On a mission to help Costa Rica
by Lisa Tome
When it comes to missions projects, age doesn't matter.
Instead, it's your giving spirit that counts. A trio of missions projects veterans are headed for Costa Rica this week, representing Elkton United Methodist Church - Joe Tanner, 73, and Ted McDowell, 68, and Megan O'Neal, 17, are being joined by Allison Rogers, 17, from Elkton Presbyterian Church.
The trip began August 1 and continues until August 11. Tanner explained that the United Methodist Churches have been working in Costa Rica since 1997. The Elkton contingent will join up with about 20 others. The women will sleep in a church sanctuary. The men will be hosted by local families within walking distance of the work site. Volunteers have been working on various ongoing projects in Costa Rica - a church parsonage, as well as daycare and medical center for years. McDowell and Tanner are both retired. The teens are incoming high school seniors.
"Most of my friends think it's (mission projects) pretty cool," said O'Neal. Rogers agreed. Before the trip, the girls wrote solicitation letters asking family and friends to help fund the trip. Tanner and McDowell fund their own trips.
All four do get a donation from the church. Various fundraisers are also held to help defray costs.
McDowell has been representing Elkton UMC with missions, working in an impoverished area of Kentucky since 2005. "It's what the Holy Spirit tells me to do," said McDowell. He also said that key things for those assisting with missions should know are "Let your light shine" and "Let everything you do be for the glory of God".
O'Neal has worked the church's projects in Kentucky for four years. She works for Elkton Parks and Recreation and plans her summers around missions trips.
Rogers has been on missions trips before, helping in Ocean City, N.J. following Hurricane Sandy. She has also done local outreach in the local area. "I'm excited about working with children," she said.
Tanner is focusing on construction projects in Costa Rica. But he's also hoping to get in some time with soccer and VBS. O'Neal and Rogers will focus on two of their passions. They will work with a Costa Rican Vacation Bible School, teach soccer, and crafts.
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