Omar Carmona works in Costa Rica as the secretary of church planting for his denomination. Since they began working with Multiplication Network Ministries (MNM) three years ago, they have been dedicated to cultivating the field of ministry in which they work. This year, they are challenging themselves to plant 30-40 churches. They are seeing progress towards this goal even though they have not yet received reports from it. They hope this is the year they can consider it a success.
Omar and other Costa Rican church planters face challenges every day. One of the biggest trials is communication with the church planters. Not every planter has internet access and some do not even have phones. Thankfully, the national bishop has taken initiative by arranging to fund transportation and fuel costs for visiting leaders. This is an important aspect of MNM’s model – sharing costs with our partners to reach more people. MNM is able to strengthen our partners’ ability to track progress in church planting by providing them with complimentary funds to establish or reinforce their field work. They are confident in our processes and encouragement and it trickles down to their own church planters.
Costa Rica has a great need for churches. There are many villages that have no churches, both within the city and in rural areas. Another challenge Omar and other church planters regularly encounter is violence.
“Personally, I am planting a church in a village that they call ‘El Infiernillo,’ or ‘Little Hell.’ It is very violent. It is a community where you see children of 12-14 years using drugs, drinking alcohol. Children of alcoholic or drug-addicted parents often don’t live in a house. The violence is growing and they see the need to rob or beg. Praise God we are planting a church there,” Omar says.
The area is filled with darkness and violence. Through the church plant, work is being done in the community to bring light to that darkness. With the vision of the church plant is a vision of social change. Supplies like food, clothes, notebooks, and more are being brought in to aid the people.
One strategy Omar and the leadership have incorporated is bringing in professionals and teachers to educate the community. Through this work they encourage parents that “if they can succeed, there is hope.” These programs allow Omar and other church planters to minister to the people and develop positive relationships with the community. This opens the door for the church to share the gospel message with them.
Omar recognizes that none of the work they have accomplished would be possible without God’s blessing and the prayers and support of all of you. He asks for continued prayers for more church planters to rise up and accept the call. While they currently have 40 church planters, they have plans to train many more. Omar also requests prayers for the current planters, for perseverance, and for the pastors of the mother churches that they may stand firm in the face of challenges and take charge of the ministry in their communities.