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Maria and a Cow Named Lula



A cute little stuffed cow named Lula was the most cherished gift that [4-year-old] Maria Fernanda Garcia found inside the Operation Christmas Child shoebox she received in Costa Rica in 1998.

Maria, now 21, recently accompanied a group of Canadian volunteers as translator and saw the familiar red-and-green Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. A long-forgotten memory stirred.

“Someone in Canada gave me this stuffed cow and probably never imagined it would be so special,” she said with a smile. “Even though I’m older now, I’m still very attached to Lula. She stays in my bed.”

At the time she received her shoebox, Maria’s parents were leaning heavily on their Christian faith. Her father had been unemployed for four years, and the family had no money for gifts.

Her parents’ situation has improved dramatically since then and Maria, seeing first-hand how their faith in God helped them through hard times, made her own decision for Christ and was baptized at age 12.

As she looks back on receiving her shoebox all those years ago, Maria says: “It was God’s plan for my life to get Lula when I was a child. His plan started with that, and hasn’t finished yet.”

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