Pictured above, Jared Sanchez, a Costa Rican national who is assisting us this week with translation.
On Sunday afternoon, we hosted a celebration worship service in the community of Aloma. This small, working class community of about 500 people is located to the west of Cañas. As part of our service, one of our translators, Jared, shared his testimony. It was very powerful!
When Jared was 13, his mother died from a brain tumor. He and his sister were left alone because their father lived in a different city. He began roaming the streets and ultimately was lured into a street lifestyle. Jared began experimenting with alcohol and cigarettes but he stayed away from drugs. While he says drugs were never a temptation, he found himself surrounded by them. He was angry with God so he went in the opposite direction and sunk into practicing a deep form of Satanism. He practiced voodoo and demon possession, even dabbled in necromancy. Until age 16, this was a very deep part of his life.
At age 16, his father came looking for him and found him on the streets of the capital city, San Jose. His father asked him to come live with him where he could be safe. Jared obliged and moved to Liberia, a city in NW Costa Rica, with his father. After he moved, Jared spoke of a powerful experience in prayer. He was asking God about his mother and why she suffered and ultimately died. How could God do this? Jared said, “I felt the Lord saying, ‘Don’t ask why, ask what for?'” He believes that night, God got his attention and reminded him of His perfect love and salvation, something Jared heard about when he was younger. Shortly after, Jared was asked to provide translation for an American, evangelical group. He joined the group for their stay in Costa Rica and attended church with them. This church experience was powerful as Jared says,
“I didn’t know what my purpose was in the world, but I knew my purpose for God.” God had called Jared out of wandering and doubt and into security in a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.
Jared’s testimony was a powerful moment in our service! It was a great encouragement to me and our team. Pray for Jared as he continues to serve as a translator for teams. Also pray as he completes his college studies in graphic design. Jared is a phenomenal young man and God has fantastic plans for his life!