February 14, 2010

The Fabulous Twelve Apostles

They are on practically every postcard that you buy in Australia. These massive sandstone monuments jut out of the ocean about two hours west of where we are staying in Geelong. At one time, there actually were twelve of these monstrous rocks, but they keep crashing into the water. So now there are only about seven left! Better hurry and come see them before they are all gone!

A little over one month till I set foot back in beautiful Colorado. Love you family/friends.

Surfs Up From Geelong!

Three weeks ago my team began our formal outreach in Canberra, which is the capitol city of Australia.  We spent time downtown in youth centers, soup kitchens, the mall, and even Parliament.  I have two highlights from my time in Canberra. One was meeting Stasia at the soup kitchen, and spending two different Friday afternoons with her, serving the homeless and needy, and of course, hearing her remarkable stories.  Those are two of my teammates on the right, Timmy (from California) and Alfredo (from Connecticut).

My other favorite story was meeting Grant & Guy, a homosexual couple that sold everything they owned to go on a trip around Australia.  They are both HIV positive, and adamantly atheistic.  We had a very honest and respectable two-hour discussion one morning at the park. Both admitted to being abused as children, and hurt by the church.  I apologized for the way the church had failed them, but I also reminded them that just because people have failed them doesn’t mean God has too.  When I get home, I’d love to tell you more about this story!

Since then, our team has made it to Geelong, which I now know is the “surfing capital” of Australia.  Rip Curl and Quiksilver were supposedly started in this city!  It seems to me that everyone surfs here.  It’s just a matter of whether your in the “2-3” times a week club, or the “4-5” times a week club.  Tough gig eh?  On Tuesday, our contact is taking our whole team out surfing to his favorite place. Woo hoo!

Our team has been speaking at different churches and schools all over the city.  Each day, we usually hit up two or three schools, and yesterday we split into teams and spoke at three different churches.  When our team is given a chance to speak, we usually divide into groups of three.  One person will talk about what YWAM is and what DTS is.  The next person talks about our experience in Papua New Guinea and the medical needs there.  The final person talks all about the details of the Ship Tour.  This takes about 15 minutes and is perfect for school assemblies.  Sometimes we even speak in classrooms for up to 45 minutes, and we usually play a game, get to know the students, and then speak for a little while.  I really enjoy public speaking when I believe in what I’m talking about, so it’s been a lot of fun encouraging students to go out and do something epic with their life!

My favorite speaking engagement by far has been the Geelong Grammar School, which is a private boarding school out here.  We’re talking big money!  Rumor has it that one donor gave $12 million dollars to the school recently, and the school DIDN”T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT!  So they built a brand new gym and now call it a “Wellness Center”!  It is seriously nicer than my college gym, and this is only for middle and high school students. 
Anyways, the school has a beautiful chapel, and Jess, Alfredo and I have spoken three different times: one time for the 10th, one time for the 11th, and one time for the 12th grade assembly.  Each assembly has about 200 students.  It’s been so much fun, the people here treat us like royalty!  Hope you enjoy some pictures from GGS.  That's me on the right speaking in front of the 11th grade group from GGS.  Oh by the way, I was asked to come on as the youth pastor for the Salvation Army church out here in Geelong...

February 6, 2010

Picture Time

Some shutter release action over the past few weeks!

These are my boyz! Quality folk right here, we have Isack on the right and Seth on the left. There is a third one Gabe, he the eldest running around somewhere else. They have brought me tons of smiles! They get a lot of attention from everyone, so I try and soak up what I can get when I can get it. (My sunglasses are crooked because little Isack thought it was hilarious to step on my face with his feet! Kids are amazing and you can learn so much from them.

Maybe its cause I'm in the middle of a giant city, but I took this pic on Ken's farm. I love the simplicity of it. Reminds me that sometimes we can make our lives way to busy, and hectic and miss out on simple beautiful moments. So take time today to enjoy the simple things!

(Here we are at the dish with my outreach Crew) if you want more information about the dish... Read Matt's blog from earlier... turns out he's kinda a really big nerd and loves space stuff. That's ok though, cause my Dad's a big space nerd too!

This is our night at the farm, we had a house all to ourselves, and it had this trampoline, it was awesome! A beautiful sunset with two rainbows made it a night to remember! That's Carah getting her hops on!

