Each year Salem gives our entire Easter Offering outside the walls of the church in order to fulfill our vision of Connecting All People with God’s Extravagant Love. Our mission team, led by Kathy Farache, and several laity from both our worship sites, met this last week to consider the many opportunities before us to make a difference. After prayer and thoughtful consideration, the mission team chose Costa Rica Mission Projects (CRMP) for our 2018 Easter Offering. Salem has been in relationship with CRMP for over 15 years and has helped establish the Missions and Ministry Center located in San Isidro. The Missions and Ministry Center houses the volunteers from all over the world and now offers the community of San Isidro a preschool. With hopes and dreams for the future, CRMP will continue to share the Good News of Christ. Our Salem youth will be traveling to Costa Rica in June to be the hands and feet of Christ with the community of San Isidro. Plans for the future are to expand the Kingdom of God in helping the United Methodist churches in the community and to establish a music school for the children at the Missions and Ministry Center!
Here is a word from Wil Bailey, Executive Director of Costa Rica Mission Projects:
In February, 2013, the Lord planted a vision in our hearts for what the future would look like for Costa Rica Mission Projects. After a decade of moving our entire operation from one town to another as we worked on different projects with the Methodist Church of Costa Rica, we knew it was time for this ministry to have a home where we could really become a part of a specific community to serve as a “jumping off point” for our volunteer teams to continue to work in local churches throughout southern Costa Rica. In August 2016, after purchasing land (November 2013) and spending two and a half years building our facility, the Costa Rica Mission Projects Missions and Ministry Center came to life! What a blessing it is for this dream to come to fruition and to feel so much excitement on the part of the churches and volunteers who helped us make it happen.
Fast forward to 2018--our day care center has now been open since April, 2016. We currently have 18 children (ages 3 – 6) from low/no income, mostly single parent households who come to our day care Monday through Friday from 7 am until 4 pm. All live within walking distance of the Missions and Ministry Center. Our full-time staff is dedicated not only to caring for these children on a daily basis, but most importantly to reflecting Christ’s love for them. The more we get to know the children and their families, the more we understand how important it is for them to have a safe, stable, encouraging, and loving place where they can spend such formative years. For some of these children, the best/only meals they get all week are the ones we provide at the day care center. Our hope is to bless not only the children, but to also provide some support for their parents. The longer we have the children with us, the more their parents are willing to open up to us about the struggles and challenges.
So far we have had five different residents living in our student home at the Missions and Ministry Center. They are all in different stages of their academic careers. We are so proud of their efforts to achieve their life goals, and we are blessed to play a part in that. Carolina, the first student to move into the home, graduated last year with a nursing degree. She now has a full-time job and is renting her own apartment in the San Jose (capital) area. Our two most recent residents, Anna and Stefani, are both in business school and are minoring in English at the National University campus in San Isidro. This particular ministry is especially dear to my wife, Yolanda’s heart, and she makes sure to spend time regularly with these young women to help them stay focused on their faith journeys in the midst of all of the pressures and stress of student life.
I love to tell the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. Through that brief exchange, finding herself face to face with the Savior, the Samaritan woman’s life was changed. Our prayer is that the Missions and Ministry Center would be like Jacob’s well for everyone who comes there; the children, their parents, the students, the volunteers, our workers, and even the guy who delivers produce to the kitchen! We pray for each of them and for ourselves to come face to face with Jesus and that our lives too would be changed.
Amen. ~ Wil Bailey
I hope you will join Joe and me in one of our worship services on Easter Sunday and in contributing to our Easter Offering this year as we support Costa Rica Mission Projects! God is doing amazing things through His people, and I can’t wait to see what God will do with our sacrificial gifts from the heart.
In God’s Extravagant Love,
Pastor Terri Swan
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