Luis, oranges, Jimmy & Jesus Calling
After a long weekend of camp in Costa Rica, some on our team left for home, and some were ready to relax. They had worked hard, talking to teens, teaching, leading music, performing skits, washing dishes, and making camp fun.
We decided to see some waterfalls on the other side of San Jose. We were with our dear friends, Jimmy and Jeannie Hampton.
They work with Young Life, in the International Schools, in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Hamptons helped start Wyldlife in our community, and were key in building the YL area known as The Hills. Now The LORD has them building a new YL community.
Jimmy led us across San Jose to the place. We finally arrived in a parking lot; with a trail to falls we could faintly hear.
As we got out, we met Luis, a kind and mild-mannered man. He told us we could explore the park for no charge, but maybe we could buy some oranges from him on the way out. We happily agreed.
We hiked through a jungle for 10-15 minutes, and arrived at breathtaking scene. We climbed through the river to swim in the pool at the base of the falls.
The river fell 100-120 feet to the pool we stood in. It was powerful, gorgeous and so refreshing. After lunch, we slowly hiked back to the car…satisfied.
Luis’ home was on the roadout of the park. He was waiting. We pulled over to buy some oranges, or so we thought.
He invited us to see incredible vistas at the back of his property. Jimmy told me it would only take a couple ofminutes. I laughed, knowing it would be at least a 30-minute diversion, and we followed Luis down a dusty road.
The vistas from his property were incredible. We took pictures, hardly believing the beauty of his land while Jimmy talked to Luis.
Jimmy learned he has a couple of children, and a young wife. She recently left him. Luis was struggling.
He missed his wife. She had gotten involved in some things Luis couldn’t support. He wanted her to stop, but ultimately she chose those things over her family.
Luis asked us to pray for him.
On a hill in Costa Rica, in the middle of nowhere, 7 of us circled up to pray for Luis. We asked God to change his wife’s heart and bring her home.
While we prayed, I sensed Jesus wanted me to share something I’d read with Luis. I told him how much God loves him; that he is one of our Father’s beloved children. The LORD unexpectedly used us to minister to our new favorite orange salesman.
Luis told me he reads “Jesus Calling,” by Sarah Young (he pronounces her name ‘Jung' – way better than how I say it). I pulled it up in my Kindle app and he got excited, “si, si – Sarah Jung.”
On the way out, he stopped at his house, showing us his Bible ( a children’s Bible) and his copy of “Jesus te llama”.
To a person, we knew Jesus brought us to those falls, to love and encourage Luis. We left full, thankful for the chance to know Luis, and pray for him.
“those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25
I wonder about Luis? What did he think when we left? What was he reading that morning, before we showed up, low on hope?
Since I know he reads Jesus Calling, I know he read this: “Continue on this path with me, enjoying My Presence even in adversity…The One who goes ahead of you, opening up the way, is the same One who stays close and never lets go of your hand.”
And then, seemingly out of nowhere, some gringos showed up, bought oranges, talked with him, and prayed for him. I think we left him with greater hope, knowing he is on the path with The LORD.
I wonder, how many more Luis are out there, at the end of their rope, looking for a whisper from the LORD? When God uses us, it’s humbling…but beautiful.
Seeing Jesus touch a man selling oranges in a remote orchard in Costa Rica, is more beautiful than the falls or vistas we took in that day. Considering what I saw Jesus do through us, I want to be ready, and available, to be used in an unlikely way today.