San Jose, Costa Rica
What an interesting time we are living in during these months of COVID-19. Like many other churches around the world we have been greatly impacted in our attendance due to health concerns and governmental restrictions. However, the Lord has been good to our congregation as we have been able to provide online worship services, have Bible studies online, and serve our local community by providing food to those in need. Over the last month we have begun to have our services in person which has been an encouragement to those longing to participate in corporate worship.
Though it was bit of a challenge at the beginning of the crisis, our online services have proven to be quite a blessing as we waited for government restrictions to loosen. We encouraged our congregation to stay strong in their relationship with the Lord by doing sermon series such as “Abide in Christ: A Study in John 15” and “Spread Love: A Study on the Fruit of the Spirit.” Since many of our expats are from the U.S., we felt it necessary to address some of the racial tensions happening due to the tragic death of George Floyd. As we went through these various series on Sunday, our weekday online Life Groups would dive deeper by discussing the sermon and Bible verses related to the topics. Since all our groups are online, it has been fun to have previous attendees of our congregation join us from around the world as well.
We are also very thankful for the generosity of those in our congregation and outside our church who have financially donated towards the small food bank we created to help our local community. As of now, the unemployment rate in Costa Rica remains at 25%, and there are many in need. Since March, we estimate that we have given more than 1,000 bags of food to help many people suffering from the economic crisis brought on by this pandemic.
Finally, though online viewing remained strong for these past months, we are very thankful to now gather again in person for our Sunday services. As with many churches, our attendance drastically decreased from our pre-COVID numbers, and we face the challenge of building up our Sunday attendance. Since we are unable to provide accommodations for small children or youth until health restrictions change, it has been difficult for us to convince some families to return to our physical services. However, each week more and more new people are trickling in, and we hope within the next few months to begin to have multiple services at our building once again.