Guest post by Stephanie Powell, Director of Global Missions

This past week a 10-member team from Christ Church Memphis traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, on a mission trip to serve alongside Rice & Beans Ministry.

Each day we boarded a bus at 6:20 a.m. and headed out for the day. The team either went to the construction site or to a school for Vacation Bible School. In the late afternoons, we packed food bags consisting of rice, beans, cornmeal and milk, which we delivered door-to-door. 

The construction project was on two dorms the ministry is building that will provide lodging for 80 people for mission teams in the future. Over the four days our team members alongside another team from Collierville UMC were able to put down flooring on one of the dorms, put up exterior walls on the other dorm and paint the siding that will go up. 

The VBS team worked in three schools throughout the week—20 classes totaling 550 students. They shared through art, song, skits, puppets, hygiene lessons and laughter. They shared one common language with these students—LOVE.

Each afternoon we shared the love of Jesus by offering a gift of food and prayer with families (in total our Christ Church team shared 300 bags/prayers.) We saw different levels of poverty each day, but they all had one thing in common: They all warmly welcomed us into their homes and gratefully accepted our offer to pray with them. This is oftentimes where Rice & Beans Ministry realizes a need of home repair that they may be able to focus on in the future.

Throughout the week the group was faced with different challenges, and everyone handled them amazingly and with great attitudes. After our second day of serving, we arrived back at our hotel and there was no running water to take a shower that night or in the morning. This is a comfort we all take for granted—and how quickly we forgot how the people we just served that day could go days without food or water. Our group also had great attitudes and flexibility through missed flights, dogs barking all night, facing a fear of dogs and many other challenges that you face when in a different culture. 

In reflecting back on our mission trip, I am reminded that as followers of Jesus, we are charged to live our lives daily for Him, who gave His life up on our behalf.  We have an opportunity to be the light of Christ every day. 

Imagine a world with no light. Think of as many ways as you can in which your life would be different. Jesus referred to Himself as the Light of the World—a light that darkness could never put out. Jesus is the Light of the World, and we point the way to Him through our witness in word and deed. If we fail to help others discover Him, then the world remains in darkness and cannot thrive. It’s unfinished work. We must brighten the way with grace, love and compassion.

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