April 30, 2021

We Saw God in Action in Costa Rica

In March 2021, It Is Written (IIW), a supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, conducted a mission trip to Costa Rica. The group went to a small countryside town called Las Juntas in the Abangares canton to build a church, run medical clinics, and hold evangelistic meetings. Members from churches in Tennessee, California, and Washington in the United States, along with teachers and students from a church academy from Greeneville, Tennessee, and even IIW’s own evangelism assistant, Maria Rayburn, and her 12-year-old daughter Gabriella, joined in the mission trip. 

After months of planning, volunteers were beyond excited for the trip. After a four-hour flight, the team members landed safely in Liberia, Costa Rica, and quickly removed their sweaters! From Liberia, the team traveled to Las Juntas de Abangares, where howler monkeys greeted them in the trees right outside their hotel. 

Morning came quickly, courtesy of fruit bats outside the hotel windows. Shortly after breakfast, the teams started work at the church building site. Some moved dirt, while others raked to level it out. They leveled the foundation and began building walls. The work required a compactor to complete the floors, but there was nothing available to rent in the entire country. So the team prayed. The local pastor was driving to another town to see if he could find a compactor when he happened to see one in someone’s yard. He stopped and asked the owner if he would rent it — and he did!

The sun was extremely hot, with temperatures usually above 90 F (32 C), and the team was grateful for the daily lunch served at the church elder’s home. Next to his home is a small hut with a tin roof that serves as the local church. The local church community was extremely grateful for the work put in by the mission volunteers to build an actual church building.

Every night the group split up into small groups to do evangelism and maintain social distance. Maria was able to translate the meetings from English into Spanish. The volunteer students gave a health talk, told a children’s story, and shared a sermon they wrote from their study in Steps to Christ. At one of the meetings, four children stepped forward in response to an appeal inviting Jesus into their lives and hearts.

During the day, another part of the team held free vision and medical clinics. The missionaries saw almost 750 patients, dispensed hundreds of pairs of glasses, and helped many people with joint pain and general health challenges. Patients were given Steps to Christ in Spanish and invited to the evening meetings.

On one particular night, shortly after the evening meeting finished, a church member came to physician Gordon Guild and said she was not feeling well. Guild examined her and believed she might have had a minor stroke. Guild and the rest of the team prayed over her that night. By the following morning, she was feeling much better and was back in the kitchen.

Toward the end of the trip, rain was predicted just before the church floor needed to be poured. The students worked hard to complete their prep work before the rain moved in, and then they started praying. The following day, God held off the rain — it rained all around the team but not at the worksite — until the floor was poured and walls finished. And then the heavens let loose. As the rain fell, the team reflected on the power of the Holy Spirit that had also been poured out during their time in Costa Rica. The people who had attended the evening meetings now had a place to worship, pain had been relieved, sight given, and hearts had made decisions for eternal life. This was a mission trip for eternity. 

The original version of this story was posted on the It Is Written Updates blog.