A team of seven people representing the Florida Conference will travel to Costa Rica this month in hopes of helping needy children.
|Costa Rica Mission Trip Planning Group|
The mission team plans to work on construction of the second house at the Methodist Children’s Home in Coronado, said Florida Conference Mission Director Icel Rodriguez, who will be co-leading the trip. Rodriguez handles trip logistics, coordinating her efforts with a missionary couple serving in Costa Rica.
The group also will offer Vacation Bible School for about 240 children, as well as an evangelistic service in a local Methodist church. The trip is set for July 29 to Aug. 5. The team will stay at the Methodist guest house in San José.
The Rev. Samuel Gonzalez, senior pastor of Tabernaculo de Refugio in Margate, will accompany Rodriguez as the team’s spiritual co-leader. Gonzalez hopes the group reaches all its goals and that the trip is “a good opportunity to feel the presence of the Lord in a new way.” Gonzalez also anticipates that the joy of working as a part of a team will renew the members for service in their own churches.
Others on the trip include Gonzalez’ wife Norma, and Evelyn and Pablo Hernandez, as well as Belinda Luquis, administrative assistant in the North Central District, and Maria Fernandez of Orlando.
Rodriguez, who once lived in Costa Rica for four years, gathered the team from an appeal to Hispanic churches across the Conference after considering locations where Spanish would be spoken. Rodriguez hopes this group forms the building blocks for more global missions among Hispanic churches.
“We also have the expectation that new team leaders will emerge from this experience and that missions will be more relevant for the Hispanic churches for the future,” Gonzalez said.
Team member Belinda Luquis discovered her interest in mission trips last year while serving in Peru with a team from First United Methodist Church of Ocala.
|Work begins of the front gate at the Children's Home. -Photo courtesy of Zirkel Ministry|
“When I was in Peru, I felt that I was walking with Jesus,” Luquis said. “It was something really, really special in my life.”
When she learned of the Costa Rica mission trip, she prayed: “God, if you want me, just open the doors.” Now Luquis will be coordinating crafts for the Vacation Bible School and said she has received help with preparations and supplies from many people in Florida.
“God sent a few people that have been helping us with this and I’ve been so thrilled,” Luquis said. “And I know that these things that we’re going to bring for the kids, they’re going to be great.”
The total cost for the trip per person is about $1,350. The Florida Conference is providing about $300 in scholarships per individual, while team members raised the remaining amount through work in their churches and sacrificial offerings, Rodriguez said.