And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Col.3:17
In Spanish, “Aplastado” is a descriptive and powerful word that means “crushed.” Colette heard this word for the first time while vacationing in San Jose. The word was used in reference to the battered, neglected, and abused children being sent to Christian orphanages throughout Costa Rica.
Passing by an orphanage on the out-skirts of town, The Bert family felt called to bring the orphans a gift, to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
It was Christmas Eve, 2007.
They found a market still open, and bought candy and passed the three very large bags through a locked gate.
The Nun said their gifts were an answer to prayer.
The Bert family returned to their home church in Washington State, and asked ,through prayer, for the Lord to help them reach out to the orphans.
Colette researched Christian orphanages and found one caring for 35 children in the Central Valley. They delivered 100 lbs of children’s clothing and spent a few hours with the children and Tias.
In Spanish, Jeremy shared his testimony of how, the Lord saved him from a devastating car accident in 1982.
While saying good-bye, and driving away….
Colette saw a group of children walking to school along the bumpy, muddy road.
They were dressed in matching school uniforms and flip-flop sandals, which is typical for most tropical countries. After seeing a child’s shoe get stuck in the mud, Colette felt the Lord’s “nudge” of assurance, that she and her family would come back someday, and next time with rain boots! .
Back home, the Lord continued to nudge Colette’s heart to continue ministering to the poor. She and a few volunteers began feeding the homeless living under the bridge.
This was a growing time, as they had a chance to live what Jesus meant for us to…
As Jesus said himself in Acts 20: 35, “ in all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
One Sunday, a woman referred to a sack lunch handed her as “A Blessing in A Bag….,” and this is how the name for our outreach ministry was chosen.
The following week was our last Sunday with the group. They were asked to move on, and so did ABINA Projects.
Colette was approached by some East County folks with an idea for outreach to provide healthy foods, for a fraction of the cost, to low income families. They asked if they could use the centrally located church as a pick-up point for the delivery, and the Pastor said they could. It seemed like an answer to prayer, but after reading the fine-print, we realized it would not benefit our church, ministry or mission. In fact, a stipulation for the approved application was that they needed a credit card, to guarantee the monthly deliveries. This wasn’t possible, we had no choice than to stop it, and change direction. The east county folks understood, and all of Colette’s hard work provided those involved, a lesson in being good stewards. Knowing what to reject, is as important as knowing when to accept, and discretion should be used with every opportunity to serve.
Changing direction, ABINA’S mission was redefined with International Outreach. and ABINA Projects, answered the call to provide relief for under-privileged children in Atenas, Costa Rica.
In 2010, plans were made for the Bert’s third trip to Costa Rica; this time for three months!
The ABINA fund-raiser, “A Blessing In A Boot,” began in the U.S.A with the collection of 40 pair of non-specific sized children’s rain-boots. The Bert Family and Three-Trees Coffee House in Bellingham, WA, hosted the event, and served refreshments while friend’s of ABINA Ministries played guitar.
The donations included extras, like socks, candy, personal hygiene items, gifts for the caregivers, cash to buy the orphan’s Christmas dinner, and ABINA’s building projects.
Jeremy accepted a challenge to shave off his beard for $1000.00!
“It’s through giving that we truly receive!”
The boots were passed out on Christmas day and every child received a pair with goodies.
The orphan’s dinner consisted of, 200 pieces of b.b.q-chicken, salad, bread, beans, rice, pop, chips, and two pinatas stuffed with candy.
It took three hours to bbq the chicken, and an extra pair of hands and tongs to help turn.
The Tias loved Jeremy’s special sauce!
volunteers arrived just in time for the children’s games.
THE KITCHEN at RESIDENCE OF LIFE
ABINA’S Kitchen PROJECT ….
AFTER THE CABINET REMODEL….
A Blessing In A Bed PROJECT included the kitchen cabinets. We worked for 2 months, while living in Costa Rica for 3. The three of us, Jeremy, Colette and Jacob attended Spanish Academy for 1 month, while Jacob worked at a home for the elderly to gain experience in his Medical Spanish course through CRLA…….
In December of 2012, ABINA Ministries delivered donations of clothing, shoes, and Christmas gifts to the children at Residence of Life.
ABINA’S Building Project 2012,
“A Blessing In A BIG SWING-SET”
MARCH 2012, ABINA Projects built an industrial sized SWING-SET with 3 strap swings….
