Four Corners States Camping Roadtrip

After our Colorado project with Christ Church Windsor over Easter, these Appalachian Trail thru-hiking veterans couldn’t leave the area without doing some hiking. We hope you take the time to enjoy this epic blog post of our 11-day epic camping road trip where we visited SEVEN national parks and crossed off several bucket list items along the way, setting up camp from our economy rental car as our base of operations. Because of the pandemic, our plans had to be formulated well in advance, booking campsites and national park shuttle tickets in very specific timeframes, leaving not much to chance. Our plan for this trip was the Four Corner States: Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, and we were psyched for it to finally begin!

COLORADO

I guess technically we got to do some hiking DURING our project, because the team did take a trip out to Rocky Mountain National Park where we strapped spikes on our shoes so we could hike a few miles in the snow to Emerald Lake. The lake wasn’t visible because it was frozen over and covered in snow, but the view and backdrop of the Rockies was surreal.

UTAH

Upon picking up our rental car in Denver, Colorado, we took a local’s recommendation to head to Fisher Towers outside of Moab, Utah. When we arrived, there were only four car camping sites total, and just one was taken. We immediately snagged a spot and hit the desert trail for our first hike on our own.

Our first night, we couldn’t resist doing some star photography given the dark sky reserve and the dramatic backdrop of King Fisher and the other sandstone spires of Fisher Towers.

When we woke up at Fisher Towers, the pink light was cast on everything in sight. We slowly enjoyed breakfast outside our tent before hitting the open southwest road for our second day of our epic camping road trip.

Day two took us to Arches National Park where we hiked more than 15 miles and saw 12 named arches, only missing three of those labeled on the park map. Each natural rock formation was unique in its own way, but our favorite part was definitely the Devils Garden Trail where we scrambled up rock faces, braved the strong wind on precarious ledges, and hiked through sand on the primitive trail.

For sunset, we hiked up to the iconic Delicate Arch — the one on Utah’s license plate. This is when we discovered that sunsets out here aren’t about watching the sky transform, but rather the color of the sun transforming the red rocks. Hiking back down in the dark with headlamps was pretty fun too!

We woke up well before the sun on our third morning of our epic camping road trip, hiking in the dark to watch the sunrise through Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park. When we arrived an hour before sunrise, a line of photographers with their tripods were already set up. The scene was pretty cut-throat, with little conversation and much angst about whose territory was whose. But when the sun finally snuck up above the horizon and gave us the diamond ring effect we had seen once before during a solar eclipse, everyone was happy to get “their” shot.

Next we cooked breakfast (oatmeal with dehydrated fruit and instant coffee for Jordan) at Grand View Point Overlook, which like the name suggests, does in fact have a grand view! Unlike Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park is more of a scenic drive with overlook after overlook of the expansive canyonlands.

Once we finished enjoying all the views Canyonlands National Park had to offer, we headed to Natural Bridge National Monument. Here too we drove to the viewpoints, but it wasn’t until we hiked down to one of the natural bridges that we were able to experience the enormity and grandeur of these natural bridges formed by water and wind.

Canyonlands and Natural Bridge probably would have been enough for one day for most people, but we pushed on through Monument Valley. You might recognize this photogenic spot from the movie Forest Gump, when Forest decides to end his cross country running trip and his followers are left on their own. Well, we can verify that the epic backdrop was not a green screen since we saw it with our own eyes!

Continuing our drive, we made it to our camping destination of Lake Powell just in time to watch the sunset and moonrise.

Day four of our epic camping road trip began with a serene sunrise at Lake Powell’s Lone Rock Beach. After entering the lottery in a long-shot attempt to gain a permit to see The Wave in Coyote Buttes (your group’s number has to be one of only FOUR numbers drawn— and there were 105 groups waiting and hoping their number would be one of the four selected), we were not lucky winners. Instead, we squeezed our way through our first ever slot canyon, taking endless amounts of photos along the way.

