By Patrick Showers
In February, Heroes Gate and Club 56 children are challenged to raise money to help peers living in Costa Rica attend a Christian camp. While to us this may not seem like an important focal point for raising funds, the value is driven by two reasons. First, we work with Camp Penuel staff to determine how our efforts can directly affect at-risk children in this country. Many of the kids who attend Camp Penuel come from poverty and live in shantytowns where food and resources are scarce. Second, we seek to find a way to connect the need to the everyday things we take for granted in Minnesota. This way we hope to give children an opportunity to see the world beyond their day-to-day experiences and develop a compassion for others around the world.
Camp Penuel Costa Rica has a specific focus to give children ages 7-11 the opportunity to know their heavenly Father through Christ Jesus and the abundant life that he offers through the power and love of the Holy Spirit. The vision is to rally a multi-ethnic team of support to work towards providing facilities of excellence and diversity so that each child can have a wealth of new, safe, and fun experiences that they will remember for their lifetime, but more importantly, that are God-anointed and forever will change their lives for good.
This organization values mission teams to support and enhance their work. Our church has sent several teams there, including a recent group in January that included several volunteers from Heroes Gate.
Love Makes Cents has been a Heroes Gate learning element for almost a decade, and we continue to be amazed at the generosity and compassion of the children. They find a way to fill their banks and meet the financial goal every time. They’ve provided for kids in Haiti, Mexico, Rwanda, and now Costa Rica. Their gifts, instead of being minor or unimportant, continue to enhance the spiritual and physical impact of each ministry organization.
We encourage you to discuss why giving is an important part of our role as followers of Christ with your children: our generosity stems from the selfless love and endless provision of Christ, and we are blessed when we give just as much as those who receive it. Over the years, I’ve seen kids give all they had and then work hard to find other sources of money to give. I’ve also heard kids tell their parents that they don’t want to give their money away and refuse to take a LMC bank box. Both responses are normal for children. Giving doesn’t come easy to everyone, and LMC seeks to provide a venue for families to pass on their values regarding generosity to their kids.
Ways to help kids learn more about Camp Penuel Costa Rica:
- Visit their website and look at the pictures posted there.
- Using a map of North America, locate Exparza, Costa Rica and the town you live in. Have kids measure the distance between using their arm or a household item, or older kids can figure out the miles with the key.
- Look for opportunities to have kids brainstorm things they are thankful for in their lives. Meals, clothes, toys, family, friends, a good school, teachers, and being able to attend church are a few ideas. Ask your kids to think of things they might not have if your family didn’t have a lot of money, didn’t know Jesus, or had never been out of the city. Have kids pray for children in Costa Rica to be blessed with things your kids are glad to have in their lives.
- Share about the ways you give, why you give, and who receives it.
- Come up with a plan to help your children consistently give and determine who will receive their gifts. Perhaps put together a jar or bank with a picture of the recipient ministry on the outside.
Remember to bring in LMC banks Sunday, February 28th to your child’s classroom. Preschool children can also grab a LMC bank from their station located near the middle of the Early Childhood hallway, or they can drop their money into the offering box in that same location (HG offerings in February go toward Love Makes Cents).