Their Ministry Focus
Brian and Melissa’s ministry focus is to walk alongside the Church of God in Costa Rica, encouraging and strengthening local pastors and congregations, while also providing special assistance with projects when invited by local leaders. They will also provide on-the-ground oversight and leadership for mission teams who visit the churches in Costa Rica, as well as throughout Latin America as needed. Their ministry will also focus on supporting children and youth in local churches, including helping local congregations with educational programs. They will also support the needs of missionary children (MKs) throughout the region of Latin America.
Brian and Melissa Richey were deeply involved in their church and their community, committed to loving people and living a life of hope for those around them. Brian had a fulfilling career in transportation and trucking, enjoying the connections he made with people. Melissa, who had initially worked as a receptionist at Cornwall Church, was now the outreach director. While missions had been a passion, being a full-time missionary seemed like something for preachers and teachers, people with seminary degrees. But after multiple mission trips to Peru, Honduras, and Costa Rica, God called their number.
Jason and Abby Torgeson, Global Strategy’s regional connectors for Latin America, had been monitoring the Richeys’ involvement, but it wasn’t until early 2022 that they approached Brian and Melissa about joining the missionary team in Latin America, specifically as missionaries walking alongside the church in Costa Rica. Brian and Melissa weren’t sure; after all, Brian had a great job and Melissa was living with an autoimmune disease. Nevertheless, they felt compelled to take a vision trip to Costa Rica. During their visit, they engaged with local churches, met leaders, and earnestly sought God’s guidance. By early 2023, God’s direction was clear. The call was clear.
While Melissa comes from a family of Hispanic origins, with deep roots in Texas, Brian and Melissa crossed paths in middle school when Melissa moved with her father to Washington state. Brian, a Pacific Northwest native, grew up in Ferndale, Washington, near Bellingham. Having grown up in a small traditional church, as a teenager Brian found church boring and quit going. He and Melissa fell into the local party scene. Despite Brian and Melissa’s choices, his parents continued to consistently demonstrate Christ’s grace and love to them.
These middle and high school years were hard, often unstable, years for Melissa. Her father’s struggles, poor decision-making, and homelessness often left her living with friends on and off. But when Melissa received a devastating diagnosis of a rare blood disorder, her dad suggested that they start attending church again. Melissa, Brian, and her dad found themselves at Cornwall Church, in Bellingham, Washington, where they were welcomed and loved, where they were challenged to surrender and to truly follow Jesus and trust him with their lives. Soon after, they recommitted their lives to Christ and pursued a path of discipleship. Over time, they become more and more deeply involved in the ministries of the church, eager to share and show the grace, hope and love they had received. Along the journey of spiritual and emotional healing, with much prayer and tears, Melissa’s blood disorder stabilized, improved, and then faded, not at once, but slowly.
Melissa writes, “So, here we are today, with a difficult, humbling, and honoring opportunity for us to explore what God may want for us next. Wherever that might be, we want to always be available!”
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’” (Isaiah 6:8, NIV). And with Isaiah, Brian and Melissa have said, “Here am I. Send me!”
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