“Joe and Mira Costa are an incredible inspiration. They both have fathers who have spent their lives in ministry in the Middle East, and now Joe and Mira will continue that faithful service to the Lord as part of the BMA Missions team in that part of the world. We are excited to partner with this dedicated couple and journey with them in their ministry to reach the youth of the Middle East and to strengthen churches in that region.” This is how Dr. John David Smith, executive director of BMA Missions, describes Joe and Mira, who will become missionaries to Lebanon in the near future.
Joe Costa is the son of BMA Missionary Charlie Costa, who was commissioned in 1993 when Joe was only five years old. He recalled that he has lived most of his life in this Middle Eastern nation, and being a part of that Arab culture has become an integral part of his life.
“As a family, we grew up with Arab traditions, doing everything like the local Lebanese people, so as a mission kid I felt like more of a local than anything else,” Joe said.
One element that did differ in the Costa family was that they were heavily focused on serving people inside and outside of the church. He described living a life like many other pastors’ children in that his routine was going to church, doing Bible studies, and going to youth group. At the age of sixteen, though, God began to call upon him to adopt a deeper, more real faith.
“I was talking to a friend, and he told me that I need to be friends with Jesus. Real friends. Not acquaintances,” Joe recalled. “My attitude towards faith [now] is not because I am a missionary kid; that does not make me a real follower. My attitude towards faith has changed.”
Several years later at the age of 21, God called Joe Costa into a life of full-time ministry, and then at the age of 28, he knew God was calling him to become a missionary to the youth of the Arab world.
Joe and Mira met at a youth ministry training conference in Lebanon, and their fathers were both pastors, so they got to know one another. They dated several years, much of the time long-distance, because Mira came to the United States to get her master’s degree.
“Long distance tested our relationship. It gave us an opportunity to pray for each other and focus on the spiritual part of our relationship. It had its difficulty, but it was nice. During that time, I knew she had a heart for young people in the Arab world, and that drew us closer together,” said Joe.
They have been married since August 2016 and are living in the Dallas, Texas, area until September of this year, working on preparing for the move back to Lebanon. They are currently serving in a BMA national missionary’s Arabic church in Garland, Texas, helping with the youth group. They are also visiting churches, working to raise funds for their future ministry.
“We have 35% of our support raised, and still have 65% that we need to raise,” said Joe. “Hopefully by September, by the grace of God, we will have that amount so we can go back to Lebanon and begin ministry.”
They are looking for people to sponsor their ministry monthly and create a continuance momentum that will help keep them supported on a monthly basis.
“This will give us the proper resources in terms of a work fund – a salary – so that we can go back to Lebanon fully funded and focus fully on the ministry. There are a lot of projects and plans that we want to do in Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan, but we can’t do it without monthly support,” said Joe.
When they arrive on the mission field, the Costas have three “pillars” of ministry they are going to focus on. The first is working with youth pastors to train them in mentoring and discipling the younger generation. The second pillar is to work with churches and assess their needs, finding out how they can assist their ministry, especially their youth ministry. The third pillar will be working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon, starting small groups and youth groups for unbelievers and those who have questions about the Christian faith.
“So these are the main three pillars,” explained Joe. “In each one, there are a lot of ideas and things we want to do.”
Joe and Mira Costa ask for your prayers. They ask for protection and wisdom as they approach their date to return to Lebanon. They ask you to pray that they would mature in the Lord, and also be in prayer for the young people in the Arab world. Finally, they request prayer for the Muslims in their home nation, that they would come to know Christ.
They are currently staying in the Dallas area and would love to speak at your local church to share their vision and mission to the Middle East. To inquire about scheduling them to speak to your congregation, email BMA Missions at firstname.lastname@example.org.