We decided to make a trip into Alajuela (Ala-whey-la) on Saturday for a "dry run" to Walmart and PriceSmart. We had a long list of items we needed for our new apartment and going into the city is a bit of an effort on the bus. Mark also added to the list a Bible - in English. We didn't bring ours from home because they were too heavy. They don't just have a book store on every corner let alone a book store with an English Bible. It would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
We have also been looking for a power adapter cord for Mark's laptop. Unfortunately when we left Maui, the power cord got left behind in the office. Something as easy as going to a Radio Shack or Walmart or ordering on Amazon in the States is a lot different here and a lot more expensive.
We thought we would visit a Radio Shack in town to find the power adapter and try to find a bookstore for a Bible before heading to Walmart & PriceSmart. We got off the bus at the main terminal drop and tried to get our bearings of what direction we should go - left, right, straight? We had a google map on our phone, but it doesn't help when there are no street signs at all. After wondering about for 20 minutes, we did find a Radio Shack and the adapter would run us about $100. I think we'll keep looking. Then we tried to find the bookstore we found online, but didn't know if it even existed. It was getting more and more frustrating going around in circles - literally. We circled the same corner store 3 times before trying to ask for directions.
Asking directions is also another huge challenge. It seems the locals don't know exactly where things are and if you ask 4 people you get 4 different answers. I (Tina) was getting super frustrated not being able to find this bookstore and ready to give up. I hate spinning my wheels and was ready to let go of getting a Bible that day. Mark on the other hand has an unlimited amount of patience and was not willing to give up, but at the same time was as frustrated as I was. Mark said, "Just give us little bit more time to find it. It's around here somewhere." Yeah, well we could be spending hours trying to find something "around here somewhere".
So, I took a deep breath and said in my head "Lord, I have no idea where we are and how to get to the bookstore, but you do. Which way do we go?" I didn't hear anything back but got a sense to keep going straight on the street we had just turned on. We looked down the block and what do we see, a sign that says "goodlight books". That's it! That is the place we were looking for. Now, do they speak English and have an English Bible? We soon shall see.
We walked in and it was a small place with bookshelves that went from floor to ceiling. It was like a tiny Library. The shelves were marked in English "Fiction, non-fiction, travel, etc." We asked the woman behind the counter if she spoke English and she acknowledged - yes. "Do you have any English Bibles?" She replied "I think I may have one. Let me show you where it is." She guided us to the area and pulled out one Bible that was maroon leather covered. It had the name 'Gail Newell-Bond' on the front. We opened it up and in fact it was in English and has the King James version and New International version side by side. Even better, this Bible has been well used and has highlighted areas and personal notes - very cool.
I actually got very choked up at God's grace and mercy to lead us to the bookstore and find the one and only Bible in that store. Mark & I felt extremely blessed and cared for in a very personal way from the Lord.
We paid for our Bible (about $7) and headed for PriceSmart. On the map it looked like we were fairly close by foot and we were - only a few blocks. It was nice to actually find our way pretty quickly. We headed to the "membership" counter and hoped someone spoke English. His name was Erik and he was super helpful. For $35 we got all signed up, had our picture taken and are now official members.
After the bus ride, getting lost, finding Radio Shack, not getting a power cord, getting lost, finding the bookstore, buying a Bible, NOT getting lost & finding the way to PriceSmart, and getting signed up for membership - we were tired and hungry. Nice thing is that PriceSmart has a little eating area like Costco. I sat down at an empty table to wait for Mark ordering our food not realizing that at the table next to ours was an American couple. When they started talking in English I almost cried. It was so nice to hear something I understood. I get frustrated that I can't understand Spanish, but then again we have only been here a couple of weeks and I never took any foreign language study in my life.
I took the liberty to say hello to them and they were very kind to converse and answered numerous questions I had. "Do you live in Costa Rica or are you traveling?" was the first thing I asked. Turns out Melvin has a construction business that uses a 'green' process to pave roads. He doesn't speak Spanish, but his wife Martha does. He handed me his business card and on the bottom it had Jeremiah 29:11. That was another 'God thing' to me. Jer 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord..." It just gave me the confirmation I needed to remind me God stills knows where we are and what we need even though we are in a different country.