It’s All Coming Together In Peru!

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I made it safely back up and down the mountain! This first trip into the unknown for 2016 was a giant success. It set a good vibe for the rest of the year and made me so excited about what’s to come this fall in Peru!

My goal was to scout an additional section to the trek I pioneered last November. Here is the blog where I explained this trip. I wanted to add more villages to the trek and make it more exciting for teams who are thinking about using my trek for missions. Now for certain I can add interesting witnessing tools such as, dirt bikes, horses, rafting, etc. This will increase the level of impact we can have.

Just look at some of the photos!

IMG_6384Photo May 04, 11 40 47Photo May 06, 09 39 08IMG_8409Photo May 07, 09 49 59Photo May 07, 11 28 24I was prepared to go alone. Then at last minute, I thankfully got to take two of my Peruvian missionary friends with me, Steve and Micah Hobby. Having them with me was perfect to get a feel for when I’ll be guiding teams. It helped me to create a solid checklist and prepare for every possible scenario.

Photo of Steve and Micah.

IMG_6380The trip was a incredible. I found additional villages to visit. Not just that, in one of the villages, God opened a door for me to build a solid relationship with a man named Alex and his family. This is such a big deal. It means I can visit his people with teams this fall, and the people will receive us with open arms. This is the second village to welcome me like this. I believe it’s the second of many hundreds to come!

I didn’t get a photo of Alex, but here is his village and a few of the villagers.

Photo May 07, 17 43 47Photo May 07, 16 39 27Photo May 07, 10 44 04Two Weeks In Bolivia

By the time this blog posts, I’ll be on my way to Bolivia. I’ll be there for the next two weeks reconnecting with a drug rehabilitation organization, speaking to some youth groups, and climbing two big mountains in preparation for the worlds highest altitude prayer meeting in Mt. Aconcagua.

Back To Peru

After Bolivia, I will return to Peru, and I will be back in the mountains to finalize my trek. When I was in Peru last fall with Tannen Healy, we just made sure the trek was possible. Now I will be making the trek passable and connecting the original trek with the new section.

Trek With Me In June

In early June I’ll do one final run through the entire trek. Would you like to go with me? The dates will be from June 5-14, 2016. As long as you have a passport, the visa for Peru can be picked up at the airport in Lima. Contact me ASAP for details.

Into The Villages

It’s so exciting to think about what’s going to happen in the fall, when I lead teams into the villages. Already, two YWAM teams are confirmed, and other missions teams are considering it. With each team we will do it differently, using the unique skills and creative ideas from each team. We’re going to show so much love to the villagers!

Thank you for your prayers and financial support. Together, we are truly making a difference in South America!

Discovery

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I just finished my greatest adventure. This was the entire reason I left the USA. Now after months of anticipation and pressing my way to this goal, I have a template for the next season of my life. It all boiled down to a single 7-day trek, that I would never forget! This blog is long, but worth your time.

Arriving In Peru

If you’re new to my journey, I’m in South America, scouting remote highlands in hopes to find undiscovered villages that are in need of help. Then I will select one location and return there to start my bigger work.

I first arrived in Peru on November 30th. This was the second of four locations I was scouting. I wanted to find a location that was rich with undiscovered beauty. A beauty in both the form of genuine kind hearted untouched villagers, and a beauty that can only be captured miles above sea level and far away from a civilized world.

Right off the bus in Cusco we made our way to The Meeting Place, where my good friend Steve Hobby welcomed us. Steve is a missionary pastor to Peru, from England. He has become a great friend and a big help to me.

The Meeting Place is a popular cafe in Cusco. They donate all proceeds to an orphanage for disabled people, and to other various compassion projects. Our plan was to work at the cafe as volunteers, while we researched about where to start this trek.

In Cusco, I felt like I was stepping into something big. At The Meeting Place all the right locals and travelers started to find me. As I pieced together their information I was pointed in a direction I hadn’t noticed from searching online. Once I saw that, I searched deeper than anyone before me. Through different types of maps I found a plausible location where we might discover villages. Then I started to map out a trek. The trek seemed extremely difficult, but possible.

For now I will keep the location of this trek to myself.

The Trek

On Sunday morning, Tannen and I boarded a bus leaving Cusco to a small town a couple hours away. We lodged there for the night. The next morning we jumped on the back of a truck loaded with people.

1 Back Of Truck

Sitting there and looking around, I realized these are the people I’ll be working with for a very long time. I smiled and they smiled back at me. I couldn’t speak their Quechuan language, so for 4 hours no words were spoken. But we understood each other as if words didn’t matter. We made faces and laughed with each other for the majority of the ride.

2 Kids Laughing

Then, about 15 minutes before we reached our destination, a lady who sat at the back of the truck motioned the driver to stop. As she leaned away to jump off the truck she looked right into my eyes and handed me some money. It was humbling to accept this money, but also a huge sign of acceptance. I believe this was her way of saying, “you are welcome to be here with us.” She had given me the exact amount of money needed to cover that truck fare.

