Category: Lifestyle Blog

Amidst Tragedy

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Amidst Tragedy, Oceans Edge, Horizon Church, Iglesia Radical, tropical storm nate, disaster relief, christian internships, jaco beach, costa rica

Amidst Tragedy

Overwhelmed with Tragedy

Amidst Tragedy, Oceans Edge, Horizon Church, Iglesia Radical, tropical storm nate, disaster relief, christian internships, jaco beach, costa rica

I stood at the church observing what was happening around me; I saw women preparing food, medics caring for people, the red cross checking people in, children playing together, all amidst tragedy.

This past week Tropical Storm Nate hit Costa Rica. It caused heavy rain, landslides, and floods. The rain destroyed houses. Families lost every single belonging they owned. The roads flooded and leaving towns isolated. Nearly 400,000 people without water and power.

Tragedy had come and gone, taking anything that stood in it’s way.

Preparing for Tragedy

The Ministerio de Salud drove up to the church Wednesday during noon prayer at the church, they were going to issue a volunteer evacuation and they began by inspecting and preparing Iglesia Radical to be a shelter.

I didn’t know what to expect; I had never been in the midst of a tropical storm. In South Carolina, where I lived, we have a “rainy season” during the summer through September. However, typically when it rains, the heavy downpour lasts only about an hour or so. I’ve seen on the new what would happen: houses would flood, rivers would overflow, landslides could happen but I didn’t really know what it would be like to live so close to the damage.

Helping handsAmidst Tragedy, Oceans Edge, Horizon Church, Iglesia Radical, tropical storm nate, disaster relief, christian internships, jaco beach, costa rica

I got the call Thursday morning, people were beginning to evacuate from their homes and arrived at the church for shelter. The Ocean’s Edge Team and I headed to the closest super. We bought beans and rice, bread, cookies, pasta. Then we drove to the church.

At the church, I felt this overwhelming peace amidst the tragedy. Volunteers were in the kitchen, cooking and serving food with smiles on their faces. Kids were running around, cookie crumbs on their clothes. More volunteers were passing out water and preparing beds. In the midst of a storm, there was peace.

Because the storm didn’t directly hit Jaco but the neighboring towns, just two days later the shelter turned into a donation distribution center. People all over; some from the states, sending luggage, some from Jaco who had been helped before and now wanted to help, some were from the Spanish church and others from the English church. All were donating clothes, diapers and formula, shoes, food and water

Spreading the love of JesusAmidst Tragedy, Oceans Edge, Horizon Church, Iglesia Radical, tropical storm nate, disaster relief, christian internships, jaco beach, costa rica

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me” (Matthew 25: 35-36 NIV).

Everyone came together to help. They wanted to spread the Love of Jesus by giving whatever they could to these families that lost everything.

Wonderfully Made | Psalms 139

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psalms 139 wonderfully made

We are wonderfully made by an ever-present God. There is something both comforting, sobering and completely scary about the majesty of God being with us.

Wonderfully Made | Psalms 139

God is with us all the timeI love reading how King David processed this very reality in Psalms 139.  He recognized that God knew him entirely, including his actions, thoughts and motivations. David meditated on how God was always watching, as if enamored by his every move. Like a friend who can read your mind and finish your sentences, David’s Lord thoroughly understood him. Indeed, God went before and after him as if to prepare the way and protect his blind spots.

Even before David was conceived, the Creator carefully designed his form and with immense power brought him into existence.  David responded, “Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high [above me], I cannot reach it” (Ps. 139:6 AMP). God’s presence humbled David as he soberly considered the weight of hosting Him at all times in all places. This divine company also invoked a since of confidence.  In verses eight through 11, David spoke of his assurance that God would even go to the darkest place to be with him, lead him and take hold of him.

