The following was written by Cassandra Tartter, IGNITE alumni and current IGNITE and Potter’s Field Kids overseer in our Costa Rica location.
Whenever people hear the words “Costa Rica,” a few things will very quickly pop into their minds: luxuries waterfalls, beautiful sunsets on the beach, hammocks, and a freshly chilled coconut. While these things are fitting, once walking past those touristic walls, they all become quickly forgotten.
Potter’s Field Kids Costa Rica is located in the small town of Villarreal, Guanacaste. Dirt roads, scorching sun, barbed wire, and children playing in the street would be a quick description of this place we call home. PFK Costa Rica is a smaller location, currently looking at about 50 to 60 children. Some may say this is a weakness, but how beautiful it is to be able to know each child by name; to know where they live, their parents, their struggles, and to be able walk with them as they grow.
In Costa Rica the children we minster to are our neighbors. They are the ones that you walk to the store with, the ones that block your door when you come home (to get the news about your day), the ones you go through droughts with, play soccer in the street with, and the ones you stay up till 12pm with because their parents are still not home.
Many of these kids live in broken families. They live in small metal/concrete squares for houses with dirt floors (which turn into mud floors during rainy season). We find that most of the kids are born to single moms not yet old enough to even get a drivers license or vote in the U.S. Whether their own fathers are part of their homes, or other men callers, these vulnerable, and often neglected kids learn, day in and day out, that drug addiction, crime, indiscriminate sex, and alcoholism are part of the “normal” way of life, and the expectation is that they will follow suit. Everyone lives a life with a “party” mindset, leaving the broken remains on the street.
Through Potter’s Field Kids these children are able to hear about their Savior, Jesus Christ, who loves them so much, and that He died for them. Instead of spending all of their time on the street, they now have a place they can go where they feel safe and loved. One of the girls once said to me, “I don’t want to leave.” When I asked her why her response was, “Because this is our favorite place in the whole world. Because here we can feel love and safety and we all laugh and sing together.”
Potter’s Field Kids Bible Club is every Saturday from 10am to 1pm. We spend that time fellowshipping with the kids, dancing and singing for Jesus, doing dramas/puppets, Bible studies, crafts, lunch, and games. It is so amazing watching the kids talk and sing to Jesus with huge smiles on their faces, or to be walking home from church at night and be attacked by kids telling you the memory verse of the week. We also have English classes on Mondays for the kids and their parents, and we visit their homes regularly to check in and pray over their families.
Parents have come to us sharing how their kids have changed. Other children have come to us asking why PFK attendees’ friends are different or why certain kids aren’t bullies anymore. We are even seeing our youth group, filled with PFK graduates, now coming and helping us every Saturday with our PFK ministry. Our Heavenly Father never ceases to amaze us with how faithful He is to work in each one of these precious hearts. He truly is an awesome God and we are so blessed to be able to watch His hand at work, through Potters Field Ministries.