Quest Costa Rica
by Jeremy Walker, Quest Program Director
In February 2023, the Quest program sent a team of 24 (20 students and 4 program leaders) to Costa Rica. They went to continue investing in a partnership established with the non-profit organization Esperanza. This partnership was birthed in 2010 when plans to send a Quest team to Kenya/Rwanda were thwarted by an Icelandic volcano eruption that stopped all air travel through Europe, cancelling the trip. As Quest leadership looked for God’s direction in this sudden and abrupt change of plans, provision for a different opportunity in Costa Rica was established in two short, but very full and miraculous, days. During the first few trips, the team was introduced to a local indigenous pastor, Florentino Molina, who had been praying for 3 years for help in establishing a church in a remote and often forgotten corner of the country in the district of Talamanca. When Quest showed up willing to help, he declared the group the answer to those prayers. This was an overwhelming but powerful and humbling start to a relationship – one that has since expanded to focus on walking alongside the ministry established by his family.
Florentino’s son and daughter-in-law, Raul and Kimi Molina, have rooted themselves in the community. Florentino and Raul join together by establishing a non-profit (Esperanza) that truly looks to be a blessing in their community. They express their philosophy by the following: “All that we do and all that we have has purpose and divine meaning when we surrender it as an offering to God and to his Kingdom Purposes. This is the heart behind each program, event, and activity that we do as a ministry – to turn all things into a language that effectively expresses the love of God to our neighbors. Each area of ministry is just a piece of the puzzle, a part of the love letter that God is writing to the people of Talamanca.” Quest loves to support this mission, so this year, Quest once again accepted the invitation to go, to support Esperanza, and to learn with and from them.
When preparing students for the trip, focus is placed on two key things: being available and being adaptable. The team goes with no agenda, taking cues from the local ministry. This year’s experience provided the team with the opportunity to join in on so many things as they simply served alongside the Esperanza team. This included jumping into many practical projects happening on their newly expanded base, a place that hosts youth groups, soccer tournaments, alpha courses, services, countless meals, and is recently adding a school to help provide more consistent and quality education in the area. So, the team rolled up their collective sleeves and dug holes, put up fences, made doors, sanded and painted walls, and pitched in wherever it was needed. They also got to participate in Esperanza’s regular ministries by loving on kids, playing sports with the community, speaking at services, making crafts, cooking meals, and visiting the elderly. They got to help Esperanza’s neighbors by chopping wood, moving boulders, and roasting fresh cacao. In all of this, God had many lessons in store for all involved. He taught students and leaders alike all about service and contentment, about his direction and plans, about how he can use all of our efforts and offerings. God reminded the team that he is up to good things in many places, places where God’s people come together and reflect his love towards their communities in practical, everyday ways.