Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dios es Amor

Posted by: Erika and Heber

Day 2 at Pura Vida Missions has just about concluded. Every year, Pura Vida has a special theme for their VBS, and this year is Abide, based on John 15:1-17. If we abide in Christ, He will abide in us. We will be fruitful, joyful, and we will be friends of Christ. This theme has been emphasized by our daily TAG sessions, for which we were given little notebooks that act as a devotional. The devotions have been written by members of Pura Vida staff, and develop the theme of abiding in Christ.

This theme is especially emphasized during our evening worship time. We have a music praise time, led by Tyler (a PVM staff member from the States) on guitar. Then, normally Pastor Albert (one of the founders of PVM) delivers a message. Tonight, however, we heard from Marjorie, another PVM staff member. Marjorie used to be a translator for Pura Vida, but now she is in charge of the sponsorship program here. She talked to us about what the sponsorship program does, and how it has benefited a few specific children in the past.

Our team worshipping during our nightly Pura Vida service. 

In Costa Rica, children are only required to attend school until sixth grade. Then, school becomes much more expensive. Because of this, many children drop out of school. The Pura Vida sponsorship program makes it possible for children in San Ramon to continue their education. For $360 per year (or monthly installments of $30), sponsors provide school supplies, uniforms, and shoes for students. (visit for more information).

Today instead of visiting a waterfall, we went to the Centro, which is downtown San Ramon, after the afternoon ministry. We walked around (dodging cars), visiting the local bakery, ice cream store, supermarket, and clothing stores. There is a park in the middle of downtown San Ramon, where a few stray (we think) dogs hang around. One dog, a mutt that looked like a young black lab. Benji dubbed him “Pablo.” He followed us around all over downtown until we had to leave.

During the day today at the ministry sites, Heber gave away his beanie and his bracelet. He plans to give away another beanie on Monday. Hope also gave her baseball cap to a child, and she bought a new one (at a bargain) during our visit to downtown San Ramon.

Our lesson for the children today focused on Elisha and how God provided for the woman by not allowing the oil in her jar to be empty. Team 2 (Miss Fabara’s team) was blessed with a young boy named Fabian who added so much energy to our VBS! He was about 8 years old, but he knew all of our worship songs and sang louder than anybody else. He was also familiar with the story and his enthusiasm allowed the other children to not feel embarrassed about praising the Lord.

Jami building relationships with one of the children.

Benji (Team 1) leading worship (in Spanish!).

Hope (Team 2) leading worship (in Spanish!). 

AJ, Heber, and Rudy (Team 1) playing with children at Pastoral.

Big Ups (a PVM tradition) to Dylan who has never stopped ministering to children and serving them!

Team 2 putting on a puppet show in Los Jardines (morning session).

Team 2 at Linda Vista.
And now, an anecdote from Heber:

My site is very blessed to have a basketball court where we do all the VBS activities at Pastoral. I had the chance to dunk over a couple of the kids and anything that they wanted me to. That was really fun. The craft today at my site was face painting, which eventually turned into a glitter fight. A lot of us were completely covered in glitter, myself included. It was a lot of fun for all of us, just to see how happy the kids were. Surprisingly, many of the children have Facebook accounts, and they gave me their e-mail addresses.

Almost everyone here in Costa Rica has a pet dog. There are many dogs just walking around the neighborhoods at their leisure, and a few decide to visit our VBS ministry sites. Unfortunately, today a child was bitten by one of these dogs. Then it was AJ and Laura to the rescue- they made sure the kid was okay, and he ended up walking away with only a couple of scratches and as the coolest kid on the block.

Prayer Requests:

·      Healing (painful sunburns still abound!)
·      Strength and Energy (Heber related our energy to the oil in the woman’s jars from today’s story: although we constantly feel that we have no energy to continue on – the Lord provides our teams with more than enough to serve the children throughout the day)