It was finally our time to hop off. As our feet hit the ground, we looked in every direction and realized we were in the middle of nowhere. Besides that, we were stranded in a snowstorm. No big deal. We had planned for harsh conditions. So trusting God we put on our packs and started to walk. That first day, we walked 9 miles (out of the storm) in the direction of the mountain we’d have to climb before reaching the top of the pass.

3 First Night Camping

On Tuesday we made it to the bottom of the mountain. Along the way we kept running into small houses where the people stay while they herd their llamas and alpacas. Seeing those houses and talking with those shepherds, I realized something; I was not just going to impact the villages I walked through, but also the villages of these shepherds when they returned home.

Wednesday was a very tough day. We trekked up 2,000ft of loose rocks to an elevation of more than 18,000ft were we made it to the top of the pass. On the way up we scouted out campsites and alternative routes for next time. We set our sights to proceed down the pass and felt like it was possible, but we were caught by a bad storm and had to quickly set up camp in unwanted conditions at a high elevation. At one point the thunder was so loud it shook the ground like an earthquake. We feared death by thunder, not even to mention the lightning.

Photo: Trekking to the top of the pass.

4 Up The Pass

Photo: First view from top of the pass and the incoming storm.

5 Storm & First View Of Other Side

Photo: The elevation of our high camp.

6 Elevation Set Up Tent

Photo: The morning after the storm and a clear view of the pass.

7 Thursday Morning

Photos: Pretty views down into the pass.

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Photo: This was on Thursday afternoon. Our first view to the end of the pass.

First View Of The Middle Of The Pass

Photo: Along the way we came across beautiful diverse landscapes.

Walking Through The Pass

Thursday was tough long day. But it was nice because we made it to a point where we knew the pass was possible. The air cleared and we spotted villages in the valley below.

Bottom of blue lake saw villages

Photo: We followed rivers and waterfalls to the end of the pass, moving closer to the people.

Last Day

On Friday, just beyond the blue lake is where we found the most villagers. It didn’t feel right to photograph them, so we interacted instead of taking photos. I wish you could see their beauty. They were everything we hoped for. We found multiple villages. The biggest and most remote village was at the farthest point.

Last day 40 villagers spread out beyond the blue lake

We completed this trek in 5 days, and it should have been 7 days or longer depending on weather conditions and interactions with the people. There is so much more I could tell you about this trek and all we experienced.

Going with Tannen allowed me to see this circuit through the eyes of future Trekkers. I was able to calculate how it will feel to people who are beginners at mountaineering, unaware of the potential dangers, and the life changing impact it will have on them. There were two days in a row that Tannen feared he would die up there. Few people ever push themselves to that level. The lesson is that great things happen when you sacrifice yourself in the hopes of touching others. Now that Tannen has returned to the States, he will take these adventures into his future. Knowing this makes me excited about how others will also benefit from this experience in the future.

I’m Going Back In 2016

I know this trek was the start of something great. I have pages of notes on ways to show God’s love to the villagers. My goal for missions is to make it fun so more people will want to do it. When people are having fun, they can make a bigger difference. This trek is a dream location for activities. For example, we can set up a four day river journey and visit remote villages along the river. There is also the potential for skiing, mountaineering, horse back riding, and dirt bike riding.

All of these things will put missionaries in those mountains. I can see it becoming the happiest region of all of Peru! In fact, that’s my goal. I want to build an oasis of joy there.

When I return in 2016, I will complete the west side of the trek and prepare for the first YWAM team. I hope to send this team before the end of 2016, to get the difference started.

Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Uganda

Now I’m in Chile, then Argentina and Brazil, meeting with YWAM bases to build relationships and see if they will join me in Peru. Then I’m meeting my dad in Uganda, Africa. He is speaking to 60,000 people in the Kampala national coliseum on New Years Eve! I’m also speaking in large meetings during that trip. I don’t think speaking is my thing, but if God has opened the door, I’m going for it! I’ll also be spending time with orphans, street kids, and remote tribes. I can’t wait!

The Wild

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I’m writing to you on a bus ride out of Bolivia. This is by far the sketchiest ride of my life. The good news is, we’ve been riding for 21 hours and we only have 13 hours to Cusco, Peru. Lol.

Our time in Bolivia was supposed to be just a training for the rest of this South America mission. It was a great time and great things happened, but then it became so much more than that.

We had planned to reach Peru by plane on the 17th. But, out of nowhere I felt a strong calling to stay in La Paz for one more week.

We had no set plans, no leads, and not a single idea about where to start looking. All we had was an urge to stay longer and a belief that something big would happen. And it did.

Once we decided to stay I searched online for a justice organization to serve, but I couldn’t find anything. It wasn’t because the opportunities didn’t exist. It’s just hard to find South American websites when you’re searching for them in English.

Remar, Bolivia’s Dream Center

Then I found Remar. It seemed to be a legitimate organization. So we put on our shoes and headed there right away.

From the outside we had no clue what we were getting into. Everyone there spoke Spanish. It was impossible to explain that we wanted to volunteer. But then we found a tall Bolivian man named Eduardo. From the second we met Eduardo we knew that we made the right choice to remain in Bolivia.

