Greetings from Costa Rica

I’m having a tremendous time with the Casona community in San Jose … So many bright young leaders here. Tomorrow night I’ll head to Fraijanes which was near the epicenter of the recent earthquake. Things there are still bad – I might be able to upload some pictures and share stories in a few days. In the meantime, I’m including a letter from my friend Roy who is a pastor there (after the jump).

Greetings my Brothers and sisters, here I have some news and information of our actual status.
An hour and a half later of the sinister earthquake that shook the whole country we opened our community center as a shelter, where we had more than 280 people, a lot of them come right where the epicenter was, where everything literally got destroyed.
Immediately we assumed the responsibility of giving everything that we are, by doing all we can to relieve the pain of all those people. We serve more than 1,300 plates of food per day; we feed the public force (police) placed in the entire cero zone.
The support we have received from the pastors from ¨Del Camino Network (Red del Camino) has been impressive, there hasn’t been even one of the 96 members that hasn’t called or sent some email, some of them have come and helped or brought food, volunteers, clothes, etc. Honestly I don’t know what I would have done with ought my friends from the Network…
Like you all know, most of the Families from CCS have lost everything, 66 families in total, 43 have lost absolutely everything they owned, and the rest have had to evacuate because it’s not safe for them to stay in their homes. The unemployment, the lack of money, and the whole situation has created an air of uncertainty, and even so they rejoice on seeing how the church has taken care of their own, in community terms.
At the same time I gave myself the task of inviting all the pastors of the affected area so we can have more information on their status, to know more about them and their needs, pray for them and specially to talk about the Kingdom of God and how this immense opportunity means to the church. We prayed, cried and they thanked our gestures because most of them haven’t even received phone calls from their own denominations.
Yesterday our church CCS had our first meeting after the earthquake. 350 people made it and it was something emotive, happy to cry and dream that this zone will be restored.
On another fact we are treating the housing issue in a more direct way with groups from CCS, and others that are trying to help. Today I invaded a meeting early in the morning of some municipal authorities and some powerful bank owners, I begged them to come and see Fraijanes. I showed them some cases and they agreed to help with some of the families. This is not something safe or stable because after all they are politics, but I’m making everything possible to make them see our need.
At the same time we are trying to find resources to built houses for some families in these next days. We want to build a ¨model house¨ to commercialize it for those whom want to host families.
Each of these houses cost around 16 thousand dollars for 50 square meters with all the facilities for a family to live in. besides this, the church has no money left at all to support the employees of the church and the ministries because our main income is the center and it has been in use for the Shelter. Most of the people from the area lost their work so they cant support in any way and this same week i see myself in the possition that i have to fire 20 employees. In order to keep these employees the church needs to make 1,500 dollars per week in order to sustain them.
The steps we are working on right now is cleaning the ruins of the houses, move people to places that are safer, trying to make connections in between authorities and the damaged for coordination on their needs.
This January 31st we are calling a meeting on all the businessmen of this zone to pray for them, a lot of them have been calling for us to pray for their business.
We hope we can sustain the shelter the time needed, pray for resources, CCS is at a very critical red line write now, we haven’t received any money in the last 2 weeks. I have more than 16 workers I have to fire because there is no money left for their salaries, the normal incomes are paralyzed and the center and gym are being used for shelter, but we know that God will use the right instruments to help us.
This is barely just starting for all of us. Construction is going to be an extremely titanic work for all of us, I encourage you to keep praying for me, CCS and for this whole section of Costa Rica, for wisdom and for the right guidance from God so that Jesus can be exalted in between all this.
My brothers we really need your help and support!
I love you and please keep your prayer for us.
Roy Soto.
I hope many of you will go here and send $100 or $1000 or whatever you can afford to help these good people.