Take Your Breath Away

Some landscapes are so awe inspiring they cannot help but take your breath away. Magnificent peaks, towering waterfalls and a scale grander than any other mountain range in the world make the Himalayas a prime candidate for such an experience. The altitude helps as well.

We made it folks. By the grace of God we made it. Our first trek encapsulated a wide range of emotions, almost as wide as the Annapurna range we were actually in. Awe, reverence, futility, confusion, triumph, encouragement and everything in between were felt at one time or another.

We began our trek with a 6 hour car ride out of Kathmandu to the city of Besisahar. Now Kathmandu is settled in a valley surrounded by “foothills” which you must climb out of and descend to leave the city. We couldn’t believe how unbelievably huge the landscape was. I mean everything is on a different kind of scale, and as you weave in and out of jungle ravines and mountains you cannot help but marvel at the many terraced fields, farms, houses and villages perched precariously amidst the mountain landscape. It’s honestly ridiculous. I’m not even sure why people think Machu Pichu in South America is so cool, because all of Nepal outside of Kathmandu looks a lot like it.

The roads were narrow, the driving was crazy but alas we reached Besisahar in one piece. There we stayed at a guest house and prepared for our jeep ride into the mountains. The route we took used to be only traveled via trekking as recently as 3 years ago, but a new road (the term road is used very generously here) now lets us cut days of trekking off our trip.

Scary doesn’t quite do the ride justice. You shake, rattle, bump and swerve your way around huge canyons and cliffs all while your driver is trying to change the song and talk on the phone at the same time. I have some videos that might do the ride some justice but I doubt it. It was terrifying. Sometimes you’d have to pass 200 goats or a pack of donkeys, other times you’d have to pass another jeep with approximately 20 people inside and 10 hanging on the roof (I’m not kidding). All this while having about a foot and half separating you from quite a tumble down a large cliff.

Once we reached Tal we set out on foot to Danaqu which took about 3 ish hours. No problem, and the scenery distracted us the whole way. You are literally surround by jungle on all sides and we even saw the occasionally monkey run across our path.

From Danaqu we stopped at a guest house in Koto which was a short 4 hours as well. We stopped because from Koto to Meta there is no guest house in between and it’s a minimum of 6-7 hours to get there if you are hustling. I found out the hard way hustling up is easier said than done.

God puts on a creation exhibition in the Annapurnas. It’s nuts. As we began the 1500m + ascent that day I couldn’t believe where God had brought us and what we were getting to do. I thought we felt humbled as the day started, but God wasn’t close to done humbling me yet.

Amidst crossing Indiana Jones bridges and walk paths that cut clear through cliffs or under waterfalls, I started to notice my breathing get harder. A lot harder. It was to the point where I couldn’t catch my breath if we were going up, which happened to be a problem because most of that day featured up. We stopped for lunch and I layed down near an old abandoned building made of stone to ease my back and try to open up my lungs.

You know that deep breath that doctor tells you to take when listening to your bodily functions? Yeah I got real good at that, because it was the only way I could remotely feel functional. Altitude sickness had set in and it had no intentions of leaving for the remainder of the trip. Here I was with days of climbing ahead of me and I already had a hard time breathing, abdominal pain and circulation issues as a result of the breathing thing. My arms and neck got the tingly feeling you have in your foot when it falls asleep, it was surreal. I also couldn’t eat to make matters worse.

My strength gone, and my ability to gain it back questionable, I was reminded of the story of Gideon. God told Gideon to make his army smaller, so Israel had no other option than to acknowledge they achieved victory via the Lords hands. I cannot sit here before you and say I got up and down these mountains without God helping me every step of the way. Like Paul says in 2 Corinthians chapter 1, God made me rely soley on him and not myself, because if I relied on myself I was going to pass out and fall into a river somewhere.

Think of what we would all be capable of if we relentlessly trusted the Lord with every aspect of our lives. An unconditional giving of all our resources both mental, spiritual, physical and monetary, to his purposes for his glory would result in nothing short of miraculous signs and wonders. Think the end of Acts 2 if you have a hard time visualizing it.

God came through time and time again, whether it be well timed breaks from our guides or little water bottles shoved in the rock face that were spitting out water for us to refill with. And staying hydrated just did not happen, too much sweat and the altitude must had affected that too. All I know is I began to breath through my mouth so much, my mouth and tongue would dry out every few minutes and I didn’t have enough water to deal with it. I also wanted to bathe or dive into every stream or waterfall we passed which were many, but I never could do it safely.

After one final climb we made it to Meta and it contended with my girlfriend for the most beautiful thing I could think of at the moment (she still won). I needed a bed, water, rest and some food. God made sure all of that happened.

I’ve been struggling with how to write this post and include it all, so I’ve decided to do a series of smaller posts throughout the next week or so. But I want you all to know the gist of what happened so ill go you a quick breakdown.

Once we reached Meta we took a day to rest and acclimate. Then we set out for phoo which took us around 8 hours. Once we reached phoo we found that everyone had left and we got to sleep in a fun shed, inhaling smoke and eating some sketchy dahl-bot. There will be more on that in a further post.

