By now, you´ve probably read our most recent newletter recording the next steps that we will be taking having departed from the States. Knowing our current location, in here in San José, you may have asked, “Why Costa Rica? Why travel thousands of miles past your destination when your calling would seem to take you elsewhere, especially after already having served for three years in Mexico?” As we were deciding whether or not to take this six-week refresher course, I found myself asking the same questions, and here are some of the answers that I arrived at:
Because Costa Rica is the where CINCEL is located.
Quite simply, if as A/G missionaries, we desire to study the Spanish language, CINCEL, the Spanish language institute of Assemblies of God World Missions in Costa Rica is the place to do it. It is the only A/G facility of its kind in all of Latin America. But more than that, the staff faculty and facilities are designed so that we can successfully immerse ourselves into the study and practice of the Spanish language. We are corrected and challenged in ways that we would be unable to attain in another setting, especially in Mexico, where, out of politeness or respect, we might get stuck in bad habits.
Because clear communication is essential to what we do as missionaries.
With a calling to “preach the Word”, we carry a burden to communicate clearly God´s message, calling a people, whose language is not our own, into reconciliation with Him. In order to do this we must dedicate ourselves to a profound study of the language, doing our best to ensure that we do not serve to confuse what God has called us to make clear.
Because competence builds confidence.
As we move out to do God´s work, there is a need to convey with confidence the message that we communicate. If we are more concerned with the language than we are the message, our self-doubt about how we say what we are trying to say may communicate to our listeners an uncertainty about the actual message that we share. An uneasiness about our competence in the language may even tempt us to keep our mouths shut when the need or the Spirit would have us do otherwise. Confidence, therefore, so that we might boldy declare our message can be built as we gain a competence in the language through our studies here.
Because we work better together
In a context like CINCEL, where A/G missionaries gather from all over Latin America, we find incredible opportunities to mix with other missionaries, to exchange our burdens and ideas with one another, and to sharpen one another as we study together. For example, I sat with David Isabelli, a fellow missionary to Mexico, recently during a break in the library. He shared with me insight into several ministry ideas that I had contemplated incorporating when we returned to Mérida. Without this opportunity, I might not have been able to have this interaction.
So as we move through these six weeks in Costa Rica, we’re looking forward to maximizing these benefits, understanding that because of them, we’ll be better missionaries.