Monday, January 28, 2013

Live Dangerously

Today, I finished a book called Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. 

I enjoyed the whole book, but the last chapter really had the greatest impact on me.

I want to remember this:
Everybody enjoys a little R and R now and then...But is that what makes life worth living? Stop and think about it. What are your most cherished memories? They're not the easy victories or the small challenges, are they? The greatest memories are of the toughest victories and biggest challenges. The most satisfying days are not the days when you had nothing to do. The most satisfying days are the hardest days--the days when you had everything to do and you did it.
Reading that paragraph, I couldn't help but reflecting on the path God has led me down the last few years. I am coming up on my three-year anniversary in South America. That feels like a pretty big deal. And when I think about the last three years, my favorite memories are the toughest times. Like how we spent seven months discipling Jovana before the Word really took root in her life. Or how many days we almost felt like giving up, because things just weren't happening. But then God gave the fruit, and we planted two churches in Cusco.

Truth be told, the toughest time for me emotionally was right before I was able to go home after two and a half years. I faced real, intense homesickness for the first time. I really didn't want to stay two extra months to help build a couple chapels.

But this was my favorite memory from 2012:

The dedication services for the church buildings provided for the churches that I helped to plant in Cusco, Peru, will stay in my memory forever. I can still picture being surrounded by Peruvian believers who, just a year or two before, had never been involved in a Christian church before. I can still hear the praises rising to our Lord in Spanish and English as Peruvian believers and short-term volunteers from the United States sang out to our King. I still feel the movement in my heart as I listened to the testimonies of lives transformed by our Savior. And I will never forget each member of the congregation sharing their hearts and taking their place in the fulfillment of the Great Commission, saying, "Now it's our turn! We have to FILL THIS CHURCH."

My best time was proceeded by my hardest time. But that is part of what made it so amazing.

And that is usually the way it goes. We must live out every day with purpose, even on the days everything seems so hard. Even when things seem impossible. Because those are the days worth remembering, and worth living through and living for.

Something else that I am going to take away from Wild Goose Chase is that you can't play defense with your life. That's not how adventures are had. Adventures are had when we play offense, take risks, and explore the amazing things God has called us to.

So live dangerously.

God's kingdom is worth it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Last weekend, my purpose to send and support 40/40s became very real, perhaps more real than its been during the four months since I started this job.

Trevor and I travelled by bus to the town of Shell, Ecuador. It took way longer than we expected to get there, but with sore backs we got off the bus and went to the Church of the Nazarene in Shell to have dinner and fellowship with our two 40/40s from Shell, Ariel and Luis, their moms, and the pastor and his wife, Angel and Marcela.

This night was the beginning of the realness of it all sinking in for me.

I was able to sit down and talk to these two moms who are going to miss their sons so much. I was able to help abate some of their fears. I was able to communicate to them how exciting all this is. And I was able to feel their pride over what their sons are doing.

On Sunday, we visited the church that is sending these to guys out to the field, and once again, the realness hit me. This church, a fairly small church in the Ecuadorian jungle is a missionary-sending church. Wow. They are so proud of the young men they have raised up to now be sent out. They are giving of themselves financially and in prayer to send these boys out. It is a truly beautiful thing to witness!

I am so privileged to be a part of this ministry, to fulfill my role in our mission to send and support 40/40 missionaries.

Please commit with me to pray for the first four Ecuadorian 40/40s, who will be deployed on Sunday to begin the 40 Days Experience in Peru:

And as I write these words tonight, my desire is that you, too, would know the joy it is to serve the Almighty Redeemer.

I am blessed to serve.

It really isn't a sacrifice, because God is showering me with his grace and love everyday. I feel incredibly fulfilled and used in something far bigger than myself.

And I pray that you would know this peace, love, and joy that come from fulfilling your call as well.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Plan of Action

It's January 9th, 2013.

And here's a confession: I am one of those people who will write the date of the previous year through about March.

