Vida Abundante (Abundant Life) is a Chrisitan outreach ministry led by a dynamic husband/wife co-pastor team, Jose Manuel and Mariela Cruz. Jose and Mariela serve as local coordinators for the Bible Blessings project supported by SAIL.
Their focus is reaching out to children, individuals and families most of whom have very limited resources as well as those facing personal challenges, including La Esperanza addiction rehabilitation program participants. Ministering to people in greatest need results in VA being short of financial and material resources but they are long on enthusiasm and creativity! Their consistent message is one of faith, hope and self-responsibility to pursue opportunities that improve lives.
Vida Abundante’s ministry occurs “where the people are”:
- 70+ individuals/families are members of the congregation
- 35 children participate in weekly Christian youth education + bible school
- 50+ attend weekly services at La Esperanza rehabilitation center
- Special monthly evangelism activities are held in neighborhood parks
- A mission effort has begun in Playa del Carmen on the mainland
The ministry was not able to continue paying rent for a garage-like space for worship. In November 2009 VA moved to a rented empty lot between two buildings determined to develop the lot into an open air worship area over time. The highest priority was constructing a roof to protect worshippers from the intense sun and rain. VA raised enough funds to put up metal braces to support a tarp or metal “laminas” (metal corregated sheets). They received a donation to purchase a tarp for a temporary solution that would hopefully last several months yet two weeks after the tarp was hung, a tropical storm destroyed the tarp and some of the supports. Ilene Kendrick shared Vida Abundante’s need with a number of friends, supporters and church members in Texas and beyond.
Materials for a new sturdy roof of metal sheeting were purchased THANKS TO LEN AND LILY LANGMAN (The Colony, TX) who provided a very generous cash donation along with an anonymous donor via Friends of Cozumel. Pastor Jose priced the “laminas” on the mainland, arranged for purchase and shipping to the island to stretch donated dollars further. Local members were able to pool their money to buy two extra lamina panels so the majority of worshippers can squeeze under the roof.
Church pastors and volunteers installed the roof and electrical lighting in time to celebrate worship on Sunday, January 17th. The roof panels will be removed in case of a hurricane in order to protect the investment and they may be moved for use in another location as Vida Abundante grows. The pastors and members are so appreciative of the help and support they have received from brothers and sisters in the U.S.!
Building a wood platform for worship leaders to use during services will be a project constructed by volunteers during the Friends of Cozumel Mission Trip in February.