Author: Melissa New

Centro Prenatal | Ocean’s Edge

No Comments
horizon church, christian church, ministry, missions lifestlye, oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, christian mission trips

Centro Prenatal | Ocean’s Edge

Centro Prenatal

Centro Prenatal

By Melissa New | Ocean’s Edge Intern Today, I helped out in the Jaco “Centró Prenatal” (“Pregnency Center” in English) for the first time. There is also a Centró Prenatal in Tarcoles, and I have had the pleasure of serving there as well. They are run by an overseas-missionary organization, Beautiful Feet. Horizon Church sponsors and helps support the centers, as well.

Jaco Location

I am most familiar and work the most in the Jaco Centro Prenatal, as it is closest to me. Here there are currently three Spanish-speaking counselor who volunteer on a rotating schedule. The counselors work with moms who are either pregnant or needing help with their newborns. Centro Prenatal also offers free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests. The counselors take the women through parenting lessons that cover a variety of topics, all while sharing the gospel. As the moms attend their classes, they have an opportunity to earn “dollars”. This is done by memorizing scripture and doing their parenting homework. They are then able to use their “money” to “purchase” items for their children. This could include diapers, baby clothes, baby wipes, strollers etc. The purpose of this ministry is to show women they have value and to provide them with tools. We want them to know God created them and their children for a purpose.

Secretary Work

Right now I am in training for how to be the secretary for the administrative side of things at the center. Before me, a few of the team members were assisting several days per week and before them it was only the pastor’s wife, Sarah, and another missionary here, Becky. I am excited to continue to learn more about secretarial work so that I can serve the center as best as I can. In addition, its cool to expand on my skill sets so that I can learn how to become a more well-rounded person.

Centro Prenatal

Centro Prenatal

Visa Run: A Long Day In Nicaragua

No Comments
horizon church, christian church, ministry, missions lifestlye, oceans edge, jaco beach, nicaragua, christian mission trips

Visa Run: A Long Day In Nicaragua

By Melissa New | Ocean’s Edge Intern. As a citizen of the United States, I am able to get a 90-day-tourist visa that allows me to live (but not work) in Costa Rica. That means every 90 days I have to leave the country for a visa run and re-enter to renew my visa. It is possible to apply for residency, but from what I’ve heard it’s a long process and you typically need to hire a lawyer who is bilingual. However, two quick ways to gain residency is to either marry a Costa Rican or give birth in the country. With neither of those options looking very likely in the near future I decided a quick visa run was the solution.

My Family in Town

Visa Run

Visa Run

About a month ago my mom, dad and younger brother came in from Arizona to visit me. Hannah gave me the week off so I was able to explore Costa Rica with my family. We stayed at a hotel in Jaco, a hotel in Arenal as well as a hotel a few hours south of the Nicaraguan border in Playa Flamingo. Although I had been in Costa Rica less than 90 days, I figured while I was so close to the border I might as well do a visa run. Lucky for me, my dad found a great deal on a one-day tour to Nicaragua from Playa Flamingo for only $130 so we booked the trip.

Our day started off at 4:50am when a driver picked up Adam and me from our Air BnB and took us to Liberia. That was where we had our complementary breakfast. The next stop was the Costa-Rican border. This stop was pretty quick as we waited in a short line, walked into a building, got our passports stamped and walked back onto our bus.

Nicaraguan Border

Visa Run

Visa Run

The following stop at the Nicaraguan border was a different story. We began by gathering all our stuff off the bus and waiting in a big parking lot with about 10 street vendors, right next to the Nicaraguan-Border building. Our tour guide took all our passports and said he would be “right back in 20 minutes” and by “20 minutes” he meant an hour and a half. Since I’ve been here in Costa Rica, I have learned that people operate on “Tico Time.”  This means something that would take maybe 10-15 minutes in the States might take up to an hour or longer here. Finally, a woman came to meet us at our bus, handed us back our now-stamped passports and let us back onto our bus. After going through two more quick checkpoints, we were finally in Nicaragua!

 

Finally In!

