What a great year this has been for us so far! We enjoyed the most perfect spring in Wilmington, with unseasonably cool days and not having to turn on our air conditioning until mid June. Despite a much busier than usual first half of the year, we’ve been able to catch up on our editing projects before each international trip, leaving with the weight of a to-do list off our shoulders and coming back from video travels with a clean slate. We are feeling very thankful that God has been working all these details out of our control and giving us a nice rhythm.
Back in May, we returned from a FIVE-WEEK overseas film trip to document several seminaries for one overarching video. This was our longest stint of time abroad since having a home base, but because our time was split between seven different countries, it really didn’t feel long at all!
The start of our trip began with a day in Singapore before heading on to India.
Next we filmed on three islands of Indonesia, even getting to spend a few days in Bali for Jordan to surf a world-class wave in Uluwatu (his second world-class wave this year, after getting to surf at Fiji’s famous Tavarua Island in February where he caught the biggest wave of his life!).
From Southeast Asia, we continued on to the Middle East, stopping about halfway for a relaxing retreat on a private island in the Maldives where we snorkeled with colorful fish, sharks, stingrays and sea turtles in the crystal clear Indian Ocean.
After we each got impressive tans, we headed to meet Cassie’s parents in Israel for an 8-day private tour of the Holy Land. Taking a private tour led by an Israeli Messianic Jew (“Jew for Christ”) allowed us to create a custom itinerary of the sights we wanted to see and also connect with Jordan’s cousin, a Franciscan monk in Nazareth, and friends from Wilmington who now live near the Sea of Galilee.
To be 100% honest, Cassie wasn’t super excited about taking a trip to Israel. She prefers thrilling adventures rather than historical trips and since Jordan had already been to Israel 14 years ago, this trip was really intended for her parents. Little did she know how much this trip to Israel would impact her, and not just during our trip. Our time in Israel only continues to build in significance as we read our Bible daily, now having personal experiences with historical places from more than 2,000 years ago. The parts of the Old Testament where Cassie’s eyes used to glaze over now carry so much meaning as she can visualize these places as they are— real places where she walked. The same stories we’ve read over and over in the Bible have a new richness after walking in the footsteps of the Israelites 2,000 years ago, understanding the Hebrew context, and how that relates to us today.
After our amazing tour of Israel, we dropped Cassie’s parents off at the Tel Aviv airport and hopped on an overnight bus to the Kingdom of Jordan for our next filming project. Jordan’s name was a huge hit with all the Jordanians, starting immediately with the immigration officials at the border crossing! We had a couple free days before our filming began, so we stopped in the desert wonderland of Wadi Rum, where we hiked through Mars-like terrain and did some glamping, and then continued on to Petra, one of the new seven wonders of the world. Petra is a historical site along the Silk Road, once inhabited by the Nabateans who lived in caves. When the Romans came along, they carved traditional Roman architecture out of the pink sandstone landscape, creating a surreal city with impressive facades complete with massive columns. They even chiseled out an entire amphitheater! Despite hiking for miles, we barely scratched the surface of all that Petra is!
Leaving the desert and heading to the city of Amman, we had just one day of filming in Jordan before traveling on to Serbia for another single day of filming and then we were finally hopping on a plane for home just for a short weekend back. We landed at home around midnight, went to a friend’s wedding the next day and then were off for filming at the hospital in Pinehurst. We made it back to Wilmington just in time to celebrate our 10th anniversary with a day trip to the B&B where we had our surprise wedding, and then we enjoyed a delicious vegan sushi dinner downtown before seeing a play at the historic theater downtown.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since we surprised our immediate families with our wedding ceremony, and we are so thankful for all that God has done in our lives! We are looking forward to many more years on this crazy journey and getting the opportunity to share it with you.
Thank you for reading, watching, and praying. We love you!