Tag: Personal Experience

Created with a Purpose

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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

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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 https://emilyrypkema.squarespace.com/

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

Romancing The City

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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.

Why Don’t We Praise God More?

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Praise God Devoted Paths Divine destiny

Why Don’t We Praise God More?

Praise God? For some, the idea of worshiping God brings up questions of His worthiness or even existence. For me this is not the case, God has proven Himself as praiseworthy and deserving of all that I am and all that I have. I have found His love to be freely given, forgiving and patient. I hear Him calling me to holiness with a hopefulness that I will choose life to the full.  I know His intention is to protect me from the consequences that steal, kill and destroy.

I have found that God is also true to His promises, although, sometimes it is not in my timing or how I expected it. With humility and grace, I know He hears my prayers and cares about my struggles.  He is always present with me offering wisdom, companionship and healing. All of this is to say, I can testify to the goodness of a life unconditionally surrendered to Him.

I have found the strongest motivator to praise God is my understanding of His character and my personal experience of His love. Yet, I find myself distracted by the busyness of this world. With my attention directed at so many other things, I quickly feel the loss of intimacy that comes when I am more closely walking hand and hand with God. Still, He “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7). 

God’s Rightful Place

Praise God God's Rightful place

The one and true God of the Bible is not manmade or a power that can be harnessed. We see only a reflection of His majesty and glory on the earth, but one day He will make Himself fully known.  The Bible says this experience will bring us all to our knees in reverence, some in fear and others in pure gratitude (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11).  Still, on that day we will all praise God.

He is the all-powerful LORD of Lords with a throne of sapphire, surrounded by a brilliant light (Ezekiel 1:25-28).  From this lofty place, He holds the Stars and Earth in place. With His laws of science, He regulates the earths distance from the sun, gravitational pull and our atmosphere. God allows our hearts to beat, our eyes to see and our lungs to breath deep (Colossians 1:17).

God is also intently involved in our continued existence and everyday lives. When he looks at us, it is with pleasure, favor and care. He sees our heart ache. He laughs at the funny things we do and smiles when we delight in His gifts. We have His attention (Psalm 8:4-8).

My Rightful Place

Praise God Personal Experience

I have been decisively created and ordained for a divine purpose (Eph 2:10). Nevertheless, as God’s beloved, I am free and have the ability to embrace the path He has set out before more or to choose my own path.  With this freewill, I give heart to whom I please. I steward my feelings, will and intellect. My strength will be spent and my worship released as I allow. 

The responsibility to walk in liberty, make the most of my days and intentionally direct my praise to God is my own.  With this being the case, I pray that God’s unfailing love would rest on me, that my eyes would constantly refocus on His goodness, and that nothing would holds me back from falling more in love with Him (Galatians 5:1).

“From heaven the Lord looks down & sees all mankind; from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth- he who forms the hearts of all who considers everything they do… May your unfailing love rest upon us” Ps 33:13-15, 22

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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.

An Encounter With The Majestic | Personal Experience

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Personal Experience Majesty of God

January 18, 2017 Where Divine Destiny Meets Devoted Paths

Sometimes there is no substitute for personal experience. I remember a time when I was 16 and sitting with my sisters and a few of our closest friends. We were bored so we started brainstorming some adventurous options to fill our evening.  We all threw out our best ideas and nothing seemed to stick until bridge jumping was proposed.

Just the thought of it was exhilarating. Excitement filled the room and the energy surged as we piled into the car. We headed to a spot where the railroad tracks crossed a river. The closer we got to our destination, the darker it was and the more the adrenaline built.

We arrived to the riverside, parked the car and started through the tall grass to the bridge. One by one, we climbed a maintenance ladder leading us to the top of a lookout point. The platform wasn’t big but we managed to all snuggle in, each of us taking a turn up front to scope out the challenge at hand.

The one guy that had been there before, jumped right away to reassure us that it was safe enough. He put on a good show which bragged of his bravery. Another followed and survived. It was my turn to take the plunge. I stepped out. My heart was beating a mile a minute. I looked down and the water was rushing below.

There is Nothing Like Personal Experience

With one foot on the edge, I heard everyone chant “ONE! TWO! THREE!” and nothing. My hands seemed to have a mind of their own. They gripped the cold metal handrails in a self-preservation protest.

My mind told me I would be fine and my heart felt more alive than ever. Yet there was an inner battle raging which forced me back like a gut reaction. Despite my desire to be courageous, my mind was spinning with excuses to play it safe.

“I heard once that some kid jumped into a snake’s nest in the water. What if something like that happened?”

“This was crazy! Too far! Too dangerous! Too risky! What if… I could land on a passing log? What’s the point of jumping off this perfectly good bridge!”

“Maybe I could just sit on the sidelines for a second, have let my heart settle for a minute!”

Just then my younger sister whizzed by me with an impatience that shocked me out of my apprehensive mind space. All the sudden my focused changed and I realized how much fun everyone was having without me!

I didn’t want to be left out of anything that could potentially satisfy my desire to feel alive. But if I was going to jump off the bridge that night I needed to let go of the railings and the fears that held me back. All I had to do was take one small step off the edge and then gravity would do the rest. I still smile when I think about it.

An Encounter With The Majestic

My personal experience on the bridge that night reminds me a lot of my interaction with the majesty of God. No matter the source, majesty is very exciting to encounter. Think about the magnificence of a wild horse, the grandeur of a cliff side overlooking a valley or the magnificence of the waves in the ocean. There is something about the dignity, power and authority that draws you in like a magnet.

With some things in life, there is no substitute for the richness that personal experience offers.  Bridge jumping falls into this category, hands down.  The idea and logic of taking the plunge was nothing like being present on that platform and no picture could ever capture the feeling.  I have found, this is also true when it comes to the majesty of God.  It took bravery to stop judging Him by the words and actions of others.  I had to let go of so many misconceptions, fears and sometimes even pride to encounter Him on a personal level.

I could have played it safe but deep down I knew that my understanding of God’s character contradicted itself.  Either God was the all-powerful, limitless, creator of the universe who could not be tainted by imperfect institutions or people or He was made up and irrelevant.  I had to see for myself, so I took a baby step and started reading the Bible.  The more I read to more I realized I had no clue who GOD really was.

Nothing This World Can Satisfy

Surprisingly, as I read His Word I realized that God shared my distaste for the mundane path I was on.  His truth was jumping off the pages of the Bible to exposed the lies I had believed and the traps I was falling in.  I started to find comfort in all the rules I once hated because I felt God’s love trying to protect me.  Yet, I didn’t have to change and be good to win His attention.  Like gravity, His goodness and unconditional love began to sweep me off my feet. 

Only after I started personally encountering God myself did I understand the Bible’s explanation for that lingering emptiness I felt.  I was not living out the purpose I was created for.  The Bible says that it is our destiny to be God’s beloved and He eagerly waits to be ours.  For me, the word “destiny” reaches deep down to a longing for a supernatural mix of purpose and blessing and that is exactly what I found.

Jaco Costa Rica Personal Experience Majesty of God #DivineDestinyDevotedPathsFor I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord (Jeramiah 29:11-14a NIV)

I now know that no matter what I have done, where I have been, or what I did believe about Him, God does not change. He is not hiding his plan from me or from you. He announces it loud and clear. Nevertheless, we have to be brave and let go of our misconceptions, fears and sometimes logic to encounter Him as our own personal experience. For His ways are higher than ours. And nothing we can imagine can compare to what he has planned for us.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

Let’s embrace life together!

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divinedestinydevotedpaths oceans edge facebookContact us for more information about internships, the Destiny Assessment and international service projects. 

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