We stopped at a few different places in the morning before we took a break for lunch. Our first stop was a quaint little town called Catarina. We all had to use the bathroom, so our tour guide told us to tell the bathroom attendant we were with “Eduardo” so that we didn’t have to pay. Well, this bathroom attendant decided to try his luck by telling me it would be $2 to enter the bathroom- even after I told him about Eduardo. He finally let me enter without a fee, but only minutes later I overheard him talking to a group of girls from my same bus behind me and he told them the fee would be $10! These gals stood their ground though, and finally he let them through without a fee.

Masaya Volcano

Visa Run

Visa Run

Next we visited The Masaya Volcano- which by the way, is active. It was actually one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen because when we got to the viewing platform, we were able to look down into the volcano and see MAGMA!! ¿QUE EN EL QUE?** Yep you read that right folks- we saw the actual orange-flowing magma in the cone of the volcano! Best visa run ever!

 

 

 

Lunch Time

After the Volcano, it was finally time for lunch! We stopped at a crowded restaurant where we were instantly served salad, rice and then our main course, all within a matter of five minutes. Let me tell you, going on a tour where lunch is provided is the way to go. After lunch we were free to shop at the nearby market, but Adam and I didn’t see it was right next door to the restaurant. Our bad. We ended up walking multiple blocks away from the bus (sorry mom) and found another market. Unfortunately we had to turn around just when we got there but hey, it’s the journey right?

Granada, Nicaragua

Visa Run

Visa Run

Next we stopped in a sweet, cobble-stone-road filled town called Granada. After about an hour, we took a boat tour on the Granada Lake. This is a fresh-water lake and apparently there are bull sharks in the middle that can reach up to 10 feet long! The crazy thing was that I saw tons of people tubing and swimming in the lake! There are also Caiman Crocodiles (2-3 feet long) in the outskirts of the lake in the more swampy areas. Scary! The Mompacho volcano created a ton of little islands in Granada lake and people built houses upon them. I was shocked to hear how inexpensive these beautiful, big houses were!

 

 

 

 

Going Home

We ended up loading back into the bus at about 6pm and headed back towards Costa Rica. Now for the last leg of the visa run. Another border-crossing adventure. Just as we were approaching the Costa-Rican-border-crossing building, our tour guide announced,

“ok, everybody get out your exit-flight itinerary.”

Ummm what!? Exit-flight itinerary? You never said anything about needing an exit flight to re enter the country! I waited until everyone had already gone in front of me in line. I asked someone who had gotten through if they were checking for the return flights. Luckily she said no, they weren’t, so I said a prayer and tried to play it cool. To my delight, the woman working at the desk didn’t even say a word to me. Just like that she stamped the Costa Rica seal and handed me back a 90 day visa.

Sweet sweet success!

**”Que en el que” is a phrase my teammate Kyle came up with. It is Spanglish (a mix of Spanish and English) meaning “what in the what???” As a team, we now say this in any circumstance that one might think to themselves “what in the world!?”

 

Inviting The Invu Kids To Church | Oceans Edge Lifestyle

horizon church, christian church, ministry, missions lifestlye, oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, christian mission trips

Inviting The Invu Kids To Church | Oceans Edge Lifestyle


By Melissa New | Ocean’s Edge Intern.
 Cassidy, Kyle, Justin and I have a weekly routine where we take a group of Invu kids to a church called “Iglesia Radical”. To give some context, we do Kid’s Club in the park next to the Invu Neighborhood (simply “Invu” for short).  Iglesia Radical is completely Spanish-speaking and is also the church that Horizon Church is currently sharing it’s facilities with.

Bike Mob

invu kids

Invu kids

The kids who come with us usually range from ages 8-15 and only speak Spanish. It all started one night when we invited 10-year-old Daniella to Church (the same Daniella from this blog post). We made plans to meet in front of her house the following week a half hour before church started. We thought it would be fun if all of us rode our bikes together.

