Building Houses and Relationships in Costa Rica
Hello and peace be with you! We hope you are doing well. September marks six months in Costa Rica, and so much has happened.
We are settled in and keeping busy. Our days start and end with prayer and are filled with trips to and from school, answering the door, building friendships, having meetings, and moving projects along. Our parish has Mass Saturday nights. Sundays, we drive the rough roads to remote villages to offer prayer services or classes. We speak Spanish daily and wish we could understand more.
PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND SERVING THE POOR
We asked the Holy Spirit to guide our work. He hasn’t let us down. During a retreat, it became clear that God wants us to be ready and willing to respond to whatever He sends us, with our primary focus on journeying with people.
Right away, Sister Gregoria said she wanted to introduce us to some people who needed a new roof. Their house was a dirt floor, rusty tin walls, and a Hefty-bag roof. Our hearts were moved to help Herman, Sara, and their son Gerald. They are a sweet, hard-working couple. Seeing God’s plan unfold is awesome: Sister showed us this need, mission partners sent funds, locals helped, and in a month this family had a home, without a leaky roof, that may have taken them years to save for. In contrast to how we painstakingly pick paint at home, Sara flipped through the samples right to chocolate brown, grass green, and turquoise – 30 seconds, done. Herman helped build the house, then immediately found more work to support his family.
We’ve been able to do a variety of other projects. Many sick people are uninsured, so we’ve run a few to a private clinic 1.5 hours away. One lady didn’t know how to use a seatbelt and thanked us with a live chicken; another didn’t know how to write her name and thanked us with homemade soup. By request from a friend who works at the school and knows which kids need help, we bring shoes or backpacks for poor students. Millie is teaching a baptism class. Nick and Millie lead communion services and pray with homebound people.
The sisters suggested that helping children get their legal documents to live in Costa Rica will make one of the biggest differences in helping the poor; after graduation, they’ll have a diploma, health insurance, a cedula (like a social security number), and can attend university or find a job. The high school principal is eager to collaborate on this endeavor. You’ve heard the saying: Give them a fish and they’ll eat for a day; teach them to fish and they’ll eat for a lifetime. Well, this is like buying them a fishing pole. We’re looking into this opportunity to help these students obtain legal status to give them hope and a brighter future.
The list is long. There is so much need here. If you would like to see for yourselves, we welcome your visit!
It is a blessing to be available to help people in need in Jesus’ name. Costa Rica is a beautiful place, but the plight of the immigrant is harsh. It is easy to befriend the local Ticans in town, but we are primarily here to seek out, befriend, and serve God’s people suffering in the margin.
Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” There is suffering everywhere, but have no anxiety at all!
NEXT PROJECT – HOUSE FOR JOSE
While in Spanish language school in Guatemala, Millie’s teacher introduced us to her neighbor Jose. He’s a bricklayer in his late 20s. At work a year ago, Jose fell from the second story. He’s now paralyzed and unable to walk. His two children are deaf and mute. Before his accident, he started building a house for his family. Now his family is living in one room owned by his brother. We will help him finish his house, including a bedroom to rent out for income, to give him some dignity and hope.
God is so good, we thank Him daily for calling us to serve as foreign missionaries. We also thank Him for our mission partners who make this service possible. May God bless you and your loved ones. Please pray for us and the people we serve.
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