The opportunity to teach in the prisons of Costa Rica opened up in March of 1999. Unbelievers began to respond to the Gospel and believers began to take in Bible doctrine, slowly and steadily growing and multiplying in one prison, then another and another. Because face-to-face teaching In the prisons is limited to once each week, positive volition began clamoring for more spiritual food. This demand is being met with publications and doctrines of R.B. Thieme, Jr. and cassettes of Armando's daily Bible classes — all in Spanish and all distributed on a grace basis. Early on students received one tape weekly, but spiritual hunger quickly ratcheted distribution up to four each week. Armando recounts:
Thanks to the faithful, "right face . . . forward march" inculcation of Bible doctrine that I have received over many, many years in the "Valley of Berachah," I have been able to keep pace, though panting at times, with the demand for doctrine. The steady positive volition and enthusiasm for the Word inevitably has spilled over to friends and family in the "free world" resulting in Bible classes in two homes and a park, as well as the exponential growth in the distribution of publications and cassettes.
Methods and Means
Costa Ricans prefer the "written" word; students figuratively devour publications and doctrines in Spanish. Particularly in the prisons, they savor every piece of written material, since they are sometimes limited to only four tapes in their cells. Armando tells about a call he received from a distraught student:
"Prof, I only have 22 of my 39 irrevocable absolutes. I need the other 17."
It took me a minute to realize that he wasn"t questioning Divine provision, but noting a deficiency in his study notes.
Cassette series, currently in progress or completed, include "Después de la Salvación Qué?" (After Salvation, What?), "El Evangelio de Juan" (The Gospel of John) "Romanos" (Romans), "El Plan y Essencia de Dios" (The Plan and Essence of God), "La Barrera" (The Barrier), "El Plan Protocolo de Dios" (The Protocol Plan of God), "Oración" (Prayer) and several Christmas specials.
In addition, both prison and "free world" students who express the desire to prepare to communicate the Gospel and Bible doctrine receive and study Spanish editions of Greek and Hebrew language texts and the Systematic Theology of Lewis Sperry Chafer.
Armando expanded his field of operation into Nicaragua in February 2004. He currently teaches three weeks in Nicaragua and then five weeks in Costa Rica. The Nicaragua endeavor is uniquely different than Costa Rica. There he travels by backpack and teaches in parks rather than prisons. When he arrives in a new town, he finds the central park, ties his whiteboard to a tree, writes a teaser question on the board, and sits down to study. He might write, "Everything has been paid," "Salvation is free," or "Christ bought your freedom, appropriate it!" In contrast to the Costa Ricans, Nicaraguans are very, very curious. When people approach, as they always do, he explains the meaning of what is written on the board, giving a clear, no-nonsense presentation of the Gospel. If there is a positive response through faith alone in Christ alone, he stays a little longer to see if there are more hearers for the Gospel. And if believers express a desire to continue and advance in learning Bible doctrine, Bible classes are initiated in homes or parks. Once there is an established group, Armando supplies them with printed materials and cassettes of his Spanish Bible classes. These groups then become a part of subsequent Nicaraguan itineraries. With each tour they receive face-to-face teaching, and a fresh stock of publications, doctrines, and cassettes. Then he moves on to a new town. Armando says:
So goes the advance—town-by-town, park-by-park, doing what I love best, fulfilling the role of a herald of the King, teaching His infallible Word.
There are many Central Americans who these days have something they did not have before, salvation and Bible doctrine with which to grow—all of which was planned and provided for by God"s grace in eternity past. Members of the Royal Family of God in the client nation, advancing believers in Central America, and Armando have had the opportunity and privilege of being conduits of that grace provision whether through teaching, prayer, giving, translating, or one of the many other invisible support functions.
Indigenous multiplication by Grace? Undoubtedly!
Armando's objective is to transfer, in Spanish, the immeasurable heritage of accurate Bible teaching which he received, to those who are positive to the Word of God in Central America, particularly to those having the spiritual gift(s) of communication who are yet again charged with passing that same heritage with precision.
Contact Armando Garcia directly: firstname.lastname@example.org