The next morning I felt horrible but God gave me strength as we changed our plans. Staying in phoo another day of two seemed pointless so we decided to head to gnar. However gnar is even higher up than phoo so I was going to stay at a monastery below gnar called gnar-fetti. After hiking 6 hours and crossing the sketchiest canyon-crossing trail ever, we found we couldn’t stay at gnar-fetti. So we adjusted again. Instead of all staying the night like we had planned, James and Simon would go to gnar that day while Batash and I would head back to Meta. The idea of going back there that day made me want to cry but God provided more than enough strength.

The next day Simon and James returned safe and sound to tell us that gnar was empty like Phoo and they had to stay in a teachers room for the night. We have gospel stories and all that but you’ll just have to stay tuned haha.

The next day we went from meta to Danaqu, which if you are keeping track at home took us about 3 ish days to do the other way around, so we basically flew down that day. From Danaqu we hiked several hours to Tal where we were picked up and taken to Besisahar. From there we caught a jeep back to Kathmandu the next day.

Now we are relaxing in Kathmandu catching up with old friends, meeting new ones and doing other things around the city. It’s funny how much it feels like home here, and we have been eating like kings since we returned.

It’s been a challenge to press into God and remember why we are here in the midst of both discomfort and comfort, but we have been fighting for our time here to be used well.

To be perfectly honest there is so much that has happened, and continues to happen, that I’m having a hard time writing… But hopefully with this out of the way I can begin to clear the log jam that is my brain at the moment and really let you all into what God is doing over here.

It’s all pretty darn incredible. Thank you for the prayers! Keep them coming, they are appreciated and needed. God bless and Go Cougs.

-Chance

And Now: We Trek

Star Trek: Into Darkness stole my preferred title, so I’m a little bitter, but let me explain why it works so well.

1. Star: we are going with an AllStar trek duo, both our guides have a heart for evangelism and are Tibetan. The reason that’s important is because “Tibetans don’t let people die” which is real encouraging to hear. If you would like their names please email me and I’ll get them to you in some fashion so you can be praying for them.

2.Trek: that’s what we’ll be doing the next 16 days at least. We leave tomorrow for The Annapurnas and an extremely remote pair of villages. We’ve been told it’s going to be the hardest thing we’ve ever done and we believe it because some of the hike will be at altitudes higher than Mt. Ranier’s summit. Nar-Phu is also the snow leopard capital of the world so there’s that. We’ll tell you all about it when we are back, but trust us when we say it is super remote and difficult to get to and that’s in comparison to other treks here in Nepal. Be praying for us: we’ll need it.

3-4. Into Darkness: That’s where we are going. As far as we know there are no believers in this area and very few have ever heard the Gospel. This is where the enemy has had a stronghold for hundreds if not thousands of years, so be praying against the darkness there and the attacks of the enemy as he comes after us, our families, our girlfriends and our friends.

We are happy to boldly go where man has only gone once before (we think) and could not be more excited for the challenge and opportunity to see God work in us so tangibly. Trust us when we say our getting up that mountain is pure work of the Holy Spirit, not us.

The past few days in Kathmandu have flown by. We’ve seen two soccer games, gotten lost in the city twice, eaten so many different places, both gotten explosive diarrhea, met believers in all corners of the city including the monkey temple and got the crap scared out of us by a taxi driver that we thought was abducting us but really took us on a shortcut through the jungle. Life is different here in Kathmandu but I really like it and I think James does too.

Culture shock honestly hasn’t been a thing. The language barrier is the most apparent issue here but that’s it. Tonight we had dinner at a Nepali friends house and found out first hand how insistent Nepalis are about there guests eating a ton. Everytime my plate got close to empty Id hear “oh more more you need to have more here give me plate” and like magic I’d have a new plate of Momo’s. Momo’s are like Chinese dumplings but more delicious, however I ate so many I still feel a little sick.

We’ve eaten so well here id be concerned about gaining weight if it wasn’t for the treks. You eat better here for cheap and the only con is the diarrhea.

Pardon me if I don’t sound too eloquent and creative on this last post before we leave but it’s 10 pm here and I’m so full I could die. And typing this all on a iPhone leaves something to be desired, especially with typos and missing words so bare with me

Monkeys are mean. Found that out at the monkey temple. We also found believers there who used to be Buddhist but now know Jesus and make Himalayan landscape art with Bible verses on them. We each bought one and got to pray for them and then they prayed for us in Nepali, it was super encouraging! The one I liked the most even happened to be of the mountains we’ll be hiking by (the Annapurnas) and I was amazed at God’s encouragement and sovereignty even in such a dark place (follow me on Instagram to see the pic @lastchance101 ).

Here comes the hard part to tell you all. While we are trekking we will have zero contact with you guys. We’ll make contact with some people in Kathmandu at check on stations, but as far as posts or emails or whatever we won’t be doing those. Please know this means no news is good news. If you hear about us halfway into the trek than it probably means we are medicvac-ing one of us to Bangkok.

Speaking of Thailand my Beautiful girlfriend is there right now and us having no communication for a while is going to be hard so please be praying for safety and peace for both of us, that the enemy would have no power over us during this time, and that we would press into the Lord who is our rock and mighty fortress.

This is it my friends! The grand adventure our creator has called us upon. Who says we serve a boring goody-goody God? We serve a great lion who calls us out amongst roaring seas and soaring mountains. Not nearly as much safe as he is good, but I think deep down the word safe has been the Devils leash upon the Lord’s servants. We serve a God of adventure, something he put deep down into our DNA.

