Jessie Leader-Kirk works in the child services department at CFCA’s headquarters in Kansas City. She recently went on a mission awareness trip to Costa Rica.
I had the privilege of spending a week with the staff of CFCA in Costa Rica. I never thought I would gain as much as I did from this experience.
My first encounter with the staff was at the airport in Costa Rica. This was my first time traveling internationally, and I did not know what to expect.
From left are Santiago, Jessie Leader-Kirk and Vanessa during Jessie’s mission awareness trip to Costa Rica. Santiago and Vanessa are sponsored through CFCA.
When I walked out of the airport Javier and Emmanuel were there to greet me, and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt safe!
The next morning I met the rest of the staff and started my adventure in Costa Rica.
I was impressed by the staff’s organization. Everyone had their role and knew it well.
The effort behind the scenes was amazing. We left to visit to a community where sponsored members live.
As we pulled into the community the sponsored members were there to meet us. Maureen and Jackeline did a wonderful job translating for the sponsors that did not speak Spanish.
As all the sponsors were greeted by the sponsored members, the staff was hustling to have everything set up for the sponsors. As the sponsors made it to their destination, Jean Carlo had a sound system set up and Ellie the translator was there to greet us.
Ellie the translator speaks to sponsors during the mission awareness trip.
As time went by, I met more and more staff members. Two staff members shared their personal experiences with me.
Luis, one of the social workers, shared that his life has been threatened on more than one occasion. Could you imagine working with the fear that your life could be taken at any moment?
Leticia, another social worker, said one day while she was walking to visit one of the sponsored members, a lady walked up to her and said, ìI like your shoes.î
Right after the lady said that, someone else walked up behind her and pressed something in her back.
Leticia said that she never turned around to see what it was, but just started praying and kept walking until the lady left her alone and she was safe.
After hearing these experiences I looked at the social workers in a different light. I admire their strength and dedication to the sponsored members.
The love for the children really stood out among all the staff. It was especially heartwarming to watch Rafael Villalobos, project coordinator in San Jose, and his interaction with the children.
You could tell that each child had a special relationship with the staff members in their area.
I was able to gain perspective on the great work CFCA does, and I was also able to gain an unspeakable amount of respect for the staff in Costa Rica.
The staff members in Costa Rica face many more challenges in their daily work life than I could ever imagine facing. I have never been around more inspiring people.
Words cannot express my gratitude and respect for my coworkers in the field. Thank you for the life-changing experience you gave me.