During the five and a half miles of weaving through Wire Pass Trail and Buckskin Gulch, we were amazed that after seven years of non-stop travel, we are still seeing God’s creation in new and awe-inspiring ways.

Day five of our epic camping roadtrip was spent at Zion National Park and we were immediately blown away by the immensity of the landscape. We hiked our way through most of the canyon, even making it up to Scout Lookout viewpoint just BEFORE the famous Angels Landing, one of the most dangerous hikes in the US. The only reason we didn’t traverse the sketchy, rocky ridge is because it was closed for trail maintenance.

Our fifth night camping, we pitched our tent in Zion National Park. In the Bible, Zion is the Lord’s holy mountain and the dwelling place of God. From our campsite, seeing the sandstone mountain reaching up toward the star-filled sky, it was easy to feel close to the Kingdom of God.

Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done. -Psalm 9:11

On day six, we squeezed in two more hikes at Zion National Park in Utah before heading to our third state in our four corners states camping road trip.

ARIZONA

Now onto the third state of our four corners states camping road trip, and of course we had to go to the Grand Canyon. This was a bucket list item for Jordan, having never seen its immensity and grandeur. He was surprised to see so much life, from the evergreen forests to the elk and wild horses. We hopped from viewpoint to viewpoint until the sun set behind the canyon’s walls.

Day seven was spent checking off a pretty big bucket list item of ours: hiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Trail. Since the north rim was still closed for winter, we hiked from the South Rim to the Colorado River and then back up to the South Rim on a different trail. In our 17-mile day hike, the temperatures swung from 37 degrees to 90 degrees as we descended a mile in elevation over seven miles of switchbacks via the South Kaibab Trail and then gained the elevation right back via the Bright Angel Trail over a 10-mile incline. The hike was once in a lifetime. We had views of the canyon the entire way and really felt like we got to experience an iconic spot in our country in an intimate way.

Content with our 17-mile day hike of the epic Grand Canyon’s Rim to Rim Trail, but also still having plenty of energy, we went into the tiny tourist town outside the park to clean up so we could then catch another Grand Canyon sunset. We found a private campground with coin-operated showers and each paid for eight minutes of hot water bliss. This was our first shower of the trip (on day seven, with who knows how many miles under our belts!) since all the showers at the national parks we intended to use during our trip were closed due to Covid.

Finally feeling clean and back at the Grand Canyon, Jordan snapped shots of Cassie in the golden hour light on the rim at Hopi Point where he noticed a smaller photographer with a big camera.

“You look like you know what you’re doing, could you take a photo of us together?” He asked the 5-year-old named Bo, who eagerly accepted, but asked his mom for permission before we handed him our DSLR. While he snapped a great shot of the two of us, his dad captured the scene for us on his phone.

On day eight of our epic camping road trip, we left the Grand Canyon behind, but continued on to check off more bucket list items. Cassie’s always wanted to visit the artful town of Sedona, Arizona. Other than being an art mecca, she wasn’t sure why she wanted to go, but when we saw the backdrop of the town, we knew why it’s a destination for many. Walking through town felt like being on a hike, especially when we got to Creekside Coffee where it felt like a viewpoint with the red rocks looking back at us as we sipped on coffee and snacked on a vegan muffin. We gallery hopped all day appreciating so much amazing art until the shops closed and the sun went down.

On day nine, Cassie crossed off yet ANOTHER bucket list item of hers: Petrified Forest National Park. But first, her conspiracy theory that cars don’t actually need gasoline to run was proven wrong when we ran out of gas on the highway eight miles short of the town with the cheapest gas in the nation.

After AAA gave us a couple gallons to get us on our way, we finally got to see fossilized forest Cassie had eagerly been wanting to see for years. Now in the desert of Arizona, but a long, LONG time ago, water once was plentiful here, as were trees. As they died, they fell into mineral-rich water and were covered in sediment, which preserved them until they turned into rock! It’s pretty mind boggling to comprehend the age of these fossilized trees (around 225 MILLION years old).

