Last Sunday we went to visit Jacob and Courtenay Folk, another Global Outreach missionary family, in Cartago. We went with two other families also from Global Outreach, Tony and Bev Steele and the Nick and Sara Johnson. We had a great time visiting with the Folks and learning about their ministry here in Costa Rica. It was also nice to get out of the city and see another part of Costa Rica.
We went to church with the group in Cartago and learned about a group of forty children who have been taken away from their homes by the government and are now living with one of the church members in their home. I really enjoyed visiting this little church and meeting a couple of the children. One of them, a boy named Cesar who was mentally disabled, was very kind to jake and me and wanted to show me some of the drawings he made in Sunday school. I was blessed to have the opportunity to meet him and see his excitement over his drawing.Watching the kids marching, or maybe I should say storm, to their Sunday school class made me realize how much I miss seeing the kids in Jacmel. And I thought about how these children had so much in common with those in Jacmel. They all carried a painful story in their hearts at such a young age.
After visiting for a while with the Folks, Courtenay took us downtown Cartago to see the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles. This is actually a catholic church where the worshipers pray to a rock. Literally.
The story behind the rock these people pray to is that long time ago in 1635 a statue was found by an indigenous girl. She brought it home several times, but for some reason she kept on finding it at the original site. The worshipers call this statute, La Negrita and the rock where the little girl found it is now kept in a backroom in the basilica where it is revered as a sacred relic. I heard that people touch the rock in reverence as if it was very sacred.
The people also believe that there is a spring of “holy” water that comes from the basilica. We saw people filling up bottles to take with them from this “spring”. We also saw pregnant women and others splashing water on their bodies hoping for either a miracle or protection. It was very sad to see. My heart truly broke to see these people totally blinded to the truth. Please pray for these people. And above all that Cody is able to learn the language quickly so that we can share Christ with the people.
Here are some pictures of our day:
It was very sad to see these people worship these idols, but what makes my heart even more sad is the thought that sites like this one are so common in Latin America. There are literally thousands of churches, basilicas, and shrines all over the Spanish world where the name of Jesus is not being honored, mentioned, glorified, and exalted. Instead, His name has been replaced by the name of Mary along with a trillion of superstitions. It was overwhelming to see that there are so many people walking blind to the gospel of Jesus and believing lies. I was reminded that the book of Revelation talks about a future time when Satan and his prophet will setup an image and cause many to worship it. It was as if I was watching exactly how it will look when that time comes. On those days, many will be doing exactly what these people were doing on Sunday. The deception will be the same. The false worship to an image will be no different. There is so much work to do in Latin America. Our task to bring the name of Jesus to the nations is not complete. May we be found faithful to fulfill our mission here on this earth. Whatever the cost. Whatever it takes. The harvest is certainly plentiful.–Maria