So often I hear “oh I wish I could do _____ insert thing but _____ insert lame excuse.” You can! You thinking you can is nothing short of lie from the Devil. If God can use James and I then he can use anybody. He pretty much proved that point in scripture with Peter and Paul.

Ill end this post with some scripture that I’m sure will be imprinted on our hearts before we know it. See you all soon friends! Thanks for the love and prayers, please keep them coming

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:1-8)

Kathmandu: Part 2

Warning: this is a long post.
Jet lag has a way of making you as tired as possible and allowing you to have the smallest amount of sleep possible.

Our first full day in Kathmandu we wake up at 5 am, force ourselves back to bed and get up at 7:30. We continued our journey through Acts and were struck by the power of the Holy Spirt in the early Church. The disciples did not work as ones with their own authority, they spoke as the spirit enabled them. We prayed God would grant us his spirit to boldly proclaim the life, death and resurrection of Jesus for all people as Peter did.

Breakfast comes with your stay at the guest house and we have there options. American style breakfast, Chinese and Nepali. Naturally we chose Nepali and got a delicious meal of eggs, potato curry, naam, and milk tea.

After guzzling it down we ventured up to the third floor where we met the new team consisting of Cody, Kathryn, Brooke, Sam, Matt and Matt (or Matt squared as we call them). They are a short term team here for two weeks. Ryan and Kristen broke down the vision of our mission and as I listened I happen to glance out the window to the north. That’s when I first saw them. The Himalayas. Towering over the foothills and the city were majestic white capped mountains that I had to be sure weren’t clouds upon first glance. Surely God’s majesty could be seen there, and I felt a slight call in the back of mind.

Amidst the orientation we found out James and I are headed to Nar-Foo. Nar-Foo consists of two villages, Nar and Foo. They are some of the most secluded and hard to reach villages, and no one has been there since Ryan last went three years ago. We will be working with two nationals (Nepali partners and trek guides) Batash and Simon Lunduke (Simon is his Christian name).

We were told that for this village James and I are essentially the in to the village for Simon and Batash. It would be very strange for two Nepalis to go and enter this village and witness to people, but with us around they are just guides showing westerners around and they can enter without scrutiny. I don’t have time to break down all the cultural barriers we have to go through, but witnessing from Batash and Simon, with some help from us, is the most effective way to reach these people groups.

We’ve also been told to not expect immediate fruit from this first trek. It takes years of building relationships and sharing with these people before any kind of harvest is ready, and we are expected to be planting seeds and not seeing a ton of believers spring up. However James and I are praying big prayers and we ask that you would as well.

I am amazed with the way God pursues us all. He sends so many teams over so many years to these villages to just let them know he loves them! How great is our Gods love for us and how lucky are we to tell others about him and be used by him. It blows me away just thinking about it. He will not let these people go and neither will we.

After orientation we went to lunch as a big group and ohhhhh mannn it was good! We spent about 5$ each and got plate after plate of food which we are family style. Ill try and throw a picture in below this paragraph

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On our way to the restaurant we stopped by the Boudha Stupa, one of the major Buddhist religious sites in all of the world. Here Buddhists come from all over to earn karma towards enlightenment and it’s a very saddening sight. These people believe that walking around the stupa, spinning prayer wheels, burning incense, lighting candles and ringing bells will earn then extra karma which can be used to reach enlightenment. Buddhists believe enlightenment to be the lack of feeling. They believe desires to be the cause of all suffering in life and to eliminate emotion, including joy, eliminates pain. In essence they want to be completely numb. No happiness, no sadness, just nothing. It’s very sad really. These people are stuck in a hopeless belief based on such frivolous works. I’m so thankful my hope and joy is found in Jesus and I just wish all these people would know him too…

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After lunch we went home and after a quick rest back at Ti-Se ventured off to Thamel with the other group who is here. Thamel is the touristy region of Kathmandu and a big shopping area, perfect for getting gear for our treks.

We need to talk about the roads/traffic/walking. Oh-my-lanta it is madness here. Cars and motorcycles and mopeds go down all roads no matter the size and I’ve almost been hit like 12 times in less than 2 full days. As far as rules of the road are concerned I’m not sure there are any other than honk your horn once at least every thirty seconds.

We took two taxis for 350 rupees each and my taxi had 5 of us crammed inside. No seatbelts, not enough seats and various limbs sticking out windows as we bobbed and weaved through traffic almost hitting this that and the other. I thought we were going to crash several times each trip, but to be honest it was really fun. The song “Jesus Take the Wheel” has never been more real to me and as I type this out I can hear horns going off out the window almost endlessly.

We bonded with the other group really fast and it’s going to be sad to see them leave tomorrow. We walked around Thamel looking for gear and ended up having tea at one mans fabric shop and got to share the gospel with him. His name was Krishnew and he, while not very receptive to what we told him, was thoroughly happy to sit and talk with us. Nepalis of the same gender are very touchy feely so it was really funny to watch Krishnew hold Matt’s arm and stroke him. The black tea he gave us was amazing and when we asked to pray for him he said next time we came by he would and he gave us his card.

Krishnew is Hindi and believes that Jesus and his story are great, but fit in with the many other Gods of his culture. He disagreed when we told him the Bible said there was only one God, but thanked us for sharing something which meant so much to us. Know that this is our mission here. To tell people about Jesus, love on them, hangout with them and let them make their own decisions. We are not out to convert everyone and end their culture. I think the Nepali culture is incredibly unique and should continue, just with Christ and his unending love at the center.

