I recently had a conversation with a friend that brought to light one of the biggest dilemmas we're facing in preparation for Costa Rica: humanitarian aid vs. spiritual support
Honestly when you think about it, our ministry has got to be one of the most non-humanitarian fields to raise support:
- We're going to a second world country (not third) that is known for its beaches, tourism, and adventurous activities
-We're going to work with missionary kids. Yes, kids who's parents love the Lord, teach His Word, and are in full-time ministry.
-We're not specifically working with Costa Ricans-- though an increasing number of Costa Ricans attend the youth group because it's a great place to work on their English
-We're not going with the intention of training a Costa Rican to do the ministry-- we're working with mostly TCKs, who want someone who can relate to the cultural tension they face. (side note: we have an incredible Costa Rican adult who was part of the youth group and now does most all of the logistics for the group!)
- We're going to a "reached" country-- several missions agencies have pulled out their missionaries to go to lesser reached/unreached countries.
... So why on earth does this "ministry (if you can call it that in regards to the above statements)" necessary?
Besides the fact that we're being obedient to God's leading, this ministry is EXTREMELY NECESSARY in light of eternity. Though these students don't have material needs, they have spiritual ones. When they stand in the presence of God, the only thing that matters is Christ. Do they know Him as their Lord and Savior?
For the students in Costa Rica, the International Youth Group is a place where they come to learn about Jesus Christ, study God's Word, and learn how to make other disciples of Christ.
With this being said, it is completely God who has enabled us to have 52% of our support raised. We're blessed to have partners who see the validity of our ministry, and we know that God will continue to have others join in helping students mature in Christ.