Here is what’s really wild. When we had prayed about what we should do with this extra week in La Paz, I heard the words “Dream Center,” which is a well-known ministry for the destitute in California, USA.

As we stood there and talked with Eduardo, we found that Remar is a spitting image of the Dream Center! For example: They provide drug rehabilitation, they rescue women from prostitution, and they help single moms too poor to raise their children.

I quickly noticed that Remar had more vision than they had support. So I offered my skills in graphic design to create a magazine and a calendar.

Everyone buys calendars in Bolivia. It might not seem like a big deal in the US, but they will raise good money from doing this. The new magazine will be their first English publication. This means they can finally attract supporters in English speaking countries, and who can imagine the difference that will make.

At Remar we met a young boy named Luisitos who needed immediate surgery or he would die. His family didn’t have money to pay for this surgery, but thankfully we met them at the perfect time and we were able to help with the finances. The surgery was a complete success! Now Luisitos is in recovery and getting better everyday. Here is his photo (pre-surgery).

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During our time in Bolivia we met with so many great people. I’m positive I will work with them again to make a difference in their city and nation. For example, here is a photo of Miguel and his family. Miguel was my translator.

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Miguel is one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met. He’s a fellow YWAM’er and he shares my heart. Miguel encouraged me every time he opened his mouth. I’m positive he is my friend for life.

Then there is Eduardo, Remarcobija, and Matthew. Matthew is part of a movement called God In The Streets. The work he’s doing in Bolivia is unbelievable. These guys are also friends for life.

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An Unforgettable Youth Event

One of the highlights for me in Bolivia was speaking at a youth event the final night. I spoke about the potential each one of them has, and how they have a purpose with the true ability to change the world.

After the message Tannen and I offered to pray for them. We wanted to say what God is saying to them, to cancel the lies they’ve been getting all their lives in this world.

I have never been truly used in prophecy until that moment. I saw things about those kids and I had no clue where it was coming from. Just out of the sky, the messages kept coming!

Later they told us that every message was 100% accurate. It was the first time most of them had experienced anything like this. It deeply impacted everyone in the room including myself.

It’s cool to see how God never fails when you trust Him. When I decided to prophecy over the kids I was scared, but it was encouraging to watch God show up in my life like that when I had the courage to step out. Here’s a great photo from that night.

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Now, we’ve been in Peru for two weeks and I’m finally able to finish this blog. I’ve seen more doors opened here than ever in my life.

Into The Wild

Tomorrow I will begin a challenging 10-day trek! There are amazing stories that led to this moment, about how God has guided me to these mountains in Peru.

This is my first trek without a guide and my most courageous alpine adventure so far. This entire area is unexplored. I’m going to search for remote villages and I’m not even sure if they exist.

I’m going with old maps and rumors of villages. To get there, I will cross a glacier river with water temp just above freezing, sleep in the tents over a bed of snow, and reach around 18,700ft. Half of this trek will be above 16,000ft.

My goal is to find the villages and see if the passes between them is doable. Then I will map a circuit with my discoveries. This will make it possible for me to send other missionaries into these villages.

I don’t know where they exist or how I can help them, but I know that God is sending me to find them! If I don’t find them, there is a real chance that nobody ever will.

I’m thankful that Tannen is still with me. We’ve learned a few Quechuan phrases to survive. At least we can ask if we can camp in their villages. Quechua is the language of the Inca Empire, spoken in these Peruvian Highlands.

For food, we packed 10 days of cliff bars, canned meat, nuts, and dried fruits. We’re also bringing good gifts for the villagers, and a life changing smile.

I plan to post a blog as soon as I return. Until then, have a great life and talk to you soon. Pray for us over the next 10 days, and for the villagers we hope to reach. Thank you so much!

Hauyna Potosi Bolivia

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It’s day 10 in Bolivia. We just finished climbing Huayna Potosí, the closest high mountain to La Paz. The normal ascent route is a glacier climb, with some crevasses and a steep climb to the summit. Although we couldn’t summit on this climb, we made it to above 18,000 feet. This video shows everything, including the great lessons we learned.

Now, we are back in La Paz spending quality time with the street kids. I can feel it, we are going to make a big difference here.

That’s all for now. Talk to you soon!

La Paz Bolivia

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Say hello to La Paz, Bolivia. This city sits in a bowl at 11,975 feet surrounded by the Altiplano, where the Andes are at their widest! The Altiplano was the site of several Pre-Columbine cultures including the Tiawanaku and the Inca Empire. It is the most extensive area of high plateau on earth outside of Tibet. This is our first stop in South America!

I’m traveling with Tannen Healy. We’re both safe, happy, and ready to get this started. Bolivia is more beautiful than we imagined. The people here are fun and very welcoming to us. We both feel it; something great is going to happen through us in this nation!

During this trip, instead of posting long updates every 2-3 months, I’ll be posting short updates 1-2 times each week. The update might be a video, a photo, or just plain text. Follow this blog on wordpress to receive notifications on your phone each time I post something new.

Enjoy this video and have a great day!

South America Highland Mission

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[Photo from my last visit to Peru. Highland children nearby Cusco at elevation 13,800 feet.]

