From: Stan Pugsley. [Jose Maria Figueres is the president of Costa Rica. We mentioned last week that President Gordon B. Hinckley met with President Figueres early last year. President Figueres praised the excellent reputation of Church members in Costa Rica. Stan Pugsley submitted this experience he had while on his mission: ]

Your mention of the president of the country, Jose Maria Figueres brought back many memories. About four years ago, while tracting in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of San Jose, I heard a large commotion in the street. I turned around to see a large group of people, maybe 100 to 150, walking along holding green and white signs of the Figueres campaign.

In front of them was the candidate himself, Jose Maria Figueres, leading the group through the neighborhood in one of many campaign rallies. I was standing in front of a house and was prepared to watch them pass with my companion. Before I realized it, though, I found myself walking towards Jose Maria with my hand outstretched. I had heard that he had attended a university in the United States and thought that I would say hello in English and see how he would respond.

Seeing me approach, he stopped the entire procession and greeted me warmly. He recognized that I was a missionary and told me that during his first year at West Point as an undergraduate student he had been roommates with a Mormon student. That student, he explained in English, was a great person, and had left after that year to serve a Mormon mission.

Though he had not seen that roommate since that time, I could tell that a significant impression had been made. The candidate asked my name, wished me good luck, then resumed the campaign trail. Each of the members of the group seemed to look at me in a new light as they walked by. To this day I have not forgotten that lesson -- How far our examples can reach. The members of the Church in Costa Rica have a powerful friend thanks to that West Point cadet.