Soaking in An Eternal Identity

No matter what abundance or despair David was facing, he knew that God’s supremacy and sovereignty would not be limited. Like a kid belongs to his daddy, David belonged to God, but in a much more personal and eternal manner. The fact that he was a wealthy king, beloved warrior, successful conqueror, well know musician and much more, all seemed to fade away in the light of this truth.  We can hear him soaking in his identity form the source of life Himself, “For You formed my innermost parts; You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well” (Ps. 13:13-14 AMP). David stood tall as he admired God’s intricate and skillful masterpiece knowing that he was a work in progress.

A Divine Awakening and Purpose

wonderfully made psalms 139David’s love for his Maker propelled him into action.  He knew that God affectionally appointed each day with his good in mind.  David affectionately addressed God: “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You (Ps. 139:17-18 AMP).  His future was before him even, though it had not yet taken shape.

David had a choice to live in light of these truths or completely ignore God all together.  Yet, knowing and meditating on God’s character brought him to joyfully and willing push away everything contrary.  His heart started hating the wickedness that distorted God’s goodness and he desired to physically remove himself for anything that minimized God’s glory.  Then, as if God placed a mirror in front of him, David prayed for his own spiritual freedom.  David unconditionally submitted himself to his King of Kings with a devotion to live in such a way that pleased Him and with a desperation to stay close.

Selah | Stop and Calmly Think About It

ps139-oceansedge
God knows everything and is all-powerful.  He designed us for a particular purpose and has the ultimate authority over us. Yet, He does not force us into His service.  He is a gentleman who wants our hearts more than our labor.  Psalms 139 reflects this very important aspect of our personal interaction with the Creator.  God is always present, available and ready to interact with us.

The second we turn to Him with a genuine heart, we will find Him.  “Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps. 139:23-24). David’s prayer challenges us to dive into His goodness and His unconditional love, with an unconditional surrender.

Surrender Removes Obstacles

As we draw close to the Lord in this manner, our desire to have a deeper friendship with Him will bud new life. This personal connection roots and nourishes us as we experience God’s character first hand.  God is continuously calling us to follow Him down the path of eternal life. We must only look to Him and allow the obstacles to be removed.  It is in this place that our story begins to align with our divine destiny and our identity is found in our Heavenly Father.  For we are wonderfully made by an ever-present God.

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Horizon Church | SIX11 Youth Group

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horizon youth group, six eleven, jaco beach, jaco, costa rica, christian internships, oceans edge, horizon church, youth groupOn August 31st we had the first ever weekly meeting for the Horizon Church youth group! I am so honored that the Lord called me here to help the church start this group. The group is called Six11, because it is for students in grades 6-11 (There is no 12th grade here). The group will meet weekly on Thursday nights, with other special events planned throughout each month. I am super excited because at the end of this month we are going to the water park! Helping to plan these events really takes me back to all of the amazing memories I have from being in youth group. It’s so cool to be on the planning size some 5-ish years later. It really is everything coming full circle.

Crazy Events to Bring Kids to Christhorizon youth group, six eleven, jaco beach, jaco, costa rica, christian internships, oceans edge, horizon church, youth group

I love how God can use ridiculous games and crazy events to bring kids to Christ. This past week we played a game where the kids were divided into teams. Each team had to pick a goalie to duct tape suspended from the soccer goal! The teams then competed taking penalty shots at the other’s goal. It was hilarious! It’s a beautiful thing to see kids of different ages, backgrounds, and interests come together each week in a community formed around being yourself, having fun, and growing in relationship with the Lord.

My Youth Group Experience

horizon youth group, six eleven, jaco beach, jaco, costa rica, christian internships, oceans edge, horizon church, youth groupYouth group was by far the best thing part of my middle and high school years. I couldn’t get enough of it. To this day some of my best friends, are ones that I made at youth group. Aside from all of the fun I had, my youth leader was and still is one of the most influential people in my life. Weekly he brought guidance to my life and so many others. I truly believe that God put him in my life, when I was at a very formable age, to help mold and shape me into the man I am today.

Knowing what youth group did for my life, I am honored and humbled to be put in a position where God can use me to help create a lasting impact on the lives of teenagers here in Jaco, Costa Rica.

 

 

Read more about my experience in Costa Rica  at http://kylecostamagna.com

For more information about Ocean’s Edge Ministries click HERE!

