The Birth of Beach Community Church

A few years before 2000, there were a handful of believers getting together to pray and read the bible. One of those people was a lovely woman named, Elsa Hoiser, who at the age of 79, “embarked on a new adventure” by bringing the Gospel to the third world country of Costa Rica. Elsa and her dear friend, Jeanne Wilson, who worked as a missionary for many years in Africa, often joined together to visit for several months a year and spread the Word of God in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. In Elsa’s words, “it was exciting and a new experience, but the most gratifying thing of all was that on a Sunday morning we would open our lovely screened in back porch for worship services. We were able to minister to a number of people. I even had the privilege of performing a few wedding ceremonies.”

These ladies had previously Co-Pastored in Arkansas and Iowa for 24 years after Elsa’ husband, also a Reverend, passed away.

Gina Solano, a believer from Australia, who was living in Guanacaste in the Santa Rosa area at the time with her family, had a daughter who was attending the Country Day School (aka CRIA currently) elected for a leadership excursion to the Country Day School in Escazu near San Jose.

In the fall of 2000, Gina made contact with Dan and Sue Schmidt from Pennsylvania who were pastoring at the time at Escazu Christian Fellowship in Escazu with their three children, which was a 5-hour drive from the beach. Conversations ensued and after a recognizance trip meeting various people, offering a Christmas and New Year service, and exploring the beach area, Dan and Sue decided to commit to being our first Pastor and worship leader for our community.

We did not yet have a name for the church, but the congregation met at the Flamingo Beach Hotel (currently known as Margaritaville) 2x per month on Saturday evenings for about 2 years. Regular attendees at the services were Roger and Trudy Estler, Richard and Melissa Chellimi, Jon and Debra Marquand, Don and Babe Hopkins, Jo Mega and Gina Solano. As time progressed between 2001- 2002 some of the regular attendees met together to name the church, hence, Beach Community Church was born.

As we were having church services, we also started holding bible women’s bible study at the home of Roger and Trudy Estler which is located on the south end of Flamingo Beach. Whether we had just 2 of us or more we made sure we stayed connected and invited others to come and join us. Gina Solano started to attend from Santa Rosa which was about a 45-minute drive on dirt roads! No roads were paved back then.

Darwin and Kristi Akins and family, who were missionaries living in the Tiliran area about 2 hours away from Flamingo nearer to Lake Arenal, were introduced to us as worship leaders attended services 2x /month in 2001 and eventually joined our church and bible study in 2004.

Don and Babe

Done and Babe

We were beyond blessed with having some of the most amazing people as Pastors who graced us with their knowledge and spiritual gifts.

Below are those Pastors and their wives we give credit to for having blessed us with their gifts or affected us in ways we did not expect…

  • 2000-2002 – Dan and Sue Schmidt from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • 2002-2005 – Mark and Sally Warrington from Bellingham, Washington
  • 2005-2006 – George and Esther Donovan from Penticton, Canada
  • 2006-2010 – Brett and Joanne Clifford from San Juan Capistrano, California
  • 2010-2012 – Lyle and Stacie Watson from Tamarindo, Costa Rica
  • 2012-2013 – Rod Rogers from Denver, Colorado
  • 2013-2014 – Various speakers and guests
  • 2014-2015 – Thomas and Jennifer Snow from Moore, Oklahoma
  • 2016-Current – Perry and Erika Carlile…a marriage between Buena Vista, Colorado and San Jose, Costa Rica

From the screened in back porch in Surfside to the Flamingo Beach Hotel to the cafeteria at the Country Day School (which is now called THE VILLAGE: a group of offices and businesses) in Brasilito, to a temporary facility at the Assembly of God church in Huacas, and then back to Brasilito, we can finally say we are “HOME!” The property where Beach Community Church currently stands was donated by Don Hopkins and since 2008, the “church without walls” palapa structures have served hundreds of visitors and families each year.

By the grace of God, we have a strong foundation, a good website and have attracted many visitors because of some very clever marketing strategies using humor on street signs to advertise our church thanks to Don Hopkins. There are a variety of missions’ groups stateside who come to visit annually and help our local communities with different outreach projects.

With many prayers for BCC to follow God’s will, the church has grown to offer services in Spanish, outreach, and bible studies for men, women, and our local youth as well. We welcomed a Spanish Pastor, Camilo Lopez Marena and his wife, Adixa Rameriz Ortiz and family to join BCC. Here is their story:

They arrived in Huacas, Guanacaste in 2016 to start a church in Lajas supporting the Nuñez family, (Jensi and Yovania Nunez Mendez), who asked them to help with bible study. For a year and a half, they held bible study meetings in the garage of one of their houses. But the places became small because the small church was growing. They were looking for another place where we could meet, and someone told Camilo about BCC in Brasilito.

So, Camilo met Perry at the baseball field in Brasilito where he used to meet with a group of children to play and share. That was how the friendship between Camilo and Perry began. Perry had told Camillo that the church was praying for a local pastor. They talked to him about plans to start a church and that they were looking for a bigger place. He spoke with the members of the church and finally in September 2017 they were accepted as pastors of the BCC Spanish church. From there the church began to grow and their job together with Perry and the rest of the team was to expand the church to all the different communities around it. “We can say that thank God it has been achieved since we have members from Potrero, Flamingo, Brasilito, Huacas, Lajas, El Llano, Portegolpe, Villarreal, La Garita, who visit our church. May God be praised! Thank God for taking us into account for five years to serve you at BCC.”

Currently, Carlos Jaiver Casco Navarro has been named the permanent pastor for the Spanish speaking congregation. His wife, Yovania Nunez Mendez will be a great support for him and their ministry.

Without the pioneering spirit of Elsa Hoiser and Jeanne Wilson, we would not be where we are today. It is because of our desire to follow and emulate Christ that we continue to pay it forward: loving people, sharing the gospel, and doing God’s work with community outreach and service.