An Update on Ministry in Costa Rica

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The following message is from Bob Jeram…

It has been several weeks now since my return from Costa Rica.?? I have had a chance to readjust to life in the Western world and to reflect upon what, if any, impact St. Paul's Collegiate Church is having in the community of Hatillo – a part of the capital city of San Jose.?? My visit took me back to the Methodist Church in Hatillo and to its' Pastor, Federico Ramirez.????
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In October of 2009, several people from St. Paul's first visited this church.?? It was a church much like our own, having just emerged from some turmoil and transition earlier in the year.????Upon my return, I witnessed a church that is on the mend.?? It has a vibrant cell?? group (small group) network.?? I attended their Thursday evening cell group.?? There were around 20 people, ranging in age from 16 -60, all jammed into the small living room of a members home.????
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This church is also engaged in the transformation of their neighborhood.?? They have just begun to minister to the older adults in their community.?? They do so by holding informational seminars,??providing exercise classes and offering a place in the community where seniors can gather.?? I??met a member of their church who up until recently had been addicted to drugs and was living on the streets.?? This individual, Eddie, is now leading a ministry that brings coffee, food and clothing to the street people that he used to live amongst.
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I visited other church communities that were started by people who just love the Lord but who had no formal seminary training.?? These church communities were getting by on a week to week basis.
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While in Hatillo, I stayed with the family of one of the church members. I asked one of the members of that family, a young man of about 30 years of age, what the church could do to help this community.?? His response was that the church could provide a safe haven where the neighborhood youth could gather to study and interact.?? He said that there currently is no place like that and therefore the youth go to the streets where the temptations are many and where the wisest choices are not always made.??

This young man's response confirmed for me a way that our church could assist in the solution to this problem.?? You see, the Methodist Church in Hatillo had space where the neighborhood youth could gather, they just didn't have a "draw".?? This is where St. Paul's enters the picture.??

About a year ago, we had a family donate a number of items that we have been selling on E-bay.?? They had asked that the proceeds go to one of our global mission projects to be used in a way that would not just benefit the community one time; but would rather have a lasting benefit to the community.?? With this in mind, St. Paul's provided the funds to purchase a ping pong table that would serve as the "draw" to attract youth in the neighborhood into the safe haven provided by the local church.

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The Methodist Church in Hatillo thanks St. Paul's for standing with them in prayer and for encouraging them in their outreach to the Hatillo community.?? We continue to pray for ways that we can partner with Pastor Federico and his church as they act as agents of change in this area of the world.????

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