A Masterpiece In Progress Living The Good Life

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masterpiece living the good life which God

A Masterpiece In Progress Living The Good LifeA Masterpiece In Progress by Hannah Rico Fletcher

For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]. – Ephesians 2:10 (AMP) 

My family and I had the pleasure of visiting Roatan, Honduras.  It is known for diving which means clear water and beautiful reef.  Each day centered around the baby blue ocean and soft white sand.  From the shore, you could see the fish playfully moving in and out of the rocks and reef.  We brought our own snorkels and practiced with the kids in the shallows. The masks allowed us to fully engage, explore and appreciate the underwater world with every size, shape and color of fish.  It was a little taste of heaven.

Living the Good Life

masterpiece living the good life which GodSeeing and swimming with a sea turtle has always been on my bucket list.  So, a wave of joy came over me when my husband pointed one out in the shallow reef.  I swam as fast as I could to keep up with him as he gracefully moved through the reef. He kept looking back at me as if to simply acknowledge my presence and continued along his way.

His beak was spotted with shades of yellow and orangish-brown.  His neck had cracks and bumps that seemed to reflect a purplish-blue. His shell was a combination of amazing plates of armor perfectly placed and unified.  I rubbed my hand on his back and felt the soft and even mossy surface. Soon after the turtle led me to a 20-foot drop off. I soaked in the beauty of how my new friend moved as he disappeared into the deep blues of the ocean.

I was completely out of breath and an overwhelming sense of thankfulness came over me.  I had no idea how I was going to find my way back to my husband through the shallow underwater maze and I didn’t care.  I had just seen an outstanding masterpiece and I wanted to remember every detail.  The artistry and elegance was a testimony to the existence of a masterful Creator. 

Seeing what God Sees

A Masterpiece In Progress Living The Good Life (2)I know this same Designer made me but honestly it is hard for me to think of myself with such awe.   When I look in the mirror I am not captivated with an overwhelming sense of thankfulness.  As I go about my daily routine, I forget that God considers me a work of art that needs to be treasured and guarded.  Instead, I feel normal, wooed by this world and life passes mostly without consideration. This really got me thinking about the disconnect between how God describes me in Ephesians 2:10 and how I see myself. I seemed to be missing something.

If the word masterpiece was meant to describe my physical appearance, accomplishments and deeds, I would continue to be faced with my shortcomings. It seemed to me that I could either strive to improve or accept a sense of failure (either on God’s side or my own).  Then I realized my focus was off.  I was never meant to be the main character. Instead, I am the work of art testifying to God’s craftsmanship in a continuing creative process.

A Masterpiece In Progress

Like a potter sitting down with fresh clay, God sees my potential (Isaiah 64:8). The truth about my lack makes His strength, grace and compassion shine. He started by offering a full spiritual transformation from death to life.  Instantly, I was completely redeemed by my acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as payment for my sin. Freed from the burden of past failures and the striving effort to be worthy; I am compelled to daily submit to His refining work.  He gently and intentionally strips away my old sin nature and continues to mold and shape me.  

As I humble myself, soak in His love and walk in the good works set out for me, I find myself identifying more with who God is and less with the old me and this fallen world.   I now look in the mirror and see God’s goodness and find joy in the process. I was created and designed for this very purpose: to be a testimony to God’s goodness and be fruitful accordingly.  His commitment and promise to accomplish His work in me is awe-inspiring and supernatural. I see my growth but God sees His masterpiece.

#DivineDestinyDevotedPaths | Where Divine Destiny Meets Devoted Paths

Passion for the Spanish Language

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Jaco beach, christian internships, passion, costa rica, spanish language, horizon church

The Spanish Language Definitely Wasn’t My thing

I never really had trouble in school except for a couple of subjects. One of those subjects was Spanish. There seemed to be a disconnect. I just couldn’t get it. I accepted that it just was not an area I was gifted in, and that was ok. Although I really wanted to, dropping out of the subject was not an option because I needed it for college applications. Not only did I need to take the classes, but I needed to get a B if not an A grade. (At least those were the standards I held myself to). I went to tutoring every week. It was brutal. My tutor and I would review the same thing over and over again, and by the 100th time I would maybe halfway understand what was going on. It’s safe to say that learning the Spanish Language definitely wasn’t my thing.

