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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!

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!

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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