‘Pura Vida’ ‘Pura Vida’. Roughly translated, Pure Life. A phrase that to us means so little, yet to Costa Ricans has an abundance of meanings.
This summer I was privileged to receive an invitation that would allow me to strengthen my faith in God and permit me to spread His word. When I first stepped foot into a strangely different foreign country I felt as if I was in a place that God wanted me to be. I felt at peace and knew that I would not have to strive for words of wisdom; Jesus would simply put them into my mouth and let the rest happen.
As much as I would love to deny it, at first I felt that this Mission of God, was more like a vacation than anything else. I was expecting nothing more than a couple of bible stories, and the rest of the time was to be spent at the beach or exploring the jungle. Was I in for a surprise? Needless to say it was not as I expected.
Not only was it totally opposite, but also one of our youth ministers left out the slight detail of a hundred percent humidity and the blazing heat. I guess it was on a need to know basis, and I didn’t need to know. The first couple of days I only thought about myself.
I complained because I was not indoors with air conditioning all day long and was not allowed the amenities that I received at home. As I sit here and compose this, ‘You Raise Me Up’ by Josh Groban is playing in the background and I am almost brought to tears just thinking of the people that I met and if I am lucky, the lives that I was able to touch. One person in particular has impacted my life forever.
His name was David, just an ordinary eight-year-old kid trying to make it back and forth to Vacation Bible School. Every morning while our group was still half asleep, he was there at the church waiting on us to arrive. From the very beginning he became quite attached to me, and I to him.
Technically he was not supposed to be in my group because of his age, but he would have it no other way. Either he was in my group or he was going home. With reluctant humor, my youth pastor allowed him to join my group of sixth graders.
I really do not know what drove him to stay as close to me as he did. To this day it is still a mystery what qualities I possessed that drove him to be my week long companion. David was a child that was understood by few but liked by all.
His personality was one in a million and no one could resist talking to him, even if directly instructed not to. As my time with him and the other kids began to come to a close I wanted to do anything but leave. At one point I even asked my parents if I could stay another week with the kids on the mission trip rather than go with the family on the second part of vacation. The obvious answer was no.
I felt bad just leaving him behind, but in Costa Rica life goes on. If asked by others how the trip was, I simply reply ‘Pura Vida’.
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