JE Stories – Crystal & Francella


Here at JE, we passionately believe that we can change the world for Christ one traveler at a time! Each travel experience is incredibly unique, as is each traveler, and we share these unique travel stories through our JE Stories initiative. As you read these stories, be encouraged reading how God is using each story for His greater glory!

For this month’s JE Story, read about how one trip to Costa Rica left Crystal with a lasting impact.


“I have gone to Costa Rica 3 years in a row, and I absolutely love the country and the relationships that I have formed there. One relationship, in particular, stands out from others and it is one that I made with a girl named Francella.

This friendship started on my very first trip to Costa Rica 3 years ago. My team was building a house for a family in need and I met a local 8-year-old girl named Francella. We were only at the worksite building the house for 3 days, but during those 3 days, Francella was latched onto me the whole time. She painted with us, moved stuff for us, and played with us. When it came time for my team and me to leave on day 3, Francella and I took a picture and then I left. It was so sad to leave her!

When I went back the next year, my team and I, unfortunately, didn’t get to work in that same neighborhood as before but we did go back to visit for one day. I got to visit Francella for about 10 minutes and gave her a printed picture of the photo of us that we had taken the year before. It was such a fast visit and yet we still remembered each other and reconnected in that short amount of time. We took a picture of the two of us holding the printed photo I had given her, said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways.

This past year, my team and I got to build another house in Costa Rica but this time it was actually back in Francella’s neighborhood! I was so excited because now we could spend 3 days with each other instead of 10 minutes! So during those 3 days, Francella and I spent every moment together! I brought her gifts and we tried to take in every second of being with each other. Before I left, I gave her another printed picture of the photo of us holding the picture I had given her the year before! She then grabbed my arm, took me to her house and showed me that she still had the picture I had given her the year before. No rips in it or anything! She cherished the photo and that made me feel so special.

I’m hoping that every year I go back, I can keep giving her pictures of the two of us from years past! It’s crazy how strong this bond has become between myself and this little girl from Costa Rica. We don’t even speak the same language and only see each other 3 days out of the year, yet we are so close and remember each other so well! I can’t wait to go back, reconnect with her, and give her another picture next year!” – Crystal C.


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