We weren’t sure this thing was going to happen. Thank God the Pura Vida family responded and fully funded this start. We have been planning this retreat for months and we have been dreaming about it for years. Asking, “How we can begin to minister to the youth more directly in Costa Rica?” We believe this to be an Epic start.
We want to challenge teenagers to live an Epic life for Jesus Christ and help them be accountable. We want to form small groups for encouragement. We want to connect with local pastors and youth pastors that will help these teens connect more fully to the body of Christ.
The options are grim in many neighborhoods: teenage pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, joblessness. But we believe Christ is the answer and with Him nothing is impossible. With Him we can be Epic.
Do you every ask yourself what sacrificial giving is? No one can answer that question for you. Only you can answer that question. However, most of us do not typically give sacrificially. This is not a condemnation it is simply an observation. Most of us drop $20, $50 without even batting an eye. We don’t think twice. We don’t break a sweat. We never miss it.
If a family of 4 goes to dinner and a movie and gets popcorn and drinks they will easily spend $130 for ONE evening. If you donate $130 to sponsor a teenager in Costa Rica for the Epic event you can help change a life forever.
There’s nothing wrong with going out to dinner and a movie with your family. Don’t ever let anyone tell you there is. But what if we prioritized our giving a little more? Targeted it towards doing something special for someone else? What if we skipped one evening of dining out and the movie theater and instead made dinner at home and rented a movie?
What if you took the money you saved this week by staying home and donated it to changing a life? While your at dinner with your family around the dining table pray for our EPIC retreat.
I don’t know if this is sacrificial giving but it is a step in the right direction.
This is the beginning of a dream come true. We are launching a ministry for teens at Pura Vida Missions. Many of these students have grown up in our ministry and now are doing something especially for them. 30 students will be invited to an EPIC retreat in October. We need 30 people to donate $130 to make this happen. We know God is Epic and you can be too.
This experience is one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life. I have loved getting to learn more about myself throughout this time and getting to know what God is truly like. I have learned to sacrifice my plans and dreams for something much greater- becoming like Christ- and letting Him guide me through the life that He has already planned for me. I have learned to not rely on others or myself to fulfill my needs, but instead to focus on how I can share the love that God fills me up with everyday. He truly is everything I could ever need, even when I feel like everything in my life is not going the way I wanted it to, I have become more trusting in His character and His consistency. On top of all of those things that I have learned, I have also been so blessed to be constantly surrounded by people who love God. Nothing is better than knowing that I can be close and vulnerable with people without compromising my beliefs. I truly know I have a family here that I can always go to, that edifies me and lifts me up and is just enjoyable to be around. This experience was not something I ever saw coming, which is what blows me away about God. Everything that I went through a few months prior to this was to prepare me to be here. God knew what I did not, and that was that there was something much bigger than me that was already planned! He always knows what is best. I am so blessed to have been a part of God’s plan and to do nothing but just be available for Him. Being available to Him and His work in this way has changed my heart for the better and my life. I could not be more grateful to Him for giving me this opportunity! – Alyssa Bueno
How do you explain the supernatural? How do you describe the power of God to save a life? Words aren’t enough.
Last night was simply one of those nights when the Holy Spirit of God fell upon Pura Vida Missions. I have to say that wasn’t the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last. In fact, I’ve experienced God’s outpouring at Pura Vida Missions more than any other place. Is it the simplicity of the worship? Is it the openness of hearts? It is the pure, overwhelming power and conviction of the love of Christ?
Crowder describes it like this: “He is jealous for me, loves like hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.”
If God’s love is like a hurricane, it made landfall last night for a group of 29 high school seniors at Pura Vida Missions as a Cat 5. There was repentance, prayer, several salvations, forgiveness and worship that lasted until midnight.
Lives are changed for eternity.
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” – St. Paul
Remember, all it takes is ONE to change the world. – ARR
It’s my privilege to speak to the groups each night at Pura Vida Missions during our amazing worship services. Last night we talked about love and I shared a story from an event in my life. I could see the tears welling up in the eyes of several of the 30+ high schools students in the crowd.
The take away: “Ultimately, people will only remember you for how you treated them. Did you love them or not?”
As we closed, the tears continued. The senior class circled up and began to share, repent and forgive one another. A group of boys circled up and prayed for one of their classmates, as he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ.
This is what it’s all about and why we do what we do. – ARR
One thing I’ve always loved about Pura Vida Missions is that it isn’t flashy. We’ve never had a big budget with fancy lights and a killer band, but we’ve got a big heart! You know what I’m talking about (seen a lot of flashy ministries with no heart). We never give up and we never give in and miraculously God always supplies our needs. Would it be nice to get that big $200,000 donation to kick start the dreams we have (a leadership school, building expansion for more classrooms, 2nd mission site, more Tico staff to disciple more children, sponsor 500 more children…)? You bet.
By the way, if God moves you to write that check or a portion of it you can donate here http://puravidamissions.com/donate/
Even if that big donation doesn’t come in we will stay faithful to what God is calling us to do and He will supply all our needs. He promises that much.
Case in point: We’ve been helping to build a church in a really poor area called Linda Vista. Bit by bit, small donation by small donation, and team by team we’ve been plugging away for 2+ years to build the church and the soup kitchen. A few weeks ago, we finished the soup kitchen walls and yesterday we finished the roof. If God calls us to do it we trust that He will supply our needs and Pura Vida Missions will continue to be faithful. – ARR
When we selected our interns for this spring we asked them to think of a gift or talent they could use to share the Gospel with the people of Costa Rica. They decided to use their artistic talents to hold art classes at Pura Vida Missions. Every class revolves around a painting or drawing of a particular story from the Bible. You might think, “That’s so simple.” Guess what, you are right. It’s been simple, fun and effective.
Paul writes in Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
Alyssa and Emily have taken one small talent, one small gift, one small measure of faith and they are using it for the glory of God. They are teaching people about the beauty and wonder of the Lord with a little time, canvas, and paint. They may not be painting the Sistine Chapel but the colorful and creative gifts they share will live in the hearts of those who receive them forever.
What is ONE small gift, talent or measure of faith that God has given you? How can use it for the glory of God today?
On Saturday, we were standing in the church in Linda Vista praying for the week ahead. As I stood there, I marveled at the people who have spent the last two years building the Linda Vista Church. It is Pura Vida Missions! Many groups with One Mission, One Heart and One Love. It’s built to last because it is built on the Solid Rock – Jesus Christ. He said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” When the church is ONE nothing can stop it.
On Sunday, more children and teens than adults poured in for worship at Linda Vista Church. Jesus is building His church against the hell that is in Linda Vista. Hell and its minions don’t stand a chance!
On Monday, we began construction on the soup kitchen to build the bodies of the kids and youth who will serve Jesus in Linda Vista and beyond.
I’m blessed to be on the winning side. The ONE that is built to last. -ARR