We ate at a pizza place for dinner, yes you read that right, called fire and ice and it was delicious. We had a chicken, potato and corn pizza while we tried to learn Nepali phrases from our new friends and compare differences of the northwest and the south which they are all from. After lots of laughs and good food we thanked God for the community he has given us and called us too and journeyed to find another taxi.

A crowd of drivers met us and after we told them 600 for 2 taxis (6$ USD) they told us there was no way and it had to be at least 700. Finally we walked away and said fine we’ll go ask those other taxi drivers instead. Immediately two of the men said ok ok ok come with us and gave us our price. Gotta love bartering, which we did all day as we looked around for gear.

Once we got home I straight passed out at like 7:30 and woke up the next day at 5 am. James and I did our devotional, prayed over the day and ventured out to the stupa to observe and pray over the area. We got back around 7 and I got to call my Beautiful girlfriend Courtney over Skype and it was so good to hear her voice. I love and miss her very much, and while I’m so happy God is calling us both abroad to his people I can’t wait to be with her again.

We had breakfast with the other team and then met up with some girls who just got back from America but lived in Kathmandu for two years prior. We hung out with them, went to a meeting in someone’s apartment for worship and a sermon with the area M’s and had an amazing lunch in the city with them. The girls will be helping us out these next few days and we are very thankful for them.

After lunch they dropped us off and now here I am watching out first rain and thunderstorm from the balcony. God is so good and I hope this post has been fun for you all and encouraging as to the work God is doing and can do. Ill try to post again tomorrow, until then keep us in your prayers and God bless!

Kathmandu: Part 1

We made it, and boy let me tell you the last few days have been a whirlwind. We’ll catch you up to speed quick fast and in a hurry, just like Nepalis like to drive.

Brutal would be a kind word to describe our layover in Dubai. 21 hours in that place, as city like as it may be, was just too much. We ate McDonalds twice and our last meal in the UAE happened to be at a Irish Deli, who knew?

After sending my last blog post we had a devotional in Acts, talked about ways to prepare ourselves spiritually heading into Kathmandu and did push-ups and an ab routines. Needless to say we got some looks.

At around noon we finally checked in for our flight and after receiving our boarding passes we were told to wait for a bus to take us to terminal 2. Walking out to the bus we realized that the rumors were true and the Middle East is a very dry and dusty place.

Just the two of us rode in this bus that seemed to be driving around aimlessly for 20 minutes. At one point I thought it was going to get on the highway and we legitimately questioned our own safety before we finally pulled up to terminal two which was another mall itself and apparently 30 miles (hyperbole) away from terminal 1.

We boarded the flight, realized we were the tallest and whitest (a unlikely combination) people on the plane, and watched in awe as we flew over God’s creation. This is why we are here after all, bringing him glory, and he flexed his muscles a bit as we flew through thunderstorm after thunderstorm. Each it’s own unique dazzling display of beauty and power. I’d ramble on more but I’ve already posted about lightning storms, that post is further below.

Landing in Nepal we had two main goals: get through customs and find our rides. The first was easy enough. I’m not sure how hard it’s supposed to be getting a visa but we could have been anyone doing anything. Down at baggage claim I discovered the top of my bag was open and the contents were missing. While this was upsetting (sorry about the med kit you got me dad) I was thankful to have my pack and the rest of my gear. We can get plenty of supplies here in Nepal.

As we exit the airport we were greeted by a host of taxi drivers and men trying to carry our luggage for us so we’d have to pay them. Luckily I spotted a white guy who made eye contact with me, smiled and motioned for me to follow. It was Ryan and thankfully we found each other so quickly after meet seeing each other before. I am reminded how God watches over us at all times, even when we aren’t aware of it.

Ryan got a taxi and took us to the hotel. Once there we sat in Ryan and Kristins rooms to talk about the trip, each other (we had never met or talked before other than a few emails) and have some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We got along great, all the people here with The Company are awesome and we’re excited to meet all the other teams.

We went to our room in the lovely Ti-Se Guest house around noon and found two beds, a closet, a little TV and a attached bathroom. The beds feel more like thick cardboard over plywood and the bathroom is a big shower but it’s perfect for a couple of college kids like us, we wouldn’t want anything more.

We sat in our room and talked about the fact that we were actually here. God ‘s faithfulness on full display, we glanced out the window at the lightning storm over Kathmandu and dreamt of the adventures God has in store for us. So often people describe Christians as boring, however I would contend my life has been anything but since I became sold out for Christ. That’s also the picture we see in the Bible of Christian experience. Not a boring personal faith of rules to be a good person, but a daring public declaration of the hope and joy we have in our great God and a yearning to share that wherever he may call us. If you have a heart for adventure like me, that just might be Kathmandu.

Have you ever felt on the edge of something truly extraordinary? Following Jesus I think we always are

Calm Before the Storm

After a 14 and a half hour flight we are safely in Dubai. We have to admit, we’ve never been on an international flight before, much less Emirates, so we thought everything was the coolest.

Cameras outside the plane so every seat is a window seat? The coolest. A little sleep pack with complimentary toothbrush/toothpaste, eye cover and socks? The coolest. Strange warm towel thing at the beginning of the flight? Sorta cool. Being able to watch 47 Ronin, The Legend of Hercules and The Lego Movie in one sitting? The coolest. Three or four rounds of free food that isn’t terrible? The coolest.