God Has a Great Sense of Humor

God has a great sense of humor, and you know what’s funny? Calling a guy that hates speaking  the Spanish Language to serve in a Spanish speaking country. But while God has a sense of humor, he doesn’t play cruel jokes. He has a plan! When I got to Costa Rica for the first time in January of this year, I spent the first week or so speaking as little Spanish as possible. But God had a second punchline in store for me…. I was asked to lead a junior lifeguard camp at Casa Fe, a youth house here in Jaco. A youth house where all of the kids speak Spanish… I would have a translator, but still I would need to communicate at least a little bit.

Hebrews 13 20-21

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

I Started to Develop a Passion

Something amazing happened that week. As I began to hang out with the kids I started to develop a passion for the Spanish language. I couldn’t get enough of it. I began to pick it up fast! This was an area where I had previously accepted that I just wasn’t gifted in. But that’s the thing about gifts. We don’t choose to if and when we receive them. We are given them out of Love, and on somebody else’s timeline.

Psalm 37: 4

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

God put the desire to learn Spanish on my heart, and so now one of my favorite parts of my week is when I get to go to Spanish class. Learning Spanish means I can better connect to the locals and begin to speak the love and truth of Jesus into their lives through daily interactions.

Read more about my time here on my website!

http://kylecostamagna.com

For more information about Ocean’s Edge Ministry click here

Capturing Hearts

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capturing hearts, kids club, jaco beach, costa rica, christian internships, christian lifestyle, mission team, ministry, internships, international living

Capturing hearts at kid’s club

Today is Saturday! That means kid’s club at the park in Invu, a low-income neighborhood with a strong need for love that is capturing hearts. After cruising on my bike through the neighborhood, waving at familiar, smiling faces, I arrive at the park. Kids play soccer or swing, jump, and slide on the toys while they wait for the activities to begin. Last week, a few hairdressers volunteered their time and gave everyone free haircuts. A visiting mission team from South Carolina told the story of Joshua and his Israelites and the tumbling walls of Jericho. Sarah (the leader of kid’s club) asked the kids, “¿En quién confiamos?” which means, “Who do we trust?” They all shouted their reply, “En Dios!” which means, “In God!” Next, everyone colored a cardboard trumpet. This week, we talked about how we should be thankful for the awesome women who help us in life. Mother’s day is August 15 here in Costa Rica, so everyone made colorful paper flowers to give to their mothers. I went from table to table helping all of the adorable kids. After munching on some galletas (cookies) with marker-stained and sticky, gluey hands, the kids run, laugh, and play until about 12:30. Each kid gets to go home with a bag of rice and beans for their family. This week, we also gave out a little gift bag for them to take home to their moms with items such as soap and lotion.

 

It is incredible to see these kids come out to to the park (often by themselves) to learn about God! Kid’s club is a great way to love on the kids of Invu. Perhaps these kids will take the Godly messages home and share it with their families. I am praying that God will continue to use kid’s club as a way to capture the hearts of these precious young children and use them to shine light among their community.

 

1 Timothy 4:12 NIV

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

For more information about my ministry and the ministries in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica please contact us at Ocean Edge

Categories: Lifestyle Blog

Intern life at Oceans Edge

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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

Trust Me

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Jesus, trust, costa rica internships, Jaco beach, missions, lifestyle, oceans edge, international internships

Trust Me

Trust me.” A phrase we hear and say all the time.  So much so that these words have lost their value to most people. The trouble comes when we translate this lack of trust in people, to a lack of trust in the Lord. I think a lot of trust issues with the Lord come from trust issues we have with people, at least that was the case with me…. “

Jesus is Always Closer Than We Think He Is 

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In Mathew Ch. 14 Jesus tells Peter to trust him. He asks him to step out of the comfort and safety of the boat he is in, and walk to him on the water.  Initially Peter steps out of the boat in confidence, walking towards the Lord. But as he sees the wind and the waves pick up his confidence starts to dwindle. He loses trust when he sees how far he has to go and the conditions getting rougher. Peter begins to sink. He cries out “Lord save me!” Jesus, who is closer than Peter thought, reaches out his hand and immediately pulls him up. Jesus is always closer than we think he is.

