A land of 300 beaches, mountains, volcanoes, monkeys, birds, and fruit trees everywhere – that’s Costa Rica.
“But beyond the beauty of the landscape is the beauty of the people who live there,” said Gale Dearman of Mount Horeb Baptist Church.
“They are humble people who are thirsting for the knowledge of Christ,” she said.
Dearman shared her experiences during a 10-day mission in November 2012 with members of the Long Creek Community Development Club at the club's March meeting.
The trip was arranged by the Lauderdale Baptist Association, which has organized several mission trips in recent years to the city of Upala. Dearman, along with members from eight other local churches, made up an entourage that included 20 Americans and one foreign exchange student from Norway.
During these mission trips to Templo Bautista Jesus Es El Camino (meaning Baptist Church – Jesus is Lord,) area men and women go to the church that was rebuilt by the Lauderdale Baptist Association over the last few years. The church began in a worn out building that housed the Costa Rican pastor and his family.
“The first building had many holes in the walls,” Dearman said. “But during the mission trips, a house was built for Pastor Elian Espenoza-Cabrera and his old home was made into the church. The church is being worked on as we speak by a group of men involved with the Lauderdale Baptist Association.”
During Dearman’s recent trip, she helped conduct Bible school and evangelism classes, and helped during a school program where the mission team distributed Christian books and Bibles written in Spanish, along with special bracelets made by the Women’s Missionary Union from Mt. Horeb Church.
Guitar lessons were also taught to the Costa Ricans in an effort to enhance their worship and evangelism strategies. She said their church already is involved in their own missions because they make and sell empanadas, giving the money raised to other churches in the country.
Dearman witnessed one new church being started in the front yard of a woman’s home where an unexpected number of 80 people attended the first service.
“Two men were saved, which is a true blessing because usually the children are first to be saved, followed by the women of the community,” she explained.
All in all, Dearman said the mission trip was life-changing. She encourages everyone to go on a mission trip to Costa Rica.
Long Creek Community Development Club's next meeting will be a Sponsors’ Supper on April 8 at 6:30 p.m. for sponsors and members of the Lauderdale community development clubs.
Individuals from the Long Creek area interested in becoming a member of the Long Creek Community Development Club should meet at the clubhouse, located at 4892 Zero Road. Membership is free.
• Submitted by Jill Renee Walsh.