Posted on May 17, 2024 Girls’ Clubs in Costa Rica: Being the Presence of Christ
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Flor is seventy-four years old, a pastor’s wife and a fearless warrior of love for a vulnerable, underserved community nearby to her own neighborhood in San Jose, Costa Rica. This is where just one of the ten Talita Cumi Girls’ Clubs in this country are changing lives. Las Canas neighborhood is a place where the drug trade, drug addiction, and family members serving prison sentences are the rule rather than the exception and strangers are not welcome here.

On one rainy Costa Rican afternoon, Flor and another woman from their church, Maie, walked down the steep incline that leads into Las Canas to look for a girl they had met and ask her if she would like to help then start a Girls’ Club for other girls in the neighborhood.

What they found there would change the lives of children throughout Las Canas and revolutionize the life of Flor’s church. As they approached the girl’s house, they saw that in the storm a tree had fallen on the house, just a few minutes before they arrived. Jessica (not her real name) had suffered from a fractured cranium, and other members of the family were seriously injured.

Flor and Maye called other church members who helped transport the injured to the hospital, and in the days to come the church donated food, furniture, and clothing to the family to help them recover. This extraordinary act of love planted the seed for a thriving Girls’ Club with eleven girls, each of whom lives a complex story of daily survival. But amid their challenges, the Girls’ Club is a safe place where they find love and hope for a better future.

But the story does not end there. All the children of (slum name) wanted to belong to Talita Cumi, and Flor will never turn away a child. So, all the children of (slum name) are Talita children. The girls from the Girls’ club come up to the church on Saturdays for breakfast. Their Club, plus more children from the neighborhood, comes up on Sunday morning for breakfast and then to spend most of the morning learning about Jesus, playing games and finding love. At Christmas time each child receives a gift from a family in the church, and they and their families enjoy a Christmas lunch with the church. The body of Christ is alive and breathing and changing the world in Las Canas.

I had the privilege of walking into Las Canas with Flor along with our missionary colleague, Sue Hegarty and three women from our partners in mission, Crossroads Baptist Church. We saw the blank faces of young men sitting on sidewalks unaware of their surroundings and others standing in doorways talking about the realities of a world unknown to us.

When a little girl ran out from a house, smiling, and jumped into Meye’s arms, the power of Flor’s and Meys’s presence, as the presence of Christ, snapped into focus. This place, with all the residents’ hopes and fears swirling about, was no threat to us because of the love these women have freely offered to all its residents.


Barb will be speaking at this free, online International Ministries missions conference.

Tuesday, May 21, at 7 PM Eastern, and Wednesday, May 22, at 8 AM Eastern.


Register here:



a typical Girls’ Club activity.