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green mountains in Costa Rica

Taylor Students Make Impact in Costa Rica 

  • By: Frank Smith
  • Published:
group of students on mountain in Costa Rica

During January term of 2024, 11 students led by Professor of Entrepreneurship Dr. Mick Bates traveled to Costa Rica where they participated in business as mission (BAM) and worked in cross-cultural service opportunities. The trip’s focus was aimed at transformational, economic, spiritual, and social development of the area, and through these activities, the team was able to form perspectives on the role of business in cross-cultural service.  

The team traveled to the jungle mountains of Costa Rica, serving the Cabecar people, working at the Mountain of Dreams, and wrapped up their time at the base of the Arenal Volcano near La Fortuna. The trip was life-changing for most students and brought to reality ways in which business can be a vehicle for delivering love and service to others. 

Service in Business 

The team worked with BAM entrepreneurs Josiah and Cynthia Hubbard and their company, Mountain of Dreams (La Montaña de Sueños). Mountain of Dreams is a business with the drive to positively impact this struggling area of Costa Rica. The company is a vertically integrated, sustainable lumber mill that takes reforested trees and turns them into value-add products such as finished construction materials and furniture. Additionally, the company builds sustainable homes that leverage their wood products.  


The students worked with Mountain of Dreams management and board members to develop new ideas and conducted a “Pocket” IMPACT for 17 Costa Rican high school students. As a part of their classwork, the students split into four teams where they developed ideas and solutions for AirBNB, investor relations and corporate governance, honey-based products, social media, and even the website.  


Directly as a result of the TU visit, Mountain of Dreams has engaged new AirBNB clients, launched their new website, started planning for a youth center in town, and implemented new investor relations collateral. After the project presentations, a board member from Montana commented, “I can’t believe they did all this in less than two weeks!” 

Service in Faith 

While doing business work in Costa Rica, the students were also able to minister to the tribal people, Costa Ricans, and with each other. According to Dr. Bates, the ministry component of the trip was “virtually 24/7.”  


Each day, the team spent time pouring into one another, asking God for encouraging words to share with designated team members.  

“The daily practice of intentional listening to the Lord showed me that God does want to communicate with us and that He can in so many different ways,” said Wade Frances ‘24. 

The first Sunday, the team traveled to the local church of the Cabecar tribal people and had opportunities to share their faith and pray for their needs. Trevor Eckmann ‘24 and Wade Frances each shared short messages about the Beatitudes and the criminals on the cross, through a translator in the Cabecar church. At the end of the service the entire team engaged in distributed prayer as the Cabecar had need. It was amazing to see God connect people in His spirit even though they did not speak the same language. 


Every evening, the team gathered back together with the Mountain of Dreams personnel and the local missionaries and discussed ways in which the Lord was working. They ended each meeting in prayer and worship.  

The trip served as an amazing opportunity for students to grow in their faith while also growing in their practical skills and application of business knowledge. 

Visit Taylor 

Beyond the Costa Rica trip, Taylor has many opportunities for students to travel, learn, and serve during J-Term. Request more information or schedule your Taylor visit to learn more.