Haha this is Matt and I's attempt to get a picture with Loren and Darlene! We were nice and let a few other people join the picture. It's a little blurry I'm not sure what happen... it looks like there 30 feet away but I asure you Darlene is actually about to wrap her arm around Matt

This is my Kite, my parents sent it to me for Christmas, its been my breathe time. I'll go out in a feild, pop in my ipod, and fly my kite. If there is enough wind that is. But it's a great time to process, and talk to God and think about life.

This is a picture of the War Memorial in Camberra. They had an incredible War Museum, turns out Australia played a huge role in WWII. And lost a ton of men and women in the war. They had a beautiful memorial for them. There was two giant walls full of names, I sat there and stared thinking every name on this wall was someone special who had a story, Reminded me that I have a lot to be thankful for I'm so blessed.

This is Mason and Katie Shrack, they just got married this past summer, their wedding was the most epic of the summer! Now they live down here in Australia and help out with the Youth at Hillsong. Anyhow they treated me to an amazing AMAZING dinner at their place, then we walked to a Chocolate bar (it's like a desert fondu) , that's where this pic was taken. It was such a special night! Thanks Katie and Mase!

(This is Joel high on life! I think it looks like he is falling out of heaven. Maybe he is. Joel might be working up at Camp Timberline where Matt worked this summer. He's a quality guy.)

So I didn't take this picture, but I found it online today, and I love it. The second I saw this I thought to myself, this is beautiful, and this is the perfect image of us and The Father. I love that she has her hands lifted high, reaching out, I love that he has his giant paw, bigger than her freaking head, right over hers, I love that instead of snarling teeth his head is bowed as if to get that much closer. If I had to put to words what has happened in my heart over the last 4 months when it comes to my relationship with God this just about sums it up. Powerful, yet simple, Innocent yet strong, Fearful yet so so so loving.

Thanks for checking out my pics. Now you have to do something! YOU HAVE TO READ MATT'S BlOG just below this, it will inspire you and probably change your life. haha and watch the link to the video, it's like 4 min long and its amazing!

Love you all!!

February 5, 2010

My Favorite Australian

In the journey of life, you're bound to run into some interesting people.  I remember in the book, "Irresistible Revolution", Shaine Claiborne talks about spending a summer working alongside Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta, India.  In the book, Shane recalls that Mother Teresa had very disfigured feet.  It was later explained to him that it's because she always chose the last pair of shoes from the donation box to ensure that the poor people in the village got first pick.  So her feet became disfigured over the years from choosing the worst shoes.  Momma T taught others how to do small things with great deliberation.  She used to say, "We can do no great things, just small things with great love."  I thought to myself recently how great it would be to meet someone like her.  Someone who embodied that sacrificial love, and genuinely put others first.  And then... I did!!

Our team learned about a soup kitchen that happens every Friday afternoon in downtown Canberra.  I found a contact number and called to see how our team could be involved.  An elderly woman answered, and after chatting for a few minutes, I knew we had stumbled upon someone special.  Turns out, this lady has been running the outdoor soup kitchen in downtown Canberra for 28 straight years!  For her incredible contribution to the poor and homeless people in the city, she's earned several awards: 1996 Canberra Citizen of the Year, 1999 Inaugural ACT Senior Citizen of the Year, winner of the "My Favorite Australian" award, and she even served as a torch bearer to the Beijing Olympic games in 2008.  Coming in at a whopping 4' 6", I proudly introduce you to my favorite Australian, the Mother Teresa of Canberra, Stasia Dabrowski.

Make no mistake, Stasia is not the kind of sweet old lady that brags about her grandchildren or pinches your cheek.  Stasia is all about the Father's work.  There she is on the left, probably scolding me about answering a Bible question wrong or lecturing me about loving others.  She has the thickest skin of anyone that I've ever met.  One time I said, "Stasia, it's so good what you're doing down here, serving the poor people."  She shot right back, "I'm not good! I'm just moving my hands and my feet."  Then another time, I accidentally let the word awesome slip out of my mouth to describe her soup kitchen.  Bad mistake.  She shot back again, "This is not awesome, I'm not awesome, you're not awesome.  I'm just a drop of water in the ocean."  Clearly we had a few shaky moments, but I was shocked by her humility.  Something about her made me stick around for more stories...

