Twenty-three members of Hope Church on Wolfpit Road went on a mission trip to Costa Rica this summer to provide encouragement, support and help further the efforts of a local community in the Central American country.

“We got connected to a local church in Costa Rica and the primary thing we did was work alongside people who were already there,” said Paul Karus, director of youth ministries at Hope Church.

The mission trip group — which consisted of about six high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, six to seven college-aged students and some adults — arrived in Costa Rica on July 29 and returned Aug. 7, said Karus.

One of the projects the group worked on was helping build a church, for which Hope Church helped raised thousands of dollars for construction materials over the last few years.

The group also held a “women’s ministry” for the local church, which ministers to “a large population of single moms,” said Karus.

“Part of our week was really just taking a couple hours and playing with their kids while the adults in the groups did facials, mani-pedis and things like that,” he said.

The group also brought school supplies to an orphanage and played with the children there, and held “kids camps” at local schools.

Since he’s been with the congregation, Karus said, Hope Church has gone on eight mission trips.

“It started off with Hurricane Katrina relief and then we did a trip to Belize for a year, and then we did a couple years to Virginia near the Appalachian Trail,” he said.

“The last two years, we’ve gone to Costa Rica. This was our second year following up with the same church.”

Karus said the goal of the mission trips is to give church members “a global perspective on the needs that are out there.”

“I think we sometimes grow up in America in a kind of a bubble, and sometimes it’s hard to see the needs that are around you,” he said.

“Going on a trip to Costa Rica — or any mission trip — kind of opens your eyes to the needs around you and see where people need help.”

To learn more about Hope Church, visit hopechurchct.org.