So maybe you’ve heard… maybe you haven’t. I’m packing up my stuff, putting it all in storage, leaving my happy little apartment, and headed to Thailand in January.
This is quite the turn-around. I did just take a job in Atlanta in August. It was one of those jobs where they actually pay you and you don’t have to work extra to raise money so you’ll get paid. But this Friday is my last day at this job. I’m headed home to West Virginia for the holidays. On January 7th I get on a plane for Bangkok and the “Land of Smiles.”
On the border of Thailand and Burma, in the city of Mae Sot, there’s a refugee camp full of Burmese people who have fled their own country that’s in political and social unrest only to move into squalor in a slum like settlement with very little hope or opportunity for life to get better. It’s unacceptable. This is one reason why I’m taking off on a plane in a few short weeks..
I also still believe in empowering my generation and younger generations to step up and bring God’s Kingdom to earth. Call me optimistic, but we can change the world. While trying to meet the needs of those in physical poverty around the world, I want to disciple those of my generation who are impoverished emotionally and spiritually.
I’ve come alongside my good friend Jimmy McCarty to help start and lead a new missions project called The Journey. Jimmy and I have worked closely together for the past 5 years developing and leading short-term missions projects and wondering how to truly impact nations, communities, and people groups in long-term ways. We’ve pondered how to empower and educate young people and this is a vision we are excited to start and explore.
We are working with Michael Hindes and Mike Paschall and they will be the ones who oversee us as we start this project. They will provide guidance and authority to us as we begin The Journey. The whole project is under their non-profit, Kingdom Inc., and will work in conjunction with our church, The Gathering.
For our Journey to Thailand, we already have a team of people organized and ready to go! You can see all the participants who are joining us on our webpage.
The Journey is a semester-long program for young adults who band together and address the unacceptable realities in our world. It’s about ministry and entrepreneurial business. The objective of each Journey is to start a ministry and business project that will bring jobs to oppressed communities; provide basic humanitarian and educational services; and start a strong Christian body. We want to design the projects so that they will be self-sustaining. We will create small business models that financially benefit the local community, staff ministers, and the organization’s expansion.
The program will also have three important facets for the participants. The team will work on the PROJECT. This is the business and ministry projects that we will create to empower and help local people. The team will STUDY. Throughout the time on the field, the participants will complete a three-course curriculum in Bible and Theology, leadership and spiritual formation, and entrepreneurial business. The team will focus on LIFE. Community and personal growth are key values that we will promote as we spend time in worship and service together overseas.
… And Then?
The Journey to Thailand will be our pioneering effort to launch ministry and businesses to help empower people and communities. We will recreate this effort in another location in the fall. Who knows? Maybe we’ll go to a country in Africa or the Philippines or Guatemala? Hopefully we will find creative ways to empower our generation to address the unacceptable realities in communities all over the world.
What I know for sure…
You have to start somewhere. This is my somewhere. I’m sure there is plenty to learn along the way and more questions that we will have to try and tackle, but this is the start of the road. It’s worth it. It’s worth giving up a job that pays well and the security that comes with it because God has called me to trust Him. It’s going to be worth all the hard work, long days, tears, and prayers because He is good. I’m committed to seeing His goodness invade places like Mae Sot Thailand, flood people’s hearts and change their lives. I’m committed to seeing His goodness break down walls of fear and rejection in my generation and release them to bear witness to His goodness in the nations.
It’s about to be crazy awesome. Please follow me and The Journey by signing up for updates here. Subscribe to my blog by clicking the button at the bottom of this page.
Also, we need financial investors. I need people who will invest in me personally and invest in the vision of The Journey. If this mission resonates with your heart and if you believe this is worthwhile as well, please prayerfully consider giving financially to help cover basic personal needs and ministry costs. I’m going to detail our plans for Thailand specifically in another blog, but if you would like more information please leave a comment and I will get in touch with you to personally speak with you about how you can be involved. I’ve included information on donating online and by sending checks through the mail below.
Most importantly, please pray for our endeavors and our encounters with the Lord through the process. I know for sure that I need each of you and want each of you to be a part of this new season.