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 | By Joey Reistroffer

The Waldrop missionary family continues to bring the light of Christ in Costa Rica

Be a light in your neighborhood, and watch the grace of God dispel the darkness and despair. The Waldrops believe this so much that they sold everything, became missionaries and moved their family from Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Santa Rosa de Pocosol, Costa Rica.

Now Chris, Angie and their sons — CJ, Jonathan and Job — are shining beams of hope in their new neighborhood. They don’t live near the sandy beaches, the resorts or the ziplines.

“They are not exactly near the coast,” said Cate Broadbent, manager of media and communications for Family Missions Company, which sent the Waldrops to Costa Rica. “They are in a more remote area. Mostly mountainous roads. As soon as you leave the resorts, there’s poverty.”

“We never zipline,” Angie laughed. “We barely get to see the beach. We are in the country. It’s beautiful. A lot of the people are farmers and ranchers.”

She said Costa Rica has thousands of acres of pineapple farms, a lot of cattle, palm oil and then the bananas. She said folks find coffee mostly in the mountains.

Now, however, Costa Rica is being overrun by refugees, many from Nicaragua and Venezuela.

“A lot of people are being persecuted,” Angie said. “They are telling us it’s really bad. It’s hard to live. They want something better for their families.”

Angie said the refugees have described the flight from their ancestral homes. “It’s life threatening. We’re praying for their relief and for their families to be reunited.”

The Waldrops don’t do politics. They just help people. They see souls that are hurting, and they try to ease their pain. A lot of that help comes from one-on-one visits: talking things out, seeing the need and trying their best to provide.

Chris said one man was involved with drugs. They got him to a rehabilitation center but the man ran away. They found him again and got him in another rehabilitation center, where he has blossomed.

Along the way, Chris said, the man saw small things that made him believe someone higher was in charge. Now he has turned the corner and is teaching English at the new rehabilitation center.

Angie, Chris and two of their boys are pictured with the man who healed from addiction to help and teach at a rehabilitation center.

The Waldrops are doing God’s work in a faraway land, and they love the opportunities to make a positive influence on folks whose faith is lagging.

“We help people discern their call,” Broadbent said. “Use God as your guide, and don’t be afraid.”

The Waldrops never doubted, and they are not afraid. They are gung-ho.

“We do home visits and whatever the priests want done,” Chris said.

Two of the priests, Fathers Alex and Carlos, serve 47 surrounding communities. They appreciate the help, Chris said. When the Waldrops arrived in Costa Rica, they helped refurbish Santa Cecilia, a 50-year-old chapel in their new hometown. Now the community has a place to pray and stay dry during storms.

Yet another light dispelling the darkness.

So many dark places, Broadbent explained. “There is such a need everywhere” for God’s blessing.

“All you have to do is pray and be the light, be the example,” Chris added.