We really are blessed to have some quality folks that serve with us here at Ascend. Today, I want to introduce Chris. He's one of our amazing part-time staff. He brings some great experience and an incredible passion for service. I sat down with him today (over coffee of course) and asked a few "get to know you" questions. I hope you enjoy getting to know one of our part-timers:
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself, where you're from, what you've been up to these past couple of years?
A: I was born and raised in Midland, TX and went to college at LeTourneau University in Longview, TX. During college I decided that Colorado was pretty great, so I moved there full time once I graduated and lived there for four years doing engineering work and playing in the mountains. During the summer of 2012 God began leading me in a different direction that involved quitting my job to serve as a backpacking guide at Young Life's Wilderness Ranch in southwest Colorado. I spent all summer leading groups on backpacking trips through the beautiful San Juan mountains, and used the context of the wilderness experience to share the love of Jesus and the hope of a life that is walked out in God's love. Through these experiences, God grew a lot of passion in me for continuing to pursue wilderness and adventure ministry and led me to Austin to pursue those things here.
Q: Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?
A: Creamy. (sounds like it's more of a beverage for Chris)
Q: If you could have one superpower for a day, what would it be?
A: Flying, plain and simple.
Q: How did you hear about Ascend?
A: Last Fall I came to Austin for a work conference and had decided to come down a few days early to hang out with friends in the area. I heard about the Dare to Ascend trail race and decided to jump in on it at the last minute. I met Jason at the race and chatted with him briefly. At that time I had no idea that a year later I would begin to serve with Ascend.
Q: How did you learn of opportunities to serve with us, and how did you decide to pursue those opportunities?
A: When I decided to move to Austin I knew that I wanted to be involved in doing adventure and wilderness ministry in this area, so I contacted Jason and told him what I was pursuing. I met and talked with Jason and found out that Ascend's vision and mission in presenting the gospel of Christ through adventure and wilderness experiences is very in line with my passion, so the decision to jump in with serving with Ascend was easy to make.
Q: What about Ascend's vision appeals to you?
A: I believe passionately that God reveals himself through the things that He has created, including the natural world that He has placed us in, and that He teaches us about qualities of Himself through experiences in the natural world. I believe that going outside of a setting in which we're familiar and comfortable and having experiences that challenge us can be used by God to grow us and give us passion to pursue His glory. I love that Ascend uses the outdoors and wilderness settings to provide a space for God to show up in people's lives, and facilitates challenges for people to step outside of their comfort zones and normal experiences in order to see God in new ways. There are innumerable experiences that we have in outdoor activities like climbing, backpacking, and paddling which can translate into learning about the character and nature of God, how we relate to God, and how our daily lives reflect reflect God's power and love.
Q: Can you tell us a brief story from a trip on which you've served that captures why it's worthwhile?
A: I've been blessed to see incredible transformations happen in people's lives through experiences on wilderness and adventure trips, but sometimes it's the subtle things that remind me most how powerful God is to work through us on these trips. On a trip to Enchanted Rock I had the opportunity to talk with a participant about the things she was learning about how intricately God works in our lives through experiences and opportunities that He gives us, and how being out in a remote setting without distraction provides such a unique setting to recognize how God interacts with us and to understand His nature.
Q: What's the longest you've ever gone without a shower?
A: That depends on whether or not you define "shower" to include dunking yourself in a river or lake, which I rarely pass up the opportunity for. The longest I've gone without getting properly clean is 12 days.