Construction

Will You Take the Challenge With Us?

Child abuse among Costa Rica’s children is a growing problem.  Studies show that 1 in 4 children lives below the poverty line.  Despite a relatively low poverty rate in our country, 16% of the population is affected by this problem, with children being the primary victims. On December 11, 2014, an article in the Tico Times reported that between 2006-2014 more than 20,000 minors were treated for some type of suspected abuse.  This information came from statistics obtained from the National Children’s Hospital in C.R.  With this in mind, we would like to take a moment to share what God is doing with Phase II and our reason for being here.

With the completion of Phase I, we now have our sights set on developing Phase II.  This includes the construction of 4 additional children’s homes.  Our goal is to provide hope for children who are hurting, abused, and afraid.  Since opening our doors in 2004, we have received 91 children.  Of these, roughly half have left in adoption.  The others have returned to their biological families, while 14 are currently living at the A.P.  These 4 homes will allow us to impact more lives.  Our aim is to share Christ with every child that walks through our doors.

We are nearing completion of the permit phase.  It has been a long, arduous task.  Once permits are secured, we will begin with construction of a bridge.  The bridge is needed to span a creek, giving us full access to the main portion of the property.

Several months ago, a team from the U.S. was visiting the A.P.  During the tour, we approached a friend that had the capacity to help us with the task of building the bridge about funding that project.  He thoughtfully told us that he did not feel led to donate for the bridge, but that he would give funds to build a house ($285K)!  He also informed us that this was not an open ended offer.  He would give us until the end of this November to raise the money.  If we are not able to, he would withdraw his offer.  Obviously, this has been a HUGE motivating factor for us.

We have been in negotiations with an outside company to construct the bridge.  After several meetings, we were able to negotiate a final price of $88,000, which is much less than the original estimated cost of $120,000.  Good news…at this point, we have already raised over $60,000!  We only need $28,000 to meet our goal.

If you feel led to contribute, please contact us at sgthomas@ice.co.cr or call 956.287.3131.

“ The Bridge Challenge...Phase II”

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One of the first orders of business in developing Phase II is the need to build a bridge to span a creek in order to have full access to the property.  Recently, we were presenting the project to a friend with the hopes he would fund part of the bridge construction.  To our surprise, he instead opted to fund one of the children’s homes, which is valued at $285K.  There is one little caveat, the money ($123K) to build the bridge has to be raised before the end of November to receive the funds.  Our goal is to have all the needed funds in the next few months so we can start immediately after receiving our final building permit.

This is where you come in...we need you to pray and consider how you could help us to achieve this goal and then take immediate action.

Will you take the challenge with us?

If you would like more information please contact us at sgthomas@ice.co.cr

Thank you!

Inauguration Day for our Multipurpose Building!

It’s been a long time coming!  The roof is finally on our building and the inauguration day is here!  There is a sense of closure and excitement to see phase I complete!  Many guests arrived for this special night, approximately 950 people!  We even had friends from the U.S. come celebrate this huge miracle with us!

 Psalms 105:1-3

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!

Call upon His name;

Make known His deeds among the peoples!

Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;

Talk of all His wondrous works!

Ministry News

Greetings from a very rainy Costa Rica.  Rainy season started with a dud, but is finishing with a vengeance.  However, it does produce a very beautiful, tropical paradise. As most of you know, we are quickly putting the finishing touches on the roof of the multipurpose building  This will bring Phase I to a close.  It is hard to put into words how excited we are to be closing a chapter, after almost 13 years.  It has been quite the ride as we have been witnesses to God’s supernatural provision.  For anyone who would like to come, we will be celebrating the inauguration of the new building on Nov. 28, 2015.

Finishing Phase I has now put us in a place where we can concentrate all of our efforts on developing Phase II.  This new phase will include an additional four children’s homes, office space, a bridge, and new parking.

We have spent the majority of this year working on securing building permits.  This has turned out to be a monumental task as it has required us to complete a series of studies and evaluations.  This past week, we were able to submit the entire package of studies to the Environmental Agency for their approval.  We are hoping and praying that we will have an answer from them in 4-6 weeks.

