Help Portrait 2015 last Christmas was by far the highlight of our year. We had planned to do this all year with our students, and at just the right time found the lovely community of Calle Naranjo super close to our International School here in Costa Rica.  Xiomarra with her husband, and Nadir and his wife, Ruby,  are amazing families working to bless families in their own neighborhood.  Working with them as a liaison between our International School, I fell in love with their mission and their hearts.  They have hearts that long to see hope and restoration and opportunity come to their neighbors. This was such a great way to begin a relationship together, give out of our passion and creativity, and get to know them over Christmas music, food, games, and generous donations from the community of MBS and local Young Life.

As we started out, we visited a neighborhood church to meet them in person for the first time.  They were so welcoming to me, and invited me in where I listened to a talk, and sang songs with them for over an hour in a modest concrete floor room that they rent behind someone’s home in the barrio.  After calling me to the front of the congregation to explain what we were suggesting, I quickly switched my brain to Spanish, and did the best I could.  At the end, each person in the church gave me a hug and kiss and then we proceeded to scout locations together.

Photo releases were translated to Spanish; clothes and gifts were collected for weeks prior by MBS National Honor Society Kids, (some of the greatest kids in the world BTW), packets were stuffed, and equipment was prepared!  Then as families waited under umbrellas, dressed in their best, they sat for a portrait, and were given an 8×10 or two 6X8 portraits, that they got to select.  The parents and staff of MBS also provided Christmas for the community for those that needed assistance providing gifts for their families.  Thankful for Partners Help-Portrait, Young Life Costa Rica, and Marian Baker International School, and this lovely community of Calle Naranjo.  December 3, 2016 We hope to do it again and double in size.

Maybe the best part of all of this, is that I get to go grab coffee again with our new friends in the next few weeks, introduce them to some other friends in Vida Joven, and dream about what life could look like if each kid in the barrio had a mentor looking out for them.  This is the best part of it all.