Momentum and Confidence From the Lord

I can relate to Peter in this story because I have been there. No, God has never asked me to physically walk on water, however he has asked me to step out of the safety of my comfort zone to a place where I would have to trust him. Part of God calling me to go to Costa Rica involved raising financial support. A lot of financial support…. Talk to most any missionary and they will tell you what a large and challenging task this can be. They will also tell you that though it is sometimes hard, God has always provided. I had to trust that God would do the same for me.

When it came time for me to start fundraising I hit the ground running. Like Peter, I was quick to jump out of the boat, eager to walk with Jesus. I used this momentum and confidence from the Lord to drive my efforts. I knew with all my heart that the Lord would provide! The Lord had told me to trust him, and so I did. God surely came through and I was having greater success than I could have ever imagined. But instead of looking at how much the Lord had done, I chose to look at how far I still had to go and how many obstacles I still had to overcome. Peter made the same mistake. He chose to ignore the fact that he had just taken multiple steps across liquid water, and instead chose to look at the wind.

Jesus Did a Jesus Thing

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Prayerfully I had set a goal to be fully funded and heading back to Costa Rica at the beginning of August. It was the beginning of July when I began to lose trust that this was actually going to happen. Looking at how much more money I still has to raise, it was beginning to look like a September launch date was a lot more plausible. At this point I was at about 65% of my goal. Then Jesus did a Jesus thing. In just 1 day enough support came in to bring to be about 97% funded! I was ecstatic…….speechless. It was God’s way of saying, “I told you so. Now do you trust me?”

 

Joy in Jaco, Costa Rica

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Joy in Jaco, horizon church, The Edge, Cost Rica, Jaco Beach, Christian mission trips, Missions, Joy, happiness, oceans edge, ministry

Joy in Jaco

Hello, my name is Emily and I am here in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica on a short term mission trip. I am really enjoying my time here so far! I’ve been amazed by all the joy in Jaco. Even though living conditions are rough and the town of Jaco is struggling with some very serious issues, the people of Jaco surprise me with their positivity and happiness. It’s truly inspiring.

The children

in Jaco Beach, for example, absolutely love Kid’s Club which meets every Saturday in the neighborhood park, hosted by Horizon Church a local English speaking church here in Jaco. They play fun games, make awesome crafts, and learn about “Dios” (God). Not only is it a great way to spread God’s word, but it also builds community and stability for the children. At the end of Kid’s Club they do what they call “Beans and Rice ministry”. Each child is sent home with a bag of beans and rice to help feed their family for the week, a slogan everyone has come to know and love here is “Beans and Rice and Jesus Christ”. I had a great time participating in jump rope, soccer, and sac races this Saturday at Kids Club, and was blown away by the Joy in Jaco shining through each child’s smile.

Samson

Joy in Jaco, Samson, The Edge, Cost Rica, Jaco Beach, Christian mission trips, Missions, Joy, happiness

Samson, The Edge property dog

Oceans Edge’s new “guard dog”, was brought home this weekend. At just six weeks old he has some growing to do to fit into his new role and protect the property! He is incredibly cute and is a great addition to the team here at Ocean’s Edge. Although my time here in Jaco is short, I have learned so much about the town, myself, and God. I’m learning that being joyful is an internal, consistent state that can only stem from God. Happiness will ebb and flow, but joy is deep rooted and strong. I’m very thankful for my time here in Jaco, for the relationships made, and for the joy found.

For more information about the ministry or the local church here please contact Oceans Edge and come see for yourself all that God is doing in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica.

Categories: Lifestyle Blog