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"Steak and Windows."

The blessing of having mentors.

The other day I was "pushing some pole" in Utah with my friend Missionary Dave. 

Dave owns a window washing company in Park City and helps me make some income while I'm home. This involves hoisting up a pole high above the mountainside streets and scrubbing dusty window panes eighty feet above the ground.

It was fun... for the first hour. Then my shoulders started to burn and I had gnarly visions of the pole tipping over like a giant tree and smashing the cars below.

I thought about letting my pole down and taking a rest, but I looked at 50 year old Dave by my side scrubbing effortlessly with a big smile on his face. It was like mythic "old man strength" that you hear about in fables. How is Dave so much stronger than me? There was no way I was about to lower my pole, so I just kept scrubbing... man I was sore the next morning!

Dave was previously a missionary in a third world country and he knows the challenges of coming back home to society and trying to find a way to make some income. He can relate to what I'm going through because he has been there. It's so encouraging for me to hear him say, "I know what its like, my bro." 

Last Friday, Dave took me out to a nice restaurant and bought me the juiciest, most expensive 18 ounce steak on the menu, with a grilled jalapeƱo and horseraddish on the side. Duuuuude... and he did it for no particular reason. I felt super blessed.

During work one day, Dave handed me his headphones and said, "Dude, bump this jam". It was a sermon on his iPod. I plugged in the headphones and immediately a phrase jumped out to me,

"We are producing educated orphans."

What is that about? The phrase sparked in my imagination a lonely kid dressed in rags and wandering down a dusty dirt road.

"We don't need better training,
we need lasting mentors."

The Teacher said our system of education is designed in such a way that many graduated students end up failing. They lose sight of their purpose because they have little or no guidance after they leave campus. Students are "orphaned" before they can translate from the classroom into the real world.

After I left college and moved to the village, there were many times when I lost vision and became pretty discouraged because of the struggles I was going through. I felt like an orphan who lost his way and didn't see anyone around him who could give guidance. I was in a strange place with strange people. It was hard. 

With weight on my chest I would hear thoughts like "What are you doing here? You will never learn the language. It's too hard for you. You are off track. If you stay here longer you will just fail."

On top of these mental battles, I was often physically sick from adjusting to the foreign food and my body ached from sleeping every night on the hard floor. 

I was done... 

Then unexpectedly, I'd get an email from a past teacher saying they were praying for me, or a FaceTime call from my Dad, or a donation from my basketball coach with a small memo of encouragement, or a message from a friend on Facebook, and I could feel a rush of energy flow back into my body.

Past leaders would remind me of who I was and what I was doing. They would say they believed in me and it helped me see clearly during the tough times. Isolation had a way of blinding my vision and draining my energy.

When contact came from the other side of the world, it was like a burst of wind came out of nowhere and filled my sail. I could move forward again. 

There was spiritual power released through contact with my mentors.

Back Home.

I thought it would be cool to share some of the moments where I have been encouraged during my stay in the States.

An amazing friend and mentor of mine, Don Jacobsen invited my brother Jack and I up to his house in Oregon. He grilled us up the best Salmon of my life and gave us a super cozy bed to sleep in. The coolest part was that he organized an opportunity for me to share at my old university.

Multnomah University

Portland, Oregon
It was so cool to encourage the students and share with them a little bit of my story. I saw their eyes light up as I talked about how God led me step by step to make a difference in Fiji.  I also spoke with my Pastoral Professor about leading a team of students to come serve on the islands next year. Super encouraging. 

Ecola Bible School 

Cannon Beach, Oregon
When I was 18 I spent two years on the Oregon Coast at Ecola Bible School. Dave Duff, the school director invited me to share with the students. I can't believe it has been over ten years since I was a student. I am now "the old guy" in front of the youngsters! Time flies.

I got to see my College basketball Coach.

Coach Bickley challenged me every single day at basketball practice. He was a tough-disciplinary- midwest- "find a way or make a way" ball coach. I thought he hated me during those 5 years. 

Then after I graduated and moved to the village, something strange happened. He was one of my most loyal supporters and biggest encouragers! He is always staying in contact and making sure I'm doing well. 

So last month I visited him in Oregon, and he greeted me at the door with a juicy piece of steak on a fork - and it was 10am in the morning! Then he took me golfing. I'll never forget that. (Love you Coach!)

Going Back to the Village.

Prayer Requests/Needs

1. Serving with Native Pastors.

I dream of Mission Fiji becoming a resource to native pastors and empowering them with what they need to impact their villages. Pray that God would lead me as I spend time with Fijian pastors over the next few months and look for ways to encourage them and their families. 

In the photo is Pastor Nakiti on the left, and his mentor Puate on the right. These guys have helped thousands of people in Fiji come to faith in Jesus and experience God. I feel super blessed to be able to learn from them, and serve with them.

2. Plane Ticket.

Right now I'm still praying for the funds to purchase my plane ticket so I can go back. We have been using our funds to support Native pastors and transport relief supplies.

If you would be happy to sponsor my travel back, it would be a huge blessing. Thank you!

3. Relief Crate.

Our supplies made it to Fiji! This is the relief that was sent to help the hurricane victims from last year. Thanks to Lifeline Community Church for organizing the donations.

 Now we will be transporting it to Villages. We still need to raise funds to rent trucks and travel to the villages that need help. I'm praying for partners to help sponsor this effort. 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the impact we make in Fiji. Every sacrifice and encouragement makes a difference. 


Help Support the Mission

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. "

1 John 3:16

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