I’m super stoked to share about the most exciting season of my life. My wife and traveling are among a few of my favorite things, and currently I’m blessed to be enjoying both of them. Julie and I have a heart for adventure. We love to immerse ourselves in culture, and when given the chance, take a dip into the more sophisticated things life has to offer.
Last week, things got a little too sophisticated for my liking. We landed in Washington DC, the land of clean curbs and no parking bays, and journeyed through the most complicated road system I’ve ever come across. With Julie behind the wheel (after a three-month-long African driving sabbatical), I assumed position of co-pilot/backseat driver for this high stress mission.
I still lack the understanding of how a six-lane road can have four eastbound lanes one minute and the next minute, have only two. When did the center two lanes swap sides? And why wasn’t the change communicated to anyone? At times, I really felt like a “Toyota Yaris (deer) in the headlights” and was reminded that not alI cities are tourist friendly.
Needless to say, the people were friendly (unlike those at JFK), and we made out like bandits—with Julie’s spousal visa successfully submitted and a $100 parking fine for shopping at Walgreens. Oh, and I’m convinced someone moved the White House, because it wasn’t where Google Maps said it would be.
No matter where I am on God’s green earth, I never (almost never) seize to look at the bright side of life. The drive to Knoxville, TN, down I-81 through the Shenandoah Valley, was vibrantly green, and the Appalachian Mountain range kept on rolling like freight train! Alas, the old adage is true: “Virginia is for (Train) Lovers.”
Since arriving in the U.S. one week ago, we’ve stepped foot in the states of New York, Maryland, Virginia and good ole Tennessee. Throw Washington DC into the mix, and you’ve got yourself some traveling! But that isn’t even the least of it. I want to share with you what’s got me amped for our next six weeks here in the “Land of the Free.”
This weekend (like, tomorrow!) we’re hosting our first YEBO Retreat as a couple in Gatlinburg, TN. Our cabin accommodation is a force to be reckoned with, and we just completed a five-lesson curriculum that we’ll use as a tool to dive deeper into topics of perspective, identity, story, vision and fears. Come on somebody... I’m frothing for this weekend. We’re buckling up and letting Jesus take the wheel. C’mon Jack!
Remember how we hosted our first missions team two weeks ago in Cape Town? Well, Julie and I have been invited to join them at their annual youth conference, The Movement, next weekend in Detroit. I’ll have the privilege of sharing at the conference on Sunday morning, so be praying with me that I’m used as a vessel for truth and love. We’ll also have an opportunity to sit down, one-on-one, with some of the young champions who served with us in Cape Town and pour into their lives.
From Detroit, we’ll make the 10.5-hour drive back to Knoxville, where our time will be spent meeting with many of the people who make our ministry possible. Prayer warriors, financial supporters, friends and family will keep us active until it’s time to set sail yet again—this time, due-east to Wilmington, NC.
While in Wilmington, we’ll meet with Ron, a SAM Network pastor, and visit some of our closest friends, the Pampell family. Ron and the Pampells are launching 828 Church in February 2015. We’re so stoked to shower them with love and encouragement and to possibly shred the backside of a hurricane swell. I can only wish upon my lucky stars!
Mark my word, Wilmington will come and go faster than cell service in Glencairn. From there, we’ll keep calm and truck on to Chattanooga to share our story with a small group. Then we’re off to Nashville, TN, the Country Music Capital of the World, for a few days of family, friends and fun—including a NEEDTOBREATHE concert.
After the Nashville trip, our seven-week extravaganza will be almost over. Julie and I share family-oriented values, so we intend to share our last days with family here in the Knoxville area.
It’s an absolute privilege to live a life of obedience to Christ. He’s taken me places that were physically impossibly for me to go. And here I am, on my fourth trip to the United States of America, traveling with my amazing and beautiful (inside and out) wife. We’re sharing our story with whoever will listen, then heading back to the kids at Rainbow Preschool in Masiphumelele... those little rascals who have gripped our hearts and will never let go.
DC - Knoxville - Gatlinburg - Detroit - Wilmington - Chattanooga - Nashville - Cape Town
Heart to God.
Spread the Stoke.