My 6th baby is snoozing on my lap, it’s late in the evening as a I write, and I’m thinking of precious babies half way around the world. How can I, a stay-at-home-mom, help babies in need? What can I give this Lent, as the Church calls upon the faithful to give alms, from their time, talent, and treasure?
One of my favorite women and her family are missionaries to indigenous women and children in Costa Rica. They care for pregnant women, love them through labor and delivery with doula service, and when the babies have medical needs, the family and team at St. Francis Emmaus Center, part of Saint Bryce Missions, help to meet the needs and give the families the tools and support they need.
From their website:
…The center, modeled off the internationally-lauded model of “pregnancy waiting homes”, provides a safe, comfortable place for up to 30 Cabecar mothers, who must journey long hours on foot to have access to medical care, in the days before and after the birth of a child or in the event of the hospitalization of a child.
What We Do:
Mothers and children are offered housing, nutritional meals, access to all services of Costa Rica’s internationally-acclaimed government health care system, and advocacy to ensure full comprehension and completion of medical requirements. In addition women are offered childbirth education and the accompaniment of a trained doula during labor and birth, support in initiating successful lactation, education and advocacy for early bonding, and increased recovery time before returning to their homes long walking distances from access to medical care.
What a beautiful service. What an incredible way to love others, to live mercy, to be the hands of God working in another’s life.
Part of me longs to be able to be in the mountains of Costa Rica, serving alongside those who who live there, providing love and care for these mothers and infants. My calling is to my own home and family, so while I can’t (at this time) actually serve in Costa Rica, I can use my gifts to help in other ways. First, bringing attention to the ministry here is an invitation to readers to pray for the women and babies, and for the missionaries who serve them. Second, donating to the ministry in a monetary way (almsgiving! Good for Lent!) helps to meet needs in a concrete way. The St. Bryce team builds chapels, and donations help. They also help communities in need by drilling and repairing water wells, providing families with maize to supplement their food supply, and donating/helping with the growth of mango groves as a cash crop.
Not all of us are called to be missionaries in another country. Not even all of us are called to be “in the field” in our country. Still, we are all baptized into the Body of Christ, and given the broad mission to serve and love others. I gladly offer money (my “treasure”) to the mission to support their work, and humbly offer my prayers (my “time”) that God will continue to bless their efforts as they serve the women and children in Costa Rica.