La Negrita, the patron saint of Costa Rica 

Almost 400 years ago, a young girl by the name of Juanita Pereira was gathering wood and came across a crudely carved, 6 inch rock that resembled the Virgin Mary.  Legend has it that the young girl took the rock home several times but it would mysteriously re-appear at its original location.  The local priest concluded that it must be the Virgin Mary revealing herself and the Basílica Nuestra Señora de los ángeles in Cartago was built over the rock where La Negrita first appeared.

Countless healings are attributed to La Negrita and thousands of trinkets and charms are left on walls below the church to thank this small, black statue for her miracles.  Many of these charms are in the shape of different body parts that have been claimed to be healed.  Because of these healings, many people visit the church in Cartago searching for a miracle from this small, black statue.

Each year, on August 2nd, close to 2 ½ million Catholics in Costa Rica make the annual pilgrimage to Cartago to visit La Negrita, Costa Rica’s patron saint and thank her for miracles performed.  The current population of Costa Rica is about 4,750,000 people so almost half the population of the country is making this pilgrimage.  The pilgrims will walk from all over the country with many walking for days and days to arrive in Cartago on August 2nd.

Once the pilgrims reach Cartago, many will complete the last leg of the journey (some for miles) on their knees, often leaving behind a trail of blood as they crawl.

This is the 3rd year that our family has witnessed this pilgrimage and I am torn by this event. 

First, I believe in the healing power and grace of a risen and living savior in Jesus Christ and not so much in the healing powers of a 6 inch rock.

But, second, I am overwhelmed and in awe of the resolve and sacrifice of the pilgrims, specifically their resolve to walk and crawl for hours and days.  If asked, would I walk for days in the rain and on muddy/rocky roads to be able to worship?  Would I crawl on my hands and knees for miles with the rocks and concrete tearing at my skin?  Do I even get on my knees to pray in the comfort of an air-conditioned sanctuary with carpeted floors?  Could I, would I, spend the afternoon, the day, crawling to worship Jesus?  I would like to think so…but would I?

Prayer Requests

--Please pray for the physical and spiritual needs of the Romeros or Pilgrims that are traveling to Cartago.

--God continues to open doors for our work in the public schools, more doors than we can currently go through.  Please pray for His guidance and wisdom for saying no to the good so we can say yes to the better.

--Please pray for guidance as we begin looking at the 2013 calendar year for our work with short term ministry teams.

--Please pray for the financial needs of God’s ministry in Costa Rica.

Devaluation of the Dollar and Increase in Health Care Costs

If you have partnered with us financially at one time and no longer do so or if you have never partnered financially with us, we would like to ask you to prayerfully consider financially supporting the Father’s ministry here in Costa Rica.  If you are currently partnering with us financially, thank you so much for your support.

Since we moved to Costa Rica, the drop in value of the dollar has dropped our buying power by almost 20%.  In addition, our health insurance premiums with our group health plan with The Mission Society increased by almost $300 per month.

Please see the following note from Jim Ramsay, VP for Mission Ministries with The Mission Society.

The Mission Society

The Mission Society is our sending agency, our partners, our counselors, our trainers, our friends and our financial accountablity.  All of our financial donations go through The Mission Society.  The Mission Society is a member of ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountablity) which gives us and our partners the assurance of financial integrity and accountablity.

To partner with us financially you may do so by:

Credit/Debit Card Donation

Checking Account Donation

or by downloading a Donation Form (PDF)

Our account # is 355SUP.

From the Desk of Jim Ramsay, VP for Mission Ministries, The Mission Society June 18, 2012

Thank you for your prayers and your support of Beth, Bryan and the triplets.   I wanted to make you aware of a financial challenge that all our missionaries are facing this year. As you know in the USA, health costs continue to skyrocket. We try to keep the premiums down for our missionaries, but at the same time we have to ensure that they are covered for medical events locally as well as if the need should arise for medical evacuation and care in the USA. Even with very high deductibles, the premiums our missionaries pay from their support took a huge leap in 2012; an increase of nearly $300/month for family coverage.  It has resulted in inadequate budgets for many of our workers. We would ask you to pray if the Lord might enable you to make an increase in your giving to help cover this cost and avoid them having to return prematurely to make up the difference.

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