The verse at the top of this post embodies much of what I learned about Roblealto, my church’s global partner, while on a mission trip to Costa Rica in mid-August. During my mission team’s week in San Jose, we spent two days encouraging the staff and children at Roblealto’s El Manantial Child Care Center and visited children at Roblealto’s Bible Home. Also, we made an “American” dinner for some of El Manantial teachers and cooks, attended a staff devotional at Roblealto’s headquarters and interviewed various directors.
We attended a small church in the impoverished community of Los Guido and toured the new Child Care Center being built there by Roblealto. We also interacted with community leaders from Los Guido, went to an elementary school there to do crafts and ”virtue lessons”, and put on a Mother’s Day Tea for single moms from Los Guido.
We learned that the community of Los Guido has a bad reputation in San Jose and most people look down upon those living there – such that if someone puts Los Guido down as their address they have trouble getting a job or sometimes a taxi won’t even take them into that community, etc. There are real problems of drugs and gangs and violence and yet, as we learned, good people live there too who are working to turn things around.
Therefore, I really feel that, because of Roblealto’s way of working to help change the lives of kids and their families through their hands-on, holistic approach while also recognizing Christ’s transforming power, they have a good chance to make a big difference in Los Guido. Partly I feel this way because the community leaders we met with from Los Guido said that change first has to come from within the community itself – a change in how they see themselves, as people who CAN change. I saw this attitude in the children from Roblealto that we were able to interview and so this gives me hope!
For example, one sixteen year-old boy from Los Guido, Alex, was involved with Roblealto for a number of years and asked us to share basically this message with our church back home: “That these children have the ability to change. Lives will be transformed like mine has been – we must believe that. The children will love it [the new child care center in Los Guido], this generation will be impacted and we will impact the next generations too. When God blesses us we must return it to Him in a way that pleases Him.”
Alex went from being a boy living in poverty whose family life was very difficult to now asking for prayer first and foremost for his mom and family. Now his goal is to finish his studies successfully in order to be able to give back to his mom. This sentiment of giving back to his mom was reiterated a few other times by him as well and made a big impression on me because of the transformation in his life it represents. My hope and prayer is that, through Roblealto’s work, other kids and families in Los Guido can be transformed in such as way as well.