By Heather Cox, Guest writer
Hiking down from the top of a mountain after watching the sunrise break through the clouds, climbing waterfalls, walking through the jungle with spiders the size of my face, holding and kissing a caiman, traveling to the Caribbean for a weekend, walking on the pristine beaches and swimming in the Pacific ocean, traveling to Nicaragua, staying with two wonderful host families, waking up to the sounds of God’s most amazing creations and building friendships that will last a lifetime…
These are only a few of the hundreds of memories I have made during my semester abroad.
These are also the same memories that I did not ever imagine myself making when I was trying to decide if I should spend four months away from my friends and loved ones. I have moved completely out of my comfort zone.
At the time of this writing, my semester at the Quetzal Education Research Center (QERC) in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica is about half over. Aside from having the opportunity of a lifetime to spend this semester learning about different cultures and field biology, I have also learned about myself. Although there have been some trying points during these last few weeks, I am beyond grateful for this opportunity.
I had scarcely become accustomed to being away from my Texas home as a student at SNU when the possibility of going to QERC was presented to me.
I must confess that traveling and studying internationally has proved to be an even more masterful stretch. However, I have gained much-needed perspective about life and a new understanding of Matthew 6:31-34:
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
I obtained this fresh point of view while staying with my first host family in Costa Rica and more so while living with my second host family in the campo of Nicaragua.
I have heard this verse many times before, but now I understand it after living with families that have to rely on God for everything.
Unlike many people in the United States, these two families struggle with having the most basic of necessities: clean water and food for the family. Even more amazing is how beautifully content these families are and the tremendous faith they have in the Lord to provide for them.
In spite of how little they have (compared to many American families), they were generous with me – a stranger in their humble homes, and made sure that I was welcomed, honored, and well-fed! My eyes have been opened to how very much I have and I want to do even more with the calling that God has placed upon my life.
Thus far, my trip has had many ups and downs, but overall I am so grateful for this opportunity! It is an amazing and rewarding experience that will continue to mold and shape me into the young lady that Christ has created me to be.