Posts

Bigger

On the smallest missions budget of all time I’ve been to 30+ countries on 6 continents. With each step I’m making a difference.

Almost two years ago I had a wild and rare dream. I gathered friends, raised a little support, and went to a school for missions. I came home put my dreams to paper and headed for the Andes Mountains in South America. I said I would pioneer treks to remote villages to give love and friendship, physical help as needs are discovered, and share everything I know about Jesus. It’s amazing how perfectly this plan is unfolding.

Everything’s Ready In Peru

In the fall of 2015 I pioneered a new trek where I discovered untouched highland villages in Peru. It was an experience I’ll never forget as I stood there with my backpack imagining the ways I would bless these people. Then, I traveled to Chile and Argentina where I received commitments from YWAM bases to send their teams on my treks to reach the villagers!

Starting The World’s Highest Prayer Meeting

While I was in Argentina I brainstormed about starting the world’s highest altitude corporate prayer meeting. Everyone backed me on this idea, and the planning began. Now it looks like this is going to happen in fall 2016.

Big Impact In Uganda

On top of everything else I went to Uganda in December and January. I worked with orphans and I spoke in the villages inspiring youth to follow God and reach for their potential. One day we actually fed an entire village! On New Years Eve, my dad spoke to a record crowd in the Mandela Stadium. It was unbelievable looking into that sea of 120,000 faces and meeting the President of Uganda.

Backpacked The Middle East and Europe

After Uganda I traveled through the Middle East and Europe. I was threatened by a cab driver to convert to Islam in Egypt. In Turkey I was 300 yards away from a major terrorist bombing where people were killed and injured. During that time, I sought to develop a heart for Islamic people. I wanted to see life through their eyes so I can find ways to show them love.

What’s Ahead For 2016?

If you’ve read my original vision from the website and my first blogs, you will see that this mission is building momentum. It all started as bold ideas turned into experiments. I’ve done the research. I’ve climbed in extreme conditions and I’ve opened the treks. I’ve met the people and I know exactly how I can help them. I have teams of people ready to go with me. All the effort has come to this climax. This next year is going to be a season of massive reward!

I can’t believe it’s already time to leave again. It’s so hard to leave my family and friends as well as first world comforts. But, I can’t stay here long when I am called to the wild.

Peru April-June

I’m traveling to Peru on April 12. As soon as I get there, I’ll be finishing my new trek into the mountains. Some parts of this trek require more than hiking and climbing. So I’ll be working with locals to create horseback riding sections and a white water rafting section. These additions will spark interest in the villagers and give us a creative path to connect with them.

While I’m working on the trek and preparing to receive YWAM teams, I will also be taking advanced Spanish language classes in Peru. Then when everything is ready to go I will finish this time in Peru with a two-week mountaineering trip. This will increase my skills for the technical mountain we’ll climb for the high altitude prayer meeting later in the year.

USA And Nepal July-August

I’ll return to the USA at the end of June until the middle of July. Then I’ll head to Nepal where I will work with the organization that inspired nearly everything I’m doing today.

Peru September-December

In the fall I will return to Peru and welcome my first few YWAM teams on the trek. We will go into villages full with God’s love and make a difference! I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen on these treks!

Argentina December

In December I will return to Argentina and lead a team up Mt. Aconcagua for the world’s highest altitude prayer meeting. I will give you more details about this event as it comes together.

Africa December-January

I will end the year in Africa again. This year we hope to build on what we did last year. We plan to feed more villages, visit more orphanages, and share hope with more people. If it works out, I want to submerge myself into a remote village there so I can know African tribal life from personal experience. Courageous experiments like this show me how people can be helped.

These are my goals for the year. I realize it could sound impossible. But, with God’s help I will do it all.

Become A 2016 Partner

I want to thank everyone who has supported me based on nothing but a vision. You believed in me when all I had to give you was a promise. You felt like my heart was genuine and you invested your finances and your time. You encouraged me to focus on the people I wanted to reach, and because of you I never had to worry about anything.

Though I have impacted people along the way, I am about to reach lots and lots of people. I am going to do exactly what I set out to do nearly two years ago plus SO much more. Every month I get new ideas, but coming home to help earn money for these really slows me down and lowers my rate of impact.

To be perfectly effective for the next 12 months, I need lots of prayers and I need to raise $1500 per month in financial support. Will you support me for one year or longer?

  • $25 per month ($300 yearly)
  • $50 per month ($600 yearly)
  • $75 per month ($900 yearly)
  • $100 per month ($1200 yearly)



Join The Farewell Gathering

Finally, I want to invite you to a last minute farewell gathering. It will be at my house on Thursday, April 7 at 6:30pm. We will be serving refreshments and I’ll be giving a brief talk about the next year. It will mean so much to me to have you there.

