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New Culture, New Experiences, New Growth

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Jaco Beach, costa rica, culture, oceans edge ministry, horizon church, christian internships, international living

Popping the Bubble of Familiar Culture

Living in a foreign country has by far been one of the best experiences of my life. Prior to coming to Costa Rica the only other country I had been to outside of the United States was Mexico. Being immersed in a culture other than my own has been an incredible growing opportunity.

It’s really easy to trap ourselves in the bubble of whatever culture we grew up in, or have spent most of our lives in. It was hard for me to imagine how or why people elsewhere would do things differently. And when people from another culture came into mine, I didn’t understand why it was so hard for them to adjust. If there was one thing I was ignorant of, it was other cultures.

Polar Opposites

Jaco Beach, costa rica, culture, oceans edge ministry, horizon church, christian internships, international livingI have spent most of my life living just east of San Francisco, California, in the booming business world known as the Bay Area. Here work is fast-paced and efficiency is king. People are generally task-oriented and know how to get the job done. This creates a very successful business environment, but relationships are often put on the back burner.  People take huge pride in what they do, how they do it, and how fast they get it done. When I say people, I am/was definitely included in this group.

On the other hand Costa Rican culture values highly the “pura vida” lifestyle. Laid back and relationship-focused, work almost always come second to friends, family, and community. This creates a very friendly atmosphere that highly values relationships between people, but work does not always get done in a very timely manner.

The point is that the Bay Area, California and Jaco Beach, Costa Rica are polar opposites when it comes to culture. But you know what I’ve learned? That there are things I love about both! Bay Area culture taught me how to work hard for what I believe in, and to accomplish my goals. Costa Rican culture has stretched me to be more patient. It has taught me to slow down and love people. It has taught me to be interruptible.  Jesus was interruptible…..

To Be Continued…

This post is part 1 of a 2 week series. Check back next week for part 2! In the meantime you can learn more about the Ocean’s Edge Ministry HERE, and more about the author, Kyle Costamagna, HERE.




Living in a Hot Culture

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Jaco beach, Costa Rica, oceans edge ministries, oceans edge interns, hot culture, cold culture, latino culture, christian internships, horizon church,

Living in a Hot Culture

Cold and Hot Cultures

Most of the world is divided into two types of cultures; hot culture and cold culture. I was born in the cold culture of New Jersey. Efficiency is the main priority of the cold culture. Time is important and should not be wasted, communication is direct, even relationships are centered around schedules. I moved to the “warmish” culture of South Carolina when I was eleven. I say warm because the south functions in a cold cultured country with hot cultured influence. Hot cultures center around friendliness; you’ll always have a conversation during check out at a store, people may tell you your haircut looks good even when it doesn’t, the task at hand is never more important than the relationship.

Warm to Hot Culture

Jaco beach, Costa Rica, oceans edge ministries, oceans edge interns, hot culture, cold culture, latino culture, christian internships, horizon church, Now I am here in Jacó. I just graduated college in May, and even though I went to a university in the warm culture of South Carolina we still are primarily task-oriented. Everything in college is a check list of homework, exams, lab reports, study groups, and meetings. The hardest thing about living here, is switching from that mindset. Here, people will sacrifice completion of a task in order to build or maintain a relationship. This is so foreign to me. When a job is given to me, I want to complete it as quickly as possible. However, when it comes to ministry, the relationship is what counts. Being Jesus to just one person is more important than writing 100 blog posts.

“Tico Time”

In cold culture places, time creates order. Schedules, due dates, appointments dictate the productivity of a day. The more things completed, the more one is satisfied. If an event starts at 4:00pm then the cold culture people would plan to arrive around 3:50. However, hot cultures are more spontaneous and flexible, event oriented. They are able to go with the flow, they’ll arrive 10-15 minutes late because they stopped to talk to someone on the street. Whereas, arriving late, to a cold cultured person, it’s often viewed as disrespectful since their time was wasted.

Good or bad?

There’s no “right” or “wrong” culture. It is being aware of the culture opposite to your own that is important. Look at how they value time and relationships. Notice how they communicate. And when you find yourself in another country with a different culture, be aware and respect their values.

For more updates on my internship here in Costa Rica check out my website

and for more information about Oceans Edge click here to contact us!

Passport Team

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passport team, Adventures in missions, christian internship, horizon church, oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, jaco, team, mentorship, discipleship

Different ages, places, Perspectives

Different people and teams are always coming and staying at The Edge property. It is always fun having more people at the property. I love meeting people of different ages, from different places, with varying perspectives on things. Currently we have a Passport team from Adventures and missions living at The Edge for a month and a half.