The following Friday, Kyle, Cass and I rode our bikes to Invu, hoping Daniella remembered about church. Sure enough, the moment we turned the corner onto her street I hear “MEL!” Followed by a smile and hug from Daniella herself. We noticed about six or seven other kids playing in the street, so we invited them to come with us as well. To our surprise, all of them said, “Yes!” So, here we are, a bike mob consisting of four gringos and seven little Tico children, riding our bikes “Tico-style” to church.  What is “Tico-style” you ask? It means one person is riding the bike, one person is sitting on the handle bars and/or one person is sitting on the ledge above the back tire. I can tell you from personal experience it is extremely uncomfortable, but it gets you there.

Church Routine

invu kids

Invu kids

Ever since that first week we brought Daniella and the other Invu kids to church, we have made it a point to go to pick them up before service. Without fail, Daniella is always there waiting excitedly for us. I wish I could explain how much joy it brings me to hear Daniella scream “MEL” when she sees me riding in. To make it even better, many of the kids we invited that first week have been coming consistently as well. In fact, sometimes if we are a little late getting to Invu, half of the kids leave for church without us! This is such a huge encouragement because it shows they will want to go to church even if we don’t. I’m praying their excitement for church continues even after the team leaves in a few weeks.

Amanda | Spreading the Love of Christ Through Business

No Comments
gospel funding, fundraising, horizon church, christian church, ministry, missions lifestlye, oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, christian mission trips

Amanda | Spreading the Love of Christ Through Business

gospel funding

gospel funding


By Melissa New | Ocean’s Edge Intern 
This is Amanda and she is passionate about business as missions that will fund the spread of the gospel. After growing up in the states, she left everything familiar and moved to Jaco in March of 2016. This was prompted by a vision from God to help Costa Rican businesses operate for the glory of God.

Business as missions can mean different things. First, it can mean starting a business as a means of gaining access to a country lacking religious freedom. Secondly, “gospel funding” can mean starting a business and giving money to any organization or individual that is working to further the gospel. Although these may be the most common ways to facilitate funding the spread of the gospel, they are by no means the only ways to support missions.

A Vision

gospel funding

gospel funding

In a vision from the Lord, Amanda was told to begin a trading company that networks goods produced by other business as missions operations. The idea behind the business is to act as a model to help educate business owners in what successful and ethical business practices look like.

Amanda married a Tico (slang for a Costa Rican) in June 2016. Her husband, Jairo is also missions -minded and pours the love of Christ into the Jaco community.  Soon after,  Amanda moved to Jacó she became a part of the Oceans Edge ministry team.  She is now the director of the Oceans Edge Business School

Business School

The purpose of the business school is to provide tools for members of the community to excel and become a light.  Experienced and business-minded Christians  teach classes to community memebers who are aspiring and/or currently business owners. The classes not only teach skills such as marketing, advertisement, web design, and customer service, but also teach biblical foundations on how to conduct business in a God- honoring and missional way.

Amanda and Jairo are currently living in Jacó, serving at Horizon Church Jacó and living their lives on mission. Jairo serves as a leader with Christian Surfers Costa Rica and is also a professional surfer.

Prayer Meeting | Horizon Church

No Comments
horizon church, christian church, ministry, missions lifestlye, oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, christian mission trips

Prayer Meeting | Horizon Church

prayer meeting

prayer meeting

By Melissa New | Ocean’s Edge Intern. “We are going to the weekly prayer meeting today at noon” our leader, Sarah told us.

“How long will it be?” someone asked.

“Probably about an hour” she responded.

AN HOUR!? How are we going to fill up an entire hour with constant prayer? I thought to myself, I’ve never spent more than 15 minutes, maximum, in continuous prayer before!

Although I had never been to a prayer meeting, I was curious about it. What do we even do at a prayer meeting? Do we talk about what we want prayer for? Do we pray over a prayer-request sheet? Do we all just pray at once?

I didn’t realize it then, but this prayer meeting adds richness to my walk with God.