Since I have a strong love for the people in South America, I’m going to the Andes Mountains in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. I’m leaving Saturday, October 3 and I’ll be gone for 3-5 months.

During this time I’ll be scouting 3 locations to relate with the people and research their needs. While I’m there I plan to help them however I can, and witness about Christ. After that I will select one of these locations, and I will go there to begin my bigger work.

I’m excited to announce that my long time friend Tannen Healy is traveling with me for this entire mission! Please pray for Tannen when you pray for me.

This 14 minute video explains everything.

Thank you caring about this mission, and for your encouragement, prayers, and financial support.

I look forward to sharing this adventure with you in videos, photos and short blog updates. If you’re not already signed up for my updates, do it now!

Get ready to be amazed.

Past Present Future

I still remember sitting in foreign places imagining I would write this blog from my living room couch. Now, I’ve been here in the USA for three months and I’m finally getting to write. There is so much to be done between now and my next big step. I’m excited to tell you about everything currently going on, and my plans for the rest of the year. First let me tell you about the last part of my trip in Indonesia and Vietnam.

Indonesia

11 April 2015—It’s been one week now since my plane landed in Indonesia. Outside of making friends with a few local surfers, nothing has happened. I could have gone home after YWAM graduation, but I wanted to put myself in a situation where I had no choice but to make it or break it.

I’ve contacted every church, orphanage, and homeless shelter I can find. I even thought about volunteering at a nearby orangutan preserve. Anything to make me feel like I’m not wasting my time or my supporter’s money.

Frustrated and ready to go home, I’m nowhere close to giving up. I know I came here for a reason, and I know that if I stand on God’s promise something powerful is about to happen…

That week, I learned that dreams don’t happen unless you fight for them. You have talents and you are surrounded by people you can help. But there are a million reasons to quit. It gets discouraging. The voices in your head say you’re crazy. But if you hold on, the breakthrough happens.

Take my story for example. Everything I’m about to tell you took place in just 20 days right when I thought my trip was a complete failure! The turning point came when I connected by Twitter with Brian and Essly Harsanto. It turned out they were leaders at one of the largest and most influential churches in their nation. The next day I was on a plane to visit them in another part of Indonesia.

I could never paint a picture of all that happened during that time. It’s going to be hard for someone to read this and truly take it in. Here are just a few of the stories.

I got off the plane looking more homeless than ever, was taken directly to the church where they accepted me as one of their own and treated me like a prince.

After church I met Ayub and James, two other leaders in the church. The next day they showed me around Bandung and they took me into the highlands. We hiked to the most beautiful waterfalls and built relationship. It was awesome to encourage them and be encouraged by them. Ayub is a singer/songwriter and James is the next big architect of Indonesia. [Photo below]

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Next I met up with a young woman Phebe. She took me to a mother’s home that welcomes pregnant girls who have been rejected by their families. The girls and their newborn babies can stay there for up to two years until they can survive on their own.

I spent time with a man who built a mega soccer complex, not for money or fame, but to reach out in awesome ways to soccer lovers and to the younger generation.[Photo below]

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I visited a village high in the mountains. I spoke there, and met a missionary who gave up his entire life to reach a struggling remote village. I was inspired. [Photo below]

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I worked with a photographer who uses his talent to witness for Christ in the slums of Bandung. He takes pictures of people living in the slums and hangs giant billboards throughout the city—to create awareness. He sells portraits and gives the money to slum people. He motivated me to capture rare situations and expose them to the world.

I spent time at a boxing organization. They take in aggressive street kids with AIDS. Through boxing they educate these kids about their condition and teach them how to use their aggression in a positive way. [Photo below]

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I connected with a soccer organization that recruits homeless athletes from all over Indonesia. They invest in these people and train them for an international tournament in Amsterdam.

Everyday, I interacted with fearless people like the ones I mentioned, who had a dream and went for it! They realized that they had awesome talents, and they found a way to use them. And because of that, they transformed many lives.

Just like these people, God wants you to do what you love and live for Him here in the USA or anywhere in the world. I don’t just view missions as big time preaching and mass healing crusades. I see it as everyday people like you and me living life to the fullest and being selfless while sharing God’s love. Be a missionary where you are.

Vietnam

Overwhelmed with joy from my time in Indonesia, I was ready to enjoy this last leg of my trip—in Vietnam. I could not wipe the smile off my face and it was spreading to everyone around me. I guess the lesson here is about the power of a simple smile. In a world filled with sad and angry people, you can change the atmosphere with your happiness. That’s what I set out to do in Vietnam. I didn’t realize the favor that would bring me!

I was picked up from the airport by Trung, a friend of Phebe (from Indonesia). Trung and I connected instantly, like we were lifelong friends. He took time off work to show me around his city for the next three days. I could tell right away that Trung was very stressed about his work and needed this time with me. He blessed me with the greatest tour, and I blessed him with friendship, laughter, and even some relationship therapy. Lol.

On the plane from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi, the power was flashing on and off like we might crash. I decided to make it fun for everyone sitting near me, and I made friends with Quyet. Then, he saved me from the dangers of Vietnam taxis by offering to drive me around. He invited me to stay at his house, but I already had a room booked at the hostel.