However as we enjoyed the opulence of travel I felt the heaviness of the people and culture around me. Most of the people on that plane were of Muslim or Hindi descent and it dawned on me that many if not most of the people did not know Christ and have probably never even been prayed for*. This weighed on my heart, but I was also distracted by the travel process and didnt take time to meet those around me or much time at all to pray for those on the plane.

As we sit in the airport for our 21 hour layover the experience is much of the same. Friends don’t let the enemy and your selfish hearts distract you from those who do not know the glory of God. Please pray we would remember this is no vacation, and while experience the fun and newness of travel that we would be mindful of our purpose here.

Dubai’s airport is like a city unto itself. Like holy crap guys. There is legit a mall in here and two food courts and we are only in B wing. Our first meal abroad was real adventurous: McDonalds, but hey don’t judge us, airport food is expensive.

After trying to sleep on chairs around the food court for about three hours, and eventually surrendering them to some Australian girls out of frustration.
, we found a secluded section of airport with carpet, long benches and most importantly: no one to tell us not to sleep there. So we slept behind the benches on the ground until about 5:30 and now here we are.

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There’s been a lot of downtime during this layover. Pray we use it wisely to prepare our hearts for arriving in Kathmandu. This has been a walk in the park so far, but I have a feeling it’s just the calm before the storm. And historically speaking that’s Gods favorite time to call you out of the boat.

Send Us

The time has come again for another grand adventure. The feeling is familiar but God has thrown a curveball with the destination. I am headed to South East Asia, with a backpack, a good friend and not much else. To be completely honest I’m in way over my head, and I have been from the very beginning.

We said there was no way God could be calling us where he was. He did. We said there was no way we could raise the support needed to go. We have. Each step along the way can be attributed to nothing less than the power of the Holy Spirit, and its that fact which both excites and terrifies me.

I love the display of God’s sovereignty, provision and care. In Matthew Jesus points to the birds of the air and flowers of the field and says if my Father looks after these then how much more does he look after you? I see what he means now. We are not to be idle, but if we are actively seeking God’s will and the means to achieve it he will provide. However it is also very clear in scripture that these things in no way come from us and all good things come from the Lord. He tells his disciples to go with only their tunics and sandles, no money, no food and to know that the Holy Spirit will get them through things they could never do themselves.

So now here we are awaiting departure with several acts of the Holy Spirit tucked beneath our belts and I am terrified. Terrified/fired-up/excited-out-of-my-mind for what we are going to be thrown into which we cannot do on our own. This will be a trip not about what Chance and James did, but about what the Holy Spirit did despite Chance and James. We, who are so broken, want to bring God’s glory to the nations. Who are we to do such a thing? Not ones going because of how holy we are or because we are so righteous. No we are going because we are so beneath deserving God’s love and he has still loved us anyways. He has picked us up and molded us to be more like him and he continues to do so despite how often we fail him, and how regularly we doubt.

But we serve a great and faithful God. One who does not see mountains and awes, but holds them in his hands. I believe that we are going to do what Jesus talks to his disciples about in the great commision. What Jesus calls us ALL to do: bring his glory and his gospel to the nations. How awesome is that? We serve a God of adventure, the Lion of Judah and no he is not safe, but he is good.* Here’s what I’m trying to get across: God is so incredibly good, I hope he works in us, and man oh man I am excited.

Now you are probably at least a little interested in logistics hmm? We fly out of Seattle today at 5:45. From there its a straight 15 hour shot to Dubai with a splendid 17 hour layover (city exploring time) and then off to our final destination where we will land, get our visas, get picked up and start prepping for the mountains. We dont know much, we dont have much and I am stoked to go through at least some of the similar feelings the disciples went through as they were sent out. Who can add even a day to their life by worrying?

So it is with wreck-less abandon that we dare to trust our God**. Please be praying for us and be praying often, I think we’ll be needing it out there. We’ll pop up on the grid when we have wifi but there will be 2 stints of about 3 weeks each that we will be in the mountains without contact. Assume no news is good news. I will try to update this blog as often as possible, but know that we only have one computer and dont know what our schedules or tech capabilities are quite yet.

Please subscribe to this blog if you would like continued updates. To close us off I wrote a little poem, hope you like it.      *props to CS Lewis **props to David Platt

 

 

We heard a whisper. We felt a call.

But we before you are nothing
With saints, the least of these
Amongst sinners, the greatest

We spat in the face of righteousness, danced on the grave of the most high
His perfection we despised, His beauty we afflicted and we esteemed Him not

More Barabas than Baptist, we deserve nothing less than our banishment

But instead of death in fire we found living water
Shown grace
Shown redemption
Shown fulfillment in the glory of God from most high

Lord if its You, tell us to come to You

I Am that I Am. Now whom shall I send? And who will go for us?

Here we are. Send us.

Lightning and Thunder

Lightning pullman

Lightning flashes and Thunder rolls demonstrating the presence and voice of God. Think of it like this. Our souls live on a dark planet, a world constantly at midnight. The stars shimmer and dazzle all, leaving the faint knowledge of something more. Heavenly lanterns faintly illuminate the world around us, vague outlines and shadows, and where adventure calls to us, society tells us the world is too dangerous. “You don’t want to see whats really out there so stay still, don’t move, and keep your eyes on the stars.”

