Welcome from Paul

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.

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March 2015 - Fertile Ground, Winter Update

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Hello to our faithful friends,

This is my first formal communication with all of you this year, so I pray that this year will be a fruitful one for you and that you will grow closer to the Lord!  Although it’s not growing season right now for crops in the Northern Hemisphere, I believe that a lot of seeds are being planted for the kingdom of God, and I thank God that the camp is participating in the move of God in these last days.  The Word of God is like a seed that a sower plants, and the hope is that that seed is planted in fertile hearts who are ready to embrace the Lord Jesus as their Savior and grow closer to him each day.  You and I know that the heart of a child is fertile ground.  This past January, we were able to work in key neighborhoods of San Jose and our region of Puntarenas, with even some children coming from the Caribbean side of the country and a few from an island called Isla Chira, in a gulf that leads into the Pacific Ocean on our West side of the country.  We also worked for the first time with two ministries, one from our Puntarenas area and another from the San Jose area, a couple of miles from the USA embassy.  Let me tell you about them.


1.  Light of the World Trinitarian Church in Puntarenas.

You might say that this is a really nice name for a church, but why do they have to call themselves Trinitarian.  Wouldn’t all churches believe in the Triune God?  This church adds the word Trinitarian to their name because there is a large cult based out of the Guadalajara, Mexico area called Luz del Mundo (The Light of the World), and it’s not Trinitarian.  This church in the Puntarenas area is served by a Venezuelan missionary who started this church in Puntarenas over 30 years ago.  I’ve known him for a number of years.  He is a wonderful man of God, and he accepted the challenge to put together a group of 60 children for the camp.  Here’s the story.  At first they told us that they would only guarantee to bring 25 children.  I wouldn’t accept that news.  Then, they told us that the maximum number that they would bring would be 40 children.  So my wife Thelma and I decided to invite an orphanage in the San Jose area who brought 17 children and two youth counselors.  As it turns out, the Puntarenas church prayed and asked the Lord for 60 children and boldly went out into a shanty town neighborhood by their church and signed up another 20 children and brought a group of 61.  We ended up having a lot of children for that camp, 79 plus a lot of counselors and our staff.  Also, the Directors of Camp Penuel in Missouri, Joy and Pastor Larry Booth, came during this record camp to visit us.  It was their first visit to the camp, and the last visit from the time that Joy’s father, Pastor Harry Douma and his wife Carole had visited us for the inauguration of the camp back in 2006.  We were very thankful for how this all came together, and our staff handled the excess numbers very well thanks to:

Interlude – Staff training by Debbie and  Burt Laine, from the Duluth, Minnesota area.  They held our first ever training in camp activities, specifically non-competitive games and other activiites that build teamwork and unity and a sense of belonging.  Many of the activities also interact with God’s creation, and they used their combined 75 or 80 plus years of camping experience to help us.  God-willing, this will become an annual event, as staff turnover is very high as youth move on to college and job commitments.  Burt and Debbie did a great job of leading this two day training in early January and the staff picked up on it and implemented the ideas real well throughout the 8 camping sessions.

Back to the largest ever camping group.  What really touched my heart was seeing the joy of the Sunday School superintendent of this group see what was happening at the camp before her very eyes.  This was a combination of children from their church, from their community and an orphanage in San Jose – different classes, races, etc.  And none of that mattered to the children.  They made friends in their cabins and the seed of the gospel was planted on fertile soil.  This was the second time for the orphanage children to come.  Their Mom is well known because TV documentaries have been done on her house (orphanage) which has the same name as our cafeteria, “Casa de Pan.” (Bethlehem in Hebrew/ House of Bread in English).  Our staff, I must say, is very mature, knows how to show unconditional love and attention without playing favorites.

2.  A secular community center organization in Rincon Grande de Pavas (San Jose area).

Rincon Grande means a “big, out of the way place.”  Interpretation – a big, forgotten place.  God hasn’t given up on anyone, and he hasn’t given up on this neighborhood either.  Leticia, the group leader, worked hard to organize a full group of children.  She is to be commended for that.  Her 16 or 17 year old son also came as a counselor.  This is an area where you read about gang shootings in the newspaper.  Leticia’s son would tell us about neighbors and young men that he knew who were shot and killed in recent years.  He asked for prayers for the young men of his neighborhood.  It’s the same story as East St. Louis, South Chicago, East LA, the Bronx, you name it.  Young men’s lives are in danger because of the pressure to join gangs and not seeing Jesus as the solution for their lives.  We were able to bring Jesus to a lot of young boys and girls in this neighborhood.  I hate to put it bluntly, but the girls in this environment often end up pregnant at an early age and with Christ in their lives, they can avoid this and a life of prostitution.  Again, the seeds of the gospel were clearly sown and this group of children as well as most of the 470 who attended camp this January, had the opportunity to be set free from a past of despair and anger and know that they have Christ who loves them and the hope is that they will find a Christian family to love them also.

Side note – In February, a USA based ministry called the Shaumbach Foundation led an evangelistic crusade in another neighborhood of Pavas called Finca San Juan (San Juan Farm) where many people live and where gang activity is some of the worst in the San Jose area.  43 gang members, including gang leaders, gave their lives to Christ at this crusade.  Our church in Esparza participated in buying bibles for these young Christians who are being taken under the wing of a ministry in this area.  As we, the church, boldly go into these neighborhoods, trusting the Lord for his protection and the salvation of many souls, it is like Jesus’ parable of the Great Banquet in Luke 14:23 being fulfilled where he says, “Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.”

What a privilege we have to sow the seed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing that much of this seed is falling on fertile ground!

Thank you for allowing us to extend the loving arms of God to the furthest, most out of the way places in Costa Rica!

Have a great 2015 and enjoy the photos!

Brother Paul

Kingdom Talks
Chef for a Day!

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Another Successful Camp!

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One of many new activities brought by Burt and Debbie

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The Joy that only Christ can give!

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Girl chefs!

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Deb leading the train with Kenneth and campers (Thelma in background)

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King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Glory, Hallelujah!

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Nothing like water fun!

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I think that they’re into it!

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Teaching time at the tree house!

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The Gospel Train!

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Come and try it! It’s better than aerobics!



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