When one door closes, God opens another
Do you believe that when one door closes, God opens another? On January 16, 2019 the Cen-cinai Bureau of the Costa Rican National Department of Health announced that they would not accept our offer to build a school in Cartagena. There were less than five children left in the village that qualified for government assistance – the rest had left with their families in the caravans headed north towards the United States. We were devastated – three years of hard work down the drain.
But God provides. We turned to the newly installed Episcopal Bishop of Costa Rica, The Rt. Rev. Orlando Gomez, to ask if he knew of any schools that needed to be built for children that otherwise would receive no education … and to our delight, he told us that the Diocese of Costa Rica had two schools that fit the bill; one in the inner-city area of Limon on the east coast, and one in the extremely poor rural area of Estrada.
The Colegia del San Marcos in Limon is a grade K –16 years of age Episcopal owned school that takes in 250 students. It is the flagship school of the Diocese with 83% of their graduates going on to graduate level studies… 83%! But, they need $76,000 to finish the school -most importantly to put a roof over the large central courtyard that will enable them to be a Tier One school which would qualify the school for government assistance.
In Estrada, the Episcopal School and Chapel of St. James has been closed and needs rebuilding. This small school of 40 students in a desperately poor rural area is 45 minutes from Limon. With $35,000, we can make that happen. The Cen-cinai has already signed an agreement to lease the school from the Episcopal Church and will pay for teacher’s salaries and provide a fortified lunch for the children. This is exactly what we had hoped to do in Cartagena.
The United Thank Offering Board has approved our using the $61,875 grant towards these projects. I traveled to Costa Rica three weeks ago, and Bishop Gomez drove me to both sites (9 hours of driving!) so I could have a hands-on view of what was needed. Now we have the chance to help 290 children succeed and become truly “Beloved Community” with our neighbors in Costa Rica. We raised a total of $118,000, and have
just the right amount of money to do bothprojects!
The mission trip will be Saturday, June 8ththrough Monday, June 17th. We will fly into San Jose and see the Irazu Crater on the drive through the rain forest to Limon. We will spend two full days in Limon, including a Sunday worship service with Bishop Gomez as the celebrant, and then spend four full days in Estrada. No special skills are needed to join this mission trip – just a warm heart and a love of 85-degree temperatures! Our accommodations are excellent, and the average price per day per couple is $50, which includes your own private cabin with a bath facility, plus breakfast and dinner each day. After Estrada, we have planned a special treat! Eco-outreach International will take us to spend two full days in Tortuguera National Park, the top-rated park in Costa Rica. We will return to San Jose Sunday evening, June 16th and fly home on the 17th.
We can take 22 people total and have 11 signed up already. If you are interested, and would like more information, please call me at 585-738-6337. This promises to be a wonderful trip, and if you have never been on a mission trip, this is a great way to start!
The Rev. Steve Robb
Good Shepherd, Webster