It wasn’t the first time Felipe had heard the message of the Gospel. Numerous Christian missionary groups had visited Los Plancitos, a remote Guaymí village in Costa Rica. But instead of hearing a message of hope, Felipe heard one of condemnation.
The Guaymí (also called the Ngöbe) tribe lives largely secluded from modern society. A quiet and rural people, they are one of the oldest indigenous groups in Central America, and still preserve their distinct and rich culture as they have for centuries.
Part of this culture, is the belief that when a couple lives together it is as binding as a signed marriage license — something the visiting missionaries could not understand.
Hearing the Gospel
But when Missions Door missionary Marvin Cabrera showed up in Los Plancitos, instead of telling Felipe that he needed to abandon this practice and adopt a traditional marriage structure, he first shared the Gospel with him. This impacted Felipe because he was expecting to hear more of the same. Instead he heard about the saving grace of Jesus Christ and that God loved him just as he was.
For the next year, Marvin and Felipe studied the Bible together, and for the first time Felipe felt loved and respected. And by the end of the year, Felipe accepted Christ and returned to his home village of Altos de Rio Claro to evangelize and start a church.
Today 25 villagers meet every Sunday to worship and study God’s Word together.
“We had trouble reaching the community of 40 people where Felipe was,” said Marvin. “But because one leader came to Christ, he was able to reach his entire village and beyond.”
Worshiping the Lord Together
Marvin has continued to serve the Guaymí people in Altamira, sharing the good news of Christ by developing social programs and helping to build a new church.
In July 2015, the sound of hammers and lively chatter filled the air as a work team from Iglesia Real in Aurora, Colorado worked alongside Marvin and the Guaymí believers to help with their church building.
Smiles filled their faces as they watched the dirt floor being covered with concrete, and the once-rotting benches being replaced by comfortable seating. What used to be an empty shed was being transformed into a building where they could worship the Lord together.
Continuing Ministry to the Guaymí Tribe
Marvin’s dreams don’t stop at the church building.
The Guaymí villages are so remote, that they don’t have high schools for the children, making it difficult for them to further their education.
Marvin is in the process of purchasing land where they can build housing where Guaymí teenagers can live, so they can finish high school and learn how to better support themselves and their families.
Your support of Marvin and his ministry will continue to extend bible teaching and evangelism in Costa Rica and the Guaymí community.