Fabio says he wouldn’t have survived being a refugee without one thing.
“Only with the help of a community can one survive the experience of exile,” says Fabio.
Shortly after their daughter was born, Fabio and his wife Erica began receiving threats from an area gang in El Salvador. A relative had not paid the “rent” for his business and the gang expected Fabio to pay in his place. Terrified for their lives, Fabio and Erica left the life they knew behind for refuge in Costa Rica.
After being accepted as refugees in San Jose, Costa Rica, Fabio found what he calls “true refuge,” in Casa Adobe, a ministry center and partner of Christian Reformed World Missions located in the Santa Rosa neighborhood.
“The Casa Adobe community has been a major part of my life in Costa Rica,” says Fabio. “I have friends, a shelter, for my family, and they keep supporting me and my family with tender care.”
In helping Fabio and his family, members of Casa Adobe stayed true to the ministry’s purpose, “to be a community in which people who are different learn to live as citizens of Santa Rosa, caring for creation, building true relationships, and nurturing their faith in a God of love and justice.”
Today Fabio is helping other refugees feel just as welcome as he felt when he first arrived in San Jose.
“My own experience moved me to be in touch with people and organizations working with the United Nations’ refugee agency in San José,” said Fabio.
Along with this work, Fabio also participates in the work of the local migration office.
“I know that being without a person who takes you through the correct places, a person who indicates you the right process and the requisites you need, a person who go along with you to understand the city, the money, it could be frustrating,” says Fabio.
In September 2016, Fabio took part in a conference with about 30 other Hispanic ministry leaders. They had gathered through the joint efforts of Christian Reformed World Missions, Christian Reformed Home Missions and World Renew.
“One of the things that I concluded was that we as a Christian community need to take the issue [of immigration] seriously,” said Fabio after the conference. “We have to be concerned of what is happening in our countries, churches and hearts.”
As Fabio continues to share his experience as a refugee to help others who are in the beginning stages of this situation, he is learning from and teaching others in Casa Adobe about effective ministry.
Along with Fabio, some other residents of the Casa Adobe community include CRWM’s James and Ruth Padilla-DeBorst, Micah Schuurman, and members of the Cohort of Missioners program. Together, they are learning from one another and supporting one another in ministry.