Hello Costa Rica

May 7, 2024 | Russ Moe

“Soy un burro,” said Pastor John Miller, greeting the hundreds of Costa Ricans gathered for the special meeting that Sunday evening. A packed church is typical for a visiting American minister. Unique warmth and hospitality is the norm for that country. As for their free-spirited sense of humor, I don’t know a people who enjoy the fun of life more. 

I smile when I think of my good friend and colleague taking the pulpit after the outrageous introduction by Apostle Jose. Of course, his Spanish was translated for the benefit of us gringos in Pastor John’s entourage.

“He’s pastor of the largest church in America,” Apostle Jose said. “He’s the greatest teacher I have ever heard. He’s been sent to us by God with a special message today.” He exalted my friend with laurels of “slightly” exaggerated praise. 

His giftings, success, beautiful family, and ministry of miracles was shined into goosebump anticipation for the congregation. I felt nervous for John as he took the podium and spoke his opening greeting into this aura of esteem. 

“Soy un burro.”

My jaw dropped at the reflex reaction of laughter from the entire congregation. I had to step back for the shockwave of volume. The translator was too bent over to translate. All of us on John’s ministry team except for Jenny, who spoke a little Spanish, stood straight-faced. She was too disabled with laughter to respond when I asked, “What just happened?” John stood frozen behind the podium smiling in clued-out politeness.

The highly pontificated man of God had just announced to the highly revved up crowd, “I am a donkey.” He’d been set up by some happy Costa Ricans the night before at the fellowship meal when he asked them, “What would be a good Spanish greeting for me to use when I take the pulpit tomorrow night?” 

Laughter opened hearts with receptivity. The message and the ministry that followed was extraordinary perhaps for that reason. 

What’s most memorable is the beautiful joy of living in those wonderful Costa Ricans 

I thank God for them every time I smile at this treasured moment.

Laughter is a vital part of life. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Science confirms the release of good chemistry into the system when we laugh. I think it’s one of the essential components of a happy marriage. 

When I struggled with severe depression, I made it a daily prescription to watch comedy shows. Abe Saperstien, the founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, the black exhibition basketball team said, “You can’t hate when you're laughing.”

How many ills would be healed if we just pursued good, clean laughter?

Today, why don’t you find something that makes you laugh and just let ’er rip? Don’t hold back and see if you don’t feel refreshed when it’s over.

Or you could fly to Costa Rica.