Thanks for reading this update!

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]

IMG_6541

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]

IMG_6542

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]

IMG_6543

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]

IMG_6545

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]

IMG_6548

IMG_6549

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]

balloonBangladesh

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.

Give Monthly


Select Your Donation Amount




Give One Time





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

IMG_2878IMG_8618IMG_1149OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_2879OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_2884

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.

IMG_5081-1

Photo: Two Red Pandas

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

IMG_2876IMG_2877

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

IMG_1762

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

IMG_7874

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.

IMG_2180

Photo: South Point, New Zealand.

FullSizeRender

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.

IMG_4528

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.

IMG_4520IMG_4518IMG_4519

Deleted Scenes

1. Third World Snacks

We found a scorpion and decided to eat it.

IMG_4525IMG_4524

2. Snakes In The Bed

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

IMG_4523

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

IMG_4538

4. Murphy Hank Bobbycox

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

IMG_4526

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

IMG_4531

6. Fight Club

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

IMG_4529

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.

Hitchhikers Meal
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)

Kathmandu_Avion_01Nepal

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.

Let’s Play Catch Up

I had hoped to update you before now, but this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write. Where do I begin!

Describing YWAM New Zealand feels like explaining to a dog how gravity works. There are no words for this level of experience and change. My mind is completely blown. I’m already 10 times the person I was when I left home.

New Friends

I was the first student to reach the base! Awesome, right? I thought that would give me an advantage but for some reason I lost all of my social skills the moment I got here! For the first time in my life I couldn’t start a conversation or keep one going. It was weird.

Then I quickly realized something about identity. It’s easy to know who you are when you’re in an environment where you can relate to at least one or two things. But when you get put in an environment where absolutely everything is different, its difficult to bring what you have to the table and make it relate. I pushed through my awkwardness though, and one by one I connected with everyone in a big way. It was fun seeing the uniqueness of each person and imagining how close we would all become over the next six months.

Now, after such a short time, I love these people. Each of them has an awesome life story to tell and a powerful future ahead of them. So when you pray for me, please pray for them also.

New Zealand

After we all met on that first day, we received our itinerary, and we heard our first few lectures about the nation of New Zealand.

I’ve never fallen in love with a territory this fast and this hard. I’m not just talking about the geography either. Believe me, the people are even more beautiful than the land.

Listen to the NZ national anthem and you’ll start to see what I mean. It begins in the Māori language, then in English.

New Me

From that first day until now I feel like I have lived another lifetime. I’ve seen so many sights, my camera will never tell the story. I’ve changed so much, people back home wouldn’t recognize me. I never thought this experience would change me as much as it has.

When first arriving here in New Zealand I thought I had a big understanding of God. I thought I had Him figured out and I was in a good place in my life. Little did I know, there was a lot more to learn and experience.

Every factor is working together perfectly to shape me into the missionary I want to be. After each new lecture I am twice the man I was when I woke up that morning. With each weekend trip I’m seeing twice the beauty as the trip before it.

Here is 30 days in NZ through my eyes!

The YWAM base where I’m staying is a fairly large campus. It has five different houses for people to live in, two lecture rooms, a building for offices, and a big dinning hall with an industrial sized kitchen. There are also various other buildings for things like laundry, storage, and a gym.

IMG_1594.JPG

Two weeks into this journey I was blessed with a ukulele! My goal is to be able to play it before I get back to the states.

IMG_1059.JPG

We’re completely off on Sundays. So my friend and I hitchhike to random places. It’s the best way to meet new people and explore the area. We have even nicknamed this day, “Sunday Thumbday.” Haha.

IMG_1342.JPG

Since this is a school for backpackers, each weekend we all pile into big vans and head for somewhere new and exciting.

IMG_1100.JPG

As you will see from the photos below, we do everything from climbing to the peak of a snow covered mountain, to exploring caves covered in glow worms, and adventuring on cliffs that overlook the ocean.

IMG_1466.JPG

IMG_1333.JPG

IMG_1532.JPG

IMG_0953.JPG

IMG_1222.JPG

Thank you to my supporters for sending me here. I am using this time to grow as fast as any human being can grow, and I am well on my way to making the difference I’ve set out to make.

I’m really missing my friends back home. So please leave me a comment and tell me how you’re doing!

Would you like to know where I’m going next?

I’ll tell you in the next update! Haha

Talk to you soon.