Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Posted by: Emma Vallely

On Saturday, a group of us went over to a little park just a short walk away from the dream center. The park was nestled right behind a poorer community where many of the kids belonging to these houses could gather. Other disciples from the dream center had already set up a clothing station, a worship station, a cooking station, and a couple tables where our class could engage the kids there in some arts and crafts. The kids were so filled with joy and they immediately swarmed to our group and encouraged us to play with them. Being able to share God’s love with these children truly gave our whole group so much joy and in my opinion these kids and their love blessed us way more than any of us could have expected.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday at LVR - Church, Paintball and Bonfire

Posted by: Mr. Hood

We had an wonderful opportunity to attend Arrowhead Church - a new church plant that last year's Sophomore class was able to help demo the inside of a warehouse and help create their entire new church facility! It was a powerful service and they have done a fantastic job with the building - which the Junior Class will be amazed to see:

Their entire church was very grateful to Boca Christian for the work our Sophomores did last year, so they thanked us in the service and then served us a delicious lunch. It was a great time of fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

In the afternoon, it was time for paintball in the woods of LVR. We has a super fun time of play a game of capture the flag. Everyone had a great time - even if we got shot a few times!

The day ended with an awesome time of sharing around the bonfire. Students were very real and transparent as they shared deep hurts or challenges with their classmates. There was a sense of true vulnerability which helps to bring unity to a class. Tears were shed, apologies given, forgiveness granted and hugs all around! Praise God for the work of His Holy Spirit in the lives of these students. We look forward to all that He has planned for this class in the future.

Signing off after another blessed day at LVR.
(P.S. Sorry for not great pictures of tons of the students - we just have not been able to upload them yet! Come to the Missions Chapel on Friday to see an awesome video of the trip!)

Costa Rica Days #3 and #4

Posted by: Anastasia Gavrilos

Our last full day at our mission sites…what a feeling. I didn’t think that in just a short time we would find ourselves so completely devoted to these young, love-hungry children but saying goodbye left us with a bittersweet feeling (we may not see some of them on Monday because they have school).
We started our morning as we had days prior: an hour of soccer, some “dos y dos”, sidewalk chalk and general silliness until we calmed down enough to listen to the message of VBS. What set apart today from every other day was the one little boy that offered to pray for us, rather than us offering prayer for them. We can clearly see how the light of Christ is beginning to shine inside of these children. After lunch, we moved onto our second site and were greeted with similar shouts of joy as “los gringos locos” arrived to play and teach them about the promises of God. Hearing them recite “Salmos 1:6” or the English phrases all on their own is one of the most rewarding feelings as their desire to remain “cool” and distant in the eyes of their peers is replaced with a desire to learn about God.
Hopefully we see them again Monday, pray that school won’t keep them far! Today we’re headed off to church and I cannot wait to see how the love and power of God trumps all barriers and breaks through cultural divisions.

(Quick shout out, Happy Birthday to Phill!)

Love you all and see you soon!

Being led in worship by Tyler, the Pura Vida Missions worship leader.

Dr. Gutierrez's team at Linda Vista.

Class of 2018 at Las Musas waterfall and pool/water side.

We found Mr. Smith's twin at the soccer field in Costa Rica. 
After a great night of soccer. Dr. Gutierrez's team won; 2 - 0!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Showing God's Love - by Logging!

Posted by: Mr. Hood
Today began with another fantastic Long View Ranch breakfast - sausage, egg and cheese biscuits - yummy! After breakfast we had our daily quiet time studying Ephesians Ch. 3. These mornings are so special - as we have all of us spread out throughout the LVR dining hall - perfectly quiet for 25 minutes while we read, pray and meditate on God's Word. It's such an awesome way to start our day!

We then loaded up in the LVR bus and drove into town (approx. 30 mins away) to meet with the volunteers of  the Greene County Wood Ministry - a group of churches who have been collecting firewood and giving it away to needy families for many years. This is the 8th year that our Sophomore class has been helping to load firewood into trucks and trailers on the Saturday of our trip. We form lines of students and pass firewood along the line until we dump it into the trailer - and this class loaded a ton of firewood today.

Everyone worked incredibly well - each doing what they were able to - and a number of the boys loaded some massive logs.

We are thankful for all of you who are praying for our safety on the trip - as this is most often the day someone gets hurt- and we had no major injuries today! We will all be a little sore and tired - but that is very good. God also blessed us with the second consecutive day of perfect weather.
The day ended with another fabulous LVR meal, some free time, awesome Praise and Worship (with one student describing it as "we just sensed the Holy Spirit moving in this place!"), a discussion of Ephesian Ch. 3, sharing "big-ups" (which are a way of giving encouragement to one or more of the classmates) and then some games of "man-hunt" outside around the dining hall and cabins. Overall another wonderful day for our Sophomores - and their chaperones!

Juniors first few days in Arizona

Posted by: Jordan Giandomenico
     These first few days at the dream center have been described as- life changing, humbling, and inspiring.  For me personally, the trip has been surprising. The genuineness of these people I’ve met is incredible. No matter who it is, a homeless man named Jessie, Rasha who loves poetry, or one of the amazing disciples, they have the ability to touch the lives of my fellow students and I, in personal and intimate ways. One outreach that I participated in was at the assisted living home. There we sang praise and worship songs for some of the patients that wanted to join our little service. After several songs, the disciples each told their testimonies and shared there favorite verses. The things these people have gone through and what they have overcome has made me think of all the things I take for granted and how that with faith in God, anything can be accomplished. I’m extremely excited for what the rest of this trip has to offer and I can’t wait to see what God will do next.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Farms and Waterfalls!

