Thursday, May 19, 2011


"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."- Howard Thurman

Passion: an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. Do you have something in your life that you love, desire, and get excited about?? I'm betting there is at least one thing you can think of. If not, there's no time like the present to find out! A good way to start is by looking at what you spend most of your time talking about... and what do you do in your spare time? If you find yourself mostly consumed with work, school, eating and television then I challenge you to look beyond those things for a moment. What is something you used to get excited about before you got too busy??

A good friend of mine, who travels the world and speaks on destiny and purpose, usually starts off his conversations with the question, “ If you had a million dollars what would you do?” As soon as he says it, the crowd begins dreaming. You can almost see their eyes light up with excitement envisioning all the possibilities. Once the answers begin to surface, everyone starts to recognize their true passions. Unfortunately, most of us wait until we have time, money or resources to do the things we truly love and sadly that time for many of us never comes. This is why we take the moment before us to seek the very things that make us come alive and begin to pursue them no matter what.

If you are even reading this I'd say you are at least passionate about travel, culture, people, and serving. That's a great start! What else? Do you love photography, teaching, dance, kids, sports, art, singing, exercise?? Don't stop there! There are millions of things we could be passionate about. It's amazing to then find ways in which we can help the world with them!!! But first, go ahead and make a list. Write down all of the things you would love to do, or try, if money were no object and time didn't exist. Now, put a star next to the ones you are actually gifted in or have had some training in. Here's the fun part: start brainstorming!!! Last but not least... find ways to put it into action. I'm almost positive you'll discover a cool way to use that passion to serve other people all over the world!

I remember making a list like this about 10 years ago. I started writing down all of the things that I loved to do, or that really intrigued me. At the time I was just getting into photography and writing, but already knew I loved to travel, help people, and hang out with kids. I thought to myself how wonderful it would be to one day be able to do all of those things, unsure if my dream would ever be a reality. Now, I look at my life and almost loose my breath in amazement. I now serve with an organization where I get to travel the whole world, help all kinds of people, hang out with plenty of children, and document these unbelievable cultures and people with my photojournalism skills. Now, I truly am living my dream... but it all started with a passion to live life to the fullest, to love unconditionally, and to serve selflessly with the gifts God has given me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Discovering Your Global Cause

Although I've had the privilege of circling the globe 3 times and making several short-term trips across the sea... it still took me many years to find my purpose in it all. Perhaps my story might help you on your journey as you begin to peal back the layers of this world to see its deepest needs revealed and search for your own personal way to be a part of the solution. A humbling start would be to recognize that a) you do not have all the answers b) you cannot save the world and c) to take it one day at a time/ one person at a time. Let me explain: I initially took it into my own hands to make the world a better place because I assumed no one else was willing. What I thought was heroic was actually quite arrogant. Don't get me wrong, it's ok to be compassionate and willing.... but I tragically began to think that I was the answer to their problems therefore deserving much credit and praise for rescuing the world from issues that have been around since the beginning of time. So, instead of "saving mankind" I was only hurting it by feeding my ego and taking up more space with my head. Not until recently did I realize these hidden motives.

Towards the end of last year I vividly remember speaking with one of my mentors as I expressed such sadness for all of the pain in the world and how I just wanted to fix it all. Through the tears and snotty mess they gently pointed out that perhaps I was carrying the burden of the world on my shoulders. After wrestling with this thought for many days, I began to see the truth in it all. And at first, it was not pretty. I had assumed from the very beginning of my "missions" that it was MY responsibility or "global cause" to save the world from it's problems. With that, and the many I saw with problems I couldn’t fix... I began to carry a huge burden of sadness, guilt, disappointment, and anger. Now that was a definite wake-up call!

Finally, I truly understood what it meant to have a “Global Cause”! It was never really about me, and once I began to see that… I was able to rest in my talents, capabilities and the timing of it all. I finally saw that it really was about one person at a time, no matter where I was in the world! My purpose in it all was to be a transporter. I was a vessel of love, hope, kindness, joy, peace, faith, etc. I was meant to be there in the moment with people... to give them a true hope for a better tomorrow, laugh with them, cry with them, share what I had to give, and to give them something to believe it. So now, instead of feeling the pressure and weight of the world on my shoulders I focus on the one standing right in front of me and ask myself... "How can I love/serve this person best right here, right now?"

One of the most vivid memories was when my YWAM (Youth With A Mission) team traveled to northern India in 2009. We found ourselves in a little village in the boonies looking very different from those who occupied the land. One woman I met must've been approaching 100, or at least her skin said so. This woman was so gentle, beautiful and delicate. Although she had been blind most of her life, we formed an unlikely bond. I clearly remember spending many hours praying for her sight to return. I held her hand tightly through the church services and meals. Even though her sight didn't improve too significantly, I had a complete peace that she knew in those moments that she was loved like she had never been loved before. So even though God did not heal her eyes, I knew He was healing her heart. One night as she was squeezing my hand in the back of the tiny church, I knew there was no where else on earth I was meant to be than right there right then with this beautifully aged soul.