Transforming ‘Small Worlds’

Jobs for Life, ReachGlobal partner on Costa Rica extension

Karina Carmona has been a Christian for more than 25 years, but she never knew how deeply her faith connected to her work – until Jobs for Life came along.

Thanks to a partnership with Reachglobal’s team in San José, Costa Rica, Jobs for Life is being taught in Spanish for the first time.

At Vida Abundante del Este, a non-denominational church in San José, Carmona and her classmates are being challenged to recognize their value in Christ and the unique qualities they can bring to their jobs.

A 36-year-old businesswoman with a high-school education, Carmona has nearly completed her first Jobs for Life program. For the past three years, she has worked beside her mother, making desserts and special orders at Fresh Market, an upscale market and bakery in San José. However, she longs to attend one of Costa Rica’s universities, too.

“This course was part of my plan to be able to be sure of my abilities, of my talents, that God has given me in order to decide [on a career focus],” she says. “I have a few months left before I have to decide exactly what I want to study. I am sure that my job will almost always be directed towards [working with people].”

Viewing work as a calling

The idea of Jobs for Life was born in Raleigh, N.C., in 1996. The organization’s goal is to help build lives, one job at a time. It now has more than 316 active sites in the United States.

Dan Jenkins, a ReachGlobal missionary in Costa Rica, recognized a need to expand Jobs for Life to Latin America. He partners with local churches to develop, equip and encourage people to honor God in their work.

One of the greatest barriers we face here is that few Christians view their work as a calling,” Jenkins says. “But we’ve found several pastors and lay leaders who are eager to see this change.”

So about a year ago, Jenkins talked with David Spickard, president and CEO of Jobs for Life. The two decided to launch the program in Fall 2011. And so began the time-consuming process of translating the materials from English to “tropicalized” Spanish.

“The work being done by the leaders at Vida Abundante to translate the JFL curriculum will have an impact on the entire Spanish speaking world, not just Latin America,” Spickard says. “It really is the start of something extraordinary.”

A transformed world

When the leaders of the church asked Guiselle Quesada, a member and local psychologist, to teach Jobs for Life, she was not initially eager to accept. Flipping through the weekly lessons, though, she found herself identifying with the intended audience.

“When I was reviewing the lessons of this course, I said to God, ‘This is my life!’ … What I give here, I speak with ownership because it’s my life experience. So maybe for this [reason] I put so much passion in it.”

In the final weeks of the class, Quesada hopes that students, like Carmona, will be living catalysts for Jobs for Life to expand outside the boundaries of San José.

“I can’t change the world,” she says. “But I can change my small world. If there are small worlds that change and change and change, we are going to have a better society.”

Spreading the work

Spickard recently spent two weeks in Costa Rica to see the work that is being done through Jobs for Life in San José.

“My visit helped me see how it is working firsthand, connect directly with their leaders and understand how the Lord is raising up men and women to embrace Jobs for Life’s mission—transform lives for His glory—and be used to spread this work across Latin America.”

Carmona has found the course to be a much-needed reminder to live out her Christian values in every area of life, especially her job.

“This part of our profile is something really important, right? For any person that wants to hire us, I think that knowing we are honest, good collaborators, [and] loyal is really important.”

What You Can Do


  • That God would bring more people to the Jobs for Life program in San José and La Carpio.
  • That the students would be challenged to grow as they learn how to apply biblical values in their everyday lives, especially at work.
  • That another generation of Jobs for Life leaders would emerge as they continue to expand.
  • For direction and passion as Karina makes plans to attend university.

Learn More

Write to for more information on this new partnership.

Read about ReachGlobal’s work at a health clinic in Costa Rica.






© 2012 EFCA. All rights reserved. 

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