Our Arrival

prayer meeting, horizon church, christian church, ministry, missions lifestlye, oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, christian mission trips

prayer meeting

We arrived at the church about five minutes before 12pm, and have continued to do so for the previous eight Wednesdays. Typically pastor Daniel starts us off with a prayer and leaves the floor open for anyone to add. It has been transforming to see believers from the congregation take an hour out of their week to come together and pray. These prayers range from prayers of thanks and confession, to prayers of intercession and needs. My favorite aspect of the entire meeting is observing the older believers while they are praying. I am so inspired by the genuine tears that stream down their face as they communicate with the Lord. About every 10-15 minutes, Daniel picks up his guitar and he plays a worship song. It is beautiful to see the peace that so clearly reflects on everyone’s face as they sing praises to God.

Prayer Muscles

A wise woman once told me that we all have a “prayer muscle” and every time we intentionally spend time in prayer, this muscle grows. I feel like my “prayer muscle” is getting a stronger and stronger because of the prayer meeting. I also have grown in confidence while praying out out in a group as well as the overall enjoyment in prayer. This spiritual discipline is so important in the believer’s life, and I love the growth I am seeing in my life.

Jaco Casafe | Surf Ministry

horizon church, christian church, ministry, missions lifestlye, oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, christian mission trips, jaco casafe

Jaco Casafe | Surf Ministry

Jaco Casafe

Jaco Casafe

By Melissa New | Ocean’s Edge Intern.One of my favorite ministries to serve with is Jaco Casafe. 26-year-old Lisa started this ministry four years ago when she first came to Jacó with YWAM (Youth With A Mission). Her heart broke for the children she witnessed around Jacó and God gave her a vision for Casafe. Jaco Casafe provides a positive, Christ-centered atmosphere for kids to experience a loving community. In addition, the children learn computer skills, English, surfing and receive homework help.

Family-Dinner Night

Jaco Casafe

Jaco Casafe

This week we were able to assist Lisa and the kids Bible study night. On Wednesdays, Jaco Casafe usually “opens” around 5pm for an hour of swimming and surfing. When the hour is up, Lisa calls them in for snack and begins a Bible study (in Spanish) soon after. The house is typically open for three hours and “closes” at 6pm. This week was a bit different and was open for an addition two hours because it was “Family-Dinner Night”. Lisa does this once a month where she and the kids cook a meal together and watch a movie after. Lisa makes a list of food needed for the meal, and the youth sign up to bring something.

Movie Time

I noticed during the movie, one of the teenage girls was sitting on a couch in the next room, listening to her music alone so I sat down next to her. She told me she had already seen the movie and didn’t want to see it again, so we began to chat through broken Spanish. I knew she was trying to learn English, so we picked up a “Where Is Waldo” book and she read the English captions while I listened carefully and corrected her English pronunciation. After the English book, she picked up a Spanish devotional book and had me read it and she corrected my Spanish pronunciation. I’m excited to see our friendship will grow!

Jaco Beach Spiritual Warfare | Ocean’s Edge Ministry

No Comments
Praise God Personal Experience

Spiritual Warfare | Ocean’s Edge Ministry

By Melissa New | Ocean’s Edge Intern “There will be extreme spiritual warfare on the mission field.”

Josh’s face became serious. He leaned forward and lowered his voice.

“I don’t want to scare you, but you need to be aware of it.”

Little did I know, I was about to experience this spiritual warfare.

It began two weeks after I arrived in Jaco, when awoke in the middle of the night, terrified. I can’t put my finger on it, but I felt a presence of evil that kept me awake. The next day I poured through the scriptures, looking for passages to remind myself that God is in control and not to let fear paralyze me. My team also prayed against the spiritual warfare and I was able to sleep soundly. That is, until the following week when my eyes shot open from a bizarre dream.

My Dream

I was walking around Jaco, late at night and I came across two women leaning side by side against a wall on a dimly-lit side street.  I didn’t know the first woman was, but I recognized the second woman, Sarah*, as someone I have regularly seen around town. As I began walking towards them, I could sense the growing presence of evil.  Starting in the pit of my stomach, a fear began to rise up into my throat and then out over the rest of my body. I knew I was no match for this evil, so I began to pray, soft at first and gradually growing louder and louder until I was shouting “Devil, in the name of Jesus, I command you to leave Sarah!” As I said it, the woman next to Sarah turned towards me and looked me dead in the eyes. It’s hard to explain, but as I got louder, she began to grow angrier and her eyes grew larger until I got swallowed up by them and woke up. Sound creepy? Believe me, it was!