NEW MEXICO

Day 10 of our epic camping roadtrip we spent in another artful town, but our destination was much more specific than Santa Fe, New Mexico. We spent four hours walking the mile-long stretch of Canyon Road, which has the highest concentration of galleries in the US. We were inundated by art of all kinds and eventually pulled ourselves away to try some New Mexican food at The Pantry.

COLORADO

Heading back to Colorado for the night, the temperatures were dropping drastically. We checked the weather and saw they were calling for snow — in mid April! We decided to “splurge” on a budget hotel in Colorado Springs to avoid tenting in snowy weather the night before our flight back home.

Luckily when we woke up on Day 11 (and final day of our trip), the snow forecast was pushed back and we still had time to visit Garden of the Gods. Jordan was overjoyed to spot bighorn sheep!

Our flight out of Denver left on time, and we were grateful to get out of Colorado just in the nick of time. When we landed back on the East Coast, we saw that Colorado got three inches of snow! We felt thankful to be back home, and to begin editing the videos to share with you! We’ll leave you with the two videos we produced from Colorado, the first showing the partnership between Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh and Christ Church Windsor for an Easter outreach event, and the second sharing the story of one of the Providence team member’s experience serving in Colorado.

Liberia to Raleigh

We’ve had a lot going on and we have lots of videos to share with you in this post. We can finally share the fruit of our labors from our filming trip to Libera in November 2020, as well as some from a more recent project in Raleigh, NC.

In the below mini documentary you will hear about The Last Well’s 12-year mission to bring clean water to the entire nation of Liberia by 2020. Spoiler alert: they did it.

Going into 2021, we really had no idea what God had in store for us. But, then again, do we ever? International travel was still on hold, so we were excited pretty early in the year when we were contacted by Refugee Hope Partners to do a series of videos called “Stories of Hope” in Raleigh, NC. If their name sounds familiar, it’s probably because we have worked with them a couple times in the past, and we are big fans of their ministry to love their refugee neighbors with the hope of the gospel in partnership with the local church. We produced five videos for them, one of which might be our best video yet. Take and look and see which one you like most.

For many refugees, life doesn’t get easier once resettled in a new country. New challenges arise and many children are forced to grow up quickly and take on the responsibility of an adult in order for their family to survive. Elysee’s story is much like this, helping to carry the weight of his family on his shoulders, but his story is not over yet.

Continue reading

2020 Year in Numbers

In November, we boarded our first flight of the year.

It’s a telling sign of how unusual this year has been, not boarding an airplane until the eleventh month of the year, but we know we’re not the only ones who have been affected by this pandemic, and certainly not in the worst way. We went from six months of no work to several months of an outpouring of work thanks to the Foundation of FirstHealth, the nonprofit arm of the hospital in Cassie’s hometown. In fact, we were so busy that we didn’t have much time to think about our upcoming trip to Liberia until we were sitting in the airport. Masked and with our negative PCR covid tests in hand (required by immigration to enter Liberia), we were traveling nearly 30 hours to a country in West Africa to document the work of The Last Well. 

We had the opportunity to travel and document this same nonprofit’s work in Liberia in 2015, during the ebola outbreak and now we were returning during a global pandemic. Arriving in Liberia felt oddly familiar, with the temperature checks and hand-washing stations, all things we had experienced on our trip in 2015. To read the blog post recap from our trip in 2015, click here. 

We walked across the street from the Monrovia airport to our hotel around midnight, went to sleep, and were up and filming the next morning at 8am. This became a pattern for our four days in the country— long days of filming in the field with long stretches of driving on the red-dirt roads in a Land Cruiser with no air-conditioning, which meant windows down the entire time. Jordan shared a window crank with the driver as we drove behind three other Land Cruisers with the windows down and got covered from scalp to toes in the red dust. When we pulled up at our destination hours later, we looked like we were sporting spray tans. Wearing a mask was actually a blessing for those long, dusty drives. We had the same driver and vehicle the whole trip, and on the last day another team member got shuffled around and ended up in the front seat of our car. When he saw our janky set up, the hot-wiring to start the car, the peeling tint every time we put the windows down, not to mention the passing of the window crank to put the windows down, he joked, “Next time I know how to pick what car to ride in— whatever car the Timpys are NOT in!” 