To have building permits in hand, we are looking at a pretty hefty sum of money.  We still owe $8,000 to the architect and approximately another $5K-$10K to cover the costs charged by the different governmental agencies for the permits.

Please pray and ask if God would have you participate financially.  We are confident that He will reveal exactly what you need to do.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly.  Thank you for believing in what God has called us to do.  We pray that He blesses your faithfulness to Him!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

We are so pleased to announce that Isaac, Roberto, Sharon, and Sol now have a new adoptive family!  At the beginning of August, the case worker came out to share the good news with the kids.  They were stunned to find out that there was a family for them from the States.  Needless to say, the children were elated!  During the following weeks, the case worker continued working with the children to prepare them for their adoption.  The kids did great handling the news, despite their ages and possible concerns about leaving.  Isaac mentioned one day that he was super happy about the news, but that he was also sad to leave the project, since this is where he had spent a good deal of his childhood.  We were all grappling with mixed feelings!  It’s what we’ve worked for.  These siblings had been here the longest ...7 years, and very soon they would be leaving us.  In September, the children finally met their new family.  Milton and Lisa are super parents!  They have 4 grown biological children, they have adopted 3 kids in the U.S., and are now adopting our four kids.  The first encounter between the parents and children was sweet, as they huddled together and prayed over their new family.  The kids spent several days getting to know Mom & Dad and on Monday, September 14th, they left the children’s home.  The following weeks were spent creating memories and forming bonds with each other.  October 2nd was the big day,  the hearing with the judge, where the adoption was made legal and binding!

We wanted to share this testimony since so many of you have met the siblings personally or have known of their story.  Everyone recognizes (even the Costa Rican government) that this adoption is special.  For 2 pre-adolescent (the girls) and 2 adolescent (the boys) siblings to be adopted is nothing short of a miracle!  We are so thankful to everyone who has prayed for these kids from the very beginning.  Most importantly, we praise the Lord for taking care of them during this long journey and never letting go!  His faithfulness is amazing!  It is a reminder of His stubborn love and zeal for each and every person, no matter their situation.

Ministry News

We are humbled that so many pray continually for and support the kids in our homes.  Please pray earnestly for a suitable family to adopt Yamil.  He has been with us since July 2013 and has been declared abandoned.  The Office of Adoptions has been promoting his case since February of last year with no interest thus far.  We believe that God is actively interested in his future and that He will provide just the right family for Yamil, in His time! We have good news with regards to the Pilarte siblings (4) and Anthony and Aislinn (brother/sister).  The Office of Adoptions has notified us that there are families interested in these children.  Both families are in the process of completing their home studies in order to be approved for an international adoption.  Please pray that the families will find grace and favor as they work through this process and pray that the kids will be ready for a new transition in their lives.

We are so proud of Isaac and Roberto for completing their elementary education and graduating from 6th grade on December 15, 2014.  Roberto actually had the highest grade point average for his grade.  Both boys have been accepted to a well known high school and will begin classes soon.

Last month, Katherine was adopted by a single mother here in Costa Rica.  Her mother, Marisela, is a pharmacist that works at one of the main hospitals in downtown San José.  Katherine has adjusted nicely to her new home and environment.  We are so thankful that God has provided a caring mother for this amazing little girl!

Before closing, we would like to include a quick update on the matching fund campaign for the multipurpose building roof.  This is something we had shared about in our last newsletter.  If you remember, we received two donations for a total of $186,000 that we are required to match dollar for dollar to receive full benefit.  To date, we have raised a total of $162,000.  Approximately $92K is from the United States and the remainder ($70K) is from local donations.  Please continue to pray as we are still short of our goal.  Once again, God has demonstrated His generosity and His power to provide.  We stand in awe of His continual provision in all that He has called us to do.

Construction on the roof is progressing nicely.  Structural work is now complete and the majority of the roofing material has been installed.  Electricians are working hard to complete their part, then comes the fun of drywall work and painting.  Projected completion date - late 2015.

 

Ministry News!