horizon church, christian church, ministry, missions lifestlye, oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, christian mission trips, spiritual warfare

Sarah

Sarah is a slender Costarican woman who is in her mid-thirties. She regularly walks around in nothing more than a t-shirt and underwear, mumbles incoherently to herself and is hostile towards Christians.  A few girls on my team recall a time when they felt spiritual warfare as they passed her in town because she threw small rocks as well as spit and cursed at them. After talking with a few of the locals, I learned that Sarah used to be quite “normal”, but after multiple drug addictions, she has become mentally unstable.

I believe wholehearted that the devil is preying on Sarah’s mind. If you think that sounds crazy, I would encourage you to read Mark 5:2-10, Luke 4:33-36 and Luke 9:37-42. These passages talk about the reality of demons and how Jesus is able to cast them out through prayer. I feel like God is putting Sarah on my heart so that I will pray for her. As a result, I see her almost every time I ride my bike around Jaco.

Satan

According to God’s Word, we have an enemy and his name is Satan. He is constantly “prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He wants nothing more than to destroy us and represents everything that is “bad” in the world. When we try to do the “right” thing according to God’s word, we are actively fighting against Satan. The Bible says “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Since this is not a physical battle, we need to wage war and prayer is one weapon we can use to fight (Psalm 54, Acts 16:16-18).

If I’m honest, I do feel a sense of fear whenever I come around Sarah, and I know that is not of God, but of the devil (2 Timothy 1:7). I am learning to stand firm, even in my fear, because the devil is not patient. The Bible promises that when we stand firm and resist the devil, he will flee from us (James 4:7). Remembering this promise has helped me to be consistent in prayer against the devil and bold in prayer for Sarah.

*Name has been changed

Unfinished Story | My Testimony | Oceans Edge Intern

horizon church, christian church, ministry, missions lifestlye, oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, christian mission trips

Unfinished Story | My Testimony | Oceans Edge Intern

By Melissa New | Ocean’s Edge Intern. My unfinished story begins when I gave my heart to Jesus at age 11. Growing up I participated in campus ministries, discipleship groups and Bible studies while walking closely with God for many years. When I turned 21, I began my gradual drift from God and became enticed with partying. Although I never denounced Jesus, I began questioning God’s goodness. Why would a “good” God forbid something seeming so fun and life giving? I had one foot in the “God door” and the other in a “party door”. I didn’t know it at the time, but I received a high from partying. Unfortunately, that “high” was actually a false imitation of the abundant life I was truly searching for. As I continued this party routine, I began feeling my life lose fullness and meaning. Consequentially, I drifted further from intimacy with Jesus.

Intentional Change

Testimony of intentional change in Australia, change of scenery in New Zealand and next steps, Unfinished Story

Unfinished Story

At 22, I graduated college and moved to work in Australia for one year. I was sick of the emptiness that partying had brought, and I needed a change. I promised myself I would ditch the party lifestyle and find a church and Christian community in Australia. By the grace of God, I did just that. In my free time, I surfed and attended a Bible study through Christian Surfers Australia. After being involved with this ministry for about 6 months, I began serving as a Christian Surfer leader to the kids in the local surf community. I also began to attend a local church called Thrive. I wanted to get more involved at church, so I volunteered with the high-school youth group. As a result, I discovered a passion and gifting for reaching and impacting youth for Jesus.

Change of Scenery

Testimony, intentional change, Australia, change of scenery,New Zealand, next steps, unfinished story

Unfinished story

After my Australian work visa expired in November 2015, I applied for a six-month work visa in New Zealand, and moved to a small beach town called New Plymouth. I worked as a waitress to make money and became involved serving with Christian Surfers New Zealand by helping teach kids to surf. In April 2016, I moved back to the States and worked for a Christian summer camp called TbarM Christian Camps. I was a camp counselor mostly working with high-school-aged girls.

