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Serving with Local Missions in Costa Rica

World Race, World Race: Gap Year, and Semesters by World Race mission teams are currently on the field serving alongside long-term strategic ministry partners. Our participants are using their God-given gifts and passions to partner with local ministries, serve others and share the love of God.

This week, Paula Johnson shows us what it looks like to partner with Ocean’s Edge and Horizon Church in Jaco, Costa Rica. They are serving others through art, worship, youth and children’s programs, surf club, and the recycling center. Check it out!

Painting Jaco

We have been in Jaco, Costa Rica for almost a month and it has been so stinkin’ good. This month, we have been together as a whole squad, which is both hard and a blessing. Not only are there 30 of us living in the same house, but there is also a Gap Year group of 12 living here. We are all working with an organization called Ocean’s Edge where we participate in a wide variety of ministry opportunities. These ministry opportunities range from the business side of things to painting the city!

We each have been placed in certain ministries based on our passions and in things that we enjoy. I never knew I could use my creative and artistic passions for the Kingdom, but God is a creative God.


This is our paint bucket filled with all sorts of fun paints.

The past couple of weeks, our days have been packed. Each morning begins with a devotional and then we split up into our ministries. The ministry in which I am placed is due to my enthusiasm for art. A small team of us were given the task to design, sketch, and paint light poles in the community. The thought behind this part of Ocean’s Edge is to bring life and light into a city that is blanketed and blinded by darkness. Each pole is designed around the beautiful nature God created in Jaco.


Here are Jenna and Tito working on the pole I had the opportunity to design and get started.

At first, I was a little hesitant about sitting in the street painting a pole, but I know God has us here for a reason working with this ministry. It seems so simple but painting light poles are just as important as any other ministry. I get to share the radiating joy received from God through painting light poles. How cool is that?

The Lord gives good gifts and He allows us to use our own unique gifts for the Kingdom. In each task and job, I do it for the glory of God. 


Justin, Lynneal, and Mary painting some last-minute details on the pole Justin designed.

God has been so kind in placing people in our path while painting the light poles. We have had discussions with a man who struggles with alcoholism, a wife who works nearby who brought Jenna a hat and two bottles of water for us, a gentleman who is following more on the New Age path, a young adult who works up the street from us, and people who simply pass by. Many people who have walked past, or even driven by, would stop and say “how beautiful” or “thank you” or “so pretty” and that is just a testament to the spark of the Lord’s love in Jaco. It has been incredible taking art and turning it into ministry during this month, though this is not where it ends.


This is Jose, a gentleman that we got to pray and talk with while painting in the street.

Painting light poles is cool and all, but Ocean’s Edge also reaches out to the community in other ways. Some of us have had the opportunity to work alongside Horizon Church in worship, youth, and children programs. We have also held a Surf Club for kids where we teach them how to surf! The more recent ways that we have been helping has been with the government. This past week we lent a helping hand at the local recycling center and it has been so fun! We still have a little over a month left here in Jaco, Costa Rica and I’m stoked to see the Lord continue to move through these streets.


Victoria and Jackie (left) are working on the second pole Victoria designed. Jenna and Jenn (right) making my small dream come to life.

Please join me in prayer over Jaco and I Squad:

Lord, bring a blanket of peace and comfort to this city. God, I praise you for who you are and how you move. Your plan is greater than our own and we hand all things to you. Abba, I lay Jaco at your feet and pray for freedom over this city. I pray that all bondage and chains are broken. Thank you Lord for the way your mercy is all-consuming. I pray for protection over my squad, for each mind and heart Lord. We are here for you! We worship you and do all work in your name. I pray for growth and deeper relationships with you God. Thank you for each day we have here and each opportunity. We love you, Father.

Do you want to use your gifts and passions to serve God and love others?

There’s still time! We extended our World Race August 2021 trip deadline to April 13th! Now is your chance to step out in faith and experience life on mission with the World Race. Apply today!