FUMC students hope to raise funds for Costa Rica

Published 9:49 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Costa Rican meal provided more than a change in diet for those attending a fund-raising event at the First United Methodist Church Monday evening.

The event, hosted by youth at the church, was an opportunity to hear more about a ministry in Costa Rica the group hopes to help this summer.

Ruth Clowater, a minister with Servants in Grace Abounds Ministry Partners serving in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, spoke to a large group of diners during the evening to relate her life of ministering to natives in region.

“I live there and it’s a jungle,” Clowater said. “I knew I needed to listen to God and figure out the needs of the people. Living next to the school put us on the path we are on today. We realized the school had no textbooks and no reading books. That became a mission for us.”

Clowater said groups like the youth at First United Methodist Church making getting books of any kind to students in Costa Rica possible.

“We work on a $20,000 budget,” Clowater said. “We are blessed to receive grants and gifts. Without partners coming in to help, we wouldn’t be able to do what we’ve done. Last year, we received about $25,000 worth of backpacks, books and other school supplies. It is a tremendous help to our ministry.

“Without help from churches and organizations, I don’t know where we’d get our funds.”

Deborah Marriott, one of the organizers of Monday’s event, said the trip she made previously to Costa Rica was a blessing, not only for her, but also for youth along for the trip.

“God really looked out for us during that adventure,” Marriott said. “We want to help Ruth. She is a woman who has proven that one little woman’s will can do.”

Clowater said one goal of her ministry was to establish a library in the community.

“We have a floating library used throughout the area,” Clowater said. “Most people there don’t have transportation to get around so we go to them. Most of our ministry is done by boat.”

After some time, Clowater said an additional goal was to establish a library facility in the village where she lives.

“When we figured out this is where God wanted us, we started doing Bible studies with the children,” Clowater said. “We quickly realized a library was needed. The building is up with half used as a library with mostly children’s books and half of the building being open for use by people of the town.”

Clowater said Bibles were not immediately available to those who came with an interest in the Bible studies.

“They didn’t have text books and they certainly didn’t have Bibles,” Clowater said. “During our ministry the children were able to earn Bibles by participating in programs we offered.”

A group of youth at First United Methodist Church are eager to help with the ministry by providing assistance and helping with books.

“This is something we feel strongly about,” Marriott said. “We want to go back and visit with some of the children we met on our trip there. It’s amazing to see what can be achieved. We want to help.”

Clowater said visits from groups like the FUMC youth group help tremendously in the offerings of classes and fun times for the children in the village.

“When we have groups come in it can be a wonderful asset,” Clowater said. “A lot of schools want to come and having the students there helps. Schools are usually 10 to 15 students, total. We go pick up schools and bring them in to the library for programs and for some fun. We hope to do that when this group comes down.”

Students from FUMC planning to take the trip to Costa Rica include Mary Chandler Nelson, Anna Grace Glaize, Curtis Glaize, Will Marriott, Ashley Daugherty and Jackson Deatherage.

To contribute to the group to help make the trip possible, donations can be sent to First United Methodist Church, 820 Belleville Avenue, Brewton, AL 36426 or call the church at 867-8051 for details.