However God calls each of us according to his purpose, and the lion cub of Judah was never one to be subtle. Lightning. Fury, glory, rage, power, eloquence and most of all, righteousness, announce the presence of God. A flash of light, a millisecond in length, illuminates the darkness light as day. All can be seen, from his great mountains to his vast oceans, but as soon as they appeared they were gone. You question, was that God or just me? Could I have possibly imagined all of that? Could God have possibly revealed all of that for me? Wait for it… Thunder. The voice of God calls. Like it called David and Abraham before you, it does not meekly ask for your compliance, it roars. It demands the fear of God. Can you hear his power? Can you feel it? That tingle you get when it rolls over the hills, the way the hair stands on the back of your neck as you slowly count out the seconds from the strike… One mississippi… Two mississippi… That was close. God calls us close to our hearts. Too close for comfort for some, we hear the thunder and retreat in fear. The beauty, the majesty, the love, the rage, the grace, the power, the fury, the omnipotence of God is too much. But God doesn’t call us to fear and shrink back into our comfort zone. He doesn’t call us to admire his storm from a distance either. He calls us to be storm chasers. So often we are stuck in darkness and too scared to go searching for light.

So what will it be? Will our souls acknowledge the power of His voice in our lives and seek further his light? Will we catch that glimpse of the glory of God and come running? Maybe tonight has been your glimpse, if so, brace yourself. Here comes Thunder calling.

Elevate 8-5-13 The Final Post

I don’t want to write this post because it means it’s really over… But alas I can hear the rain outside and the dull grey of the Puget Sound reminds me I am indeed home. Where did two and half months go? Better question: where did I go? Because the person I am today looks nothing like the man I was on May 18th. I’ve grown in ways I didn’t think were possible, and now I believe Drew Worsham (the mastermind of the trip) when he said you would gain years of spiritual experience in just 10 weeks.

Where do I start? I guess I’ll start with community. There is NOTHING like biblical community. If you aren’t in it then go find it right now. People who are a guide for you, there for you, willing to go to bat for you, call out your faults and all the while love you and point to Jesus as the example and last word, not themselves. You ever want true friends? The kind of bond you see in a movie between two individuals after decades go by? I made 40 of those relationships in 10 weeks. That’s what Jesus can do. That’s what fighting side-by-side with one another, failing with one another, succeeding with one another and honestly, completely and unabashedly doing life together in Christ can do.

I didn’t stroll through these 10 weeks. None of us did. None of us were good enough, or tried hard enough or prayed hard enough, or (insert really stereotypical Christian thing to do here) enough. We all fell apart at one point or another and no one judged someone else for it. We just loved each other. Why? Not because we had to, or because it was the right thing to do. Just because Jesus loves us and honestly that’s enough.

We practiced various spiritual disciplines; I prefer the word habits, during the trip. For the first time I viewed them as something I can do to draw closer to God and not rules that God gets mad at me for not doing. For example I memorized and read scripture willingly for the first time since… well probably ever. It was something previously done for a grade, but now it’s being done to explore the heart of God and to keep in my heart. For example Romans 5:8, Psalm 139:23-24, James 5:16, Romans 8:28, Matthew 6:33, 1 Corinthians 13:10 and so many other verses are now seared into my heart.  Understanding them brings me closer to the Lord, and their power is an aid in times of temptation and struggle.

Its about having a FOUNDATION in the Lord. So often you see Christians fail because what are they built on? John 3:16? That’s a fantastic start but it’s a pebble, not a solid foundation. I speak about this from experience. I failed a lot and sat stagnant because I had no foundation. Don’t get me wrong I’m still going to fail, but with a solid foundation in Jesus you can still grow. To illustrate it imagine the classic parable of the men who built their houses on sand and rock.

For the Christian who tries to build upon the pebble, every time he gets somewhere the weather tears his house down. He just cant last amongst the elements, it isn’t possible. This is like a Christian who either A: goes through life thinking he doesn’t need spiritual discipline and wonders why he/she are victimized by spiritual warfare so easily or B: Christians who go from zero disciplines to trying to participate in them all right away. For B, he/she will build, build, build and then get burnt out as each time they build it crumbles down around them. The Christian who builds upon a foundation of Scripture, memorization, prayer and time spent getting to know God will be able to actually build his/her house. Sure, he/she will mess up and make some wrong measurements, but they just have to redo that specific part of the house, the whole thing doesn’t crumble to the ground. You still see progress. You still see growth.

That’s me from this summer. Did I mess up? You betcha, BUT I’ve seen so much growth and progress and the really encouraging part is that it isn’t all spontaneously combusting now that I’m home.

Lets see, where else should I take this. I guess girls are a good subject, so dudes listen up. I spent a summer living with/loving on 30+ girls as sisters in Christ and its been such a drama free relief. Seriously. Learn to love and appreciate the women around you for who they are in Jesus. Stop looking around and thinking “hmm I could date her” or any other thought that pops into our pervy little heads. Don’t worry I am still a realist and I know, girls are cute, heck girls are hot and worst of all some are drop dead gorgeous. You will fail, I know I did at times, but honor their hearts, keep your eyes where they should be, don’t try and show off or boast and treat them all equal (cause they are) and with respect. I was so blessed by the relationships I was able to form with the girls on this trip and I saw the beauty that comes from a true woman of faith, eagerly seeking the Lord.

