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Generations of Growth in Costa Rica

Bringing hope to students through teaching ministry in Costa Rica
Written by Matt and Lisa, workers serving in Latin America

“Oh, little one, may the Lord guide every one of your steps; may He accomplish all His plans for your life, and may you grow up to follow Him always,” exclaims Ericka, in Spanish. As she regards four-month-old, Ewan, her whole body erupts in a smile. 

Ericka is a teacher at La Palabra de Vida (LPDV), a Christian bilingual school that educates over 330 students. For Ericka, children are a driving part of her life, despite being unable to bear any of her own. 

La Palabra de Vida is 28 years old now, though it wasn’t so long ago that it was a glimmer of a startup in the middle of Costa Rica. Matt and Lisa Befus were there at the beginning, and saw the challenges and complexity of school life up close. 

“We’ve often said that our daughter Lindsey—Ewan’s mother—and La Palabra de Vida grew up together. LPDV received its first students six months before Lindsey was born; we celebrated Lindsey’s second birthday shortly after arriving in Costa Rica and moving onto the campus of the fledgling Christian bilingual school that would grow by one grade level per year.”

Lindsey’s preschool met in a house converted from a stable. As classrooms were built, she delivered snacks to work teams and watered fresh concrete to help the curing process. She studied under teachers as her parents struggled to recruit and train. She even entertained her younger sisters while they ran workshops on Biblical integration. 

“As LPDV has matured, we’ve entrusted to locals our roles in teaching, administration, and training, and we’ve moved from daily survival mode to thinking about how to help the daycare through high school ministry continue even beyond the next generation.”

The story of La Palabra de Vida has been a slow and steady one. As they look at the past challenges, one can’t help but also look to future ones. For Ericka, it’s the teaching of Biblical integration. Despite growing up in the church, and receiving a solid foundational Christian education at home, she can’t help but feel this as a monumental task. It wasn't until she arrived at LPDV that she learned to teach all subjects through the lens of what the Bible says about God’s plan for the world, and to help students think critically about their faith in all areas of learning. Her goal is for teachers to understand that biblical integration goes deeper than simply slapping a bible verse onto the end of a quiz or test with a cutesy image.

“We want students and teachers to make wise decisions, and to learn to discern, ‘How can I please God?’ in all aspects of their lives!”

They find encouragement from Ericka’s blessing for their young grandson, and the passion she shares for teaching the next generation. 

“As Mesa Global "global workers" we feel like what we get to do is ‘getting with God's Program.’  Kingdom advances have been made because of LPDV school, and we have had the privilege to be part of it.” 

For Matt and Lisa, these Kingdom advances span generations. Today, their daughter Lindsey teaches at a school in the Chicago area, using Spanish she learned from her roots at La Palabra de Vida. They watch as their grandson passes through the very same place they brought their own daughter all those years ago. And for them, Ericka’s blessing rings true for this dawning generation: “Oh, little ones, may the Lord guide every one of your steps; may He accomplish all His plans for your life, and may you grow up to follow Him always.”