We took a group of eighteen people to Costa Rica from September 5-12 for a short-term mission trip. They had a busy week! Each morning they travelled to a poor area of the capital of San Jose where they held Vacation Bible School. Instead of using a building, the group simply used a wide dirt pathway that was central to the community. The first day, the group asked a translator where the kids were, and the response was, “Why, their mothers are washing them of course”! Sure enough, one freshly scrubbed, precious child after another showed up. The area is a squatter’s area of makeshift shacks populated mostly by refugees from El Salvador and Nicaragua which are suffering severe economic problems.
In the afternoons after VBS, the Gateway Team had opportunities to visit two orphanages. They also helped support local missionaries by pouring a sidewalk, cleaning, and painting. The team was amazed at a couple who was living their faith out loud by “adopting” numerous children. How many children lived there when we visited? 45! Their ministry is largely supported by more than 50 older children who have grown up, moved out, and started their own families. If you visit, be careful – do not call this an orphanage. They said - it’s a family. The couple truly is Mom and Dad. They are committed to raising each child they take under their wing. Oh, also if you visit, be sure to stop in the separate building where the laundry is done (see pic below). You’ll never frown at yours again.
God is good and God is faithful. It was awesome to see people give their lives to Christ throughout our week. Our team bonded and made lifetime friendships. There is a huge mission field in Costa Rica and I pray seeds were planted. I also pray that God did amazing work in the hearts of our Gateway team and that we all continue to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in our own community now that we are home. Thank you Gateway Church for making it a priority to provide opportunities to send people on short-term mission trips where many lives are transformed and changed by sharing and hearing about our wonderful Savior, Jesus, and what he did on the cross for everyone all around the world.