Kingdom Builder Story by the Rhodes Family
This year our family will be participating in our fourth mission trip to Costa Rica in February. We have committed to participating in these trips to Costa Rica annually as we have fallen in love with the people, the local church and the beautiful country. This love has changed our lives and has moved us beyond simply participating in mission trips, but to financially supporting the local church’s efforts in and around San Jose.
We’ve had the greatest opportunities to serve the people of Barrio Mexico, one of the poorest areas of San Jose, with sweat, sometimes blood, and tears. The local church has moved into this area and runs a community center that offers various training and events each week, such as English classes and a quilting group, along with their church services.
With the help of mission teams, the church serves Barrio Mexico and we’ve been able to remodel and paint Dona Marta’s house over the course of two mission trips. Dona Marta is a wheelchair bound woman dearly loved and looked up to by her community and the church. To see her smile and joy at having a home that she could move her wheelchair through made the hard labor so worthwhile.
Inside of the community center we’ve cleaned and painted. We’ve taught a knitting class and provided hundreds of skeins of yarn, needles, and even a sewing machine to the women that attend the quilting group. We’ve also participated in Vacation Bible School, sports camps, and held parties for the kids in Barrio Mexico, complete with piñatas, games, cake, and treat bags for the kids to take home. On two occasions, Holly has been able to share her testimony to a group of single moms and the women that attended the knitting class she led. The impact of sharing her testimony was evident in the tears that were shared, showing that it doesn’t matter where you live or where you come from we are all searching for God’s love in some way.
On our last mission trip we were introduced to the women of La Sala, which is an outreach center for sex workers that is run by a woman who came to Christ through her interactions with the local church. While we were there our team talked with the women about health issues, remodeled the bathroom so the women would have a place to safely take a shower and we gave the inside of the building a fresh coat of paint. We also brought supplies to teach them how to make greeting cards, which they thoroughly enjoyed.
The partnership between the church and La Sala has evolved into something greater. A few members of our team, along with the local church put together business plans for starting two new businesses that would employ the women from La Sala, providing them hope and future outside of the sex industry. This February when we go back, we’ll be able to see these women working in a new coffee shop as well as making amazing, high-quality piñatas.
God has opened our eyes and our hearts to a completely new culture and group of people that we never would have met had we not answered his call to serve. This service has in turn opened our hearts to give financially, in addition to being His hands and feet in Costa Rica. God has used all of this to impact others, including our daughter who plans to join us on her first ever mission trip to Costa Rica in February.