Our team will be serving in THREE primary ministry areas. The following information is being provided in order to make you aware of the struggles and realities that the residents of these communities face...
Los Guido is the largest of the three primary areas we will be working in, with a population of over 50,000. It’s an impoverished town located about 30 minutes from the capital of San Jose, nestled into the foothills of some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful mountains. Los Guido is known for its poverty with a high percentage of Nicaraguan immigrants and low income Costa Ricans. The hills are littered with tiny homes made of garage doors, sheets of tin, and concrete bricks. Most homes have some form of running water, but raw sewage lines the streets and small streams of human waste are flowing throughout the city.
Los Guido, not unlike the other communities CBC works in, is ripe with gangs and goes basically unchecked by local law enforcement. It is however, the most established of the three areas we work in; with both private and local schools, a medical clinic, small grocery stores, a semi-operational bus system, and several small churches.
The Christian Light Foundation of Costa Rica has been working with the people of Los Guido for several years, during which time they have planted two local churches. Both churches began with a single discipleship group meeting inside of a single household. Time and time again God has used this method of discipleship to further His Kingdom. The second of the two church plants, the New Life Church of Los Guido, sits on a generous piece of property with a humble church building, a barn, bathrooms, and small living quarters for an elderly couple who keeps watch over the facility. CBC has had the privilege of seeing God transform this place from a rundown farm to a thriving church community. Plans continue to be made to further the influence of this church family with the construction of a tutoring and feeding center. Community Bible Church is honored to be a part of what God is doing in Los Guido!
La Carpio’s 40,000 residents live in an area of approximately 180 square miles, surrounded on two sides by rivers flowing with sewage and on another by a landfill which receives over 700 tons of waste daily. Founded by squatters in the mid-1990s, waves of poor families have continued to inhabit La Carpio, moving into increasingly hazardous zones due to limited space. This small community is literally the “trash dump” of Costa Rica.
Although a school, a health clinic, and a single paved road have been constructed, the infrastructure remains highly inadequate. Raw sewage flows throughout the streets, clean water is scarce, and trash is absolutely everywhere. In addition to this, La Carpio is thought to be one of the most dangerous communities in Costa Rica, ridden with gangs, drugs, and violence. Buses, taxis, and delivery trucks often refuse to drive the streets of La Carpio in fear of theft, hostility, and vandalism. This is the reality that tens of thousands of residents find themselves living with. They are in need of hope. They are in need of a Savior!
The Christian Light Foundation of Costa Rica has had an influence in this community for several years. Like always, they started by building a relationship with a single family, formed a discipleship group in a home, and ministered to a small group of neighbors. Since that time, the ministry has grown as more and more people have come to call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the hope of CLF Costa Rica that God will continue to use these discipleship groups to spread the Good News of Christ and, if the Lord wills, begin yet another local church.
Tejarcillos is the smallest of the three communities we will be working in, with approximately 18,000 people living there. The Christian Light Foundation of Costa Rica started a church here several years ago, and as is always the case with this mission organization, the church was started as a single discipleship group meeting inside of a single household. The New Life Church of Tejarcillos now meets in homes weekly for Bible studies, youth gatherings, and prayer meetings. A building is rented on Sunday evenings to allow the church family to assemble as one body. The church has a loving Pastor who lives just feet from their rented church facility.
As is also the case in Los Guido and La Carpio, ministry to “at risk” youth is of the utmost importance to the Christian Light Foundation. These youth are "at risk" for a number of reasons, most notably for the countries legalization of prostitution, which affects many children under the already sad but legal age of 18. Sex Trafficing, gang activity, and violence are also a devastating presence in Tejarcillos. The family structure is incredibly broken in this area of Costa Rica, with many absent, alchoholic, and/or physically and sexually abusive Mothers and Fathers. Most families are struggling to just get by, with many children living in abject conditions with little food. The educational system is severly inadequate, leaving most youth years behind in school with very little care for their education. Drug abuse is rampant among many youth and adults.
These are the realities that CLF and the New Life Church are facing everyday. The pain is real, the hurt is deep, and God is the answer! CBC is delighted and humbled to be a part of what God is doing in Tejarcillos.