Jake Bakker, who graduated with a BA in business – accounting in 2018, is exploring his vocational calling by working and living in Costa Rica.
During his last year at Redeemer, Bakker wondered how he could use his business skills in international development. He found a way forward with Cohort of Missioners, a year-long missions experience organized by the CRCNA. The program’s participants are paired with a local missions organization, receiving mentorship and practise communal spiritual formation.
For the first three months of the program, Bakker stayed with a local family. For the rest of his time in Costa Rica, Bakker is living in an intentional community called Casa Adobe with 15 other people from around the globe. He serves his neighbours in Santa Rosa, a community that is a short distance outside of the capital San José, by teaching English and offering guitar classes. Bakker also does financial work three days a week for Organización Surgir , an NGO that works with at-risk youth in San José using restorative justice practices.
The Cohort of Missioners program appealed to Bakker because of his experiences working summers in greenhouses alongside temporary workers from Mexico and Guatemala. “In my career path, it’s been important to build friendships with people from different cultures and mutually learn about each other’s cultures,” he explained. “That’s a large part of why I wanted to serve in Latin America.”
Bakker’s interest in community living and the intersection of business and missions was shaped by his time at Redeemer. He had the opportunity to major in accounting, take in other disciplines, like international development, and complete courses, like Social Entrepreneurship, that combined various areas of study.
“Living on-campus at Redeemer prepared me for living in an intentional community here in Costa Rica,” Bakker said. “At Casa Adobe, our spiritual formation is the backbone of what we do. From caring for God’s creation through communal gardening and river restoration projects to striving for peace in our community, our faith is key.”
There is a lot to experience and learn when living in a new culture. Planning to stay in Costa Rica until September 2019, Bakker has been making the most of his time with the Cohort of Missioners. “It’s amazing to see how similar and different the world can be,” he said about his time so far. “God is working in every community in the world. My hope is that we can listen to God’s voice, see where he is working and join in, wherever we may be living.”