XXXI: El Salvador

It’s not that I’m running out of creative titles, but instead I think this one is a bit more important to be upfront.

We’re heading to El Salvador, Darco and myself.

We’ve made the commitment to head back into Central America this July; being led by God and tackling hard issues along the way to come to this decision. This will be the first time that Darco and I have worked together on a mission trip (and only the fourth time in my life a family member has been with me on a mission trip). This’ll also be her first time venturing outside of the United States; as you can tell from previous posts, travel isn’t really big on her list of experiences so for even a week culture shock could happen (more than likely, she’ll not want to come back to the States afterwards).

We’ll leave on the second week of July, that’ll give me a few days rest from my first big race in Arizona, and will give me two weeks worth of rest before racing in Pittsburgh….a week before school starts.

Needless to say, El Salvador has become the focal point of the summer, our hearts, and trying to spiritually prepare to let God do His thing, and for me to back off my overwhelming tendencies of panic, doubt, and fear.

Darco has taken it a step further, she’s actually created a “Go Fund Me” page for us. You’ve got all the details right here.

One of the key components to this whole event; hearing the simple question asked…

Would you be interested in running a soccer camp in El Salvador?

Soccer Clinic I

How can I refuse an open door like that?


P.S. If you’re interested in donating to this rather epic adventure, check out our GoFundMe page!

XXXI: Jumping In

I’ve spent all night trying to remember if I’d used that title before…

Most aspects of my life I at least try to measure out. I calculate the angles, pray, and do my best.

However, as data has been collected over the years, I’ve noticed that there has consistently been one exception to the rule:

Mission Trips Continue reading


Let the nerd-fest begin!

There are a few things, about this writer, that you should be aware of (as if you didn’t already know):

I dominated the entire bowl of ramen!

I dominated the entire bowl of ramen!

  • I thoroughly enjoy dropping the bass with EDM tracks…it’s just how I roll…
  • I watch way more anime  compared to any normal soul within a two hundred mile radius of my apartment
  • Darco still loves me

The true gift of the rice ball? The surprise in the middle!

The true gift of the rice ball? The surprise in the middle!

Tonight, for sheer entertainment, let’s look at the second point. Anime. Most times this word is used it is used incorrectly, or has some unknown strange attachment to it.

Anime really is just cartoons that have been created in Japan (primarily) that depict a wide range of cultural aspects of the community. From ‘slice of life’ moments such as high school, to sci-fi, to getting lost inside video games. Recently, I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy learning more about another culture by way of watching anime episodes, all of them are in Japanese, so I’m learning to love subtitles as well.

I could spend more time talking about this, but that’s for another day. One thing nearly all of these shows have in common is the style of food that is being consumed. It’s always rice balls and ramen, rice balls and ramen, and now your standard college instant ramen…like…hardcore ramen from ramen shops (they exist)!

Due to watching so much of this I decided to go hunting for a ramen shop in the city closest to us, and wouldn’t you know it…I FOUND ONE!

Darco and I, knowing nothing about the food, traveled to this ramen shop and had the time of our lives. Rice balls, fried pork cutlets, shaved ice, and ramen (mine was miso, hers was pork). It was a riot, and for me…hehe…it was just like the shows I watch! It’s fine to facepalm yourself and laugh while reading this, I openly embrace my random ‘nerdiness’.

On the one serious note associated with it, as I told Darco, it was a nice reminder that God continues to give me a burning passion for other cultures outside of my own. I tried food that I couldn’t pronounce, and didn’t use a fork once (I’m skilled like that). As with anything else, it always makes me wonder…what else is out there waiting to be discovered?


XO: Nehemiah Fest


It feels good to be in comfortable skin again.

Once upon a time, many, many years ago my favorite time of the year was the summer. It wasn’t due to school being out, pool parties, or even family vacations. As cheesy as the notion sounds, it all revolved around two events: church camp and mission trips. Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: Coffee Encounters

It’s always enjoyable knowing that nothing but strange things tend to take place at coffee shops.

Tonight was no different.

While making repairs to my laptop [it was due up for some spring cleaning] Dur and I saw a women walk in wearing a Minnesota Women’s Soccer shirt.

Now, the Starbucks up here is a snare of Kansas City Shock if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Darco mans the register, that’s the first hit. Likely afterwards you’re going to get me in the corner, and if you make it past me it’s only a matter of time before Dur gets you. That’s just how the store works up here in the north. We didn’t plan it, but we all three spend so much time there it only makes sense.


