Watchman on the Wall: Christmas in Costa Rica

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I had met Marta at the Aglow Conference in San Antonio. A well-educated woman from Honduras, speaking multiple languages, we became fast friends in a few short days. We exchanged addresses, she in Florida and I in California. Marta would take regular trips into Central America with medical and school supplies and musical instruments for poor village churches.

I had also been invited multiple times to come visit in Costa Rica by my friend Katya but knew it was way out of my college budget while going to Chico State to get a teaching degree. Then one day my harpsichord teacher invited me to a talk about the Rain Forest in Costa Rica, knowing I had an interest in all things Spanish. At the end of the talk, they announced they were taking students to Costa Rica to spend three weeks in the Rain Forest. They had overbooked and had extra tickets at a fraction of the cost. I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to get a ticket. They would drop me off in the capitol of San Jose, and I would be on my own. I had it made since I was already invited by my friend.

I wrote Katya in September; no answer. I wrote in October; no answer. I wrote in November; no answer. I later learned that I only had her work address, and she had changed jobs. OK panic! What was I going to do? I had no extra money for hotels and food for three weeks in a foreign country.

I called Marta, “Hello Marta. The Lord is sending me to Costa Rica, and I can’t find my friend. Do you have contact information for churches? Maybe I’m just supposed to go pray in Costa Rica; I’ll sleep on the church pew.”

“When are you going, Loraine?”

I replied, “December 28 for three weeks.” Marta started laughing. “I too am going to Costa Rica on December 28. You can stay with the Esquivel family. Here is their phone number. I’ll call them.”

Three weeks later I was on a plane to Costa Rica. What had I done? Who were these people? Was I sleeping on the couch? I had called and talked to a teenage daughter who confirmed that Marta had called, and they were expecting me.

I arrived; the taxi took me to the address, and I was welcomed with open arms. I stayed in a beautiful bungalow in the backyard and became part of the family. Every day Marta would arrive in her van and off we would go. Once we went to El Mercado, open air market.

I’d be looking for souvenirs and glance up to see Marta talking to someone, sharing Bible verses with them, leading them to the Lord and giving them that Bible. She had a stack of them in her van and took every opportunity to share the Good News of Salvation. I had a lot to learn in the next three weeks.

■ Loraine Joy is a small business owner and Arbuckle resident. Contact Loraine at musicandmore@mac.com.