Experiences in which you find yourself wondering, "How did I get here?"
When I joined YWAM back in 2004, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with my life, or even what I wanted to do. Since then, I have had adventure after adventure and experience after experience in which I learned more and more about what God built me for, and the gifts he's given me. Not only that, he's given me a voice to be able to point these things out in other young peoples' lives. I am truly grateful for everything God has entrusted me with, and that he is trustworthy and more faithful than I could ever imagine. In this new year, I want to remain focused on how He has never let me down, and how he is ALWAYS there the instant I incline my heart towards him. I've experienced the wonder of His grace. While I don't know exactly where my road is taking me, I have thousands of miles of my journey behind me to assure me that I am in good hands. With every new sunrise, my heart is gladdened to know such an amazing God and that he calls me friend. This trip to Catalina Island was one of the things that cause me to pause and just wonder what in the world I did to deserve to have such amazing experiences and meet such wonderful people. Praise God!!
This is our completed Barrel-Ponics system. The design and plans were developed by Travis Hughey. He was kind enough to publish them under public license so they are free to use for anyone, but I wanted to give him credit for this well though out, compact little system. If you are curious about aquaponics and have a few square feet, you could very build one of these yourself for $500-$600, or less if you are good at scrounging. You can check the plans and his work out at: http://www.fastonline.org/ This system is running on Goldfish, but you could raise a few Tilapia in it if you wanted. Mountain and Sea Adventures (aka MSA), who brought me in, will be working with the Boy Scouts of America to build a bigger one at their camp at Emerald Bay. Here is their site for more info on what they do. A big thanks to them for giving me the chance to instruct on aquaponics for the first time!
Catalina Island is managed by a Conservancy that have pledged to keep the Island undeveloped and preserve it's natural beauty. Bison are one of the animals you will see there. They have a small herd there which actually came to the island as scenery for a movie being shot there in the 20's. They did well on Catalina though and now they are a managed herd of about 150. The island has tons of hiking trails and is truly beautiful. Also, whales can be seen from its shores! I wasn't fortunate enough to get to see one, but that would have been a great moment for me. Also on the island are several Boy Scout camps. As an Eagle Scout, I thought about how amazing it would have been to be able to come to this island as a boy. I also really enjoyed meeting some of the staff at Emerald Bay (which MSA leases to use for their educational camps) and swapping stories from Scouting.
My Upcoming Thailand Trip
I can't believe I leave again in only 12 days! I am very excited for this trip though. Not only will I get to learn more about aquaponics and also help implement a few systems, but I will be able to reconnect with people in the village my team stayed in when I was there last year (a few hours south from Bangkok). It means a lot to me that I get the chance to be back there again so soon. I know it will be a huge blessing for the people there to see me again, as they don't get many visitors. We may even get to put an aquaponics system up there.
As with any trip, there have been changes, and I'm sure there will be more. Due to things not being ready on the ground and a few other factors, it looks like I will not be going to Bali, as Bonnie will not be going there until the fall now and I want to spend as much time interfacing with her as I can. I will, however, be heading to Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand) to check out a couple of the systems they have built/are building there. I've also been given a contact in Malaysia who is doing a lot in aquaponics, so if it works out I may go see him.
I am really looking forward to the doors God will open during this trip. Thanks again to everyone who made it possible for me to go!
Some prayer requests: Travel to go smoothly and quickly, Communication with my contacts, Fruitful connections and conversations with people there, and keeping God's perspective while I am there.
Here's just a picture of some of the hiking I got to do on Catalina. Gorgeous place!
2013 has gotten off to a great start. I'm looking forward to everything in store in the coming months. A huge thank you to everyone for the prayers and financial sacrifices you all do to keep me on this road. I hope you are well, and would love to hear from you!!