The next morning I took a boat to Cat Ba Island. I had reservations at a hostel. While checking in, I really clicked with the owner and I booked a $27 tour. The next morning he told me that I was upgraded to a $300 private tour of Ha Long Bay. He fed me dinner that night, and then for two more nights. Each night, I bonded more and more with his family. On the last night, he offered me the greatest gift of all: His daughter’s hand in marriage! Haha [Photos below]

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I was never alone for the entire trip. I was meeting new people and making new friends. For example, my last moments were spent with a young Israeli guy. We spent the night walking around Hanoi before my 12am flight home. It’s amazing to realize the bond we have with Israel and how much we take it for granted.

As you can see, life is better when you smile and make it happier for the people you meet. To me life is about the stories you have to tell. Smiles make happiness, happiness makes stories, and stories determine the quality of ones life.

Here’s What’s Next

Work

When I got home I did small things around the community to help, but it wasn’t enough. As I searched for ways to increase my impact, the answer came to me sitting in Jakes Bar & Grill when the manager asked me work there. I took this job as a mission and not just a job. It was the perfect way to keep my purpose alive, and earn money for my next mission. The owners are a Christian couple who lost their son serving our county in Iraq. They really made a difference in my life, and they say I made a big difference working there. If you’re ever in town visit Jakes for an unforgettable burger!

Plan

With each step I take, the big plan is starting to unfold. Now I’ve seen it first hand: In remote highland villages throughout the world, there is often deep poverty and oppression. The mountains are populated with beautiful, humble people struggling to survive. I want to spend my life helping these people find health, happiness, and Christ.

My plan is similar to the work I did in Nepal. The human trafficking prevention organization I worked with there has one of the greatest mission plans I’ve ever seen.

First, they open a new trek to a highland village. Then they build a lodge to host missionaries going into the village. By doing this, they are constantly sending fun, loving missionaries, they are increasing tourism revenue for the villagers, and they are lowering the chance for oppression from sex slave traffickers and sweatshop owners. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. They bring real life to people who are completely without hope.

I feel like they have discovered the greatest method for reaching remote villages around the world, and I feel like I’m called by God to do something extremely similar. [Photo: Sweatshop children. Photo source: Google]

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Go

Since I have a strong love for the people in South America, I’m going to the Andes Mountains in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. I’m leaving on September 21 and I’ll be gone for a minimum of 3 months. During this time I’ll be scouting 3 locations to relate with the people and research their needs. While I’m there I plan to help them however I can, and witness about Christ.

After that I will select one of these locations, and I will go there to begin my bigger work!

Partner With Me

I can live on almost nothing and I always make every dollar count. As my partner you can do something beautiful for people you might not ever have a chance to meet. Think about how fulfilling it will be to read my updates and know that YOU are funding me.

For this next phase, I need to raise $1500 in monthly support—a very low amount compared with the impact I’ll have. Monthly support is most important to me now. That’s just 15 people giving $100 per month, or one person giving $1500 per month! (Haha)

I’m late asking for support, so I need to raise my immediate budget for September through December. Please read through the list and donate to something that interests you!

  • $1800 Round-trip airfare to South America.
  • $560 Food ($5 per day).
  • $880 Lodging ($8 per day).
  • $1500 Flights between Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia.
  • $750 Transportation and emergency needs.
  • $5490 Total

More than my current mission, you are investing in me, as a person you believe will change the world. I thank you for that and I look forward to taking this journey with you.

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Himalayan Adventure

The Himalayas

When I last wrote, Katmandu, Nepal was home. I had joined with the greatest human trafficking prevention team in the world and I was headed into the Himalayas. For safety purposes I can’t mention the name of that organization. Let’s call them Two40. Their unique vision is a great example of how weird missions can look, but how effective it can be when your heart is in it.

Two40 began with one purpose: To stop sex slave trafficking in Nepal.

First they built a breakfast style hotel to fund their mission and host others who shared their vision. Then they picked a village and went to work.

Two40 didn’t start small. They chose the number one village for sex trafficking in Nepal. Let’s call this village Geapa. Conditions were so bad in Geapa the newspapers claimed they were selling every young girl in the village.

When Two40 first arrived they found it was worse then they had imagined. There were Indian kingpins set up with guns, drugs, and money. They even had a helicopter pad for moving the girls through Asia.

Two40 educated the parents about what happens to their daughters when they are sold. Together with the villagers they discovered new ways for generating income. For example, they now have thriving fish hatcheries in Geapa.

Things have changed since Two40 first arrived. The village has done a complete 180. Most of the leaders have come to Christ. In just a few years time and Geapa has vowed to never sell another girl!

Following this success Two40 aimed to reach another group of villages. That’s where we came in. Two40 sent my YWAM team to the front lines of this new effort.

They gave us two main goals.

Goal 1: Pioneer a new pass in Langtang National park through the Himalayas to these villages and scout a location for a new teahouse.

Achieving this goal would bring foreigners to their houses, generate revenues that didn’t exist, and reduce the pressure to sell their children.