It took some time for Stasia and I to warm up to one another, but by the end of the day we had built a friendship and we were even laughing together.  She understands her purpose in this world better than most people.  She knows her calling is to love broken people, and to be a grandmother to the lost.  It seemed that she was on a first name basis with every person that came for her homemade, all-natural, veggie soup (which was awesome! I mean...tasty), especially the drug addicts, alcoholics, and homeless people.  I learned that behind her stern attitude is the most loving person that I've probably ever met.  Early in our conversation, I thought she was stubborn.  Later, I realized that she is determined, and I admire it about her!  It's like Allen Reedall once told me, "We need to have thick skin, and a gracious heart."  And I believe Stasia epitomizes that.  At 83 years of age, she says that she will keep serving the homeless until she's lying under the ground.  Who does that!?

Just like Mother Teresa, Stasia understands the importance of doing small things with great love.  And I love that about her.  She won't take a compliment to save her life, and I tried many times, believe me!  But I realize that she gets something that most of our society doesn't.  Stasia only wants the approval of God, and not anyone else.  I asked her for one last favor before we left... to take a picture with me.  Of course it took about five minutes of pleading and using my best persuasion skills, but I got it!  Here's a picture of me and my favorite Australian.  

Thank you, Stasia.

Click here to watch a video of Stasia in action 

February 2, 2010

Checking in!

So I first have to apologize, although I love the idea at blogging, turns out I’m not as good at keeping up. Matt on the other hand is a rockstar! But today was my first day off in a few weeks so I decided to head down to the city, and I’m currently sitting in a nice air conditioned Starbucks over looking Darling Harbor. Pretty sweet!

One cool story was I went up to a few teenagers at the beach and started telling them about the ship, after an hour I had like 18 teenagers surrounding me. We hit if off I guess. I had a great time just hanging out with them, before I left I spent time telling them they are all significant and challenged them to go change the world!It turns out that I’m not a city boy, now I already knew this about myself, but being here in the city has made me realize all over again, that huge buildings, busy traffic, and people everywhere isn’t necessarily what makes Jason come alive! Haha It makes me realize how much I love my home, Colorado, and the mountains, and single track trails where your not overwhelmed by people but pretty wildflowers and aspen trees. The other thing about cities is they are expensive, everything cost money! The toll road in, the parking, the trains, the shops, movie tickets ($28). It’s just crazy! I say all that to encourage go outside take a walk, breath in fresh air, stop and soak up the mountains! There really is no place like home!

Ok enough with that. I’ll be home soon enough. What have I been up to? A bit of everything, as you know our team is out to promo the ship tour. We orinanally thought that meant going into schools, however the kids have been on holiday, and were having a hard time getting a hold of administration to see if we can come in and talk. We have a few booked but in the mean time we have spent some of our time, going to major malls, beaches, shopping centers, handing out flyers and telling people about the ship. It’s been fun.

We got to check out Hillsong last Sunday, which was really cool. The church is huge, and quite trendy. I was impressed thoguh with how welcome they made our team feel. I got to see the newly married Mason and Katie Shrack, which was awesome. They are helping run the junior high ministry.

I’m doing really well, more than ever I’m so excited about life and what’s in store for me. I’m sure it will all look way different then I think, but over and over our base director Ken and people like Loren Cunningham have challenged us to dream big! I’ve been trying to do that a lot lately and it’s kinda fun! Another thing that I was challenged with from a guy who is the YWAM director here in Australia for Rescue Net, an ministry that goes in 24-48 hours after a disaster, and sets up immediate medical relief. The guy is a hero, he has been all over the world and in the brokenness of the worlds worst disasters, from Iraq, Indonesia, Thailand, Katrina, and just recently Haiti. Our team had the amazing opportunity to hear from Mark, as he arrived back home to Ausie after his time in Haiti. He explained how broken and devastating Haiti really is. But with tears in his eyes he looked at a group of 11 young people and said these words, “Do what you are called to do and do it well, Do it bloody well cause the world needs you.”

His words have echoed in my head for the last few days as a reminder that life is short, and we don’t know what is in store, but that we all, yes even you reading this blog have the opportunity to make a difference. So to do well what your called to do. Whether that is a teacher, a Mother/Father, business man, bus driver, custodian. We all can impact this world. There is so much more to tell but that gives you a bit to chew on. I appreciate all of you! I miss each of you and hope your doing well!