We feel like we got acquainted with the true meaning of Matthew 28:19 and 20. This has been an experience we shall not forget. 

Your friends in Christ

Marvin and Wendy


Sheryl Juhl and Bev Schickling wrote:

Dear Bob,

Never in our lives have we participated in such a magnificent adventure for the Lord. We would not have missed this wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord and to see all the precious souls who were won to Christ. One can never imagine the thrill on Sabbath when so many souls were baptized at one time and also to see the members of our church family here who gathered to give the new converts their support. It was an awesome sight. The people of Costa Rica are absolutely wonderful. They are friendly and loving and seem to enjoy life. We had a fun time trying to exchange ideas in Spanish and English. We praise God that we answered the call to serve here at the meetings for two weeks. Truly our hearts and minds have been blessed and we will never be the same. Our love to you all.
In His Service. 

Sheryl Juhl and Bev Schickling


Gilbert Mosher wrote:

Dear Pastor Bob

What a wonderful experience it was to spread Gods message in Costa Rica. I prayed that the people I spoke to would give their hearts to Jesus and come close to him. This certainly happened but I think in my experience doing this that I received a much greater blessing. It has brought me to a closer walk with God. The church members of Costa Rica were very loving and hard working to make this a success with Gods help. We prayed for the Holy Spirit to direct us, be with us, and I am sure that our prayers were answered. If it were possible I would join you in every project. I would 
recommend this type of soul winning to all. The blessings far exceed anything  I ever thought could happen. Thank you for giving me the chance to do the Costa Rica project.

Your friend,


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