Mike and Dawn Weaver recently led a vision trip to Rice and Beans Ministry (RABMIN) in Costa Rica. The four-member team spent their fall break leading VBS and delivering much-needed food to 100 families.
RABMIN helps the community in and around Alajuela, Costa Rica, where many families work in the pineapple, sugar cane and coffee fields. RABMIN has three main folds of ministry: school, food delivery and construction. The teams go into schools and conduct a short two-hour VBS with songs, Bible stories, crafts and games. RABMIN connects with schools and finds out their needs. It could be a need for repair in the buildings, uniforms or supplies for students, or help in assisting the classroom.
Food Delivery: Each afternoon while teams are visiting, a decorated reusable grocery bag is filled with two pounds of black beans, two pounds of white rice, one pound of cornmeal and powdered milk, prayed over and delivered to impoverished families. This small bag of food will feed a family of four for two-three days. While delivering the food, the team asks if they can pray for the family and for specific prayer requests.
“This is this most powerful part of the delivery! The person would always say, ‘Pray for my family,’” said Dawn. “Other requests were weather conditions in Costa Rica, the state of their ‘home’ and health. These people have very few possessions and were so grateful for this food. Many cried or had tears in their eyes when they found out we were giving them something.”
Construction: While the team is in the schools and out delivering food, they find people who need help with repair of their homes. RABMIN has helped hundreds of families from losing their homes or even their children. One family’s house was built on a hill and two stories below was a flowing river. At one time, they had three small children and only a fence along the back of the house. They were told if they could not get a permanent wall built the children would be taken away. RABMIN found out and built them a wall. This is just one of many families that have been helped with repairs, wheelchair ramps, new roofs and other needs.
This ministry is so important because of the level of need in this area. “Many people only have income for short periods of time,” said Dawn. “For example, coffee season starts in late October and runs through January. The income made during this time has to last some families the rest of the year. When someone is helped, they are truly and sincerely grateful and filled spiritually.”
Here’s what team members said about the experience:
The Rice and Beans team has a wonderful system to serve the needy community in many ways and on many levels. The Costa Rican people are SO thankful for the help. Many have nothing, living in an abandoned building with dirt floors with one chair or a hammock. There is great need here! —Dawn Hawkins Weaver
Participating in Rice and Beans Ministry was truly a humbling experience. I’ll never forget the smiling faces and enthusiastic hugs from the school children and families we visited. They were so very grateful. —Joy House
We were met by warm and gracious people who welcomed our team, the rice and beans we delivered, our prayers and visits to their homes and schools. —J. Allen Scoggin
In Matthew 25:40, Jesus said, ‘When you ministered unto the least of these, you ministered unto me.’ I met Christ many times in Costa Rica. —Mike Weaver
RABMIN trips are designed to be family-friendly. RABMIN has had teams with 5-year-olds on up to a 92-year-old woman. Teams have a daily schedule. In the morning, you either help with construction or go to a school and help with VBS. Everyone eats lunch together, and in the afternoon, everyone delivers meals. After a short break, everyone eats dinner together and then has worship and sharing time.
“RABMIN needs lots of help delivering food and the love of Jesus. They depend on teams coming to spread God’s love,” said Dawn. “I promise, if you go on an upcoming trip, it will leave a footprint on your heart! It is not just a feel good trip; it is life-changing!”
To learn how you can be part of a future Rice and Beans Ministry team, contact Bob Whitsitt.