Yeah, I'm really bad about the change of the year, so my journal has a lot of erase marks in the upper right corners.

But I think I am still trying to process that it is now the year TWENTY-THIRTEEN.

What? How did that happen?

2012 went by so fast.

And it ended really well.

Let me show you:

I got to go home to the United States and spent some precious time with dear friends and family. After spending my last two holiday seasons in South America, it was truly glorious.

And now it is back to South America for less than three months remaining to mobilize 40/40 missionaries for three cities in Ecuador before we move down to Chile!

I worked with my boss this week to make a plan of action for these three months:

January is all about generating new candidates and getting paperwork for them! Our goal is to visit a different church each Sunday in order to cast the Extreme vision.

February will be all about interviewing our new candidates! We are planning to hold interviews the first and last weekends of February.

And March will be about wrapping up... finishing recruiting and approving candidates, and getting them fundraised and ready to go!

It will be CRAZY busy, so we would appreciate your prayers!


I used to be all about making new year's resolutions... each January I would try and try to do better in the new year.

I haven't made any this year, or the last few years, for that matter. I have a plan of action for how to get my work done, but my life in general is open to possibilities...

I guess I want to draw nearer to God, being more filled with his Holy Spirit and overflowing with love for my neighbor. That's not something I just want at the start of a year, but every single day of my existence.

Father God, I am thankful. I thank you for the ways you have moved in my life in the last year, and I praise you for using me as your instrument in the world to bring you glory. This year, I want to love you more. I want to know you more. I want to love others recklessly, never holding back the grace you have poured into my life. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Use me, Savior. Be glorified in everything I say and do. Amen.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Eternity in Their Hearts

The book of Acts is often known as "The Acts of the Apostles," in reality, a great misnomer, since it would be better referred to as "The Acts of the Holy Spirit."

I currently find myself again reading through Acts, inspired once again by the stories of the Church, facing persecution, carrying the good news to unreached groups throughout the region.

One of my favorite stories from the book of Acts takes place in Athens, in chapter 17. I just read it again this morning from The Voice New Testament. The commentary contained in The Voice states,
"This exchange is the most potent example of cross-cultural evangelism in the Bible. Notice how Paul provokes his audience to think and invites them to pursue God, but he does not attempt to summarize the gospel in simple propositions or acronyms. He connects their culture with the truth of the gospel and the beauty of the person who is Jesus. After that, it's the job of the Holy Spirit."
I love Paul's entire message for many reasons, but especially because of how he connects the gospel with their culture. Ecclesiastes mentions how God has placed "eternity in their hearts." During my time at SNU, I read one of my textbooks by this name, written by Don Richardson, in which he explores the idea that God has placed eternity in the hearts of men, revealing himself to different cultures in different ways. When we, as missionaries, seek to understand the ways God is already revealing Godself to humanity within the culture in which we are serving, our cross-cultural evangelism takes on a whole new--and much more effective--form.

This is exactly what Paul does in Athens in Acts 17: he takes a look around and sees this statue "To an Unknown God,"he quotes Greek philosophers that the people are familiar with, and he puts their own beliefs into the context of the gospel.

We can never change the message of Jesus Christ, but we can place it into a context where it can connect with the people we are serving, revealing Eternity in their hearts.

"It would be illogical to assume that a God of this magnitude could possibly be contained in any man-made structure, no matter how majestic. Nor would it be logical to think that this God would need human beings to provide Him with food and shelter..." --Paul in Acts 17:24-25.

Our God cannot be contained in any of our man-made structures or constructs of who we think God should be. In reality, God doesn't even need us to accomplish His purposes in the world; He chooses to use us to glorify Him.

What a glorious mystery all this is.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 12

Perhaps you are filled with gratitude that the end of this twelve-day series has finally arrived.

But this time, I don't have anyone to introduce you to.

No, because day twelve is all about...


This isn't about us. It's definitely not about me. It is about believers coming together to expand the kingdom of God.

