For Brittany and Frank Hynson, going to work daily means descending 125 steps down the face of a cliff to the shantytown of Las Gradas, Costa Rica to begin their day attending to the needs of children and families in the community.
Inaccessible by car, Las Gradas is the poorest section of the La Carpio slums in San Jose, Costa Rica. Surrounded by a garbage dump and alongside a polluted river, the 155-acre area is home to 155,000 inhabitants with children at risk for sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, hang activity and prostitution.
Frank, nephew of Kent County’s beloved Rev. Vincent Hynson, and Brittany met at Hope Fellowship in Chestertown and recognized in each other the determination and commitment needed for missionary work in some of the most economically challenged areas in the world.
This shared calling brought the two together as missionaries and eventually as husband and wife, and now two young children, as they help meet the needs of an impoverished community lacking the basics, from clean water to reading skills an learning to survive in a dangerous environment.
Both had previous experience as missionaries with CoLaborers International in Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Zambia, and Costa Rica. That experience proved invaluable as they worked to create a non-profit branch of the organization in Las Gradas.
CoLaborers International is an organization that works alongside established efforts to “provide services to the women and children including basic education, emotional intelligence/ mental wellness groups, counseling services, food, hygiene, arts and crafts activities, and vocational training to the parents founded by Marielos, a costa Rican therapist.”
The additional challenge of an influx of 300,000 Nicaraguan refugees fleeing the violence and repression of the Ortega government has made the Hynson’s job even more taxing. While they are often faced with the language barriers of indigenous populations, they continue to gain the trust of the battered and ever-changing Las Gradas community.
The key element to that growing trust is their long-term commitment to the community and goal to raise their own family there as they work with staff members who experienced childhoods in the same slums.
The Spy recently held a Zoom meeting with Brittany and Frank to learn more about their missionary work with CoLaborers International.