Category: Emily Rypkema Blog

Amidst Tragedy

No Comments
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.

Created with a Purpose

No Comments
Jaco, Jaco beach, Divine destiny, oceans edge ministry, costa rica, horizon church

Created with a Purpose

Destiny AssessmentDevoted Paths and Divine Destiny Uniquely created Assement

We are all created on purpose; for a purpose, and with a purpose. For me, I know I am created on purpose but struggled with knowing my purpose. Prior to beginning my internship at Ocean’s Edge, I took the Destiny Assessment, which is an inventory on what God is doing in people’s lives. It couples personalty tests with spiritual gifts to help discover God’s fingerprint on your life.

Finding your purpose

Throughout our lives, others tell us who we are and what we are like. Some statements are truthful and encouraging. So we let these words ignite us like a sparkler, bringing security only a few minutes. Meanwhile, the lies are stored. They take root, hold us, and ultimately shape us. The Destiny Assessment aids in discovering your spiritual gifts, in doing so, the lies are destroyed as God’s truth about you is revealed. Who you truly are in His eyes and what you were created to do.

“and having put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:10)

My purpose

I was eager to learn these truths. The Destiny Assessment revealed that I am an “inspiring benefactor”; aware of what is happening around and constantly responding to the needs and wants of others. I have a strong belief and confidence in the potential of others. I am a natural encourager, inspiring leader, and facilitator. These are the truths of my natural personality, being brought to light while destroying any lies about myself that consumed me.

My top spiritual gifts are teaching, leadership, and mercy. My greatest areas of victory are in my gift of teaching coupled with my gift of knowledge; along with my gift of leading, coupled with mercy. God created me with a purpose. I may not know exactly what career I will pursue or where I will live but I now know the truth about who I am. I am a child of God, created by God to teach others about Him, to lead others to Him, and to see and meet the needs around me.

Living in a Hot Culture

No Comments
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 https://emilyrypkema.squarespace.com/

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

Romancing The City

No Comments
Jaco beach, christian internships, romancing the city, costa rica, Horizon church womens ministry, horizon church

Romancing The City

Saturday morning, The Horizon Church women’s ministry made gift bags to bring into 30 of Jaco’s businesses. Each woman arrived with baked goods in hand and a smile on their faces, prepared for the day ahead. Romancing the city the way God romances us.

What we’ve been doing

As interns, Ashley and Kyle worked on this project and I joined in once I arrived in Jaco. For us, we created pages on JacoBeachInfo.com of each business. Whether a restaurant, souvenir shop, or surf shop, each page contained photos and a description. This job was centered on appreciating the business while promoting them to tourists. The past week we worked to fully complete 30 of the 500+ businesses.

As the women joined us Saturday, the bags were filled with baked goods and a bible verse specifically for that business along with a link to their personal page. Our hope was that the owners and employees would feel loved as we went into their businesses, thanking them for what they do while offering prayer over them.

There’s always time for God

Jaco beach, christian internships, romancing the city, costa rica, Horizon church womens ministry, horizon church

I was teamed up with the other intern, Ashley, and Sarah Barrett. We took our five gift bags and set off into downtown Jacó. I thought it was just a coincidence that I was in the same group as Sarah but as Ashley and I debriefed later that day, we talked about what a blessing it was. We saw first hand the heart Sarah has for the Lord and for the people of Jacó. To her, it wasn’t just a list to check off after visiting each place. Each business had individuals that Sarah knew and was praying for.

Our last stop was a tiny air conditioned restaurant with an even tinier kitchen boxed in the back (with no a/c). We found the owner, she was working tirelessly with her son cooking. We thought it was going to be a fairly quick exchange; however, when Sarah told her that we wanted to pray for them , the women said “Come in come in, shut the door, there is always time for God.” That line stuck with me. This women was in the middle of serving the lunch hour rush on a Saturday and yet she stopped, taking a moment to pray with us.

Seeing the fruit

I had the ability to see the fruit in what we were doing. Earlier that week I struggled with being so task-oriented: “finish the 30 pages, add the photos, is there a description?” That I lost sight of what we were doing; going into businesses and building relationships through love and prayer. Now as we work to finish each page for every business, I am excited to see the fruit of our labor once again.

If you would like to follow me or my time here please visit my website at http://emilyrypkema.squarespace.com/

or if you would like to know more about Oceans Edge ministries click here for more information.

Costa Rica Intern Preparations

No Comments
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

Emily Rypkema | The Journey Begins | Oceans Edge Intern

No Comments
emily rypkema Oceans Edge Internship

Emily Rypkema | The Journey Begins

emily rypkema Oceans Edge InternMy name is Emily Rypkema and I’m going to Costa Rica! No, I can’t believe it either. But it’s true. In June I’ll be taking six month internship with Ocean’s Edge Internship Program in Jaco, Costa Rica and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  

I woke up on a dreary, Monday morning in January feeling uncertain (yet again) about the future. I was finishing up my last fall semester of college and these past four years had been planned out strategically to increase my chances of being accepted into a Physician’s Assistant program. This plan shattered. I was rejected and felt lost. I was nowhere near having an idea of “what I would do the rest of my life”.

 So Why Costa Rica?

Well Daniel and Sarah Barrett moved from Lexington, SC to Jaco when I was in high school. Daniel was my youth pastor and Sarah, my small group leader. They both taught me about being a Godly woman, a leader, and having flexibility while serving; things that still impact me to this day.

 During my Junior year of college I became very interested in visiting them in Costa Rica and serving with them, however, I continued to pursue PA school. I told myself that “if I didn’t get into school this was what I was going to do”. I was terrified of being denied and even more terrified of telling people of this rejection.

 And Then It Happened.

I was heartbroken and lost. And so I began paying about what should be next, asking a lot of questions: would I ever go to PA school? Did I even want that? Or did I just decide on that because it would be a good fit?

One thing was certain; I would apply to the internship in Costa Rica. This was when I had to trust God and relearn what trusting Him meant; I was vulnerable again because I was facing rejection, I have never been more uncertain of my place and purpose and after what felt like months, my phone rang and the red badge appeared over my inbox.

This email would change my outlook of my future tremendously; this email was confirmation of my acceptance to the Ocean’s Edge Jaco Internship Program in Jaco, Costa Rica.

I was elated, nervous, but also relieved; It may not be the rest of my life, but it was six months where I knew I would be and what I would be doing. My excitement grew while reading about my responsibilities but most importantly I was joyously overwhelmed with how this program will mentor, disciple, and encourage me towards a healthy Christ-centered lifestyle.  

Ocean’s Edge Jaco beach | Internship 

Ocean’s Edge works hand in hand with local churches by providing and housing staff to serve in the community. They are partnered with Horizon Church, the church Daniel and Sarah planted which is where I will be. I will be involved serving on their worship team, with the youth, and the children’s ministry, I will host the short term missions teams that come to Jaco, along with various responsibilities that may come up while I’m there.

As I prepare for this next chapter, I sometimes get lost in the logistics: practicing Spanish, reading books, writing letters but it’s when I feel buried with my “to do” list is when I remember that my priority should be spending time in God’s Word and praying for God to take control and open my heart to everything He wants me to learn during my time in Costa Rica.

Today, I still wrestle with these uncertainties but I am excited for the opportunity I have to serve God and love others while using my abilities, talents, and gifts I have been given.

 I would like to invite you to join me on this journey as I write about the preparation and the experience. Your prayers and support mean the world to me. – Emily Rypkema