Stories

November 23, 2010

Just wanted to share a friend’s blog about his time spent here with us in Jaco!

A little bit of outreach

 


October news

November 8, 2010

Want to know what we’ve been up to?

October News


Teaching

March 18, 2010

Last week I (Leslie) had the privilege to teach.  It’s always an honor to be able to share my heart and experiences with children at risk schools.  I teach on the topic of children with disabilities.

I only taught two days this year, but it was a challenging and interactive two days.  I also invited the students to have classes in our home, and set up a “classroom” in our garage.  It worked great!

photo by Becky Davis

This week the students got to spend two days volunteering at a special school for children with disabilities in San Jose.  I can’t wait to feed back with them tomorrow and hear how their time was.

Here’s a few resources I used :

National Dissemenation Center for Children with Disabilities

Nick Vujicik’s website:  Life without Limbs

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Where Is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey

Brokenness: How God Redeems Pain and Suffering


In their own words…

March 1, 2010

We’re over halfway through the lecture phase of the Children at Risk School here in ywam sanjose.  We thought we’d let you see first hand what students are learning, doing and discovering with us.

“…The facts are devastating. The stories broke our hearts, and it was difficult to emotionally handle the intensity of such a terrible topic. I became aware that Costa Rica is called “The Thailand of the West” in reference to the exploding numbers of tourists that come here for vacation and to enjoy legal and available prostitution. Because Costa Rica is such a safe and convenient country for Americans and Europeans to travel to, and considering its beauty and attractions, it has become a top destination for sex tourism. This means that the trafficking of women and children in and out of San Jose and different beach towns around the country is at an alarmingly high number.”

click here to read the rest of Emily’s post entitled, “God’s Extraordinatry Simplicities”


photo by Pablo Jimenez

“This week was full of hard questions and inspiring ideas. We were probed to dig deeper inside ourselves. We learned how to ask the right questions and conduct research that will help us develop projects and create change…Something Dave said this week was that the excuse “I don’t have any personal responsibility,” has killed millions of people. When we look around at issues in the world and hear the stories, but simply say that it doesn’t affect us and not do anything about it…we are killing people. People are dying, because we just aren’t doing anything about it. “It’s not my responsibility,” or “I have my own life to worry about,” or “I’ve made a way for myself, why can’t they do the same?” When we don’t do anything about child prostitution, human trafficking, poverty, child soldiers, violence, racism, gangs…people are dying. This is our responsibility, our call as Christians and as people, really.

Read the rest of Amanda’s article, “Questions” here.

“This weekend most of the CRS class went to Jaco to do some prep work for their outreach there. Scott, our school leader also went, leaving Leslie with the boys. Being the wonderful, nice person that I am, I volunteered to help Leslie with the kiddos this weekend.”

Continue reading about Becky’s weekend with Leslie.

“During the week we studied many cases of ministries and people who tried with good intentions to look out for children who were at risk, but either were not fruitful, or made some major mistakes.  In most cases, many of the people who began ministries, and walked out their “word of the Lords” did so with poor planning and research. They failed to see what other ministries in the area were doing and why. And they failed to know the culture before asking the people of the community to “buy into” what they wanted to do.”

continue reading “Be smart and LOUD” here

Amanda talks about our upcoming 6-month outreach and writes about what she saw in Jaco:

“It was hard for me not to get absolutely disgusted. I don’t even know how to describe what I saw. There were old men, young men, middle-aged men. They were mostly white, completely drunk and absolutely obnoxious. They were being swarmed by girls prostituting themselves, some sitting around, some heading off in Taxis with the girls.  I wanted to punch those men, in all honesty.”

Read the rest of this post, “Outreach”  here

photo by Pablo Jimenez

Becky says, “…the motive for why I do what I do, is because He is worthy of my life and when I do what He has called/gifted me to do, it brings Him pleasure. Any other motive, just isn’t good enough.”

continue reading, “Because He is worthy” here


Jaco

January 31, 2010

Last year the children at risk school spent three months in Jaco building relationships with the kids there and working with a woman named Bleu at an after-school program she started in one of the squatter communities by the river.

This weekend Scott, Kai, Ezzy and the children at risk school staff and students went to Jaco to visit some of the kids, Bleu and the river. This is a really sweet video about Bleu and the project our students worked with. You can really see and get an idea of what it is like there.


A challenge

January 25, 2010

We found this article and wanted to share it.  It is by a missionary in Africa and in it she shares her heart and pain over the situations she is seeing, the poverty all around her and children in need.  She challenges Christians worldwide when she shares the facts.  There are about 168.8 million children in the world in dire need…and 2.1 billion people who profess to be Christians. If only 8% of those Christians would help one needy child, all the children would be taken care of.  She says, “I DO NOT BELIEVE that the God of the universe created too many children in His image and not enough love or food or care to go around. In fact I believe that He created the Body of Christ for just that, to help these little ones, the least of these. And I believe that except for a handful, the Body of Christ is failing.”

