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Friday, June 17, 2011

Life Update

Dear Friends, Family, and Randoms,

Well in this day and age its pretty easy to follow people and what they are doing through Facebook and all that jazz, but even still, if you aren’t in consistent contact with those people you only seem to get little snapshots of what they are up to. So my hope with this letter is to give a better picture of my journey and what I’m up to for those who care about me and even for those who don’t know me very well. My hopes are to inspire, and to arise a reaction to seek happiness, joy, and passion. If it weren’t for people before me who continue to be my inspirations I think it would be a lot harder of a process.

So there was a certain point last year when I realized I had become very empty. Empty of Passion, Drive, Happiness, Creativity, Emotion, and pretty much empty of Life. The few things it seemed to keeping me human were my girlfriend and the few friends and family members I would see on an irregular basis. But for the most part it felt like I had turned into a robot. The realization of this came, in part, by a very time demanding job I had for the first six months of last year. (Glenn, Gina, and James: With that said I want to make sure to thank you and let you know I appreciate all the work that you did give me this year and last year). The job wasn’t the sole cause if this emptiness for the process had started way before, but it was the icing on the cake. I think my cousin Erik summed up my situation to a tee in his recent blog post describing a new art project he is starting called Fish Out of Water.

(http://abelarts.blogspot.com/2011/06/... http://static.networkedblogs.com/static/images/close.png)

I realized that I was not living the life I had a glimpse of years ago and the life I thought I had wanted. So I started thinking of the things that had given me fulfillment in the past. Immediately what came to mind were my travels to Mexico throughout my life, my trips overseas to Hawaii, Indonesia, Philippines, and local outreaches to people in need. I loved experiencing life with other people and other cultures, and living in community with them, hearing their stories and sharing mine. There was only one catch though… All those things had a unifying quality, which was the desire to share with people what I believed in, my faith and what I believed to be the reason we are all here. The reason why that was a catch was because through the process of becoming a metaphorical robot my faith had diminished, and I wasn’t sure what I believed in anymore. And somehow I had even become cynical about religion and faith. So I took that part out of the equation and just thought about other reasons to travel, thinking that would still help bring me fulfillment… I looked into working with humanitarian organizations, work abroad programs in New Zealand, even the Peace Core. These thoughts of exploring the world again started awakening old desires that I had, one of them being connecting with 3 half siblings from my dad’s first marriage on their home turf. So I figured what better time than now to do what I had always wanted to do. So I chose to take the summer last year to travel to Tennessee and North Carolina where they lived. I gave my notice at work that I would be leaving for the summer, liquidated as many of my belongings as I could, packed my life in my truck and on June 14 last year left California.

Even though I previously decided to look at other reasons to travel besides being a missionary, I wanted to make sure I left Cali with an open mind because I knew those times had produced some of the best times of my life. I wanted to be open to whatever this journey had in store for me. Once I got to North Carolina things just started falling into place. Like I was definitely supposed to be out there at that exact time. I found a job with relative ease and connecting with my family was amazing. At one of my sister’s suggestions I took a pottery class at the university in hopes to start meeting people. One of the people I met in the class told me about a church she went to during one of our conversations and I decided one Sunday to check it out. I seemed to connect with the pastors teaching style pretty well because reminded me of one of the churches I would go to back home in Cali (And because he is a surfer). Then after the service I was lingering in the lobby reading the bulletin board and in passing a girl stopped and asked who the heck I was then invited me to a dinner she was having with a bunch of her friends that night. I don’t think she actually expected me to come but I thought what the hell, I’m supposed to be open to things this trip right…? After that night I started meeting more of her friends and to my surprise I just seemed to fit right in and I didn’t really understand it at first. I started going to church with them on a regular basis and slowly the walls I had somehow put in between myself church started to breakdown and I started realizing what I was missing in my life. Then in September I went back to Cali so see family and to go to friends wedding in Mammoth, a city up in the mountains. There was a moment when I was up on this over look with my good friend Ryan and this inner turmoil started to brew, and finally I just told God that I was tired of being empty and decided I wasn’t going to be cynical towards him anymore. It wasn’t’ getting me anywhere in life, and I wasn’t happier because of it. Then that night at a church service three people randomly came up to me at different times who I didn’t know and started talking to me about the different things that I had been dealing with for the past couple years. It was like a progression. Each person talked about different issues I was having and each person went to a deeper level. The only explanation I have for that was it was God responding to what I had said to him on that look out. That he heard me. I really do believe that God was speaking to me through those people. There was no way that they knew what I was battling with in my mind.

So When I got back to North Carolina a woman went up in front of church one Sunday and described a little about her story and said that she was re-committing her life to following God again and encouraged anyone else who felt they wanted to do the same to come up. And so that day I decided to live my life for God again! And since then everything that I felt had disappeared these last couple years has stared coming back. Passion, Emotion, Joy, Creativity… And I thank the community of people I became a part of in Boone for helping me cultivate all those things as well. I even got pretty content with staying in Boone for a while which was crazy because it’s in the mountains of North Carolina… And I’m a surfer from Southern California… But God knows me pretty well and knows my desires and just as I got content with staying in Boone he started giving me opportunities for travel. Through mutual friends in Boone I met this guy who lives on the outer banks of North Carolina, A BEACH COMMUNITY, and he invited me to come out there for the summer to surf and help him out with a skate park ministry that he runs. I also have been recently contacted by someone I don’t even know who presented an opportunity to get involved with YWAM again, the missionary organization I was a part of in 2006. This time I would be a leader instead a student, and instead of it being based in Hawaii it will be based in New Zealand. One of the places I was interested in going to for a work abroad program.

So to bring it all back around I think that I would be an idiot if I didn’t say yes to these new opportunities that have been presented to me. Its what I have been searching for. So on June 14th, exactly one year to the date since I had left California I packed up my truck again, left Boone and headed for Hatteras, North Carolina to help my friend Jerry out with his skate park ministry and hopefully be able to mentor some cool kids at the park. (And catch some hurricane swell!!) And as far as the YWAM opportunity… The school doesn’t start until next march, but they are suggesting I make a visit this October to check out the base, meet all the staff and help get the facility ready for this specific school. The idea for the visit is that I get a better feel for the commitment to be a part of the leadership team there. There will be a more specific update about this as I learn more about it.

In closing I want to thank you for taking the time to read this update on my life. I ended up writing a lot more than I had planned which is great. I want everyone to know exactly what I’m up to. Many of you have supported me through prayer, through encouragement, and have even supported me financially during my last trip with YWAM. I thank you all for that and I’m going to still need all that prayer and encouragement throughout this summer and my journeys ahead.

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