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‘A moveable spiritual feast’ — hold the tamales — in Costa Rica

Costa Rican church members sing a Spanish version of “Cast Your Burdens Unto Jesus” with the children of participants in the Pan American Lectureship in San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Blogging live from San Jose, Costa Rica
“Tamales! Tamales! Tamales!”
The cries of the street vendor came loud and clear through my hotel room window on a gray, drizzly morning — at 5;30 a.m., to be exact.  (Who eats tamales at 5:30? Evidently, the tamale lady wanted to get a jump on the breakfast crowd.)
I’m in this Central American capital for the 48th annual Pan American Lectureship. The coordinators — Dan Coker, Don DeLukie, Jim Frazier and Howard Norton — bill it as “A moveable spiritual feast.”
Every year, church members from the U.S, Latin America and other parts of the globe (my roommate lives in Germany) gather in a Latin American nation for a week of fellowship, Bible lessons, reports from the mission field and a bit of sightseeing. The Jackson Street Church of Christ in Monroe, La., sponsors the event.

Carlos Ulate preaches during Sunday worship at the Pan American Lectureship. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

The lectureship kicked off today with Sunday morning worship in a college gym in San Jose, a metropolitan area of 1.7 million people. (About 4.6 million souls call Costa Rica home.) More than 100 lectureship attendees sang and prayed alongside about 70 Costa Rican church members, representing three congregations.
Carlos Ulate, minister for the Heredia Church of Christ in San Jose, preached during the service.
I got a chance to meet Steven Guerrero, a member of a mission team that planted the Sabanilla Church of Christ. We first reported on the team in 2005. Now the congregation has about 75 members and Guerrero is the final member of the mission team working with the church. The church plans to install elders in the next year.
About 50 Churches of Christ meet in Costa Rica, Guerrero said. None have elders. Evangelism can be difficult in the country, which tends to have a more secular mentality than its Central American neighbors. Guerrero said that there is a need for additional workers and church-planters.
On the long bus ride back from lunch, Guerrero shared with me his personal story of adoption — first by a family of church members who introduced him to God’s word, then by the family of God. Throughout his life, he sees how connecting with certain Christians at certain times helped to establish the Sabanilla church, which is building a new facility and soon will be known as the East Church of Christ.
“God uses a lot of networking to accomplish his will,” Guerrero said.
For 48 years, that’s been a big part of this “moveable spiritual feast,” which continues through Nov. 4.
Tomorrow, I doubt I’ll miss a minute of it, thanks in part to the tamale lady.

Participants in the Pan American Lectureship listen to a communion devotional in San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Filed under: News Extras Travel Reports

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