Jehovah’s Witnesses in Costa Rica
THERE have been a few witnesses in Costa Rica since about 1913 or 1914, mostly in Port Limón; but it has been since December 1943 when the Watch Tower Society sent its first missionaries here that the work has really grown. At that time there were fewer than 100 witnesses active in all of Costa Rica. Most of these were in Limón province, speaking English. In all there were six companies or congregations, one on the Pacific side at San José and four on the Atlantic side of the comparatively narrow country.
It is interesting to know that seven years ago when the witnesses moved into a particular Kingdom Hall in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, they had 60 persons in attendance the first night. Now they have this original congregation divided into three units, two using the same hall on different evenings and the third having its own meeting place in a suburb to the north of the city. The group of 60 has grown to about 400 in San José alone. From fewer than 100 witnesses in the entire country in 1943 there are now more than 1,800 active Jehovah’s witnesses preaching the good news every month. Inasmuch as Costa Rica has a population of about 800,000 this means there is one witness to every 450 people in the country
One may conclude that it took many missionaries to accomplish all that, but actually there have never been more than seven missionaries in the country at any one time. Many of the native Costa Ricans have taken up the full-time ministry and they go into the isolated parts and get the job done. Last month, for example, there were 55 of such full-time ministers active. Then, too, the good co-operation of the part-time workers among the witnesses helps a great deal.
But do not fail to consider the great inclination on the part of the people in general to hear the Bible truth proclaimed. This desire on their part, backed by action in harmony therewith, has also contributed toward the great advances by the witnesses in Costa Rica. For example, in 1947 there were two witnesses in one town and a congregation was organized. This grew rapidly. Three years later a small assembly was held in that town on a Sunday. The people came on foot, by horse and any other means of transportation they could get. One couple walked nine hours over mountain trails to get there, and others rode all day by horse to make the assembly. They even brought their small children. While we said this was a town, actually it isn’t even a good-sized village. Yet there were 235 adults and some 50 children present at this small convention. Many of these persons have now become active witnesses.