Why Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is the oldest and most stable democracy in all of Central America. This makes it a safe place to bring both youth and adults. I've also heard many stories from friends who have traveled there and loved their visit. All of them went for vacation and did the fun stuff, like surfing, jungle trekking and shopping. Maybe on the next trip, I'll focus on those things, but for now, this trip will serve to satisfy something else inside me.
We're heading to San Ramon, a city in the highlands of Costa Rica. It’s located approximately one hour from the capital, San Jose. This region is rich with the beauty of God’s creation and enjoys spring-like temperatures (60’s and 70’s) most of the year. While Costa Rica is a developing third world country, you will still encounter much social, spiritual, and economic poverty.
Costa Ricans or Ticos (as they call themselves) enjoy life and love to laugh. In fact, they have a famous saying, “Pura Vida,” which means “pure life.” However, most Ticos have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Following a mission trip to San Ramon, Costa Rica many years ago, Beach UMC and Faithful Servant Missions deeply felt God's call to make a difference in the lives of the people of Bajo Tejares, a small village outside San Ramon. This community is primarily Nicaraguans who fled political persecution, seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Initially, the Costa Rican government provided for them; now they are considered “outsiders” and a burden for the people of Costa Rica. Abandoned and poor, these people subsist under the worst physical conditions—wooden shacks with dirt floors. The unemployment rate is around 80 percent, with most surviving on day labor, prostitution or drugs.
Faithful Servant Missions has identified three major areas of intervention to break the cycle of poverty: physical, educational and spiritual. The Board of Directors has purchased four acres of land at the entrance to the village, and is in the process of the first building phase: a multipurpose/church building, to be used for worship and learning activities, and a parsonage.
Our Goals For The Trip
• Sponsorship of fifty or more students from Bajo Tejares to attend school
• Tutoring of students
• Collaboration with the local schools to measure the program impact
• Home repairs (floors, showers, etc.)
• Collaboration with government officials on projects in Bajo Tejares
• Daily feeding program for the children in the community
• Multi purpose/church facility for worship and spiritual growth
• Support of a full-time pastor
• All people are loved by God.
• All Christ-followers should pattern their lives after the example of Jesus.
• God’s love is revealed through service to others.
• The best way to lead people to Jesus Christ is to meet their needs.
• Ministry should be culturally relevant.
• Developing creative partnerships to accomplish common goals.
• Through education and spiritual development, lives will be improved.
• Excellence honors God and inspires people.
The organization I have chosen to serve, Faithful Servant Missions, is a Christ-centered organization committed to serving those whom society has forgotten. They seek to improve the physical, educational and spiritual health of those they serve.
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