For the third year in a row, a group from the First Presbyterian Church of Monticello has answered the call to serve on a mission trip to the Roblealto Bible Home in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Bible Home became a reality in 1932 when missionaries Harry and Susan Strachen saw the need to support high risk children in the area and to focus on restoring their families. Today the Bible Home supports up to 100 children in ten foster homes, a school, gymnasium, cafeteria, and administrative offices. The love of God and the importance of a healthy Christian family continues to be the main focus of the Roblealto Bible Home. Children come from some of the most impoverished areas of San Jose and are provided with a nurturing home environment where they can live and grow while their families are being rehabilitated with the hope of being reunited some day.
This year the mission team included, Merry Lanker, Bess Lanker, Sheila Lanker, Andy Lamb, Lyle and Margaret Morrison from the First Presbyterian Church in Monticello. Also joining the team were Tim Williams from Bement, and Uriah and Tess Ellis from Indianapolis; this being their 5th trip to Roblealto.
What inspires our mission team to continue making this trip? The children! They range in age from 5-13 and are the most loving and enthusiastic children for being in a foster home situation. Some of the children recognize us from previous years and run up to greet us with big smiles and hearty hugs. There is a school on the property, which the children attend each day. There are also many enrichment activities including sports and art. Two of our team members, Merry and Bess Lanker are currently art teachers at area schools. Each year they have filled their luggage with art supplies to provide art classes for the children and it is very apparent how much the children appreciate learning new art skills.
The service project this year was to paint the bedrooms and hallway in one of the foster homes along with cleaning the ceilings in each area. No small task as the ceilings in these homes are 14 feet high. Needless to say, there were some acrobatic moves being made on tall ladders by several in our group. We enjoy working in the children’s foster homes because we have the opportunity to observe and interact with the children and house parents as they go about their day. Once we have completed our daily work we rush to clean up before the children anxiously arrive at our home to escort us to their home for dinner and an evening of play and social interaction. The stories that we all share when we return to our home each night are lively and uplifting. The interaction that we have with the children is definitely the highlight of our trip!
We have many local businesses to thank for donating items to help us with our service work, supporting good dental health, and providing gifts to the foster parents for their extraordinary dedication to the welfare of the children living at Roblealto. They include B&A Printing, Dr. Wintersteen’s dental practice, and several local Sherwin-Williams stores. We also wish to thank the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Monticello for their continued support along with many other friends and family of the mission team. Without all of your support, our mission trip would not be possible. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve and to build new friendships with the Roblealto Bible home administrative staff, cafeteria and maintenance workers, and the foster home parents. Being able to travel to San Jose, Costa Rica to help serve in this mission has been a true blessing for all of us.