Pray with Costa Rica, July 3, 2022
Lectionary Selection: 2 Kings 5:1-14
Prayers for Costa Rica
- Costa Rica recently elected a new president for the country of Costa Rica along with several members of the governing legislature. Please pray that God directs and gives wisdom to these new government officials in how they govern the Central American country of Costa Rica.
- Costa Rica has done an excellent job of managing Covid-19. Costa Rica’s economy has been greatly affected by Covid and I ask that God guide the people of Costa Rica, now that Covid is under control and things are returning to normal.
Prayers for Universidad Biblica Latinoamericana (UBL):
The following is an update from Elisabeth Cook, the Rector of UBL:
“We will be celebrating the graduation of 9 students in the month of June, five with a Bachelor’s in Theological Studies or Biblical Studies, two with a Licentiate degree, and one Master’s degree. They are from Costa Rica, Peru, and El Salvador. Many are continuing on to upper-level degrees and most are already involved in pastoral ministries or educational roles in their countries. Almost all benefited from the scholarship fund that UBL is able to provide thanks to partner churches and organizations including Global Ministries. We pray for them as they take on their roles in pastoral ministries and continue with higher degrees.
Violence against women is a critical issue in the contexts in which our students work and serve. Pray for women who are facing situations of violence, and for our graduates who are seeking to address this issue. In June, UBL will be offering a special training workshop offering students and graduates tools to prevent and address violence against women.”
Mission Stewardship Moment from Costa Rica
As a Global Ministries Mission Co-Worker, I serve with the Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana (UBL) that is located in San Jose Costa Rica. The Latin American Biblical University (UBL) is a biblical-theological and socio-pastoral higher education institution that continues the ministry of the Latin American Biblical Seminary (SBL), founded in 1923. The work of the UBL is inserted in an experience of almost one hundred years of Christian service in Latin America and the Caribbean.
With the one hundred years of service milestone approaching, UBL will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2023, with festivities beginning in October of 2022. UBL’s mission is to train people committed to the transformation of churches and society, with a university biblical-theological and socio-pastoral education. UBL’s vision is to be an ecumenical and intercultural university with continental scope, pertinent to the needs and challenges of churches and society.
As part of the celebration of the 100 years of service, we at UBL decided to make the hard-bound copies of graduated students’ theses available in digital form. When I began serving as a library volunteer in 2021, the work began to scan, edit, and make these theses available on the internet.
The purpose of this project is to make these theses available to current students for their studies along with the graduates, professors, or anyone else who would be interested in reading these excellent documents. To date, several hundred theses have been scanned and the editing and uploading process continues. Our hope is to have many of them uploaded for the one-hundred-year celebration that begins in the fall of 2022. My main project has been the scanning of these documents. It is tedious work, but the rewards will last long into the future as the school prepares for the next one hundred years.
From the lectionary text of 2 Kings 5:1-14, we learn that Naaman was the commander of the army of the King of Syria. That he was a great man and in high favor and because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. Naaman was a mighty man of valor and he also suffered from leprosy. Yes, Naaman accomplished all of these things while being a leper. Lepers were normally despised and marginalized from society. In spite of his skin disease, Naaman accomplished many things.
Coincidently(?), Naaman learned that he could be cured of his disease should he present himself to the king of Israel. So, Naaman, with the help of others, traveled to Israel with treasures and gifts for the king so that he could be healed of his leprosy. Along with these gifts, Naaman brought his pride and arrogance, not realizing that he needed to be healed of those too.
We learn in verse 9 of 2 Kings chapter 5, that Naaman was eventually healed of his leprosy by following the king of Israel’s advice when: 9 The king told Naaman to go find Elisha, so Naaman showed up at Elisha’s door with his horses and chariots. 10 Elisha did not show his face to Naaman, but instead sent instructions: “Wash yourself in the Jordan River seven times.
Naaman’s pride and arrogance surfaced, he pitched a fit, and we learn in verse 12 of 2 Kings chapter 5, that Naaman was eventually healed of his leprosy by following the advice of his when they said to him: “My father, if the prophet had commanded you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather, then, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean?’”
In verse 14 we learn that Na’aman swallowed his pride, possibly along with some water from the Jordan River, and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
In our present day, what do we need to be healed from as: a person, a people group, a religion, a denomination, and nation? It is fine to take pride in our accomplishments, but when it leads to arrogance like Na’aman’s we are in over our heads. Na’aman was healed by following suggestions from a kidnapped lowly servant girl. Her advice was part of instructions from God which led to Naaman’s healing.
His healing followed a simple recipe. 1. Follow instructions, 2. Work with others, 3. Swallow pride, 4. Discard pride and arrogance, 5. Add river water. Yield: One healed army commander.
Who do we have in our lives who is possibly lowly in status and who has answers for our healing on the personal, local, state, national, and world levels? Is that person an immigrant, a refugee, a laborer, or a person whose social location is less dominant than our own?
Please pray that God reveals to us the areas of our lives that hinder our serving and helping others. The United States is in the midst of turbulent times where our democracy is being threatened which results in ever-deepening division. We need God to cure us of our fear-based diseases of racism, violence, and prejudices that continue to plague our people and nation. These diseases are not a skin disease like skin leprosy. These diseases affect our hearts, minds, souls, words, and actions. Let our actions be actions that heal our lives from the inside out and will affect us, our families, churches, and our nation for generations to come. Amen
Prayer and Mission Moment by Wally Burman
Mission Partners in Costa Rica
- Mi Tía Childcare Center
- Presbyterian Evangelical Church of Costa Rica (IEPC)
- Latin American Biblical University (UBL)
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in Costa Rica
Wally Burman serves with Latin American Biblical University, Costa Rica. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.