We were the first foreigners to attempt this pass. Much less in the winter! On the 4th day we trekked 10 hours down frozen waterfalls and deep snow. At one point, the conditions were so bad, we reached a dead end.

The guide had to make a judgment call for our safety and take us around the mountain instead of straight through. After crossing the Gosaikunda pass and back to our projected course we began part two of the adventure.

My phone was stolen on the first day heading up the mountains. I’m glad I could rely on two amazing photographers on the team: Jacob Hopkins and Stacey Sipple.

Photos: The Trek

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Goal 2: Locate endangered red pandas, take photos with them to prove our findings, and give the photos to villagers for advertising.

After 4 days of camping high in Himalayas and searching through the snow-covered jungles, we saw nothing. We only had 2 days left and our hopes were sinking.

On day 5, we split up as usual and went searching again. This day felt different to me. I said a quick prayer. I just knew I would see one right away, but there was nothing.

Then not a full 3 minutes later I looked through the small clearing ahead, and a red panda walked perfectly into my view! He stopped and turned to look at me. I was completely shocked.

They gave us a procedure to follow. If we saw one, we were supposed to whisper quietly to the others and gently stalk the panda until it climbed into a tree.

Once it was treed, we were supposed to wait for the team to come take pictures. This was not the case for me. I was so full of excitement; I started to whistle loudly and I sprinted after the red panda! Sure enough I lost him and we didn’t get the picture. Haha.

I feared I blew it with our only opportunity for a photo. But the next day in a total God moment, our guide cornered two of them in a tree and signaled to us for the photo!

We now have a rare photo of two red pandas in one tree, in the wild.

The impact of our trek and that red panda photo is hard to imagine. The average annual salary for the people in this village is $500. Now with each red panda tour they will double or triple that salary! It’s amazing to know I helped make this happen.

On our way back down the mountain, we stayed in villager’s homes and payed the people well for letting us stay with them. We were intentional with our love, making a mark on each home we visited. This lowered the chance that they might sell their daughters and blessed them in many other ways.

Photo: Camped and waiting for the red pandas.

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Photo: Two Red Pandas

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Photo: Because of our efforts, these village girls have a good chance at never being sold into sex slavery.

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Tinzing’s Teahouse

The Himalayan Mountains were cool and so were the red pandas, but to me the highlight of that trek was meeting a man named Tinzing. He was one of our two guides and the most humble man I’ve ever met. Tinzing was like a character from an inspirational movie. He reminded me of my grandfather.

Tinzing wants to build a teahouse on the pass where we had to take a detour. With Tinzing’s teahouse hikers will travel straight through the pass to the red pandas and then on to the villages without having to go around the mountain like we did. The cost is only $6000. In the future I would love nothing more than to help him do this.

Photo: This is Tinzing

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Photo: This is where Tinzing wants to build his teahouse. Beside the frozen lake below.

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YWAM Graduation

After Nepal I returned to New Zealand for the DTS graduation. It’s official now. I’m a world missionary. I just graduated from one of the greatest missionary schools in the world!

I feel proud to be a permanent member of this wonderful community. I believe that YWAM is a big key to my future. I know I’ll be working with them again.

Everyone young and old should spend 6 months in a YWAM school. If you have any questions I would love to talk with you about it.

New Zealand

After graduation I spent another two weeks in New Zealand with a few of my YWAM friends. We hitchhiked the entire country south to north without spending a dollar on transportation (except for a ferry between islands), just trusting the right people to pick us up.

I made so many friends along the way. I met the coolest people and impacted them in many different ways. I also spoke to a group of teenagers and greatly encouraged them.

Photo: North Point, New Zealand.

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Photo: South Point, New Zealand.

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Indonesia

I could have come home right after this. But I had a wild thought and I wanted to test it out. “What if I put God to the test and see what would happen in two months of living intentional?” I wanted to live in the real world with the same mindset I’ve developed over the past 6 months. I wanted to show up in a completely random location and see how I could really make a difference.

So here I am now in Indonesia. I came here with no clue about where I would be staying or what I would do. My only goal was to make a difference for someone or some family before my time was up. I wanted to live with my heart set 100% on making a difference.

I’ll write more about this in my next blog, but for now let me say that my mind has been completely blown. You wont even believe my stories about the doors that have opened and the differences I’ve made! I can’t wait to tell you about it.

Vietnam

After Indonesia I’m taking some time for myself in Vietnam before I return to America. I’ll still look to make a difference, but I’ll be mostly focused on seeing sights and making friends.

USA

After Vietnam I’ll meet up with my Mom and Dad in Los Angeles, California. I’m so excited to see them! My dad is speaking there again at Angelus Temple for Pastor Matthew Barnett and The LA Dream Center. Can’t wait!

After Los Angeles I’m going home to see the people I’ve missed so much in Virginia. It’s crazy to think I will be writing my next blog from home.

Thank You

I want to say thank you to everyone who has been apart of my life and helped to make this a reality. You have literally changed me with your encouragement, prayers, and finances. You also changed so many other people—in several nations, in 8 months time.

I can’t wait to tell the stories and then focus on what comes next. See you soon!

Goodbye India & Hello Nepal

Hey Everyone!

