Her Cup Overflows

Coffee and Costa Rica are like sunshine and Florida — you can’t think of one without the other. And so it goes with Mari Jimenez and Young Life. Ever since she met University of Costa Rica (UCR) staff leader Meg Huffman, Mari and the ministry have been inseparable.

Casa Café and Beyond

As a freshman at UCR in October of 2016, Mari was on the wrong path. She was a believer, but family circumstances and poor choices pulled her away from her spiritual roots. Then one afternoon, her phone rang.

“I was at the bus stop going home, and my friend called and said she had just met Meg and they were drinking coffee together,” Mari said. “She asked if I wanted to join them. Since I love making new friends and I love coffee, I decided to go.”

Young Life University hadn’t officially launched at UCR, but since they live right across the street from the university, Meg and her husband, Jon, who is also on staff, started opening their home every Wednesday afternoon for “Casa Café” — a time to drink coffee, study, play games or just hang out.

“They didn’t really mention Young Life specifically,” Mari recalled. “I kept going because they were very kind and wanted to hear about me. In some way, I felt special to them.”

Case Café eventually wound down for the semester, but Meg continued to pursue Mari. She asked if she’d like to keep meeting.

“I didn’t know why she would want to spend time with me, but I agreed,” Mari said. “I realized that day she actually cared about my life, and she really wanted to hear what I had to say. She was showing me God’s love without saying it.”

“I knew she had faith, but needed time to grow,” Meg said. “We’d meet, study the Bible and pray. I saw her as a potential leader, but also a friend. I saw her grow in her faith, and it was profound growth in a short period of time.”

Loving Like Jesus

Mari attended her first official Young Life event in February 2017 — a National Mega club with 600 kids — a month before the launch of the first Costa Rica Young Life University club.

“I enjoyed every second of it,” she said. “They called me up to the front and I had to dance in front of everyone, but I felt it was the place where I belonged. After that, Meg asked if I wanted to begin Young Life leader training.”

Since then, Mari’s love for Jesus, her Young Life girls and the ministry has grown by leaps and bounds. She’s attended two leader camps and served at five high school camps as a leader, photographer and musician.

A full-time student who commutes three hours to and from school each day, Mari sews and makes jewelry for camp scholarship money.

“She has a love for those girls. She invests in them in a way that models how Jesus invested in His disciples. She wants to walk alongside them in everything they do,” Meg said. “She knows how her relationship with Jesus has impacted her life, and she wants the same for her friends.”

“I never truly experienced Jesus’ love until people in Young Life started loving me in an unconditional way,” Mari said. “As a leader, I am amazed how God loves others through me. I have many ways to love and much love to give because I had more than a year of being loved by Meg and other Young Life leaders.

“After I met Meg, I started serving and loving God in so many ways, not only in Young Life, but in my own life. Meg saw more than I could see.”