Costa Rica: Going Where It’s Dangerous


Worship at Casa de Adoracion (House of Prayer) in Guadalupe, Costa Rica.

We have four churches in Costa Rica, and they are doing well. There are a lot of evangelical churches in San Jose, and a relatively high percentage of evangelicals. So when I visited there in January, I was encouraged that we weren’t just building one more church in a neighborhood of churches.

Rather than follow the suburban model of planting yourself in a nice community, our churches in San Jose are focusing on some rough, dangerous neighborhoods nobody would go through.

I visited Costa Rica in January, and was joined there by Joe Leighton, pastor of Salem Chapel UB church in Junction City, Ohio.

Cristo Rey, where Pastor Marvin and Aura work, is one of the most violent neighborhoods in San Jose. They’ve been working there for a number of years.

As we worshipped at House of Prayer, crazed drug addicts yelled through the windows. We were there two nights. The second night, the pastor called us about a half hour before the service with a heads-up.

“The neighborhood is really on edge,” he warned. “Be sure to drive your van right up to the door, so you don’t have to walk through the neighborhood.”

As it turned out, the only violence that night was two huge alley cats who actually fell through the roof while I was preaching. I didn’t know what was happening. “What kind of demon-possessed people are they?” I thought. But it was just cats.

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