On its surface, the mission trip undertaken by Landmark Church members must have seemed like a project doomed from day one.
In reality, how things finally played out offered ample evidence of God’s hand at work.
“Everything that had to work out, it all happened,” said Samantha Sikes, one of 18 who made the trip to Costa Rica.
“We didn’t know what we were going to do. We were amazed the entire time,” she added.
In 2019, 25 church members traveled to South Africa on a mission trip.
That whetted their determination to make a second mission trip in 2020 to Haiti.
That trip, scheduled for March, was cancelled as the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up around the world.
Church members delayed the mission trip until July 14, 2021.
But those plans derailed when Haitian President Joevenl Moise was assassinated July 7.
It took some scrambling and prayers, but the group was able to select Costa Rica as an alternative destination and transfer the group’s airline tickets from Haiti to Costa Rica.
That feat was accomplished in a mere six days, prompting one of the missionaries in Costa Rica to assure the Landmark group “It was a God thing for sure; you were right on time.”
Making the trip from Landmark were Sikes, Brittney Thompson, Tammy Thompson, Brianna Gutierrez, Cindy Cannon, Monna Blackmore, Seth Madrid, Hannah Robbins, Radonna Robbins, Karolina Sikes, David Sikes, Cynthia Plumlee, Clay Milner, Kaylee Stephens, Dwayne Stephens, Bryan Johnson, Gavin Johnson and the Rev. Justin Blankenship.
In country, they found themselves working on Casa Alabanza Hosana, a Pentecostal church in San Jose. They were joined by missionaries Jeff and Kimberly Oeder.
The church had a downstairs that wasn’t usable, Sikes said, and the congregation wanted rooms for Sunday School.
Over the course of three days, the Landmark group constructed four Sunday School rooms, cleaned the remainder of the downstairs and repainted the sanctuary.
Then the group traveled to the mountains where they taught Vacation Bible School classes to 150 youngsters who attended in groups of 50.
They were also able to deliver food to 10 families.
The group’s members were well aware through this that the COVID pandemic hadn’t gone away.
Then Costa Rica closed its borders the day before the group returned to the States. Testing was required before they could be cleared to leave.
Even one positive test would place the entire group in a 14-day quarantine.
“Thankfully, we all tested negative,” Sikes said.