Having this Passport team here has been extra special, because I myself first came to Costa Rica on a Passport team in January of this year. As I’ve written about in previous posts, the trip was one of the best and most influential things that ever happened to me. (Read more about that here) And now God has called me to help facilitate a similar experience for this team.

Full Circle

I am humbled and honored that I now get to serve on the receiving end of things. It’s amazing to see how God brings things full circle. Often this comes in the form of using the things and experiences that have had the most impact on my life (positive or negative) to bring light and wisdom to others.

Opportunity to Pay it Forwardpassport team, Adventures in missions, christian internship, horizon church, oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, jaco, team, mentorship, discipleship

I remember how I felt coming to serve in Costa Rica for the first time. I didn’t know where anything was, I spoke almost no Spanish, and just overall felt lost. The amazing leaders around me guided me through all of these things. Soon enough Jaco became my home. Now I have the honor and privilege of showing people the ropes of this town, language, and culture that I have come to love so much.

Not only did my leaders guide me in learning about the culture and town, but spiritually as well. Each week I received mentoring from one of the Elders of the Church. Now him and I are mentoring together! It has been such a cool opportunity to pay it forward!

Read more about the author HERE

Read more about Ocean’s Edge HERE

Jesus Was Interruptible

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Taught me how to be a little more like Jesus…

Jaco beach, Costa Rica, oceans edge ministries, oceans edge interns, hot culture, cold culture, latino culture, christian internships, horizon church,In my last blog post I wrote about how Costa Rican culture has stretched me to be more patient. It has taught me to slow down and love people. The culture has taught me to be interruptible. It has taught me how to be a little more like Jesus. You see, Jesus was never in a hurry. He never let the tasks he had planned for the day stop him from ministering to someone in need. Jesus was interruptible.

Jesus stopped….

In the book of Luke, chapter 8, we see Jesus get interrupted. Jesus is on his way to heal a dying girl. In order to get to the girl Jesus had to walk through an enormous crowd. The Bible describes the crowd as so big that it was almost crushing him. I imagine it being a similar feeling of trying to push your way through a crowd at a concert. It’s not a pleasant feeling. It’s something you generally want to get out of quickly. So Jesus is pushing through and pushing through and then he stops….. “Who touched me?” he asked. Peter says, “Lots of people are touching you, they are pressing up against you!” But Jesus knew he had felt something special. He looked around only to have a woman fall at his feet. She had been bleeding for 12 years. Jesus looked her in the eye and said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Joyfully interruptible…

You see Jesus was on his way to do a task. A noble task, but even still he didn’t let that get in the way of an opportunity to stop on the way and heal another sick girl. Plans are great, but we need to be willing to be a little flexible when opportunities to love others present themselves.

This is something God has been teaching me a lot, lately. How to be joyfully interruptible throughout my day with opportunities to serve in ways I never could have planned.


Read more about the author’s ministry HERE!

Read More about Ocean’s Edge HERE!


Intern life at Oceans Edge

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intern life at oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, christian internships, christian lifestyle, mission team, ministry, internships, international living

Ocean’s Edge Internship

Intern life at Oceans Edge

Today was my first full day serving the intern life at oceans edge ministries.

My name is Ashley, In the fall I studied abroad in Heredia and fell in love with Costa Rica. After returning home, I felt called to devote part of my summer to serving God. Having a huge heart for Ticos, I’m thrilled God led me back to Costa Rica to Jacó beach! (Ticos is the word for local Costa Ricans.)

For a total of four weeks I will be serving as a short-time intern. I started the day with a walk to the beach and then read my Bible at a little shop in Jacó Walk (a boardwalk of new restaurants and stores). Today, the intern team and I worked with a high school youth group from Texas to clean up the Oceans Edge property. We did everything from picking weeds to organizing linens. Everyone worked hard with happy servant hearts. After the group left, the Oceans Edge crew headed to Taco Bar to grab a delicious dinner before the Spanish church service at Radical. In seeing a thriving Christian community here in Costa Rica, I am reminded of God’s vast, infinite love. Although there may be many differences among people of different cultures – from the food we eat, to the language we speak, to the skin color we have – we are all one in God and God is in all of us. What a beautiful thing that unites us all together! It’s pretty mind blowing to think that our God not only created the universe, but loves and knows each and every one of us around the entire world. Though this world is big, he is not far from each one of our hearts.

Acts 17:26-27

“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”

For more information about the ministry i am partnering with, and what God is doing here in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica please contact Oceans Edge

Categories: Lifestyle Blog

Costa Rica Intern Preparations

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Costa Rica Intern Preparations | Emily Rypkema | Jaco beach | christian internships |missions | the edge | travel | Costa Rica | mission lifestyle | Intern

Costa Rica Intern Preparations | Emily Rypkema

¡Hola! Bienvenido, vámonos a un viaje juntos…

In just a short time I will arrive to Costa Rica so my Costa Rica intern preparations are starting to speed up.  I could try and impress you by saying that I took four years of Spanish honors in high school, but I would have to stop there: 1) that was four years ago and 2) the only thing I actually remember is “Como se dice…” (“How do you say…”) and I would finish the sentence in English. In high school, we spent more time learning about Spanish culture (i.e. eating Spanish food) than the language.

