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  • Writer's pictureNery Duarte

Pastor Jose Solis, Costa Rica

Updated: Jun 20, 2022

"I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse. ― Philip Yancey

I have one week on my stopover in Costa Rica before returning to Ukraine. Assessing damages to my ransacked home has been painful. I also lost items with sentimental value. While trying to put more security in my house, I dropped by to see pastor Jose Solis. My family has been supporting this friend over the last 20 years. On my visit, I discovered that he also suffered a recent robbery. I decided to help, and while helping, I was reminded of their story.

" legalists miss the whole point of the gospel, that it is a gift from God to people who don't deserve it. The solution to sin is not to impose an ever-stricter code of behaviour. It is to know God."― P. Yancey

My family and I were introduced to the Solis family when we moved to the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica. I came across Jose Solis while he worked from a dilapidated home with makeshift woodworking machinery. After my family got to know the Solis family, we decided to support them by helping build up their struggling business. We started providing wood machinery and wood supplies. I helped in the building of a decent shop. However, Jose's professional work was hindered by his lifestyle. In addition, Jose's negative perception of organized religion made it difficult for us to share about faith and eternity. Despite this, Pam and I settled to press on supporting this family.

"Christians get very angry toward other Christians who sin differently than they do."― P. Yancey

In between my travelling, Jose came to ask me for support. It was evident that his disorderly lifestyle was hindering the development of his business and impacting his family. When asked for support, Pam and I decided to continue our support for this family.

"God loves people because of who God is, not because of who we are."― P. Yancey

Because of my busy travelling schedule, which at that time involved doing humanitarian work in Haiti, I lost track of Jose and his family. Fourteen months had passed, and I decided to drop by Jose's home. To my surprise, Jose had become a completely changed man. His demeanour, attitude and even his physical appearance had changed entirely. I promptly asked what had happened to him.

"In a nutshell, the Bible… tells the story of a God reckless with desire to get his family back."― P. Yancey

The response from Jose as to why his life had had such a turnaround was, "You and Pam had accompanied and supported me unconditionally. I started to feel convicted about my lifestyle, and I concluded that there was a God who had not abandoned me. I decided to seek Christianity as an option for the futility of my life. I began praying to an unknown God. I began reading the Bible. I started attending a men's support group with no religious affiliation. I understood that God cares for me deeply despite who I am and how I behave. Faith and purpose began to grow within me. I started to change my lifestyle, including reconciling with my family".

"Christians are not perfect, by any means, but they can be people made fully alive."― P. Yancey

Pastor Solis has self-thought about Christianity, and his compelling testimony helped to become a successful preacher and minister. Jose and his family have become a source of hope and encouragement to hundreds of struggling families. Twenty-one years have passed since we met the Solis family, and many good things have happened to our two families. What amazes me about grace is that all of this has happened without intervention from organized religion…

"God loves people because of who God is, not because of who we are."― P. Yancey

We have no control over the message of grace and redemption. You and I are just blessed to be included…


"I would far rather convey grace than explain it."― P. Yancey

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