In June, we shared about a local Foundation that donated $150,000 matching funds to our roof project.  Shortly thereafter, we learned of a family that was willing to contribute $36,000 in matching funds. To sum up, we are tasked with raising a grand total of $186,000 to receive the full matching funds of the foundation and the family.  When completed, we will have $372,000 in the coffers to put the new roof on the multipurpose building.

A construction company has been chosen to build and install the support beams.  The concrete for the columns and supports has been poured.  After the support beams are in place, we will be responsible for putting the metal roof on, along with the drywall on the interior.

Purpose of the multiuse building & roof:

  • Without a roof, we are limited on when we can use the facilities, especially during rainy season.
  • The multipurpose building will become our principal church sanctuary on Sundays.
  • Throughout the week, it will be used for many different recreational activities for the 225 children that attend the daycare.
  • We have recently started sports evangelism via a soccer club for the kids from the surrounding marginal neighborhoods.
  • Facilities will also be used to reach out to kids involved in skateboarding/extreme bike stunts.
  • The building will be host to drama presentations and other special activities for both the church and the surrounding communities.
  • There will also be times for organized sports activities. 

It was evident to us that God was ready to move with regards to the roof, after receiving a 200 colon (approx. 38 cents) donation from a small boy that came on a mission trip last summer.  Momentum is growing and we are excited to be witnesses of this unfolding miracle.  We invite you to participate in this challenge that lies ahead.  If you are interested, please contact us.

Summer Teams are Here!

Our work teams are here!  Between June and July, we have had a huge project 0f shoring up a wall on the north side of the A.P.  We needed to get a retaining wall in place soon!  We have had a number of teams working on prepping rebar, mixing concrete, moving block, and more.  With rainy season in tow, it’s a big project that needed to get done A.S.A.P.!

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Little by little it's getting there!  Thanks to all our the team members for their hard work and dilligence!

God is Moving!

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We only lack one thing to finish Phase I here at the A.P., the roof for our multi-use facility.  Remarkably, in the first quarter of this year, we have received donations totaling $26,000 designated for that roof!  We are excited that the Lord is moving mightily!

Last July, a couple of classical musicians offered a concert for our local community.  Our guest cellist and violinist practiced, open air, in the multi-use building.  We are confident that the day will come when the roof is completed and many people will be ministered to in word and in truth!

“Lift up your eyes all around, and see…”  Is. 60:4

Ministry News!

This summer has been extremely busy for us, however, in all the chaos the Lord never stops challenging us.  Recently, someone shared a word of encouragement.  They told us that the Abraham Project is a lighthouse in our marginal community.  It has been placed as a beacon light to warn others of impending danger, and secondly, the A.P. is a beachhead in enemy territory.  A beachhead is a defended position on a beach, taken from the enemy, from which an attack can be launched!  We have a strategic mission to accomplish!  As part of God’s army, we are tirelessly working the frontlines on behalf of all the little people who cannot defend themselves. During the past couple of months, we have hosted groups from Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, and Washington.  They have helped in every way imaginable: cleaning gutters, painting buildings and fences at the A.P., concrete work, working in the daycare, activities with the children in the homes, working at a local feeding program, sharing at a cell group for unwed mothers, and much more.  For the third year in a row, Team Kentucky was able to go to Rincon de Osa (in the southernmost part of Costa Rica) to aide a church in a rural community.  They sanded and painted the inside walls, mixed concrete by hand in order to build a sidewalk and columns in front of the church.  We are thrilled to be able to help the body of Christ in tangible ways!

It seemed that since the beginning of the year we had been a bit stagnant.  Turn over in the homes had come to a stand still.  After our trip to the U.S earlier this year, we began calling our local PANI offices soliciting more cases.  For some strange reason, nothing was happening.  We had a couple of calls here and there but not much to speak of.  However, over the past couple of months, we have received call after call soliciting space for sibling groups and individual kids.  Thankfully, we have been able to fill the vacancies and currently have 15 children here.

Last month, we hosted a church from Virginia for the very first time  They brought with them professional classical musicians and an opera singer.  One afternoon they gave a private concert for the children in the homes!  What a special treat!  The concert was very much an interactive experience as they musicians involved the kids as much as possible.  Afterwards, the kids were able to ask questions about their particular instruments (cello, violin, and flute) and received some hands-on training.  These kinds of experiences are invaluable!  They help broaden the children’s horizons and allows them to dream of perhaps doing something similar themselves one day!

