On Saturday, July 8, ten members of the St. Stephen’s community will depart for a week of mission and pilgrimage in Costa Rica.
Our mission will be to serve alongside members of the historic Anglican parish of El Buen Pastor (Church of The Good Shepherd) in the capital city of San Jose. On the weekday mornings, we will help with music, crafts, lessons, and games to minister to children through a Vacation Bible School. (The year-round schools in Costa Rica take three-week breaks between terms; and our arrival coincides with one of those interim breaks.) In the afternoons, we will work on light construction projects around the church campus, at the direction of parishioners there, to help strengthen their infrastructure for effective work going forward.
This journey for us will also be a pilgrimage. By pilgrimage I mean that we are going not only to share what we have, but to receive from God and new friends along our journey – to learn, to grow in love, to be formed as witnesses to God at work in the world. We will observe the creative ways in which the Anglican Diocese of Costa Rica has been led by the Spirit to serve populations of immigrants and refugees, people living with HIV/AIDS, underserved children living in poverty. We will encounter God’s creation in a country that values care for the earth and sustainable living. We will learn from a society that seeks to be just by holding up three pillars—healthcare, education, and opportunities for work as rights for all people.
As we embark on this mission and pilgrimage, please pray for the members of our group: Nell, Gunnar, Sherri, Megan, Michael, Marlin, Patrick, Ben, Ryan, and Scott. Pray that we will minister with servants’ hearts, that we will have eyes to see God at work around us and in us, that we will be formed as people of love in the world.
After we return on July 16, we will set appointed times to share with our St. Stephen’s family what we have done, and seen, and learned, and how we have changed.
The Reverend Scott Painter