It’s been too long since my last update. Internet access is limited in India. Plus, I wanted to live fully in the moment by staying away from my phone and the social network.

Today when this message posts I’ll be trekking into the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal for my next mission. When I last wrote I was landing in Hampi, India from the YWAM training base in New Zealand.

It’s hard to believe how fast the time past in India, how much I accomplished there, and how much that place changed my life. India has been on my heart since I was a kid but I still didn’t expect to be this in love with a country.

Third World Culture Shock

It was a 51-hour journey on three planes, a sleeper bus, and a boat. On the bus from Bangalore to Hampi I found my self stuck to the window.

The dirtiness, the fallen down houses, children playing in the trash, the sounds of horns honking and muttering languages, the smells of trash burning and sewage water winding through the dirt. It felt like I was in a movie.

Hampi Initiative

Our team’s vision for Hampi: “Share love to the unloved by recognizing the unrecognized, befriending the friendless, and serving the servant.” We decided that we would lead people toward God by loving them and serving them instead of just preaching to them with empty words.

In Hampi, we volunteered at All Tribes Café to relate with tourist and climbers. On our days off, we traveled the village on foot and invited people to the café. At the café we served them coffee and became their friends. Then after 4:30 each day, we climbed with them in the boulders of Hampi.

Hampi Friend

Early in the trip I felt called to help the younger generation, and almost right away that door opened. One day, a young boy came to the café selling postcards. He was around 16 years old. When I first met Him I had no clue the amazing impact our team would have on his life.

At first hello it seemed like he wasn’t even alive, just a zombie walking around asking people to buy his postcards. From his face you could tell that he had never smiled or experienced true joy.

Over a little time I learned that his name was Gallipa. Then he started opening up to me with small questions and he told stories about his life.

Soon I figured out he had lost contact with his parents at a young age due to his own health complications. He was forced to go live with his uncle where he earned money to help support his family. He was so young and broken. My heart dropped for him and everything he’s been though.

So, I made it my first goal in Hampi to change his life! It’s hard to believe I was only there for two short months and Gallipa isn’t even the same kid. I can’t describe it. He now has one of the biggest smiles on his face, and he loves to dance and make jokes with the group.

What’s most exciting is that the week before we left India, we lead Gallipa and his friend to Christ! I’m positive that Gallipa is going in a completely new direction with his life, and I can’t imagine what will become of him.

Gallipa is just one example of the many differences we made in Hampi. We spent so much time in the nearby villages, acknowledging the young people and showing them love.

Photo: Gallipa on right.

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Hampi Christmas

On Christmas day, I was away from family and friends for the first time in my life. That was difficult. So I spent the entire day with YWAM friends visiting kids with candy and colored pencils and other gifts.

First, we went through the streets of a popular slum in Hospet. It was located 1 hour from Hampi by boat, bus, tuktuk, and foot. We also visited orphanages in two other villages that day.

I think we blessed around 300 kids with gifts and companionship that day. Even though I missed my family and wished they were with me, this was the greatest Christmas of my life.

Photos: Here are some of the kids we visited that day.

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1. Third World Snacks

We found a scorpion and decided to eat it.

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2. Snakes In The Bed

I regularly found deadly creatures in my room and in my bed—scorpions, centipedes, spiders, and pythons.

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3. The Monkey King

During week 6 we stayed in Chitradurga and our team was coached in climbing by the world famous Monkey King.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPN3gLVDsOY

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4. Murphy Hank Bobbycox

He is the brown puppy in the middle, my adopted Indian street dog. I raised him for 7 weeks.

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5. Professor Starfox

One week I volunteered at a college. I taught English and tourism, and had awesome conversations with the students. I told them my name was Professor Starfox. lol

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6. Fight Club

I came across an underground wrestling arena. The bleachers and arena floor made from dirt.

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Katmandu, Nepal

Saving Girls From Sex Slavery 

I landed in Nepal a few days ago, where I will be working with one of the greatest sex trafficking prevention teams in the world. It is estimated that 10,000-15,000 girls are trafficked from this country each year.

These girls are ages 7 and 24 with an average age of 15. They are tricked with false marriages and the promise of education and employment. Then they are shipped across the Indian border, sold into brothels and forced to become prostitutes.

Most of them come from poor high mountain villages outside of Katmandu. That’s where we are going!

The team we’ve joined has a proven method for saving girls from sex slavery. Just recently they went into a village notorious for trafficking. Because of their efforts the villagers vowed: We will not sell another one of our daughters into slavery!

By the time you read this message I’ll be trekking high into the Himalayan Mountains with the potential for waist high snow at times. We’ve chosen a village and we are going to stop sex slave trafficking there too! Our team will build relationships with the villagers, show them love, and help them find other ways for surviving so they wont have to sell their daughters.

Special Note 

I wish I could tell you more, but I’m out of time for now. Please pray for me more than ever. The opportunity is beyond words. I want to make a difference.

It will be a long while before I’ll be able to write. We don’t expect to have Internet or phone service for most of this mission.

Now more than ever I’m positive this is how I want to spend the rest of my life. There is such a worldwide need for missionaries to go out there and help people.