Five of the American team members on the trip were also with us on our first trip in 2015, so it was a welcomed reunion, and we laughed about our shared experiences from the last trip we were all together, including the horror story that made it to the top of the list of our worst night’s escapades from our travels. To see our hilarious list of top 5 worst nights, it’s at the end of this blog post recap from our trip in 2015.

The special thing about this trip was seeing an impossible dream become realized. The Last Well’s mission is to provide access to safe drinking-water for the entire nation of Liberia, border to border, and offer the Gospel to every community they serve by the end of 2020. That’s right, by the end of THIS year. Many might have thought that given the circumstances of 2020, this already seemingly impossible mission would have been stopped in its tracks. But that’s not what happened.

In the 12 years of its existence, The Last Well and their national partners have drilled 3,717 wells and installed 101,075 Sawyer water filters in the homes of Liberians. Now every Liberian has access to safe drinking water within a 15 minute walk of their home. What an accomplishment! We were invited on this trip to document the celebration in the village where the LAST well was installed. There were hundreds of locals gathered to celebrate, there were dancers and singers, speeches, a meal, and then the ceremonial unwrapping of the final well, which was then hand-pumped to fill the last first bucket of clean water in Liberia. This well is a symbol of an incredible accomplishment that could entirely change the way nonprofits approach a mission in the future, not to mention, the work was done almost entirely by Liberians themselves, helping their own country to reduce water-borne disease and improve their health for future generations.

We produced six videos for The Last Well, but they haven’t been released to the public yet, so we’ll save those for a future update. Since our trip to Liberia was just one week of our lives since the last time we posted, let’s give you more of a recap of what we’ve been up to recently.

Since the end of August, we’ve produced a whopping 58 videos for the Foundation of FirstHealth. Out of the overwhelming amount of videos we’ve produced recently, the below video is probably our favorite! It’s a video about a boxing class that the Fitness Center offers to Parkinson’s patients. Rock Steady Boxing is an international boxing program with the mission to give people with Parkinson’s disease hope by improving their quality of life through a scientifically proven, non-contact boxing-based fitness curriculum. We hope the below video inspires you to see that even in the midst of whatever you’re going through, hope and joy can be found!

We’d also like to share a series of Covid response videos showcasing some of the hidden healthcare heroes working behind the scenes during the pandemic at FirstHealth. The first video from this series is about the Infectious Disease Department, featuring Dr. Arnoczy, an Infectious Disease Specialist, who is super passionate about her job. It was so cool to hear about the clinical trials FirstHealth has been able to participate in, even becoming the first hospital in the country to enroll in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical trial and enroll the national study’s first patient in Pinehurst, NC! 

Another area of the hospital where heroes are working tirelessly behind the scenes is the Operating Room, and the video below highlights those involved in the OR at FirstHealth.

Unfortunately, due to the rising number of deaths due to the virus, hospice and palliative care have also been playing an important and necessary role during the pandemic. Below is a video specifically about hospice and palliative care.

The last FirstHealth video we’ll share with you today is a video we produced for the CEO of the hospital who wanted to celebrate achieving the 91st percentile in employee satisfaction (what the hospital calls “employee engagement”). In what seems like the worst year ever, FirstHealth achieved the highest employee satisfaction survey score (91%) in the history of the organization’s existence. Since the hospital couldn’t gather and celebrate, we produced this video interviewing the employees themselves.

