In the last twelve months, Tony and I have gotten to know many of “los guachis” or neighborhood watchmen during our daily strolls. No matter where you live in the city, you’ll see a watchman patrolling neighborhood streets. Although Costa Rica is a fairly peaceful country, petty crimes, mugging, and shoplifting are prevalent in the greater metropolitan cities. These watchmen typically earn minimum wage and work close to 12 hours a day.
One of the highlights for Tony and I has been in getting to know these men who guard our local streets. At times we have bought them a cold soft drink, served them a light meal, or just talked about whatever is on their mind. The time we’ve invested recently opened up an opportunity to loan them a few Spanish audio Bibles. After listening to the content on the solar powered tool, I will ask them a few questions about the functionality of the device. In addition, I will ask them which Bible story they liked most and what impressed them the most from the stories. Some of the guards really enjoyed having the Bible on audio and some politely returned it after only listening a few hours. Despite the different responses, I am glad they gave me an occasion from which to share the Word of God right where they work.
One guard in particular came up to me this week and said something that really struck me. “You and Tony are really special to me. You are always together and I bet you really care for one another,” said Victor with a grin. Somewhere between listening to the parables of Jesus and our leisurely nighttime walk, Victor had been watching us. Without us noticing, our Christian witness had ministered to him. My reply to the guard was simple, “Yes, you are right. We care for each other. But we are not perfect, just perfect for each other.” And with that response, Victor laughed and shook our hands and told us how pleased he was to call us his friends.
Today, my thoughts turn toward 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."
|Tony and I posing with Victor on a warm afternoon|
|Quintero standing by his guardhouse with the audio Bible by his side|
|Another watchman ready to assume his 12 hour shift|