W.O.S team training
Jon, Macie and I have gone off to New Zealand for 7 weeks! I am feeling so blessed to be able to be along on this one with Jon. I am sure Macie is, too, but I don’t think she know we are so far away. She might not understand why it is not winter anymore, t
hough. Anyway, we are here working with a Kiwi based adventure camping ministry called Wide Open Spaces. They get to take week long backpacking (tramping here in New Zealand) trips with teenagers. Amy and Blair Steven have started it, and are now in there 2nd year. Jon and the Nexus crew came down here last year to help with guide training and we are here again, along with Kathleen, to do it a second year!
New Zealand has been great so far! We have gotten our selves just about settled in for our trip here. Last Friday (Thursday for you in the States) we arrived and headed straight to the batch (summer house) for Counseling and Content training for WOS guides. It was a fun filled/info filled weekend! Lots of story telling, discussing, laughing, learning and eating. We felt so blessed to be able to be a part of this time with the Kiwi guides. Not only were we able to impart our bits of wisdom of counseling skills and trail content to our new (and some old) friends, but we feel as though we are coming away with just as much new information as we were able to give.
Macie and Thomas
Since we have been back we have just been settling in at the Steven’s place. Macie is loving her new friend Thomas. We’ve gotten out and about around town here in Rolleston and a little bit in Christchurch. Today we went to the ocean beach. It has been a little bit cold so far. Hoping for summer weather to warm up soon. We have been
getting good rest, which is good for Jon since he is going on the trail tomorrow for trail training with the guides. Kathleen was planning on going, too but has come down with a nasty cough. Pray that she gets well and that trail training can still go off without anymore hitches. New Zealand can be pretty wet! But it is SO gorgeous here, so even thought the tramps can be pretty hard core God can do so much for those journeying through his wilderness. It will be great for the guides to get the experience this week together and be pumped and ready to take the journey with kids after Christmas!
Smores on the beach
hanging out on the beach
Stay tuned…more adventures to come
I’ve been to Nepal five times now…wow, I feel blessed to have such a great relationship with these folks that they welcome me back every time. This trip was special because we launched our inaugural trekking expedition through their new trekking company Nepal Outdoor Adventures (NOA). We’ve been talking and dreaming about this company for some time now, it is so cool that it is finally a reality! The vision is that for every 10 trekkers who use this company enough funds will be generated to employ one full time youth worker for a year. I believe that in five years a half a dozen youth worker will be on the ground working with young people in Nepal because of this company. What a difference that would make in Nepal!
2010 Trekking Crew
Somehow I was able to wrangle a few guys into taking this very first trek. I saw it as a “trial trek” because we’ve never done one like this before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Even though it was a trial trek everything went great. It took us 7 days to get to Annapurna Base Camp and back. I’ll be honest and confess it was one of the hardest weeks of hiking I’ve ever done. Only our month on the Colorado Trail was harder. Annapurna Base Camp was one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been. The views were absolutely surreal. If someone were to ask my favorite moments here is what I would say:
- Eating Dal Baht with our hands like true Nepali’s
- Watching Brain dance like a girl after a leech crawled down his crack (haven’t laughed that hard in years)
- Sharing life stories at night
- Lots of cards over a hot cup of du chia
- Hitting 15,000ft for the first time
- Laughing and living with our Nepali guides for a week
- Indiana Jones bridges (ya know temple of doom style)
- And of course views like you’ve never seen before
Right now we are in the process of setting up a website and getting people excited for the next season. I’ll be posting that stuff as it becomes available. Thanks again for all your prayers and support!
Here are a few photos, enjoy!
2010 Trekking Crew
Thank you to all who participated in Project 54 this year! This was our second year doing this fundraiser and we could not be more pleased with how it turned out. We’ve raise just about $35,000! We had 48 teams climb 52 peaks and over 300 people involved! What an amazing experience this was.
Heather, Calvin, Erin, Baker and I climbed Uncompaghre peak in western Colorado. We camped at the trail head the night before and woke up at 4am for a sunrise summit attempt. We were about 500ft below the summit when the sun peaked over the horizon, spectacular views!
Click here to see the full project 54 site and here to visit the Project 54 blog to see all the summit teams.
This week we had our very first Nexus World Conference! Ha, it’s funny to say it that way and I’m pretty sure that Bill did not intend for us to call it a world conference, but considering that Deo came in from Africa for it that’s what we are calling it. All joking aside it was a very sweet time for as all to be together and share life and ministry stories. Bill and Ash did some vision sharing and it was so good to be brought back to the roots of why we do what we do. Giving young leaders the tools to reach the young people in their community is what we are all about. Not only just giving them the tools but walking along side them and encouraging them in their faith and their ministry. It was so good to hear different stories from so many different countries. Just showing up for these folks is half the battle. I love doing Nexus because it is the kind of work that no one else is doing. In most
jobs if you were to leave they would just replace you with someone else. Not Nexus, no one else is going so we must go. Thanks for a great weekend, already looking forward to next year!
Bill Maston and I spent this past week hanging out at the CA Connect conference in Germany. CA (Christian Associates) has
Philippe and I at the CA conference in Germany
a great vision for reaching people with a missional and relational style of evangelism. I was encouraged to see such a great movement happening in Europe. As I talked with different people about their ministry I was stuck by how deep the “post-Christian” mentality was among Europeans. Some even went as far as describing it as an “anti-Christian” society. Several Europeans asked me how far the US was from becoming post Christian. “Who knows,” I said, “it could be 30 or 40 years, maybe even sooner. Some parts of the country are already there.” I am curious to study the movement of Christianity in the Post Christian cultures and see what kind of trends might be identified here in the US.
Overall Bill and I had a great trip and look forward to seeing how God might use Nexus and CA together to impact Europe.
Even though my primary focus is overseas we have been working on a project here in Colorado that we are hoping will greatly benefit local churches. This spring and summer we have been training young men and women from several churches up and down the front range to start their own outdoor/adventure ministry in their home church. The training includes four weekends and one full week on the trail.
The vision is to empower churches to be able to put on their own life changing and affordable ($150/person for six days!) wilderness ministry trips. These trips are a powerful tool for developing small groups, equipping them with vision and spiritual renewal for their return back to “real life”. These trips have also proven to be a powerful way to share the Gospel with someone for the first time. I was on the first trip of the season with a group of college age friends. It was still a little snowy but we had an amazing time. All of us received a renewed perspective on life, and God worked a beautiful transformation in our hearts. It was exciting to be on the first trip of the first summer of this ministry. Without a doubt we are in the grass roots stage of development but after a little more experience a couple more years of training up guides I think this ministry will have an amazing impact on our community in Colorado and eventually across the country! We have a total of eight trips going out this summer with eleven volunteer guides, I can’t wait to see what God does with this thing next year!