So, this woman walks into the store and Darco nails her; seeing the soccer logos on the shirt. That starts the chain reaction of sports, soccer, and the Kansas City Shock. Eventually the young woman sits next to Dur and myself and we start asking the ’20 question’ game. Through this process a question kept brewing in my head, she was new to the area, went through some fascinating troubling times, and was recreating herself [sound familiar]? That’s when she made note of the softball team at the church she’s going to, which gave way to the question I was begging to ask; church involvement.

“Oh, I go to Missouri Valley. It’s a really small church.”

Missouri Valley = MoVal

Somehow, someway, shameful to myself I’ve missed this woman over the past month. We spent some time sharing our stories of getting to MoVal, love for soccer, her unique love for cultures and travel, and some humor in between. The whole time I’m in disbelief that we’d been at the same church [of 70 people] and completely missed one another.

The story itself is absolutely fascinating, and made for some good laughs. However, personally it really helped as well. I was really, really dialed into MoVal today. I felt comfortable, directed, and alive. It was a great realization to be back ‘home’ after this weeks spiritual findings. More importantly, I had complained to my girlfriend earlier this weekend that I couldn’t hear God, He was silent. Since those moments; it feels like my ears have just now been unclogged. The passion of the people, the messages that I’ve received, the questions, the meetings, everything in the past 48 hours continues to show me that this is God’s plan, it’s His program, and He’s going to do amazing things. I’m just humbled to be able to be a part of it.

It was such a blessing to meet random people, and make random connections [especially if they can understand why soccer fans must have scarves] in His name. The coffee tasted that much better tonight.

This week appears to be daunting; it’s hard not to be fearful. However, God is going to do something amazing. It’s going to be big, insane, and awesome. I haven’t felt this alive in watching Him do His thing in months.

Let the sparks fly.


O: Loveland

Once upon a time there was a town named Loveland, Colorado.

Alright, it’s true, it’s still there.

In 2002, I along with seventy some odd other teenagers descended on the town as a ‘youth mission team’.

Note: I cannot express to you the irony of the phrase ‘youth mission trips’

In our duration in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains we hosted ‘backyard Bible clubs’ during the day and ‘block parties’ during the night (insane amount of Baptist-speak in that statement).

One specific night; probably a Thursday, we were hosting one of the larger neighborhood parties. The cotton candy machine was running, snow cones were everywhere, and the stage was set for an eventful, warm, Colorado evening.

Then the clouds started to gather. Off to the south, along the foothills of the mountains a storm was gathering. You couldn’t see the lightning, but you could hear the rumbles of thunder. The storm grew in size, gaining speed and strength. While this was going on, a group of wiser [more mature] people from the trip were in a corner of the lot praying. I kid you not, for all the teenage hormones, and crushing that I did that week I never forgot this moment…

With lightning now dancing across the sky, the wind picking up, and the thunder coming in over the voices of the people it looked like the show was going to be called for the night. Then suddenly, as the sun started to fade behind the thunderhead, the clouds shifted drastically to the east…and not a drop of water fell on that event.

Of all the random trips, and events that I witnessed in high school, this moment stayed with me to this very day. Now I know why. Even when all seems lost, we’re backed into a corner, and the very light…the hope…that we’re desperately holding onto looks to be fading away…

That’s when the impossible happens.

That’s where hope comes alive.

I tell this story, as I did to my girlfriend in the car tonight, because it illustrates the point that I was able to humbly realize last night. Things are hard right now, really hard, but even today when I ran across one of our players…that joy, that excitement, that hope just solidified my rationalization for what we’re doing. This is my mission field, and this is where my hope shall lie, and this is where my God shall dwell.



This took off a bit more than I had anticipated [I know God is smirking]…

Earlier this week I made a lovely posted about myself and my entertainment with the 50 soccer balls.

Today, God demonstrated that not only does He provide, but He also has a sense of humor:

Via Twitter this afternoon:

I would like to give you some stuff to take down to Guatemala, mostly youth soccer stuff if you have room for it

Via Facebook this evening:

Will c what i can find. May have cleats still decent in condition, have cones. Will c what i have over spring break when im in texas

So it has gone to a few soccer balls, that originally seemed like a large number, to nearly all the supplies needed for a team. Factor this in with the news of the clinic leader down in Guatemala City, and a young 15 year old several years ago that professed to his church that God is calling him to the mission field…

…I’ll let you connect the dots.

I know I need to get to bed, heading out west tomorrow, but I have this undying desire to put my cleats on.

God is good.

Get your praise on.


P.S. Should anyone reading this have the wonderful, willing desire to donate as well. Please contact me at our sites e-mail address;

P.S.S Did anyone else notice that we broke the site record for most hits in a day with 244?