Population: 6 million (2014)
Capital: San José
Official language: Spanish
Major religion: Christianity
IFES movement: Estudiantes Cristianos Unidos (ECU)
Costa Rica is known for being one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world and also for being one of the few to have no army. Around 70% of Costa Ricans adhere to Roman Catholicism, although only around half are practicing; evangelical Christians make up around 12%.
- 5 state and around 30 private universities
- ECU groups in all 5 state universities and 2 private universities
- 1 part-time staff, 12 volunteers
- part-time General Secretary
- around 20 graduates
- largest group in the province of Guanacaste (around 100 students)
The strong commitment of the ECU board, staff and supporters to a common vision for ministry, has helped in recent years to integrate the various groups in different areas of the country.
ECU is aware that there are areas of the country that have not been reached after 35 years of ministry. They see their major challenge as encouraging students to go beyond simply meeting together, to looking outward and engaging more in evangelism and mission. Their dream is not only to grow the number of groups but also to better manage the administrative processes, the plans for fundraisings and the hiring process of full-time paid staff.
View from the inside
Edner Porras Rodriguez, the General Secretary of ECU, says: ‘We have been called by Jesus. It is our privilege to continue to serve in this ministry in spite of daily challenges and our limitations in terms of material and human resources.
Costa Rica is suffering profound changes. We regret these changes towards a relativistic and nominal culture. We continue to proclaim Jesus as the only answer to give the fullness of life. We know that ECU plays a part in the rebuilding process of the Costa Rican society with the message of Jesus.’
Edner is grounded in his ministry by two verses: ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’ (Proverbs 4:23) and ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.’ (Proverbs 1:7)
- for students to develop commitment to the preaching of the word and to the discipling of other students;
- for ECU groups to be pioneered in the Caribbean region and the Southern region near the Panama border;
- for the generosity of donors;
- for the financial resources for the new staff salaries.