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Culture Stock in Costa Rica

Culture Stock in Costa Rica

Jhan Wagenaar '20

Jhan WagenaarDuring my first few weeks in the Wheaton in Costa Rica program, I wasn’t able to do the things that I unconsciously tie into my value and identity, and that was humbling for me.

I experienced this when I wasn’t able to help my host family in significant ways, even as they continually helped me do things and find places. I experienced this as I learned better how to receive from families with whom I stayed briefly in places like Talamanca or Hone Creek, families who gave me so much when many of them had lived through (or were still living in) difficult circumstances that I couldn’t comprehend.

As someone who likes to be the one who helps—not the one who is helped—I came to understand at a deeper level that it takes grace not only to give, but also to receive. In Romans 12:13b, we are told to practice hospitality, an act that I experienced in a profound way during my summer in Costa Rica.

The people in the church communities that I was able to visit, even if for a brief time, helped me to grow in a broader and more complete global vision of the body of Christ through a far greater emphasis on hospitality and community than I experience in my own church.