“A BLESSING IN A Bodega”……
DECEMBER 2012, ABINA Building Project “BODEGA.”
ABINA donations funded a new swing-set, water pipes, side-walk, lighting and electricity to new the home’s laundry Bodega…..
a new sidewalk and drain w/water extension to Bodega
Jeremy with new electric wiring in the kitchen & out to the Bodega….
The children enjoyed our donor sponsored girl’s tea party, boys outdoor activity, swim party and dinner after church.
The children are still wearing the matching shirts you purchased for them in 2011…
In 2011, along with our building project, ABINA donors supplied 35 orphans at Hogar de Vida and Residence of Life with a new tee-shirts and pajamas.
ABINA volunteer and artist, Barbara Jorgensen created the lamb design and a Bible verse written in Spanish, just for the orphans in Costa Rica. The verse is John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them.”
Our next ABINA’S project is for Residence of Life; a permanent home for non-adoptable orphans.
Contributions for this project are ongoing…
We will return in December 2013 to make repairs to the home’s kitchen, bathrooms and laundry upgrades and more!
A time for work, a time to play….Like the “Sour Patch Kids” Contest….
The children took a break for lunch with the volunteers who tested to see which child could take a spoon full of sweet-n-sour sugar without puckering their face.
THEY ALL WON!
Christmas presents is something our donors give each year….
Your donations and volunteerism is also providing the children something no one can ever take from them….
The love of Jesus Christ.
VAYA CON DIOS AMIGOS!
Thank you for your generosity!
- Pray for ABINA’S 2013 Mission! We remain committed to building homes for abused, abandoned, orphaned and at-risk children considered un-adoptable.
Costa Rica’s child abuse epidemic is a side of, “Paradise,” that many tourists do not see. The epidemic was reported in January 2013, by the National Children’s Hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica. The records show the increase of child-abuse has increased the number of victims seen in the hospital (up 600 %) since 2007. (2015 update on child abuse statistics; see below)
- The Public Policy for Children’s Rights IS encouraging. However, if you read the articles, it does not go into place until 2021. The report was written in 2009. These are the children, who are in the most vulnerable situations, that need our help, NOW!
- “The Public Policy for Children and Adolescents” http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/media_51107.html
- The need for awareness and children’s homes is urgent.
December 2012, In Costa Rica, the total of 2,296 calls reported to 911, 1,550 were for domestic violence, 20 were cases of sexual abuse and 4 cases involved sexual abuse with injuries. 288 of the calls were to report psychological abuse against a child.
Hospital officials reported that in the last three years 1,700 minors were injured due to negligence by adults. Of those, 578 cases occurred this year. Injuries included burns, poisoning, suffocation and trauma from sharp objects.
So far in 2014, the San José based hospital has attended to seven suspected cases of child abuse per day, up from four cases per day last year, according to the hospital’s director of social services, Ana Virginia Quesada. According to statistics from that office, between 2006-2014 more than 20,000 minors were treated for some type of suspected abuse.
“One of the aspects that concerns us most is that the aggression we’re seeing is becoming increasingly more violent,” Quesada said.
The need for awareness is now!!! National Children’s Hospital Director Orlando Urroz called the figures alarming and said the situation has forced officials to review a strategic plan for 2015. They also will seek support from other government agencies.
Urroz said the first step will be to launch an awareness campaign in mass media aimed at providing families with preventive information. Officials also will seek the collaboration of church leaders and social groups to help detect cases of abuse in their communities.
The hospital will closely monitor abuse cases, issue quarterly reports and increase staff training regarding protocols for these cases, he said.
“GOD DOES NOT CALL THE EQUIPPED, HE EQUIPS THE CALLED!”
“Many things can wait. The children, NO! Now their bones are forming, their blood is producing and their feelings are developing. To them we cannot say tomorrow.
Their name is today!
(Quoting Chilean poet and activist Gabriela Mistral)
Leading by example, with individual acts of compassion, sacrifice, suffering, and through service to others, especially to the un-adoptable orphans in Costa Rica,
is what God requires us to do.
As founders of ABINA, this is what our ministry
strives to do; and we do it ALL for the Glory of God.
God Bless You ,
Colette and Jeremy Bert
ABINA Ministries Inc., is formed and organized exclusively for charitable purposes under Section 501© (3) of the Internal Revenue Code…serving the poor and underprivileged children in North and Central America.