I’m sorry it took so long to tell you this: Two weeks ago, I (James) developed a severe ingrown toenail infection. When it became clear that it was not the sort of thing that was going to heal on its own, I visited a local clinic and was advised to have the nail removed. So now I have only 9 toenails and can check “have minor surgery in Latin America” off my bucket-list. Email me if you would like a picture 😉
I’m sorry it took so long to tell you this too: We got a puppy (I really can’t write that without smiling). A little over a week ago, Savanna found a male Yorkie puppy on Mercado Libre (Costa Rican version of Craig’s List). After a lot of talking, we called them up and added ‘Moose’ to our family. He is a quiet, lazy, loving, non-shedding, cute, and house-trained 6 month old dog. Today he became friends with the Chihuahua next door, ‘Perlita’ (little pearl). It looks like she may be wearing the pants in their relationship…
Ministry Kick-Off Day: Yesterday we took 21 tenth graders from La Palabra De Vida to La California School, a local elementary school in a rough part of town. We spent the morning having a Kick-Off Day with La California’s 4th grade for a new weekly tutoring ministry. We started the day with silly songs and games. One of our objectives for the day was to teach the kids about safe and healthy play. As we were designing the weekly tutoring program, we were told that these students have been affected by physical and sexual abuse and that both of these things have negatively influenced the way the kids interact during recess. In fact, the tall grass behind the school had to be cut down because of student on student abuse happening there. Yesterday, we really wanted to show them that there are fun and appropriate ways for them to play together. And we hope that our ministry will continue to foster that development.
After game time, we had a some English and Math activities in order to asses their academic skills as we develop the tutoring curriculum. Savanna and I were a little surprised at how low their English skills were. They new most of the colors, but not much beyond that. Savanna’s 4 and 5 year olds at LPDV have a significantly higher level of English. So we’re excited to have a baseline to begin from.
The morning was capped off by an evangelistic drama directed by one of our 10th graders. The drama was about a great toy-maker (God) and his Son, who created a beautiful toy land. The drama went through the Fall, Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. The kids were enthralled by the drama, and afterwards one of the tenth graders from LPDV explained how we are all toys, and that because of the Son we can return to the toy-maker and his paradise.
We closed off the day with a communal lunch. Throughout the week, many of these children are only fed by the school system, and we were excited at the opportunity to serve them holistically.
Everything went so well. Praise God.
The kids really seemed to have had a good time. We were able to pin point some specific academic areas that need attention, and the drama captivated them. Praise God. A chief goal of the day was to build trust and excitement among the La California students and their parents for this new weekly tutoring program. From what we can tell, the kids had a good time (even in the Math and English activities) and the parents have been able to see for themselves that we are motivated by God’s love. We were so proud of the 10th graders, who did an excellent job loving the kids. During our debrief time, we were excited to hear about the ways that they felt blessed by serving. Please pray as we continue to develop this ministry! (We’re hoping to being weekly tutoring in November.)
While we were at La California, we met a couple who work with a local youth group. They were installing internet modems for the school’s fledgling computer lab while we did our drama. When they saw the drama, they asked if we would be able to come on a Sunday and perform it for their youth group. It was encouraging to meet other Christians who are caring for the school and also encouraging to our 10th graders, who were surprised and excited by how much the drama had meant to both the kids and this couple. So it looks like we might be taking our show on the road!