I love telling the story of how God led us to Costa Rica

I love telling the story of how God led us to Costa Rica because it has everything to do with community. Years ago we made an intentional decision about where to attend church. We were redefining what community meant to us, and the church at large. We wanted a place where we could grow and be fed, attend without extensive travel, a place we could serve, and have time to BE the church to our neighbors and our local community. We found that church through our daughter’s friend, and that church is where we were sitting when the call for full time ministry came.

A few years later, on a Sunday morning, we heard about Costa Rica and some of the issues and needs they face. The United Nation has Costa Rica on the Tier 2 watchlist for human trafficking. There are many missionaries helping rescue those victims and they are overwhelmed at the magnitude of the issue. My husband, who was a Physical Education teacher and soccer coach for the past thirty years, looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “God is showing me I am to start a soccer academy for the at-risk youth there”. He took an exploratory trip with our pastor, and after planning and raising support we moved. 

Our vision for Life of a Champion Ministry

Our vision for Life of a Champion Ministry is to have a safe place where Costa Rican children can come for physical training, to hear about Jesus, and learn life skills. Currently they show up at the park to train, but we are working to grow it into an academy where they can play soccer, get a proper education, and eventually provide a safe residence for children who need it. As we studied about the sexual and physical abuse Costa Rican children face, we found that a vast majority of the instances start in the home, leaving many kids with no resources for help.  In some cases, children are being groomed for abuse by their parents so that they can be used as “supplemental income” to offset the high cost of living. Our calling is to work from the other end; to reach boys with the life changing message of Jesus so that they will stop the cycle of abuse.

Being proactive and willing to take risks (brave things outside our comfort zone, not dangerous things) is what we do on a daily basis to immerse ourselves in and create community.  Before making the move to Costa Rica, we had already started building our new community. We visited the country a few times, and even sent our two daughters on missions trips to the nation without us. Our youngest daughter visited the school where she now attends, and was able to meet students who then became pen pals until we moved there officially. Today, she is good friends with those girls and plays on a community volleyball team with them.

We have been in Costa Rica less than one year, and are figuring out where to shop, worship, hang out, receive preventative medical care, etc. To help us learn our new community, I made a map of my street and labeled all the houses. We pray over each house, and I fill in information about each family as I learn it. We moved to Costa Rica not knowing much Spanish, and rather than looking at it as a barrier, I choose to call it a connection - a point for us to grow and understand our community better. 

Are there days we think “what are we doing?” YES! Especially with global issues right now pertaining to every facet of public life. But, we are confirmed daily that we are intended to be in Costa Rica, needed here, and thank God for those confirmations as it is easy to struggle with doubt when up against obstacles like we face. 

Our support base is entirely funded by our “community”. We have no large companies underwriting any costs and no large checks written from anonymous donors. It is our community that makes it possible for us to serve the children of Costa Rica, which makes the work we do here in Costa Rica that much more personal. We can’t wait each month to share in our newsletters what WE as a community are accomplishing together  in Costa Rica. The fact that we can do this from the support of “our” community is nothing short of the miraculous kind of work our Lord does! 

If you would like to financially contribute

To follow along with us on social media, find us on Instagram @lifeofachampionministry. To be added to our monthly newsletter, contact us at teamwensley@gmail.com. 

Woman on a Mission

Ginger's article was originally published in the Summer 2020 Issue of By Design Journal. We were honored to share the story of Life of a Champion Ministry as we explored the topic of "Embracing Community" during that season. This fall, as we introduce the theme "Woman on a Mission", we are grateful to share her story once again!