Posted by: Evangelia Gavrilos and Christine Stepkin

Day 2 Sophomore Missions Trip

     The second day of our missions trip started with almost the entire class rising early (impressing Mr. Hood), to see the beautiful sunrise over the Smoky Mountains.

 On the way to see the sunrise, we met the Long View Ranch camp dog, Shadow, who immediately won the affections of the students. After breakfast, we made our way to Rural Resources, which is a local farm that aims to teach the community how to farm and to stay eco-friendly. Some projects included removing seats from a bus to create a mobile vegetable cart, that gives vegetables to needy families, repairing composting bins, preparing fields for the next farming season, and even helping out the staff by moving furniture to their offices in their gorgeous new building. 

The staff members at Rural Resources love to have Boca Christian students come and help every year and look forward to our visit.

     After helping out at Rural Resources, the students had the opportunity to go and hike Margarette Falls. We climbed the mile long trail through rocks, creeks, and branches until we reached the beautiful waterfall.  There we could climb up toward one side of the waterfall and observe the magnificent landscape. It was such a great reminder that God has created these beautiful places and we can enjoy them! 
    Following a long day of hard work and hiking, the Long View staff prepared a fantastic dinner of baked-ziti and garlic bread, with their famous banana pudding for dessert. We ended the day with a powerful worship time and a devotional on Ephesians chapter 2. 
Posted by: Amanda Lillian Ramirez

The local mission trip is comprised of sophomores, juniors and seniors. Together we have collaborated to aid in the Florence Fuller Center and Boca Helping Hands as volunteers. Florence Fuller is a day care for low income families. These children have many emotional issues due to a variety of issues. As a result teachers need to have an iron fist and high energy when managing the fights, tantrums, attitudes, profanity and other disciplinary needs. That's where we come in. For three hours we volunteer in the classrooms with babies, toddlers and children helping teachers with anything they would like aid with. They are very appreciative since most of the rooms are filled to maximum capacity. Not only do they struggle in controlling and disciplining the classroom, which is often very high energy, but they also struggle with the parents who at times bring in their children sick and say they are not. Florence Fuller proved to be an insightful experience because it broadened our view of the world and brought us out of our "Boca Bubble".  

The second place we have been volunteering at is Boca helping hands- a community-based 501(c)(3) food pantry which delivers brown bags filled with foods as a supplement to low income families. Each family receives a total of how many people in the family per month. For instance a family of five could take a maximum of five bags per month. They receive the food to donate from individuals like you, churches, and grocery stores. Boca helping hands has a handful, 5-10 employees and runs on volunteer power, without them they would not be able to to finish distribution foods to all the families in need. That's when we come in. Our crew of seven were able to fill 208 bags with a combination of: cereal, tomatoes, fruits, vegetables, and pastries in 1 and a half hours. To top all of this off we were able to fill an entire moving truck full of food for families in need! Thanks to all who have been praying for us, looking forward to posting again soon.

Seniors Day #2 in Costa Rica

Posted by: Emily Smith and Stephanie Casting

The class of 2018 was welcomed with open arms into the beautiful city of San Ramon, Costa Rica. After a three-hour plane ride, another hour on a bus, in addition to adjusting to a two-hour time difference and the loss of an hour from Sunday’s Daylight Savings time change the class was exhausted. The staff here at Pura Vida Missions encouraged us to go serve the community wholeheartedly. One of the first things that we did was go out on a prayer walk to the six different VBS sites that we served today. Taking the time to explore the communities and acknowledging the power of the presence of the Lord really ignited us to serve this community. Immediately, we were reminded of how blessed we are back home in the states.

The worship service following our time in the community was powerful. Pastor Albert’s message on Legacy set the atmosphere for our class to prepare their hearts for transformation. His ending was resonant as he asked, “What change do you want God to do in your life?” He prompted us to pray over the change that God has in store for us.

The next morning began with a scrumptious breakfast and a peaceful time alone with the Lord. We divided into three groups under the leadership of Mrs. Sanoja, Dr. Gutierrez, and Mr. Smith and went to three separate sites for VBS. We shared a the story of Noah, a memory verse, worship songs, arts/crafts, and testimonies with the topic being that although God punishes a sinful world he is faithful and forgives those who repent and turn to him. We repeated the morning schedule in the afternoon at three different sites.

This evening we will have a great time playing soccer and a late-night snack of American wings!

Shouts Outs:

Missing you and your hugs right now. Dad and I have talked a lot about how you should be here with us. We miss your sweet smile and loving self. I can’t wait for our first family night when we get back and it has only been a day.  Your presence is missed and your duo lingo is receiving appreciation in these moments. Love you more than words could say. Keep being the best teacher ever for your kids back at school! – Emmydoodle <3

Hi mom and dad! Love, Lindsey

Hi mom! Hi dad! Hi sisters! I love you! Love, Sarah

Hey Mamma and Pappa! How’s it having an empty nest? ;) No worries I love you and miss you deeply. See you soon!!! Thanks for all the prayers  - Marlena 

Shout out to my mom and my pops! And Kien and Kylie. Not Jensen. I love you guys. Love, Maika

I love you guys. Answer the phone on Whats App! – Love, Abby

Olivia painting nails at a VBS site.

Kyle playing soccer at a VBS site.


Marlena braiding hair at a VBS site.

Playing under the parachute.

Cole teaching the children the weekly Bible verse. The teenagers on bikes hang around and listen also.

Mr. Smith's VBS team.

Sarah leading the kids in a game.

The ladies preparing the craft for VBS.
Kendall writing a note to a classmate for their B-mail bag.

Exhausted after a long day.
Hanging out in the Pura Vida Missions courthouse.

Another view of the courtyard.