Please continue to support me with your finances. One time donations are still a big blessing, and what I really need right now is committed monthly supporters.

Click here to give.

Select “Make This Recurring” to schedule a monthly donation.

Thank you!

I’m Going To India And Nepal!

In this update I’ll describe my last three weeks in New Zealand. Then, I’ll tell where I’m going next and what I’ll be doing there!

My Last 3 Weeks In NZ

1. I Summited Mount Ollivier

Sir Edwin Hillary began his career on Mount Ollivier. He was the first man to summit Mount Everest, so it was really cool getting a chance to climb the same mountain as one of my biggest heroes. Here in NZ they rate treks on three levels. The one we did was the highest-level. Not only that, we selected a more advanced rout, and summited in the middle of a storm with winds at 60+ mph. It was by far one of the wildest things I’ve done!

On the next morning, we descended to the Mount Cook Visitors Center. Once they realized we all made it back alive, they looked at us with respect. Towards the end of the conversation, they asked if we found it technical climbing with crampons and ice axes. When we told them we didn’t have crampons and ice axes, the respect doubled.

Photo: Due to weather conditions none of us got a lot of good photos from this trip. Out of the images we captured, this is the one I value the most. Just after making it to the mueller hut we were all trying to get warm and chatting about how fun the hike up was.

Mueller Hut Mount Ollivier NZ

2. I Helped A Community

YWAM separated our base into teams and sent us to serve in churches all over New Zealand’s South Island. My team was sent to a touristy town called Nelson. During our time in Nelson, we also served at a local school. That was nice because we made a big impact on the school staff and the church leaders we worked with.

The highlights of that trip came during the church services. The Nelson church gave our team their entire Sunday service, and the Wednesday night service when we spoke to the youth.

I guess what made it cool for me was having the first chance to see my transformation in action. I can’t believe the confidence I felt and the courage I had to speak out for God. It’s such a good feeling to leave a town knowing you made a lasting impact in at least one persons life.

Photo: Playing cricket on the beach with the wonderful family that hosted me for the week.

Playing Cricket In NZPhoto: On the way home we spent some time with the wild seals!

Seals In New Zealand

3. I Hitchhiked 800 Miles

The backpacker’s school isn’t for the light hearted. To train us for the extreme conditions we will face in the future, the school sent us on a faith adventure. They separated everyone into teams and dropped us on the side of the road with nothing but $10 and an emergency phone card. The only rule: Do not return to the base for 48 hours.

Before heading out we gathered together and prayed for the things we wanted to see happen on this trip. It was a lesson in faith. My team and I prayed for three things: joy, lasting relationships, and a hot tub!

To make a long story short, we hitchhiked 800 miles, had joy the entire time, had a nice place to stay both nights, started several lasting relationships, and got the hot tub! We did all of this with $10! I’m not exaggerating, if the three of us had to pay for that weekend it would of cost us about $1,300!

Photo: One of the many people who picked us up during that trip.

Hitchhiking New ZealandPhoto: Some guy came out of no where and bought us lunch. During the meal I had one of the greatest talks about God with a die hard atheist. Because of that meal, just by showing him love and answering his questions, he is now my friend and believes there is a God.

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Photo: A photo says a 1,000 words. This one tells a story of 2,000 words! This is the view I woke up to one morning because a random Asian man out of no where started talking to us. After no more than a minute of conversation he told us he had booked a house with three rooms and only needed two of those rooms. He gave us the extra room for free!

Free Room While Hitchhiking

My Next 3 Months In India And Nepal

It feels like I’ve been here for a lifetime, but I’ve only completed one half of my YWAM training. Now that the lectures are coming to an end it’s time for outreach!

When this message posts, I’ll be on a plane headed for INDIA! I’ll be there until late January. Then I’ll travel to NEPAL, and I’ll be there until the middle of March. After that I’m coming back to New Zealand for a debriefing, and then home to visit my family!

Over the next three months, I will put into practice the things I have learned at YWAM about making a difference in remote villages. Unfortunately, I can’t publicize our initiatives. All I can say is that we are doing something bigger than you can imagine. I can’t wait to tell you about it after we’re finished.

Photos: This is the village where I’ll begin the outreach: Hampi, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

hampi-old-and-newhampi-dec-10_053-postPhotos: In Nepal, my adventure will begin in Katmandu! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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A Special Note To My Partners

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for supporting me with your prayers and finances. It hasn’t been be easy for me to communicate as often I hoped to do.

You could have forgotten me. But I can tell that you are still there for me, because I can feel it in my heart. I have a strength that I can’t describe.

I’m still here for you too. I still pray for you multiple times each week. I’m homesick, especially during the holidays. I’m not saying this to throw a pity party. I’m saying it because my situation is changing as we enter this outreach phase. The dangers are real, and I need your continued partnership.

Most of the money has been raised for this trip. Now, my goal is to increase monthly support in preparation for what comes after YWAM. For more information, please visit my home page.

Would you like to become a monthly supporter? You can set this up here on my website or through my home church, Destiny Family Center.

Merry Christmas to you all, and a Happy New Year! Please leave a comment if you can.