A GROUP OF TEN church members from the Ceneba Church in Alajuela, Costa Rica, decided to do missionary work one day in the streets. The plan was the following: to be near Santa Maria Park and give breakfast to the area homeless who wished to approach them. Thus, every Sunday, these church members carried out the same program, which consisted in the following: 1) they shared praises to the Lord through song; 2) they preached a simple spiritual message for them; and 3) they gave them their anticipated breakfast that consisted of rice and beans, eggs, bananas, and freshwater. Those who were interested were offered free lodging in Hogares Crea, a non-profit institution for the rehabilitation and social reintegration of addicts.
It was through this initiative of the Ceneba church that we met Martha. She was an alcoholic: according to her own words, she drank five bottles of liquor a day. She lived in the streets since she had nowhere to go. She did not eat, only drank. She came for breakfast on Sundays, even though she appeared indifferent to the call of God that was made through the preaching. In fact, Martha mocked a bit the religious contact of the initiative and rejected the idea of participating in a rehabilitation program. However, that was at the beginning. Six months after her first contact with that initiative, Martha arrived one Sabbath at our church, sober, clean, and completely lucid. From that time until now, Martha has been meeting with her Adventist brothers and sisters from Sabbath to Sabbath and she is not the same Martha we met. Jesus is doing great things for her, and it all began with a simple effort of a simple church.
We read in Galatians 6:10: «Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all,» without discrimination, without favoring people, without prejudice, but with love, because there are many people who need a hand, and lending a hand is one sensitive and delicate way to reach people’s hearts. Once we have the friendship and trust of people, we can talk to them about our wonderful Savior. Of course, it is their decision to accept Him or not, but we know how lives change when it is Christ who lives in them. That change is the beginning of living.
«But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?» (1 John 3:17).