We haven’t ONLY been working with the hospital in Cassie’s hometown though! We had the pleasure of working with Refugee Hope Partners again, producing two new videos for them. You might not know, but right in Raleigh, North Carolina, there is a growing refugee community at Cedar Point Apartments, a door to the nations of the world where refugees are assigned housing by the government. Refugee Hope Partners exists to love these refugee neighbors with the hope of the gospel in partnership with the local church. They love their refugee neighbors by engaging families and individuals as they face cultural, practical & emotional hurdles; equipping hands, minds, and souls for independence with dignity; and encouraging healthy relationships & spiritual growth so that ALL MAY THRIVE! Below is a video about how their work has changed because of Covid as they continue to stay true to this mission.

In the video below, an Afghani woman shares her journey from being a famous TV news anchor to becoming a displaced refugee in a foreign land struggling to make ends meet, and how Refugee Hope Partners is helping to make her new dreams a reality.

AND NOW, A LOOK BACK ON 2020 WITH OUR ANNUAL YEAR IN NUMBERS:

379.4 MILES HIKED ON THE MOUNTAINS-TO-SEA TRAIL IN NC

200 ANIMALS SAVED BY EATING VEGAN

116 VIDEOS PRODUCED 

40 HOUSE PROJECTS COMPLETED DURING THE STAY-AT-HOME ORDER

33 GALLONS OF KOMBUCHA BREWED

27 FLIGHTS CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19

22 BIRTHDAY FREEBIE OFFERS ENJOYED

19 DIFFERENT BEDS SLEPT IN

15 BOOKS READ (INCLUDING THE BIBLE)

14 NIGHTS SPENT IN A TENT

8 BABY CARDINALS HATCHED IN OUR AZALEA BUSH

6 FLIGHTS FLOWN

5 TREES PLANTED IN OUR YARD
4 COVID TESTS TAKEN (ALL NEGATIVE RESULTS)
1 STATE VISITED (VIRGINIA)
1 COUNTRY VISITED (LIBERIA) 

0 REGRETS

COUNTLESS BLESSINGS

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

We have no idea what 2021 will bring, and I think 2020 taught us to not expect anything. All but one of our international projects got cancelled and our thru-hike sidelined from the pandemic, so next year, we will just go with the flow like we did in 2020. We will try to enjoy what is thrown our way, thankful that we have a good Father in Heaven to give us hope.

Feast or Famine

It always seems like time gets away from us. Even when our work was halted for six months because of Covid-19, we kept ourselves busy with projects. At first we spent time doing things that had been on our to-do list for months, neglected house projects we always talked about doing, like converting the solid wood door from our dining room to our sunroom into a full glass door and finally putting house numbers by our front door. Then we moved on to the neglected yard projects like graveling our driveway and putting in a paver walkway to the front door. Eventually our to-do list dwindled and we started doing things that we had never even thought about or had put on a to-do list like pressure washing the shed and making and installing an outdoor shower. Cassie even got so desperate for something to accomplish that she literally washed the mailbox. Jordan weeded and de-thatched the entire yard and I got a black eye from hanging the hammock. We worked tirelessly on home and yard improvements until we couldn’t think of anything else we wanted or needed to do (with the exception of cleaning out our garden shed, which we didn’t want to touch with a 10-foot pole), and our house and yard looked better than it ever had.

All along, we kept a positive perspective, never taking for granted the fact that we had a home during the “stay at home” order. We often thought about how perfect God’s plan was to bring us here, in a home of our own for this pandemic. If we had still been living out of our suitcases as we had for nearly five years, it would have been a strain on us and our families to live together for months on end. Despite not having work, we felt blessed. Each day, we trusted in the Lord to provide for us in His time as we’ve relied on Him to do for years. We knew work would come eventually, we just didn’t know when, but that’s always the nature of our work and God has never let us down. As spring came in full bloom and the cardinals nested in our blooming azalea bushes, we were comforted by God’s promise in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