 

Next Steps

Testimony, intentional change, Australia, change of scenery,New Zealand, next steps, unfinished story

Unfinished Story

At the end of camp, I was trying to sort out what my next steps should be, so I talked with my boss, Natalie. She shared with me about a mission trip she went on for a month in Jaco, Costa Rica. As a result, she suggested I check out a local church there. I emailed the pastor’s wife, Sarah, and she said there was a need in the church that I could help fill as an intern. Soon after I committed to going and now I am living in Costa Rica for six months. In conclusion, if the Lord leads me to stay longer, I will make an additional 1-2 year commitment. I am curious and excited to see how my unfinished story will continue.

SixEleven | Horizon Church Youth Group

No Comments
christian ,Costa Rica, fierce competition ,horizon church , jaco, photo scavenger hunt, youth group, youth group games, youth ministry, costa rica, oceans edge

SixEleven | Horizon Youth Group

Youth Group

Youth Group

 “Ok guys, remember, act like normal people!”

“My grandma has a black dog! Let’s go to my grandma’s house!”

“I have an idea, let’s look in Los Suenos!” (A town 25 minutes away)

“RICARDO, RICARDO, RICHARD, RICHARD” (the task was to “find a Richard”)

“Um excuse me Mel, what kind of pizza are we eating later?”

These are just some of the funny lines I overheard from the kids in the Horizon Youth Group as we competed in a photo scavenger hunt through town. In addition, this was the the first kick-off event of “Sixeleven”, the official English-Speaking youth group. With so many English-speaking-international families living in Jaco, an English-speaking youth group is a welcome idea. In fact, until this point, there haven’t been any Christian-ministry resources for youth-aged English-speakers.  

Fierce Competition

First of all, imagine five outgoing-and-energetic 11-14 year olds and you are looking at my team. We were in fierce competition against two other teams, each with two adults, one vehicle and one hour to complete as many “tasks” as possible. I was with the Pastor of Horizon Church, Daniel Barrett, and we rode in the classic church van. One funny moment was watching my team “perform a memorial service for a smashed toad” on the side of the road. The kids all got really into it, fake crying and shouting “WHYYYY!” Also, I loved seeing their excitement and dedication to completing each task no matter how difficult it was. 

Future Plans

Youth Group

Youth Group

When the hour was up, each team met at Sarah and Daniel Barrett’s house to review the photos and eat pizza. In fact, this was the best part of the night as each team had taken hilarious photos. We explained to the youth that we wanted to have more of these types of event and eventually begin meeting weekly as well. They were all so excited to hear this, and in turn it made me super excited! In conclusion, I love working with youth-aged kids so I can’t wait to see this youth group continue to develop.  

Passport Program | Ocean’s Edge Lifestyle

Passport Program

Passport Program | Ocean’s Edge Lifestyle

By Melissa New | Ocean’s Edge Intern. When I arrived in Jaco, around mid-January, I was given my first official assignment: to join a three-month “Passport Program” mission team. The team of 16, as well as their two leaders, would be moving onto The Edge mission base just five days later and we would be serving God in Jaco together under the Ocean’s Edge Ministry program.  I didn’t really know what to expect from my internship with Horizon Church. I had never done anything like this before, but I was up for the adventure ahead.

God’s Way or Bust

Passport ProgramI could hardly believe what I was hearing for two reasons.

First, I was about to have an instant community of Christian friends who were my own age. Praise God! Secondly, only a few months prior I had had my heart set on a different Passport Program trip, as it fit “my plan” perfectly. I also had heard really good things about the World Race Mission Trip, and the Passport Program is sent from the same sending agency, Adventures in Missions.  Unfortunately, I was told I was ineligible to go on a Passport Program trip because I was not within the 18-22-years-old age limit. I had even emailed the director and requested an exception, but the answer was still no.

 

Future Hope

Even when it seems impossible, God can make anything happen to accomplish his purpose. I remember praying that he would open a door to allow me on a trip and look what happened. God has proven himself faithful time after time when he has worked things out in a way better than I could have even imagined. Writing this post has reminded me that God has a good plan for my life. He is not going to forget me nor leave me empty handed.

Passport Program