Click here to read the full article:  On earth as it is in heaven


Two weeks in

January 24, 2010

We are now finished with the second week of the children at risk school.  We have nine students from Canada, Guatemala, Costa Rica, South Korea and the USA.  It is amazing to see these guys come to this school where already we have covered some tough topics and they are all totally engaging.  Even as we examine some of the horrible things happening to children they are not shrinking back.  Looking into the issues affecting children is a painful, overwhelming thing and each one of us has to run to God.  In Him is the only way we can handle it.  It’s too painful, too big.  So please be praying for this time for each of these students.  The following photos are of Isaac, Anthony and Pablo giving presentations during class.

Also, we have been given an amazing opportunity to partner with Casa Viva (see the post below).  Every Wednesday we will be picking up a family of five siblings who are living with five separate families.  We bring them together to a central location so they can have some time together.  This Wednesday was our first time and it was amazing to see how much these kids love one another.  We are so glad that we can bring them together once a week for the rest of this school.  The students also have other opportunities to work with ministries to children here in Costa Rica.  This Saturday they worked with Metro Ministries an outreach to at risk children.

Each student has created a children at risk blog site where they are writing several updates each week.  Click on the names below to find out more about what exactly they are learning and experiencing:

Becky Davis

Hyang Kye

Emily Taylor

Amanda Maune

Isaac Montero

Amanda Noyes

Anthony Gutierrez

Daniel Vanderpyl

Pablo Jimenez

Rachel Grimes (staff)


Casa Viva

January 14, 2010

This year’s children at risk school students have the privilege to work with Casa Viva on a weekly basis.  Casa Viva is a cutting edge children’s ministry that motivates the church and Christian families to open their homes to children who need one – whether they are orphaned, abandoned or in a dangerous situation.  They strive to get children out of institutional care and into a loving family home.   You can find out more about what they do here:  casaviva.org

“God sets the lonely in families.”  Psalm 68:6

Philip Aspegren, director of Casa Viva, shared some interesting thoughts with us from a conference he just came back from.  Care for orphans is heading in a new direction and the church and Christians worldwide need to get on board – and even lead the way in this!  I’ll quote him here:

I’m just returning from a conference in England sponsored by UNICEF, Save the Children and the Better Care Network called The Neglected Agenda:  Alternative Solutions for Children without Adequate Parental Care.  It was a heady group with World Bank, USAID, Ministers and heads of Child Welfare Departments worldwide.  Very fascinating information.There was a resolution that was just welcomed (a little less strong than “adopted”) by the UN giving guidelines for caring for these children.  (The people who wrote the guidelines were at the conference.)

It strongly pushes to decrease the need for alternative care by developing programs that help keep families together through support programs.  If children have been separated, they encourage reunification with nuclear or extended family.  If these options are not available, they push for adoption and foster care as healthy alternatives and push institutional care, clusters of group homes, etc. as a last resort.

UNICEF estimates there are 2 million children living in institutional care.  Save the Children estimates 8 million in institutional care (the real number is probably somewhere in between).  The minister for child welfare in Indonesia was at the conference, and estimated that there are 8,000 children’s homes in Indonesia, serving ½ a million children.  However, they just started a registration process of the homes and have only 1,500 registered.

Between 90 and 95% of the children living in institutional care have one or two living parents.  Many of these children could be reunited to their own biological families, especially with support services.   Both the statistics and the possibilities for reunification held true in the children’s homes we directed in the Dominican Republic.   (We – Scott & Leslie – also found this true in children’s homes we worked with in Thailand and the Philippines)

The church, I believe, has the existing infrastructure and community support network that would be required to provide a scale solution for many children worldwide.  What an opportunity in front of all of us as Christians.  Our prayer is that God would use Casa Viva and other ministries that will be able to fill the gap, and give children family.

Here’s an interesting article that another friend shared with us:  Most ‘orphans’ have a living parent, says charity

And a touching book about foster care – we read this, loved it and recommend it!  It shows what can happen when a pastor truly grasps God’s heart for children in need.  Amazing!   Small Town, Big Miracle: How Love Came to the Least of These (Focus on the Family Books)


Love thy neighbor is not a piece of advice, but a command

November 14, 2009

Bono says it well.  This video is pretty awesome!

 

Lord I’ve said I want to serve You
I’ve been so eager to love
And how I’ve longed so much to find You, just to be where You are
But it seems I’ve forgot
Where You are and what You look like
I hear Your words speak to me as You remind me again
You’re among the poor
You’re close to the broken
The least of these, the lowest of the low
You’re among the weak
The hungry, the thirsty
As I do unto them, I’ve done unto You
We are Your people, we bear Your name
God we claim to seek Your ways
But have we neglected Your cries
Have we looked past Your face?

-Jeremy Riddle


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