So here we are, I barely know any Spanish and I’m moving to Costa Rica. I may not be great at speaking or understanding Spanish any time soon, but I’m starting small, preparing the best I can. For the past few months I’ve been working on just getting accustomed to hearing it.

I changed my phone to Spanish mode, which has helped me see and hear everyday vocabulary–even if it stresses me out more than occasionally when I’m getting directions while driving. I’ve also been using the Duolingo app which has helped me a ton with pronunciation. If this doesn’t help, I’m just telling myself that my confused face will let everyone know I’m clueless.

God’s ultimately bringing me to Costa RicaCosta Rica Intern Preparations | Emily Rypkema | Jaco beach | christian internships |missions | the edge | travel | Costa Rica | mission lifestyle | Intern

Along with working on my Spanish, I’ve been studying Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Going through this book I have begun to love how it explains godly relationships, forgiveness, hope, and morality in a more profound yet understandable way.

A piece that has stuck with me so far is about forgiveness and what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself.” I love myself, even when I am not fond of myself. I may hate that I’m greedy and selfish but I don’t ever truly hate myself; this is how I should love my neighbor, I can hate their sins without hating them.

The most important lesson I’m learning (in a new way everyday) is to trust. God’s ultimately bringing me to Costa Rica. I’m preparing, but He’ll provide everything I need and will open doors and close others.

I’m still getting overwhelmed with the logistics sometimes. Finishing school brings a lot of anxiety and a fear of the unknown. Recently, many tears have fallen over grades and finances. During these times I have to be reminded to stop and remember His promise to care for me. Most of the time I have to try this, then try it again because it’s still hard.

I would love your encouragement and prayers throughout this journey, and if you have any tips on learning another language or book suggestions comment below!

If you want to see and hear more about the internship I am doing click here to watch a short video describing the Oceans Edge Internships

Rediscovering Relationships 

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Rediscovering Relationships in Costa Rica and Beyond

by Ashley Labella| AIM Passport Short-Term Missionary | Rediscovering Relationships

“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you be asked to be taken to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter most then are people. If relationships will matter most then. Shouldn’t they matter most now?” -Max Lucado

My team and I are quickly rolling past our half way point here with Oceans Edge in Jacó. In this time we have been blessed with the opportunity to “step back into reality”, away from distraction, overwhelming busyness and other typical comforts of home. We are loving and growing in a culture where relationships take reign as most important again.

We are all incredibly grateful to be living and learning in such connection, knowing that it is not always the easiest to attain in our home cultures, where we are not living constantly with 17 other human beings. Because of these living conditions, we must shake ourselves awake daily, to be in a constant state of “others-focused” awareness. But wow, what a blessing that is. To have a reminder every single morning as you wake up next to five others, that relationships are the priority, not just on the mission field, but always.

Time Spent Rediscovering Relationships

rediscovering relationships Oceans edgeTime spent out in the community has offered us this same reminder,  as we attempt broken Spanglish conversations with locals, watching their eyes light up with authentic joy, all just because we remembered their name… and better yet, how to pronounce it.

Our time spent with the locals reminds us of how painfully easy it is to show someone how deeply loved they are. Whether that means buying a sun-soaked security guard a cold soda or sitting next to a homeless woman to remind her that she is seen.

Whether on our property as a team or out in the community, we are learning to fall in love with people again, and are being blessed with the simple, yet fulfilling feeling of joy that comes as a result.

Our ministry base, Oceans Edge has been challenging us in our relationship-focused service, knowing that regardless of where we are living, whether on a mission trip or at home, we all face the same temptation: to be complacent and comfortable. Oceans Edge, while they teach us the value in resting, also teaches the danger in growing accustomed.

Being accustomed can appear as small, seemingly unharmful changes, but that can form patterns that are lasting and hard to break. Once tear-filled, grateful prayers can slowly become routine rituals to check off and get done. Relationships get put on the back burner simply because they can..because they have no pressing deadline. Because they can always be pushed off to later. We over time, suddenly have “no time” to marvel anymore, becoming suddenly unimpressed by the bright red and orange hued sunset right beyond our window shade.

So Accustomed That We Forget How Extremely Temporary Life Is

This week, to remind us of this temporary and beautiful life in front of us, Oceans Edge posed several questions to us all, that are beneficial to everyone, regardless of their walk of life. The questions are designed to help us look right at the face of time, to envision the day when that time runs out, and to then return back to our current lives with the most powerful intention to live. Almost as if we had already seen our entire life pass before our eyes and faced each of the potential regrets stuck on our hearts.