Alcohol is another good talking point. I wont be drinking this year in Pullman. At all. Some of you don’t know that yet and reading this may come a bit of a surprise or a “psh, yeah right” moment. But I’m serious. I’ve felt called from drinking for a while now and I’m not going to ignore that call any longer. Honestly last semester I would have fun in the moment but I would hate myself every morning waking up. I just felt empty. For those who know me well you might try and call BS and say “I saw you have tons of fun” but ask my housemate Matt, he could tell something was wrong for a while… I just spent a summer sober and it was the best summer of my life and the happiest I have been in a long time. Also I will be a freshman village leader next year and part of the rules of that is not drinking while you are in Pullman. Even if you are 21. So that’s what I’m gonna do. If I’m in Pullman ( and I think Moscow too actually) you can bet I’ll be sober.

I just realized my last post on here was from… a month ago. So you are probably wondering what we actually did the last month. We spent 4th of July on the beach (rough I know) and spent our last weeks spending as much time as possible with our co-workers and friends in California. I hungout with Miguel in Balboa park and got to share the Gospel with him a bit, and we people-watched at comic-con which was so epic haha. Another co-worker from Petsmart, Steve, started going to Church with the flood group and hanging out with us every Sunday and playing ultimate Frisbee or Soccer. I found cliffs to jump off of around La Jolla Cove so that was really cool. Some family friends came down from Washington and had us over to Coronado for dinner. TYLER GOT BAPTIZED and it was freaking awesome haha coolest moment of the trip for me for sure. Also sarah, a girl who we thought was going to leave and wasn’t a Christian, has been moved so much by God its incredible. I love seeing the way God is preparing her heart and I’m gonna try to steal some of her poems and post them here because they are beautiful.

WHAT ELSE?! We went to a water park the second to last day in SD and that was a blast. Gah there is just too much to make this sound coherent. We had our last Sunday at Mission Trails Church and all got journals and coffee cups (it got a little emotional) and I had to say goodbye to my Broncos friend from church Geoffrey.  I hurt my shoulder the last day of Ultimate Frisbee so that’s a bummer, it still doesn’t feel right. I was told several times the last month that I should be a pastor so there is that. Its in my blood so who knows? I’m just going to be listening this next year and see where God calls me, but I feel like its going to be somewhere in ministry, of what kind I’m just not sure.

I miss all my friends now that I’m home. BUT home has been the best its been in a long time. I’ll enjoy spending time with family this next week, but I’m so excited to get back to Pullman and continue to grow with our community and to just make it bigger. That and I miss Pullman and Football very, very much.

So I think this is where I’ll leave it. Somewhere around the 1500 word mark haha. I want to say thank you so much to the people who prayed for me, and supported me financially. You’ll all be getting notes and things of that nature, but you honestly have no idea how much it means to me that you took the time to invest in the best summer of my life, and I hope you all know that I consider you spiritual investors in me. Please continue to read my blog as I’ll be posting about my adventures in Pullman in both professional and spiritual endeavors.

God bless everybody, Jesus is so good.

–Chance Chaffin

 

Elevate 7-1-13 Trust in the Un-trustable: Why Logic Fails and thats the Point

I have trust issues. Trust issues in that I have no problem trusting people I barely know, but I shy away from trusting more obvious choices for advice and insight. Perhaps you are the exact opposite. You trust your immediate friends or parents to a fault, letting their will become your own. I’ve met both kinds of people and neither is worse than the other. The funny thing is that they all have a central trust issue in common. They don’t trust God.

Honestly can you blame them? Several times I have found myself pondering whether or not God is even real. That’s a hurdle I think is more accurately defined as a high jump or pole-vault. You cant see him, you cant hear him, you cant test for him, you cant gather scientific data, you cant find a shred of evidence that would pass in a court of Law. If your life depended on proving God to a judge with tangible evidence, you might as well strap yourself into the electric chair while preparing your case.

Its not logical. But that’s also the point. The whole experience of knowing God is built upon a foundation. Faith. Its the very first thing you need to follow Jesus. Even the desperate drug addict who cries out to God with no other options is basing his please on faith, be it a desperate faith, that someone will answer. That someone is really there. Now see, this is incredibly important because everything else you do in Christ is going to build off of that faith. God’s very first call to our spirit is to trust that he is even there. “Trust me.”

Once we break this barrier, we dive into trusting God with our lives. This is something every Christian will battle with for the rest of their lives. Do we trust God to do whats best for us? Do we do what he calls us to even when its the exact opposite of what we want to do? Logically its flawed again, but once again that’s the point. In order to trust God with your life you have to give it up completely. For instance I take pride in all my extra-curricular activities in college. I put my identity in them, and to be honest they plain stressed me out after a while. But they defined me so I didn’t want to let go of the ledge I so desperately clung to. God reached his hand out and said “trust me.”

But what if you drop me? What if you aren’t strong enough? What if you aren’t for me? What if you aren’t good? What if this is a trick? What if I cant jump far enough? What if I fail? What if? …..

We spend so much time concerned about God’s intentions or our own strength, we don’t focus enough on the biggest question: What if He’s right? And I’ll let you in on a little secret. He is. HE IS. He is good, He is strong enough, He is for you. Want to hear another secret?

