Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Isolated in San Jose, Costa Rica

One of the most fascinating things I have witnessed these last few months has been seeing the collaboration of mission organizations and missionaries alongside the poor and disanfranchised. I saw it firsthand when I visited La Carpio, a slum inside the capital city of San Jose, Costa Rica.
After spending a week training indigenous church leaders with my teammates near the Costa Rican and Panamanian Border, we traveled back to the capital city to see another area of ministry where a different group of "isolated" people live.

Over 30,000 migrants from Nicaragua and other countries in Central America live in this dense barrio surrounded by a landfill and two of the most polluted rivers in the country. The good news, however, is that  although this marginalized community is an eyesore to many Costa Rican nationals, the gospel is alive and well despite the harsh living conditions that many families here endure.

Christ for the City International and Mission Aviation Fellowship are working together to not only spread the Good News to the poor in La Carpio but to also serve the families in practical ways. Two missionaries, one with MAF and the other with CFCI, are serving alongside the youth of La Carpio to bring about spiritual and physical transformation. While Brendan and 'Lalo' play different roles in ministry; Brendan in technology and Lalo in sports, both are uniquely suited to help and encourage the community's young people. It was just this past summer, that over a dozen kids completed classes in 3D computer programming while living in La Carpio. Not only did the kids attend the computer lab for instructions but they even learned to make skateboard ramps that are used on the weekends for recreation. Whether it's technology or sports, the children that live in La Carpio are growing alongside godly people who live out their faith not as outsiders but as insiders as both of these men live in La Carpio themselves.

Watching the Body of Christ work together to mentor and build up of those who would be overlooked or trampled upon is a blessing I find comforting and worthy of praise.

    And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Isaiah 58:10

                                         (A brief description of La Carpio by 'Lalo')

Mauricio, Brendan, Jose, Lalo, and Laura

The smiles tell us the computer lab is OPEN

Ramps and skateboards abound on Saturdays
The dumpster tells you La Carpio is around the bend

Street vendors selling home made goodies