So, how can you be involved?




This is who we are seeking...

...People who will GO, maybe for two weeks, maybe for 40 Days, maybe for two years. Maybe even a lifetime.

...People who will GIVE to support kingdom expansion. Every single person on Extreme's staff is funded by donations from people like you. Every project is supported by givers like you. Everything we do is made possible by the generosity of believers just like YOU.

...People who will PRAY. When we say prayer is the foundation of everything, we mean it. Every meeting begins with prayer. Every idea, every resource, every person is covered in prayer. And we need the church to surround us in prayer. You can sign up to be a part of our 365/24/7 Prayer Initiative here.

How is God leading YOU to be a faithful disciple? How can YOU get involved with Extreme Nazarene?

For more information, check out You can also email me for more information at

Friday, January 4, 2013

Twelve Days: Day 11

Meet (the rest of) The Ambato Team!

I have already introduced you to their Ecuadorian partners, but these four North Americans currently find themselves in Spanish school in Arequipa, Peru, and are Ambato-bound early next year.

Chelsea Weber, CJ Childs, Brandon Doerksen, and David Morrison come from across the United States, but God has put them together (very soon along with their Ecuadorian counterparts) to plant a church in the mountain city of Ambato, Ecuador, a city of 180,000 people, and VERY few Christian churches.

Pray for them as they finish Spanish school. Pray for the whole Ambato team to be united in the fellowship of the gospel in the coming year, and for them to share of Jesus Christ with boldness.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Twelve days: Day 10

Meet Abigail!
The first weekend of November, we hit the road for a weekend to attend two different youth camps in the jungles of central Ecuador. This involved spare access to showers and sleeping in a bus, on a very thin mattress, and on the floor during the course of the weekend.

But because of the contacts we were able to make, it was all worth it!

Abigail is one of the 40/40s we met during the weekend. She hung out with us the whole day, her sweet spirit and fun personality drawing us in, and she shared her amazing testimony of healing:

She was extremely ill with rheumatoid arthritis, which left her unable to move or walk for months on end. Victims of this disease usually are left with severe deformities. But Abigail shares how one night, unable to sleep and unable to move, she was crying out to the Lord for relief when she felt someone enter the room. Facedown on the bed, she couldn't see who it was, but felt his presense. Then she felt two hands pressing down on her back, where the horrible pain was centered that night. Upon the release, the pain subsided, and she gave in to the fatigue. The next morning though, when she began to walk around for the first time in months, she knew the Lord had touched her. During the course of the following month, she astounded doctors with her complete healing!

Now Abigail wants to serve the Lord with her whole heart, and will be a 40/40 in the coastal city of Manta, beginning next summer.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Twelve Days: Day 9

Meet Priscila!

Priscila was the first 40/40 candidate I met upon my arrival to Ecuador, and she made me feel like this job was easy! I took a ride in a truck with two Work and Witness guys along winding mountain roads, and I don't think they were very pleased when I asked them to pull over so that I could get sick on the side of the road!

But Priscila made that ride completely worth it, as we sat down and talked about her call from God. Having grown up in church, Priscila reminds me a bit of myself, the girl who has been in church since she can remember, but longs to do something more. And she is very talented, working as a freelance graphic designer, and is on the radio!

Priscila has already raised her required monthly support, but continue to pray for her until she deploys next year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Twelve Days: Day 8

Meet The Office Staff!

Our abbreviated purpose statement in Extreme is "Send and Support 40/40 missionaries."

Let me tell you, it takes a LOT of people to make that happen.

It takes the mobilization teams.

It takes our director, and the board of directors.

It takes accountants and translators.

It takes project staff who plan and execute our short term projects.

It takes a ton of people, behind the scenes, and where everyone can see them.

We CANNOT plant these sixteen large South American churches without them.

So please take a moment to pray for all these people you may have never known worked for Extreme. Their work is vital, and we appreciate them so much.

If you want to meet them, you can visit our Staff page here.