The World Race

It was a late summer day like so many before. The clock struck 5 p.m. and I left my job at the television station. Before pulling my minivan into the driveway, I stopped past the mailbox. What I found inside that box planted a seed in me that's been slowly growing ever since. It started out so small... an excitement mixed with longing... my mind was filled with memories, faces and stories of wonderful people that I had met just months before when I had traveled to Guatemala... I thought of the lifelong friendships from my month in Russia a few years back... the seed has slowly matured and sprouted over the last half a year. The piece of paper in my hand wasn't even meant for me, it was addressed to my parents, it was just a single postcard, with a photo and a short message on one side. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." ~ Matthew 28:19-20 It was a support letter from my cousin (for all practical purposes... she's actually my dad's cousin's daughter, but who's keeping track?) Jenna Hartkopf was asking for support to go on "The World Race" a missions project that will take her around the world over the course of a year. 11 countries in 11 months. Out of curiosity, I looked up The World Race website and found out about the organization and the mission trips that they do. By the time my parents had gotten home, I had already place the postcard back in their stack of mail and they eventually stuck it on their refrigerator door. Deep down, that little card stirred up a sense of adventure, a longing. I've been telling people for years that I want to do missions for a period of my life. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories and building relationships with God at the center.  I know that I don't need to go to another country or place to do that, but I as I live my life in the states, I find myself getting comfortable... getting "busy" and filling my schedule up with projects, Bible studies, worship team practices and all kind of other "good" stuff.  I find it easy to loose track of building those relationships both with the people around me and with God that I know I was meant for. That night I met up with a few friends and mentioned the race to one of my good friends. I didn't mention that I was thinking about going but it was definitely on my mind. As the days went on my thoughts of the race faded but the longing for moving on to something more than a 9-5 job living out of my parents basement and doing the same things from one week to the next kept growing. In January, I thought a little bit more about the race as Jenna set off on her adventure. Then last week I saw a friend's Facebook status say: "found out today that I have been ACCEPTED to the world race!" It keeps coming up, and popping into my head... could this be God trying to tell me something? This past Thursday night I had the chance to share my thoughts, fears and excitements about the race with a group of friends. I currently hold a full time job with benefits. I've been working at Lakeland Public Television, a PBS affiliate in Minnesota, for the past five and a half years... I have job security, I can plan out my life months in advance... I know what to expect. Since I finished college I was telling myself "I'll stay where I'm at until I'm out of debt, and then I'll move on." I've said "Where I'm at now is good for me right now, but eventually I'd like to do work more related to spreading God's kingdom..." the idea of media missions has come up a ton, which is why I took three weeks off last March and went to serve with Student's International on their media team. I've been given a skill set that helps me tell other people's stories through video, photography and audio. I've been living out of my parents basement for the last few years because I don't want to get tied down to owning a home in Bemidji and it makes better financial sense than renting from someone else. Guess what? As of June 2011 I have paid off all of my debts, I am now living with a surplus in my bank account and I know that it is time to get out of my parents basement. So what's holding me back?  The unknown?  The fear of not know what would happen after the race?  I don't think so, no mater what, I need to move on with my life, and this seems like a good time to do that. I have now filled out my application to the World Race, we'll see what happens, but no matter what, it's time to take a step away from the comfort of the world I think I know and truly discover the world that God has created!

Taylor University In Guatemala

Last March and April I had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala and put together some highlight and promotional videos along with photography with a group called Students International. I realized that I never posted the videos that I made while down there, so here's the first. This video is a highlight video for Taylor University students, who were in Guatemala on a spring break trip. I shot a majority of the footage and edited it all.

Taylor 2011 from SI Guatemala on Vimeo.

I'll post the others in the next few days!