By April, we had 20 cancelled flights, and many more to come. Our grueling spring and summer travel schedule to Philadelphia, five islands in Indonesia, Malaysia, Central Asia, Serbia, Greece, and beyond was no longer even a possibility. But we continued on with our to-do lists, getting to enjoy some of our neglected hobbies that give us much joy. Cassie scrapbooked years worth of photos, airline tickets, foreign currencies and other things from our travels, filling hundreds of plastic covered pages with memories dear to her heart. Jordan brewed beer upon beer as the seasons changed from his Pandemic Pale Ale and Leftovers IPA to his very tasty coffee blonde ale in late summer. We worked on creative personal projects too. Jordan is a talented songwriter and musician, so he wrote and recorded an entire album from fragments of songs that he’s had in his head for nearly a decade and some he conceived and brought to fruition in just one day. After recording his guitar and vocal parts, he then recorded his childhood best friend playing the drum parts on all the songs. The editing and perfecting of the songs (which is called mastering) took the longest, but their band, Scraps, digitally released the album, Decades, which is available to purchase on Bandcamp and iTunes and to stream on Spotify. Cassie started writing a book she never thought she’d have the time to write about our experience thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. Writing a book is no joke and takes a LONG time, but she’s about halfway into it.

In July, we decided to escape to the solitude of the mountains, hiking and camping about a 300-mile section of the Mountains-to-Sea trail across North Carolina. The MST was the next trail on our bucket list of trails, and we had already knocked out over 200 miles in a section around Durham and Raleigh right before the pandemic really exploded in the U.S. This time, we started on the western end of the trail in the mountains and hiked east, passing Asheville and ending up past Boone. It is a beautiful part of the state, but we were having a hard time with the trail – not because of the difficulty of the terrain, but because we discovered that it basically follows the Blue Ridge Parkway. This meant we were usually hiking within earshot of the cars and motorcycles cruising along this beautifully scenic road, which we would have to really watch out for when the trail crossed over it several times each day and during stretches that included walking along the unprotected shoulder for miles. This also made finding campsites and water sources extremely difficult, since there is no camping allowed along the BRP, and it’s basically a ridge walk above most springs and rivers. There are many scenic lookout points with parking lots and bathrooms, but all the doors were locked and water fountains were turned off because of Covid. When one of Jordan’s friends joined us on the trail for a few days, it lifted our spirits, but by the end of the entire section we had decided this was not the trail for us. It’s really tough realizing that something you thought you wanted to do so badly is not what you thought it would be, and then swallowing your pride to call it off without finishing, but that’s exactly what we decided to do. When we completed the section and headed to the rental house that Cassie’s family had rented for the last week in July, we had come to peace with the decision and enjoyed a wonderful time with everyone, doing day hikes, playing in rivers, and celebrating past and future birthdays.

In August, we hadn’t worked in six months and we were seriously considering branching out into real estate photography and video when we finally got the call. The hospital in Cassie’s hometown wanted to hire us to do some video work for them – A LOT of video work. Then we got another call. The church that had hired us to film in four different countries this year (all now postponed) wanted us to do some video work for them in North Carolina – like 15 videos. The calls didn’t stop there – another organization in Raleigh wanted a video, Cassie’s sister’s church in Charlotte wanted a video – it was like God opened the floodgates and was letting his blessings flow. We are overwhelmed with gratitude and joy to be back to work, doing what we love and continue to feel called to do. So that’s where we are now – swimming upstream against the steady flow of video projects, in a cycle of shooting and editing with little down time. Good thing we got all that stuff done during quarantine. Are you ready to see some new videos?

For Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, we edited 15 testimonial videos of members who had gone on past mission trips, many of which we had documented in 2019, and we were able to use our previously shot footage to make new videos to promote missions and encourage others to go, give or pray.

For the Foundation of FirstHealth, we have finished editing 16 videos and counting since the end of August. Below are just a few of the stories we’ve finalized and can share with you. We’re working on a really cool series of Covid response videos showcasing some of the hidden healthcare heroes you wouldn’t necessarily think of when thinking about the pandemic. We look forward to sharing those with you when they’re released.

Stay tuned for more to come, including, perhaps, our FIRST international project of the YEAR!

