by Norma Gunter
My love of missions has emerged again. My sister Carrie and I are making a mission trip to Costa Rica in January for my 80th birthday. We renewed our passports and now have our plane tickets but haven’t finalized all of our plans. We will join a team from New Jersey when we get there. We will be staying at the CEDCAS Clinic in San Jose. This will be my sixth trip to Costa Rica and Carries’s first.
When our teams from FBC took mission trips to Nicaragua, back in the 90’s, we always stopped in Costa Rica on our way home. Our last trip there was in 2003 when Lonnie and I went to San Jose for the dedication of the new CEDCAS clinic. Since we were there they have added a third floor to the clinic for the mission teams to stay.
CEDCAS stands for “Center for health education and health services in Spanish”. The clinic is a non-profit org. founded in l985 and our first trip there was in l994. At that time Lillian Solt was an Associate Missionary with the American Baptist International Missions. She is still a missionary with LAM “Latin American Mission”. Lillian and her daughter Rebecca are both RN’s. Rebecca was about 6 years old on our first visit to Costa Rica. Rebecca was married earlier this year.
CEDCAS works with four major programs:
1. Medical/dental clinics: They offer a wide variety of medical and dental services at a reasonable price.
2. House of Health: A program focused on prevention, programs with different age groups such as children, teenagers, women and the elderly.
3. Communities: They work with different communities helping them by working with groups of women, programs with children, micro-enterprises to help improve their economic and nutritional situation.
4. Volunteers: They have programs to help people (like me) to step out of their comfort zones and become the hands and feet of Jesus in another context. Our group will be working in the squatter community of Guarari where there are over 400 kids and their families. Most of these are refuges from other Latin American countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, etc.
Their MISSION is helping people become healthy.
Their VISION is to promote Godly, excellent, affordable, whole person health care, becoming the hands of Jesus, bringing people to Him.
Also in San Jose is Susan Hegarty and her daughter Katy. Susan is our American Baptist Missionary and has been here at FBC several times. We stayed with Susan on our first two trips to Nicaragua in 1994 & 1995. She has stayed in our home several times. The last time I saw her was at Camp Global about 4 years ago. We want to visit and possibly work with her while we are in Costa Rica. That is one of the plans we haven’t finalized about our trip.
The Beckley Register Herald had an article, Sunday November 23rd. on “Business leaders battle human trafficking” bringing to light, like our American Baptist missionary Lauren Bethel who shared the global problem of human trafficking with us at FBC Oct. 27th. Phil Parvin, chairman of our Mission Board, seemed quite impressed with her and her work and shared at the Sunday morning service, Nov. 23rd., about what a great job she is doing internationally .
She also made quite and impression on everyone who heard her speak. She spoke in the morning at the Mug Muffin meeting, the Lizzie Lewis Circle at lunch, the Raleigh/Greenbrier Assn. meeting and the Fayette Assn. meeting in the afternoon. Before leaving town she had dinner with a group from FBC where one lady said they had a good meal that was enjoyed by all. Other ladies shared with me their feelings when she spoke about her work. One said she was impressed with how faithful she has been over the many years to helping these young women. Another lady said you can feel her heart and her love and caring for these women and girls. Another said she admired her for her sacrifice of her personal life. She has been passionate, since 1986, sharing Jesus’ love and compassion with those trapped in the darkest corners of our world. Pray for her and for all our missionaries around the world and for the World Mission Offering we are receiving now for missionaries like Lauren & Susan. Pray for us as we finalize our plans for our trip in January.