Pictured above: 170 bags of dry goods, cleaning supplies and other necessities were given to families in need.
COSTA RICA–When the 14 high school students on a mission team from Pensacola’s Olive Baptist Church discovered that their on-the-ground translator and navigational guide in Costa Rica would be unable to be a part of the team, they also discovered that God already had a plan in place.
Of the six parents and grandparents on the trip, four were fluent in Spanish, with one of the parents having been born and raised in Costa Rica.
“Our team was asked to step up and step in,” said Chris Reeser, Olive’s high school minister.
Olive has sent several mission teams to work in Costa Rica with One More Child, a Florida Baptist cooperating ministry that serves vulnerable children and struggling families, but this was a first trip for the youth to the Central American country.
“We served; we sang; we sponsored,” said Reeser.
Although Costa Rica is a well-developed nation in Central America, many residents remain in poverty physically and spiritually. One More Child works with local churches there to provide food, health training and parenting skills with these residents and also to share the gospel with children who are sponsored through the organization.
Upon arrival, the team from Olive spent time at Casa Transforma, which helps impoverished women learn skills to provide for themselves and their children. The youth ministered physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually to nearly 100 refugees in a nearby park by taking time to walk and talk, make crafts, laugh, pray and share Scripture with those they met.
Throughout the five-day trip, the mission team worked hard to prepare for a future storage unit by breaking blocks, general clean up and moving dirt. They went out into the community visiting homes and offering gifts of soap, candy and the gospel. Each day, nearly 50 children attended a vacation Bible school-type event where the students from Olive led devotions, crafts, and recreation.
On the final day of the mission trip, the group prepared family bags that included dry goods, cleaning supplies and other necessities. The students then led two church services where they distributed the bags to the families in attendance.
“We were able to give out 170 bags, and we sponsored five children who were not on the sponsorship list,” said Reeser. “To be able to provide food, education, prayer and ministry was a blessing to all of us.”