Category: Leadership

Onward to China!

Paul and I with a postcard view...

Dear Dearest ones,

This week has been one of the more exciting of my life. I arrived to Hong Kong last Tues. night after 22 hours of travel, and almost missing my first flight. It was delayed 2 hours on the United app and on the website but when I arrived 1 hour early to the airport, the flight was slated to leave. Fortunately I knew one of the airport employees and he held the flight for me. The passengers almost had a mutiny and turned on me. It was almost Lord of the Flies.
Wed. we took it easy and I hung out with the incredible family of 5 I’m visiting, Paul and Sara Olsen, with Kylie, Curran and Leah and we went into the city and walked around. Then Paul and I went to a rooftop restaurant and had a relaxing cigar.
Thurs., after me sleeping about 4 hours total we went to Macau for the day but didn’t play much blackjack as the table minimums were $75. I did do the highest bungee jump in the world at 764 feet. It was wild and I’m still wondering if I should have.
Friday we went to a little beach town called Stanley and then at night went to dinner in the city with Paul and Sara and their friends. It has been a blast. Many funny stories to relay but will save them for later.

Three quick observations:
1. God is on the move, even over here. He is moving mightily in Paul and Sara’s church, and also through Young Life that just started last year.
2. The buildings in Hong Kong are very, very high.
3. God’s Kingdom includes people from EVERY tongue and nation.

The tower I bungeed off of...















I leave for the airport in an hour to meet up with Jim and Mike and to begin our Young Life adventure in China. Thanks!



Off to the east

Hello gang! This is the first test post. Just seeing if it works. I am sitting in the Dulles airport waiting to board my 14 hour flight to Beijing, and then another 5 hours to Hong Kong. I will be visiting one of my best friends Paul and his family for a few days before our Young Life part of this adventure begins. I will be in touch.




He is not here. He is risen!

  • The Garden Tomb
  • The Church of Holy Sepulchre
  • Inside the Tomb
  • The skull face
  • Inside the Church

This is from Zack Miller, a recent graduate of James Madison University:

After seeing eight sights in one day, the most impactful part was the vast difference between the Church of the Holy Sepulchure and Garden of the Tomb, two possible places Jesus died and was buried.

The Holy sepulchure is thought to be the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and tomb by many, while this lesser known spot, the Garden of the Tomb could also be the place of the same thing. What struck my heart was the very noticeable difference of the reason people were at each location. The church was packed with people who seemed to be worshipping the place rather than the person. Huge lines just to see a place amazed me and while it was supposed to be a holy place, it seemed more like a tourist spot to take pictures and carry out traditions. Meanwhile, the garden was quiet but had just as much, if not more justification of being the actual location of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. While the place was beautiful, we were encouraged by our trip leader Pete to recognize the place yes, but more so worship and love the fact that it is why that matters so much more than where. Who cares where the tomb is because no matter the location, it is empty! We praise and give our lives to a living God of love. Respect traditions yes, but it seemed that the church and tangible things (such as the “possible” rock that Jesus was laid on after he was brought down from the cross) became idols, more important than the sinless man who gave his life so that we could experience eternal life and love through his death. I love how the Lord works, because I expected the church to be very meaningful and emotional. However, a quiet space, where I could feel the Lord’s presence had more than being surrounded by people just looking to visit a place had a much greater impact. Come and see the places, but go forth and know He is Risen!

Inside the Tomb The skull face Inside the Church

The Church of Holy Sepulchre


Nazareth Baptist School, Nazareth Village, and Cana.

010 carpenter workshop

010 carpenter workshop

This is from Zack Miller, a recent graduate of James Madison University:

Today we visited the Nazareth Baptist School, Nazareth Village, and Cana. We also had the opportunity to spend time with the people, specifically kids, who live in this precious land.

A presentation from Naeem, a highly educated man involved at the school, was moving as he said he could have taken an easy route by leaving the country and finding a job but chose to stay to encourage and lead the minority of a minority of a minority of a group of kids to learn and discover the gospel. How often do we choose to take the easiest route possible? I know I do. Then we went into the courtyard of the school for “recess” and hung out with the kids of the school. I’ve always thought the people there weren’t too fond of Americans, as shown by the countless negative media stories I’ve seen in the states. However, nothing could have been further from the truth. They accepted us with open arms. In the song “Hosanna” by Hillsong United they sing about a generation rising up to take their place with selfless faith. While the population of believers is small both here and at home, I am so encouraged that our generation has that capability. To shed the easy road and take a stand for what we truly believe is the best thing in the world…which is following the teachings of Jesus.

My other favorite part of the day was visiting Nazareth Village, a 1/20th replica of Jesus’ village. Our tour guide Daniel, a Messianic Jew, shared his testimony and reminded us that while it is amazing to visit the holy land and see the “dead” stone remains here, it is the “living” stones (people) that are truly important. We can live the words and teachings of Jesus, love and compassion over everything, no matter where we are in the world.


The Region of Galilee

In His Footsteps
A view of the Sea of Galilee from the Mount of Beatitudes

This is from Meredith Cotton, a rising senior at JMU:
Hellooo sweet friends and family! It’s so fun that we’re able to share a little bit about these sweet experiences we’re having from across the world! Today we went to Tabgha (feeding of the 5,000), Mount of Beatitudes, Korazin, Dan, Caesarea Philippi, and ended the day with a sweet waterfall! This morning we got to go to the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount (found in Matthew 5-7). The boys on the trip each memorized different parts of the sermon and stood up one by one to recite them – the same words Jesus spoke to the disciples 2,000 years ago in that same spot! We were all able to close our eyes and imagine Jesus speaking those radical words to us. That day up on a mountainside overlooking the Sea of Galilee so many years ago, Jesus spoke about lots of radical, incredible things, but one thing Pete pointed out really spoke volumes. At the end of Jesus’ sermon he said: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock”. The truth is that in life the rain will come down, the streams will rise, and the winds will blow, but if we build our lives on Jesus, we will not fall because we will have a firm foundation in him. We are all so blessed to be able to have the opportunity to come here and literally walk where Jesus chose to come down on this earth!! In that moment today, I realized what a gift it is that we are here and that we have the chance to build more of a foundation for our faith (that same foundation that Jesus was talking about 2,000 years ago!) Thank you so much for your prayers and for taking the time to read this 

A view of the Sea of Galilee from the Mount of Beatitudes

A view of the Sea of Galilee from the Mount of Beatitudes