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Gainesville woman heading to Costa Rica to battle rampant sex trafficking of youth

POSTED: March 10, 2012 1:30 a.m.
/For The Times

Gainesville resident Sidney Eure crouches with a group of children in Guatemala. Eure has been working as a full-time missionary - first in Guatemala, now in Costa Rica - since June.

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Sidney Eure is a woman on a mission. Make that several missions.

Eure has been working as a full-time missionary — first in Guatemala, now in Costa Rica — since June.

"I am so passionate to work alongside God to bring his kingdom to Earth and to help take the gospel, his love and his justice to the ends of the Earth," said Eure, a Gainesville native and former elementary school teacher.

"Missions are definitely what God put me on this Earth to do. I miss my family, my students, my job and the luxuries we don’t even realize we have in the States, but I know the best place for me to be is the center of God’s will. "

The Lakewood Baptist Church member spent the majority of her time in Guatemala volunteering with food programs, building homes and volunteering at a preschool in a small impoverished community in a landfill.

"Ministry in Guatemala was all day, nonstop," Eure said. "I saw the huge need for God there and the huge amount of people who have literally never heard of Jesus."

Eure completed her mission there just before Christmas, but the experience strengthened her resolve to continue helping others.

"I saw God provide for me in huge ways, especially on days when I ran into an emergency," Eure said.

"For example, when one of the kids I was doing ministry with had to be rushed to the hospital, we arrived and had no money. I gave them my Visa card knowing that there wasn’t anything on it. It passed through.

"I later found out that my mother had deposited an anonymous donation that same day. God answers prayers and He often does this through obedience to the body of Christ."

Although her servant’s heart is a key component to being an effective missionary, Eure knows that it takes other skills, too. That’s why she is enrolled in missionary training school through Youth With a Mission in Costa Rica.

"I am so excited to have this opportunity to be trained to be a long-term missionary and to better equip myself for the ministries that God will provide for me in the mission field," Eure said.

In between her training sessions, Eure has also been volunteering with a human trafficking ministry.

According to a report from the Embassy of the United States in San Jose, Costa Rica, the country is "a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor."

The report goes on to say that Limon, Eure’s next destination, is one of the areas in Costa Rica where child sex tourism is a serious problem.

"We go out on the streets and minister to the prostitutes. Prostitution is legal here in Costa Rica. Hundreds of women and children are trafficked into Costa Rica as slaves to work in the sex industry," Eure said.

"Once a week, we go and stand in front of the biggest brothel in Costa Rica and have a prayer vigil where we fight in prayer."

The group also works to build personal relationships with the prostitutes.

"We just overwhelm them with the love of Christ," Eure said.

"We know that recovery from such a dark past is a long process that can only be accomplished through the work of the holy spirit, but we know lives will change. We have already seen things begin to change.

"We have heard amazing things about young girls being taken out of sexual slavery who are now healed individuals and they are ministering to others."

Next month, Eure will head to Limon where she will be working to pioneer a new Youth With a Mission base.

"Although we will be sleeping in tents and cooking in creative ways, the ministry there will be awesome," Eure said.

"This area is unreached by Christianity. You can actually feel the spiritual heaviness when you enter the city."

In addition to going out to minister to the community, the group will also establish a skate park at the base for the area’s youth.

"Through the park, we will be building relationships with the youth and discipling them. We are determined to reach people where they are," Eure said.

"Being a port town, there are people from around the world living (in Limon). This is such a great opportunity to reach the nations and to launch people out to change their own countries."

Even though her missionary work has taken her far from her home and comfort zone, Eure says she knows she is on the right path.

"The mission of the church is missions, but as a body, we all have different roles. Some of us are called to go, others to support, others to teach and raise up new disciples and others to pray," Eure said.

"God has clearly called me to long-term missions — beginning in Guatemala and continually reaffirming this call.

"This is God’s vision and his ministry not mine, but I am so excited to be on this
journey."



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