No matter how hard you try, or think, or will yourself you CANNOT do it on your own. That’s why logic fails you. If logic got you through, What would you need God for? You could figure it out on your own right? You could reason it all out… But you cant. Sooner or later what you can see is going to fail you.

God starts you off with that foundation of faith so in the future when you are called to give, to go, to talk, to walk away, to love, to fight, or to be still you will listen even when the logic fails. As logic fails and God’s plan unravels you will begin to see a heavenly logic that is beyond the world of man. Strange thing is, what started off as un-see-able, un-trustable and illogical now is the most important, tangible, trustable and logical thing you have.

Elevate 7-1-13 Trip Update

Guys writing something around here is really hard. I’m the kinda guy that needs zero distractions to write, and that situation is practically impossible around here. Thankfully God blessed me with a day off today, and the rest of the guys are at work, so I have locked myself in my room and have some room to think! So lets get to it shall we?

Certain days just leave me riding high, and yesterday was one of those days. Which is strange cause it started off a little embarrassing. In an attempt to give myself more time for showering and eating I set my alarm for 6:45. However sleepy me (never trust sleepy me) insisted hitting the snooze button was a good idea. 10 minutes later my alarm rings throughout the room yet again and as I hit it, Evan jumps out of bed and gets in the shower… Son of a… James proceeds to start getting ready as well. There goes my window of opportunity, so I decide to cut my losses and just go get some food first.

If you’ve ever lived with me, spent the night at my house or vice versa, or worked with me in the morning you know I look like I got hit by a truck first thing in the morning. My mood is about twice as bad. So as I saunter to the breakfast buffet 2 minutes removed from my slumber, I’m lookin real good. I walked by a group of girls from the trip , greeted with “mornin sunshine” and several other variations of greetings to which I nod and simply walk right by them all. Embarrassed isnt the right word, and it might be a little bit of an understatement for how I was feeling. I dont like looking bad in front of people, especially cute girls so that got me down a bit. BUT God used it to reveal an area I need to work on. I cant go around so concerned with peoples perception of me. That might seem real generic and think because it is, we tend to think that issue isnt very big, but it is HUGE. A total foothold for the enemy, and a generator for pride and comparison. So I’m trying to give that up to God, and some prayer for that would be excellent. I encourage you to find areas you need to give up and work on doing that yourself, as well as seeking out community to pray for you/keep you accountable for staying out of that sin.

The rest of the day went swimmingly.  Church was awesome, Kyle talked about spiritual disciplines, which we got a sneak preview of last week during teaching. Subject matter included reading your Bible and practicing diligence while being realistic with your goals. We were challenged to read the New Testament in 90 days (they provided a daily reading plan) and I’m going to do it, I dont think I’ve ever actually gone through the whole New Testament before.

We help with setup and tear down at Mission Trails Church, and its always a blessing to be able to serve people and see their gratitude for the simple tasks we perform. After tear down Tyler and I choreographed a fight scene (video is on instagram) and we ventured off into the commnunity to pass out flyers for a community BBQ we are sponsoring with Mission Trails this Saturday. We will be running the event, giving the MTC staff a chance to mingle and get to know the community.

It was hot out. Like it used to be warm here everyday, and now its officially hot. Like really hot. I wanted to take my shirt off the whole time we did flyers but I guess it wasnt “appropriate”… The second we passed out the last flyer I said “are we done representing Mission Trails now?” “Yes” *Shirt flies off*…

After getting home we decided the beach time is the best time, so we showed our friend Eric (who is the video man for Resonate and visiting for a few days) around La Jolla Shores. I think we got some really cool video of us all (yes I was flexing everytime I saw the camera, I have self-esteem issues ok?) and spending times around waves and sand is never a bad thing. I’m so thankful for the place we get to call home this summer. Eric kept asking if we could believe where we were and at first I was like “well yeah, we’ve been here for like a month and a half” but then I realized I was getting a little complacent with my surroundings. I dont want to take this for granted, its the best summer of my life and I have only Jesus to thank for it.

After getting back to the hotel we had dinner in BBQ form with everyone and it was a delicious blast. Ultimate Frisbee followed soon after and I friggin love Ultimate Frisbee. There is a competitive nature at the heart of every man and its not often I get to work those muscles anymore. After Frisbee we watched a movie and I got a shoulder massage that 1. was awesome and I loved it but 2. Shouldnt have happened because our leaders asked us to stop letting that happen, so I need to talk to my friend about that (which I really dont want to cause I <3 shoulder/back massages but damn it imma do it)

Then we went to bed. A great day to be sure. I’m also starting to learn that everyday doesnt have to be great, and the true character of someone comes from how they pursue God on the bad days. The other day my friend (the same girl who gave me the shoulder massage) had a family issue dropped on her during her lunch break and then got bit by a dog (she works at petsmart) in the face an hour later. By a German Shepherd no less. Thats a crappy day. Instead of cursing God (at least to me) she said how lucky she felt to be ok and that God was good… Wow. That’s faith and perseverance of another level. My friend Georgia exhibits the same thing as her mom battles health concerns. They are total inspirations for pursuing the Lord and thanking him even when the sun is gone and the rain is pouring down. I don’t do that enough.

But hey everybody, I’m human and loved by the creator of the Universe. I’ll never be perfect and thats the point so all I can do is thank God for these people who lead me closer to him try to put that action in my own life.

Hope summer is going well all. Godbless and peace out.