This week we had a Q & A with one of our full-time volunteer staff members to give you a glimpse of what it’s like as part of the community here at YWAM San José in Costa Rica.
Emma is 20 years old, hailing from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She’s charming, unpredictable, and one of the most dedicated, servant-hearted humans you’ll ever meet. She brings a contagious joy to our community and this is what she has to say about living life here at YWAM San José…
Q: Why did you join staff at YWAM San José?
A: I was a wee little 18 year old when I came to do my DTS. I was straight out of high school, crazy and ready for adventure, but I wasn’t quite sure of what I wanted to do with my life. When I was towards the end of my DTS, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do when I got home and I remember the option being open to come back on and join the staff here at the base. I thought of how awesome of an opportunity it would be for me. I was really close to a lot of the staff who were already working here and I didn’t think I was ready to to go home yet. While on my DTS outreach, I was juggling two options. I could go home, work, be with my family and my friends, make money, do what I want when I want… you know, those kind of things (I’m an independent woman ya know). Then I had a second option of coming back on staff and staying in Costa Rica – not having an income necessarily, but being in a place where I knew that I would grow in my relationship and dependency on God. So yeah, there were these two, very different options I had and I was really really split down the middle of which I should choose. I spent time making that decision in a lot of prayer and seeking God for what He wanted me to do, and also thinking, if I go home or if I stay, which place am I going to grow more in this time? For some people at that time, it was going home, but for me I just knew that I needed to stay longer. I needed to be pushed more outside my comfort zone than just being in my culture that I was used to. Overall, the reason I came back on staff was because I believe God told me to be here and love the people here. I love Costa Rica and I want to grow more.
Q: What is life like at YWAM San José?
A: I would say that life in San Jose is far from ordinary… you get all these different cultures and all these people from all over the world and different ages thrown into one little mix of a family. It creates for a very interesting context.
Q: What’s something unique here?
A: I think the first thing that I noticed when I came to do my DTS was that there is just so many people that were surrounding me and they were willing and wanting to help me grow you know? You could just kind of feel in the atmosphere at the base that there is something different, right.. and it’s the way that people handled each other and talked with one another and accepted one another. Overall, it’s how they interact with each other which is different than anything I’ve seen before and people are just so loving and accepting here.
Q: What’s it like with so many cultures living together?
A: There’s so many different cultures, different people, different age groups… these can get a little crazy around here. Many of the different cultures here didn’t understand my sense of humor at first. I had to learn how to word my jokes in a way that was more receiving to others.
I couldn’t go around and as sarcastic as I was used to being. Another cultural difference was time. You got the North Americans and Europeans that are here who like things in order and on time and then you got all the Latinos who, well time isn’t necessarily as important to them as it is to us as far as being on time. You just have different values in each culture and different understandings between what different things mean, so it’s interesting to see all these different cultures come together and learn to love one another and learn to organize and learn to work together. It’s this really fun thing, I would say the best place to be is where it’s interesting and fun… it could be hard, it could be frustrating at times or whatever, but I think if you look at it from my point of view where it’s really interesting and fun trying to learn how to work together with these different cultures it puts a better, lighter mood on it.
Q: What’s your favorite part about YWAM San José?
A: We eat rice and beans with every meal and thats super cool… No but really my favorite thing is the people. The community and family that I have here. People always want to help me grow and they care about how I’m doing. I just have such a great support system here and friends that I wouldn’t find in any other place. People are also so supportive of my gifts and passions and encourage me to pursue my dreams.
Q: What do you love most about Costa Rica?
A: I shouldn’t say people again… but, I really love how nice and welcoming the people are here. I also really like the beautiful mountains they have here and the best breakfast dish, Gallo pinto… look it up… its delicious. But my favorite thing about anywhere is the people. I really like the culture, and the way people are easy-going and forgiving… “pura vida!”
Q: What’s the most challenging part about being here?
A: I miss Chicago deep dish pizza. I like the food here, but it is definitely different than home. Probably the biggest challenge though is that sometimes people back home don’t fully understand why I’m here, and it’s a challenge to live in a culture not my own. To be in a place where I can’t go out whenever I want or be with my friends back home. When I go on social media and see all the fun things my friends are doing back home it can be hard. I see that they are all hanging out and are all together and I’m missing from the group. It’s easy to feel lonely or left out, but then I have to remind myself that I’m living in Costa Rica serving God and have friends here who have become like family to me.
YWAM San José is a multi-cultural place where you can grow, create friendships, eat lots of rice and beans, and experience love and acceptance. If you want to experience this crazy, awesome place for yourself, you can come and join.
Click “HERE” for more info!