A 10-Year Summary by Cassie
It’s hard to believe we’ve officially started a new decade. When I think back on all that has happened in these last 10 years, it brings tears to my eyes. God has done so much. In 2010, I graduated from college with a dream to be a photojournalist and to make a difference in the world with my camera. I gained my sobriety and put my life in Jesus’ hands once and for all. I documented relief efforts in Haiti after the devastating earthquake, experiencing terrifying aftershocks, a hurricane and a cholera outbreak. In 2011, I lived in Nicaragua for half a year, serving with my camera for a Christian medical nonprofit. While I was there, Jordan came to visit me, gave his life to Christ and we got back together — this time dating as Christians with the intention of getting married. In 2012, we dated long distance, Jordan in NYC and me in NC, until Jordan got some sense knocked into him (literally) and moved a bit closer to the South when he got a job in Northern Virginia in 2013. That year we got married and plugged into our church, which filled us up spiritually, connected us socially, and gave us great fulfillment in life. Working desk jobs in our field from 2013 to 2015, we learned that there was so much more to life than having a fancy title and getting a fat paycheck. In 2015, we took the biggest leap of faith we’ve ever taken — we quit our jobs to do what we do now. We had no idea how much it would change our life forever. In 2015, we traveled to the ends of the earth documenting Kingdom work being done in God’s name all around the world and met so many beautiful people with stories of hope. Now five years in, we’ve worked in 35 different countries and have produced more than 350 videos. In 2016, we worked out of South America all year. In 2017, we did our second world tour, which continued into 2018. Mid 2018, we took a sabbatical to seek new vision as we thru-hiked 2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia on the Appalachian Trail. We prayed continually every step of the way, especially for Jordan’s mom who was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer during our thru-hike. We finished our hike just in time to witness our prayer answered — Jordan’s mom was cured of her cancer only halfway through chemotherapy treatment! In 2019, we bought a house, a basecamp of operations for our documentary missionary work after living out of our suitcases for five years straight. We renovated our kitchen, and got more photo and video work than ever before in North Carolina. We plugged into our church home and have gained a stable community for the first time since our nomadic life began five years ago. Whew! What a decade!
Here are some before and after pictures of our home renovation, which we couldn’t have done without Cassie’s brother’s design expertise who drew up the whole plan for us! We kept the layout pretty much the same, but updated and brightened up the entire first level (kitchen, dining room and sunroom). We are loving the result! We didn’t think to take before pictures of the bathrooms, but included after pictures of both bathrooms as well. We loved the original tile in the bathrooms, so just updated the vanities, mirrors and light fixtures, ripped out some built in cabinets to make them both feel bigger, as well as gave everything (the whole interior of the house, in fact) a fresh coat of bright white paint.
Since Our Last Update
In September, we filmed the New Wineskins Missionary Network’s Global Mission Conference where more than 1,200 Anglican Christians from more than 60 nations gather to gain and/or refresh their calling to missions. Our purpose at the conference was two-fold: to capture stories about how the conference inspires, encourages and launches Anglicans to be missions minded, but also to tell the story of the New Wineskins Missionary Network, the nonprofit that does a lot more than put on a massive conference once every three years. In all, we produced 8 videos from our week of filming in Black Mountain, NC. All the videos have been edited, but are still in the review process, so they can’t be released just yet. We had the honor of interviewing some incredible stories, including the Rev. John Chol Daau of South Sudan who told us only the short version of his story as a lost boy who ran for his life when his village went under attack during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1987–2005) where two million men, women and children were killed. Now the Reverend is an Anglican priest and we recently finished reading his amazing book that he co-authored called God’s Refugee. We highly recommend it!
Since then, the Foundation of FirstHealth in Pinehurst has been keeping us busy with a lot of video projects— 22 videos, to be exact. This film work has been a bit of a departure for us, as we’ve been traveling by car instead of by plane to another part of the state instead of another corner of the world, but it’s been a huge blessing to us. A lot of the videos we’ve produced will be used internally, to train new providers that are hired, and we’ve been able to add some humor into the 20-minute videos and incorporate compelling stories from patients and staff. The Foundation of FirstHealth has been incredibly satisfied with our work, and every time we finish a project, they dream up the next project for us to work on! The most recent videos we’ve been editing are part of a campaign for the new comprehensive cancer center that they’re raising funds to build, where patients will be able to receive quality medical care on par with academic hospitals in a community hospital setting. The below video sheds light on how many lives cancer touches these days, and also casts the vision for this new cancer center. We’ve learned a lot from this project, and have been impacted to the point of making a huge lifestyle change, converting to the whole foods plant based diet. We’ve been feeling great and have been enjoying the diversity of our delicious home-cooked meals!
We also recently produced a video for Jillian’s Jitterbug Foundation, whose goal is to help children that have difficulties walking independently become mobile by providing financial assistance for families to purchase equipment that allows their children to become independent. The story of how the foundation started is incredibly touching, so be sure to watch the below video!
Miraculously, we met all our end-of-year video production deadlines. It truly was only by God’s grace. Since we got all our work done, we were able to enjoy our time off with our families over the holidays and the many, MANY immediate family birthdays we have at the end of the year, including both of our own! We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas both in Southern Pines and Wilmington, and are back in full gear— editing, filming and scheduling projects for the rest of the year.
AND NOW, A LOOK BACK ON 2019 WITH OUR ANNUAL YEAR IN NUMBERS:
173 miles hiked on the Long Trail in Vermont
94 trips to Lowe’s and Home Depot
61 videos produced
26 flights flown
26 different beds slept in
21 overnight guests hosted (+ 4 dogs)
17 books read (including the Bible)
16 birthday freebie offers enjoyed
10 nights spent in a tent
10 different churches attended
7 alligator sightings in our neighborhood
6 gallons of kombucha brewed
5 countries visited
3 flights cancelled
2 church presentations
2 food-borne illnesses
2 concerts attended in a canoe
2 cars sold
1 car purchased
1 car rented (for $2/day)
1 house purchased (& renovated!)
1 broken pinky finger (Cassie’s, rock climbing)
1 airport rockstar sighting (White Denim band members)
1 surprise birthday party thrown (for Cassie’s sister)
Looking to the Future
In 2020, we’re looking forward to several international projects that are penciled in on our work calendar. We’re also excited for our next long-distance hike across our beautiful state of North Carolina on the Mountains to Sea Trail. We plan to start in early fall, and have invited our adventurous 10-year-old niece to join us! We’re also looking forward to more opportunities to open our home to family, friends, and neighbors as we seek to build community and have an impact in our city.
Lastly, here’s our video reel, which we’ve been meaning to do for like… ever.