The wait is over

Usually by mid-February, we are anxiously waiting for spring to come. This year however, we feel like we’re still waiting for winter to arrive! Forecast after forecast brings us days in the 70s and sunny skies, making it hard to stay inside and edit. Most days we do, but then on some occasions, we ditch work early to paddle out on our canoe in the lake across the street from our house or take a quick bike ride to feel the wind on our faces and the sun on our backs. With some of the azaleas already in full bloom, the tulip magnolias gracing front yards and the daffodils popping up, we don’t feel like we are waiting for spring. Instead, we feel like we’ve been waiting sooooo long to share quite a few videos with you, but now, the wait is FINALLY over!

If you recall, at the end of September we documented the New Wineskins Global Mission Conference, an Anglican global missions training conference that happens once every three years. More than 1,200 people gathered from more than 60 nations to celebrate, reconnect, learn and grow, and hear God’s call afresh for their next season of ministry. We had the opportunity of interviewing 25 attendees to produce nine video stories of the conference’s impact on a wide range of people — from those who have attended every conference for the 25 years it has been in existence to first timers who were financially sponsored from faraway places. It was a crazy four days of filming and photographing in the beautiful setting of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, and we were inspired by the stories we captured as well as challenged by the speakers we overheard while filming. With no further ado, below are just a couple of the nine videos we produced, but if you like what you see and want to watch more, CLICK HERE for ALL NINE VIDEOS.

The impact the New Wineskins Global Mission Conference can have on someone is huge. Rev. John Chol Daau is one of the people we had the pleasure of interviewing, along with his friend and co-author Lilly Ubbens. They co-authored the book God’s Refugee  based on Rev. John Chol Daau’s incredible, true story of surviving the genocide in South Sudan by running through the wilderness hundreds of miles to live in refugee camps for more than a decade. Many, many years later at one of the New Wineskins Global Mission Conferences, Rev. John Chol Daau heard the voice of the Lord calling out to him. This video is hardly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Rev.’s story of being one of the lost boys of South Sudan, so we highly recommend reading the amazing book (we already did!).

Below is another conference testimonial through the eyes of two unlikely friends, Rev. Jon Stasney of Midland, Texas. and Rev. Cn. Rocky Sendegeya of Uganda.

New Wineskins Missionary Network hosts their Global Mission Conference once every three years, but there’s a lot more to the network than just the conference. The video below explains more about the network itself and how it accomplishes its mission to mobilize Anglicans for authentic, cross-cultural partnership around the world.

If you like what you’ve seen and want to take a look at the other videos we produced for New Wineskins, click here.

Another big project we’ve been working on this year is with the Foundation of FirstHealth in Pinehurst. We recently wrapped up producing a series of six videos highlighting different “physician champions” in the oncology field. From clinical trials specialists to a breast cancer surgeon to radiation oncologists, there are a lot of passionate caregivers at FirstHealth who are looking forward to the future Comprehensive Cancer Center coming to Pinehurst in 2022, which will unite all their subspecialties under one roof. Check out the video series below!

With all these videos now approved, we’re all caught up on our work which has allowed us to take on a few (slightly random) side jobs… like taking pictures and video footage for a window washing company, taking headshots and drone footage for a realty company and volunteering to film and produce a couple videos for our church (one for the website and one for a sermon on love). We’ve also been enjoying the ability to open our home and invest in our community by doing things like hosting a weekly book study, a monthly movie night, and we’ve headed up a new monthly initiative/neighborhood movement to beautify the lake we live on that we’re calling Friends of Greenfield Lake (we’re even printing t-shirts, so it’s REALLY official!). Then in our spare time, we installed our walkway, submitted a film grant application and have been lining up logistics for our international film projects that begin next month! We’ve got some exciting things on the horizon and we look forward to sharing them with you in our next blog update.

Until then, thanks for reading, watching clicking and praying!

2019 YEAR IN NUMBERS

A 10-Year Summary by Cassie

Cassie & Jordan, 2010.

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.