The questions posed were:

  1. What legacy do you want to leave on that last day? What do you want others to speak of you?
  2. Imagine it was your last day. What would you advise your current self now of?
  3. What do you need to prioritize in order to live out that advise to your current self? What goals can you set to get there?
  4. Are there any excuses you find yourself making that are preventing you from prioritizing and living out that call? Combat those excuses with truth.

Now Live It Out

Live in such a way that on that hard-to-imagine last day, there is not one regret left weighing our hearts. Not one relationship left unreached. Not one “I love you” or “Thank you” gone unsaid.

“If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?”  Rediscovering Relationships starts today.

Christian Costa Rica Internship and Mentoring

Christian Costa Rica Internship and Mentoring

About the Ocean’s Edge Costa Rica Internship and Mentoring Program

The Costa Rica Internship is centered around our belief that the abundant life Jesus offered through His redeeming work is best experienced as God’s Word is holistically embraced:

Oceans Edge Holistic Lifestyle Christian Spiritual Training Internships Spiritually : As warriors, constantly growing in knowledge, wisdom and purity for the glory of God

Oceans Edge Holistic Lifestyle Christian Relationship Training Internships Relationally: As a catalyst of God’s love, grace and truth in the lives of others

Oceans Edge Holistic Lifestyle Christian Ministry Training Internships Ministry: As a part of a world movement that grows God’s kingdom here on earth

Oceans Edge Holistic Lifestyle Christian Career Training Internships Professionally: As an example of excellence, eternal focus and Godly values in the workplace

Oceans Edge Holistic Lifestyle Christian Physical Training Internships Physically:  As a good steward of their physical bodies through a healthy Christ-centered lifestyle

Oceans Edge Holistic Lifestyle Christian Financial Training and Internships Financially: As trustworthy stewards and joyful givers


Our heart is to see others reach their God-given potential in each of these areas so that they can positively impact their local church, community and the world for God’s glory.

Find your God-given potential

The Ocean’s Edge Internship program is designed to help participants find there divine destiny and learn how to create and maintain a ministry lifestyle throughout their lifetime. As a part of this Bible-based program, interns will take a spiritual gifting and personality assessment designed specifically to help them see how they are uniquely created and equipped by God for a distinct purpose.
Each individual will then learn how to apply their unique tendencies, traits, abilities, spiritual gifts and passions to serve God and love others. Through mentoring, discipleship, training, and hands-on ministry, interns will be encouraged towards a healthy Christ-centered ministry lifestyle and will be equipped with the tools to cultivate the strengths of others.
“Glorify the LORD with us; Let’s exalt his name together.” Ps. 34:3 NIV

The Experience: Ocean’s Edge Costa Rica Intern and Mentoring

Christian Costa Rica Internship and MentoringThe Ocean’s Edge base (“the Edge”) is tucked away in the center of the small beachfront town of Jaco, Costa Rica. The property boasts several staff/intern apartments and hostel-style bunkrooms where interns will live.
Jaco itself is filled with sand, surf and beautiful culture, and is surrounded by the ocean, mountains and jungle! While there are examples of God’s beauty everywhere you look, darkness has also gripped the town through mass tourism, sex-trafficking, theft, drunkenness & drugs. But the Lord is shining His light on this town and we see Him moving in big ways.
Ocean’s Edge ministers hand in hand with the local church by providing teams and interns to serve in the community. Needs are met through the various ministries that the church supports, and every day brings a new opportunity to impact the town! Construction projects, homeless feedings, ministry in the pregnancy center, community clean-up, prayer walks, business classes, children’s camps and outreach programs, serving at the church, tutoring and English classes are just some of the examples of the ongoing need here in Jaco. Each day, discipleship and mentoring are woven together with hands-on experience to aid interns in cultivating a ministry lifestyle in a tangible way. Because we never know what needs the day may hold, flexibility is key.

The Cost: Jaco Beach Costa Rica Internship

Interns who are accepted to the program will be responsible for their own passport, plane ticket to and from Costa Rica, medical, groceries while in the program, and personal spending money. The Ocean’s Edge Intern fee covers rent (including water, trash and onsite internet) and the ministry fee which is used to facilitate the local ministry.  See the Ocean’s Edge Intern Budget for more details.

The Process:  Apply Today

Complete the attached Intern Program Application and Destiny Assessment and email it, along with a recent picture of yourself,  to We will review your application and will respond to your request within a week’s time. Thank you for your interest in our program!

Download the Ocean’s Edge Intern Information Packet and Application and email it back.