A Recent SENDAS Graduate Plants New Missions in Costa Rica

One year ago, Alexander Loría Espinoza graduated from SENDAS in the Diploma in Christian Ministry program.   He has been the Pastor of the Barrio San Jose Church of the Nazarene located in Alajuela for three years and two years ago he began evangelistic work in the community of Tres y Tres in the north of Costa Rica.

Pastor Alex and his congregation were burdened for a small community of 500 people in northern Costa Rica called Tres y Tres.  A member of Pastor Alex’s church had a relative that lived there, but the community had no evangelical churches for them to attend.  Although Pastor Alex had only been at the Barrio San Jose church for a little more than a year and his church had many needs, the congregation was in agreement that they would work to plant a new church in this far away community.  They knew that the three-hour distance to Tres y Tres was going to be a challenge, but in January of 2011, the church began the work with the funds raised in a special Christmas offering.

When Pastor Alex and his members started visiting the community, it was difficult work.  The members of the Barrio San Jose church would leave every other Friday afternoon to make the long trip to the community of Tres y Tres.  They would sleep on the floors of homes in the community after the Friday night evangelistic service.  On Saturday, they would teach and disciple the people of the community and return home late Saturday night so they could worship in their own church on Sunday.

The mother church soon learned that other independent churches had come and gone, including one pastor that lived there for one year and suddenly left the community with all the church’s funds.  When Pastor Alex was starting to evangelize house to house in the community, two different households, including the home of a prominent leader of the community, asked Pastor Alex to leave the home when they learned that he was an evangelical pastor.  They wanted nothing to do with the church.

However, God’s love shone through the members of the Barrio San José Church of the Nazarene, and it wasn’t long before they were more and more accepted in the community.  After outgrowing their original meeting place, a member of the new mission offered his much larger home rent-free.  It was during this time that the two households that originally refused to talk to Pastor Alex reconciled with Christ and became members of the mission.

God continued to open hearts and homes. One of the main leaders of the community, Jorge, accepted Christ and then decided to donate his best parcel of land for a new church building.  After another community member learned that the land needed to be cleared, he donated his time and machinery to do the work.  The mission in Tres y Tres now has a regular attendance of over 50 people and will likely become an organized church in 2013.

Since January of 2011, the Church of the Nazarene of Barrio San Jose has invested itself in this new work, and God has grown the missional heart of the congregation.  Pastor Alex estimates that their church has invested more than $4,000 in traveling expenses and materials for the Tres y Tres mission.  The church has become even more united through this work and over thirty different people from his church have traveled to work in the mission.

The Barrio San Jose church is encouraged and wants to continue bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to new communities.  They have recently started a new work in a neighborhood in their city and meet with twenty people weekly.

Pastor Alex has seen the positive results of following God’s command to make disciples, and he continues to be faithful to God’s leading.  He has served as a bi-vocational pastor for the past three years, but has decided that with the Lord’s help, he will resign his job as a bakery owner and become a full time pastor beginning January of 2013. It is his desire to give himself completely to the work of the Lord so that his church may make more and better disciples.

We give thanks to God for Pastors like Alex Loria who are putting into practice what they have learned at SENDAS and even more importantly obeying the command of Jesus to “go and make disciples in the nations.”

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