Back from Costa Rica

Cristi and Grace Beshears talk about their mission trip

Lynette Norris
ECB Publishing, Inc.

It cost each person $1600 of their own money to go, and instead of vacation clothes, their suitcases were filled with hammers, nails, drills and other building supplies.
Cristi and Grace Beshears, recently returned from an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) mission trip to build a house for a family in one of the poorest sections of Costa Rica, spoke about their trip to the Monticello Kiwanis Club.
“We built a house in three days,” Cristi told Kiwanis. Furthermore, with nine girls and two boys in their group, they finished ahead of schedule. It was a very small house, about the size of an average American garage, but it housed bunk beds and a small kitchen area with a propane stove donated by Homes for Hope. There was no plumbing, because up to four families often share a washer-dryer and shower/toilet facilities in one house.
But this little house, once it was finished, wired for electricity and decorated with donated household items to make it “homey” was a beautiful sight, said Cristi.
In order to qualify for a mission-built home, a Costa Rican family must own the plot of land where it will be built (usually not much bigger than the house’s footprint, with doors opening directly into the street) and the family must demonstrate good faith by having the concrete slab already poured. The slab for this particular house looked as if it had been mixed and poured one bag of Quickrete at a time, but it held and sufficed.
The family and community members come together to help during the building process, and in fact, the head of this household had already assisted in several previous home-building projects for his neighbors.
It was a mind-opening experience to see this level of poverty in a slum just 20 minutes north of the popular vacation resort area of San Jose, Cristi told the audience – along with the realization that every country in the world, including the United States, has this level of poverty somewhere, whether hidden away or out in the open. It was amazing to come home with an appreciation for something as simple as real floors, because many of the houses they saw in that Costa Rican neighborhood had only dirt floors.
Grace added that she too, was amazed at the simple things she had taken for granted, such as access to food in a grocery store and a car to get there. Families in the Coasta Rican neighborhood had to grow whatever they needed, and seldom owned any form of transportation. In the event they did make it to a food market, they would buy only what they absolutely needed to survive. She had a new appreciation for electricity and plumbing, for not having to walk to a neighbor’s house through dirt streets to bathe, and a sense of wonder at what hard work could accomplish. With help from the community, the team of high school kids had cranked out a house to shelter a family in just three days, and it had happened, as Cristi had stated earlier, “Because God wanted it to happen.”