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We are fighting for the wellbeing of every child in our homes.  By giving to Operation Abraham you are contributing to the neediest ones.  Proverbs 28:20 says, “A faithful man will abound with blessings…”  The Lord will not forget your commitment to the children of Costa Rica!

Parking Lot Gets Paved!

Today we began paving the parking lot at the Abraham Project!  For those of you who don’t know, when the project began back in 2002 there was only a dirt road leading to our place.  A few years ago, the main road leading to the A.P. was paved.  After many years of battling dust during dry season and mud during rainy season, today we rejoice because our parking lot is getting paved!  God is faithful!

Photo: La obra de Dios, se realiza con personas que sueñan los sueños de Dios.

Photo: A todas la pastorales, gracias por su esfuerzo.Recuerden que el trabajo en la obra de Dios no es en vano y que de el vamos a recibir la recompensa.Adelante y tengamos ánimo para trabajar.

Photo: La Gloria postrera, será mejor que la primera.Ahora si, sin polvo en el proyecto.

Fence!

We now have a fence all the way across the river side of the property! It has taken a few months and a lot of hours to complete, but it is now finished. From the first pieces of aluminum that were sanded and primed back in January, to all of the effort that went into welding and painting. Many team members played an integral part in helping this fence come to fruition and we are very grateful for everyone's hard work.

The last step of the process was putting on the small roof to help with watershed and give a more decorative look.

Thanks to everyone for all of their hard work!

New Playground!

Thanks to some very generous donors, the installation of our new playground has just been completed!

The children from the Daycare and the Children's Homes will now be able to enjoy this wonderful addition to the property.

The wood is pressure-treated lumber imported from Chile that needs little to no maintenance.

The only thing we are lacking to have the play area finished is the flooring (which will be carpet or sand or something similar) and the roof that will cover the area during the rainy season.

We are so blessed to have a safe place for the children to play and enjoy the outdoors!

What's New at the Abraham Project?

Well, it's been almost two years since our last update and a lot has changed!  Below, we have posted some pictures of our recently acquired "Phase II" property as well as an overview of how we came to buy the property. It is nothing short of a miracle how God provided the required finances to buy the additional land! Phase II:

In July 2009, we learned of a family’s desire to help us purchase a new piece of property.  For quite some time, Steve had been praying for this particular land, along with others.  His prayer was that if God wanted us to have it, then He would provide the necessary funds to purchase it.  At times, it seemed next to impossible as land prices had skyrocketed in this area.  Well, God is a big God.  What seemed impossible, was the very thing God wanted to do. To make a long story short, He provided the funds to purchase the property through the generosity of a family and a business man.

That is not really the end of the story because throughout this process we had to convince the owners (10 brothers and sisters) to sell the land and to sell at a price that we could afford.  From July 2009 to March 2010, we were able to convince them to reduce the price by almost 66%.  God was definitely at work throughout this whole process.  On March 22, we officially closed on the land deal.

Now begins the real work.

The land we purchased is actually a tract that adjoins the property where we are currently located.  It measures a little over 10,000 square meters, which is equivalent to approximately 2-1/2 acres.  This doubles our space at the Project and allows us to expand.

With the beginning of Phase II at our doorstep, this would be a great time to stop and reflect on what God has done.  We have witnessed God’s financial provision in ways that defy conventional wisdom: Steve's father passed away in 1999 and as a result, the church his father founded decided to donate enough money to build the 1st children’s home; the Japanese Embassy donated $89,991 to help construct one of the children’s homes; the many different companies that provided huge discounts on building materials; the company that contributed wood that we recycled and used to build much of the Project, and the list goes on.  the Project has expanded from a small church of less than ten people has grown to over 400 members, the Daycare now has approximately 130 children enrolled, and two children’s homes operating at or near capacity most of the time (full capacity is 20 children).  The lives of at-risk children are being transformed as they learn of God’s immense love for them.