Sonia is a sociologist and like many people she commuted to the capital of Costa Rica from her home to work. At that time it was 1992 and she was a wife and mother of five young children.
One day while commuting by the National Theatre, located in San José, Costa Rica, she noticed that some children were sleeping on cardboard in front of the theatre. Every morning after that she passed by and saw those children.
Although Sonia knew that a state-owned, professional and/or human response to these children was important, it would not be enough; she then clearly understood that there should be a solution through Christ.
A prayer, inspired by the Spirit, rose up to God for 7 months. “Lord, what can we do as a church to help these children?”
One morning, when she was taking the Zapote bus in San Jose, minutes after praying in a similar way, she saw children sleeping under a table made of cement and the Lord Jesus answered her: “Give them a place to sleep!” She sat, disrupted, crying after hearing God’s voice and from then on the fire that called upon her never left her, not from her heart and not from her will. It was then November 1992.
The prayer had not ceased, but from that point had become more intense and inquiring before Him, the all-knowing.
Sonia shared the vision with her husband and five children. Sonia shared the vision with her husband and five children. Shortly after, the Lord showed himself in a vision to Edwin Guevara Schmidt, Sonia’s husband. He was shown the enterprises that would be undertaken for the financial support of the ministry and in that way he was also called upon to be a part of this work.
One day Sonia exclaimed, “Lord, it is not enough to give them a place to sleep. What else should we do?” The Lord would show her a startling vision of all the work to be done.
This is how the mission of Love in the Street Ministry began to brew.
Sonia felt from the Lord that she should give up her professional career in the government institution where she worked as a sociologist. She prayed for three months asking for God’s confirmation because of the strong economic implications this decision would have on her family. She received confirmation from the Lord in three ways and thus quit her job where she worked until the last day of February 1993. For a few months she continued to work as a teacher and researcher at the National University but she soon left this job also.
Sonia shared God’s vision and called some people. Four women believed; her mother, a sister, a woman from the church and a former university classmate.
Thus, a group of six people began meeting once a week to pray for the fulfillment of this vision. They met at Edwin, Sonia and their children’s home which would be the Ministry’s first office.
In 1993 they started with a sociological research study about children and street children’s reality in Costa Rica along with the help of deep Bible study about the key concepts in God-given visions.
They started with a weekly, routine group prayer with friends and family, asking God about the Ministry he was starting.
Then began the steps for the legal organization of the Ministry and how to define a plan of action.
Within the same year, they shared their vision with the family’s Pastor who laid his hands upon the couple and blessed them. They were confirmed in their work, being ordained as ministers to the body of Christ.
The Ministry also joined the Costa Rican Evangelical Alliance Federation.
In the heart of this woman of God there was an imperative and burning desire to take to the streets and announce to the children the message that the Lord had given. However, the Lord Jesus Christ would not give the green light to do so until December 1993.
It was at the end of that year when they took a direct approach with children living in the street. The first part was organized during Christmas of 1993 for the children in the Red Light District of Líbano in San José, Costa Rica.
A journalist wrote a small article about this same Christmas party activity, titling it “Love in the Streets” and hence came the name “Love in the Streets Ministry.”
In 1994, Love in the Streets Ministry had already created an association to comply with certain legal requirements under Costa Rican law. This Association is named “Christian Association Towards a Restored Generation (ASCRIGERE - Asociación Cristiana Hacia una Generación Restaurada).
The Lord indicated that the vision should be written in accordance with Habakkuk 2: 2-4 and the Word of God was obeyed by Sonia, becoming an inspiration and source of faith for her home and the ministry.
In 1994 the couple trained seven small groups of volunteers with a calling and a vision in their own lives, among them, the four women who had believed from the very beginning. A total of 56 people trained, some of which became permanent volunteers in the emerging mission.
In harmony with the pastoral authority and under His blessing the first formal legal steps were taken to approve and validate the ministry, done so in an almost naïve desire to coordinate with Government institutions that have legal mandate in this field, coupled with the greater motivation to strengthen efforts with other Church initiatives and civil society.
ASCRIGERE – Love in the Streets Ministry has grown since then and a beautiful team has joined together, developing various programs in order to fully bring together the mission given to Sonia.
This is the story of Lic. Sonia Brenes Mejías, an ordinary woman, who obeyed the call of the Lord Jesus Christ in an extraordinary way.