Picking up where we left off on our last blog post, we departed the hot and humid jungle town of Sanggau on the island of Borneo in Indonesia and 36 travel hours later [via car, plane, and train], we arrived in the chilly city of Busan, South Korea. All our projects for this overseas mission were in Southeast Asia where summer is in full force year round with the exception of this project in South Korea. Busan city is about the same latitude as North Carolina and since it was now November, we got to experience the beautiful colors of autumn but had to pack a whole different wardrobe for this one project. Our down jackets and close-toed shoes were definitely necessary, since temperatures were between 30 and 50 degrees! On the three-hour train ride from Seoul to Busan we traversed the entire length of the country from the northern border to the southern tip, and got to see the changing landscapes from bustling city to beautiful mountainous farmland. South Korea appeared to be a very well off country, far more advanced and Westernized than all the other countries we’d visited on our tour of Asia so far, and that’s precisely the reason why we were there!
We had a lot of work ahead of us for our five weeks in Asia, but first, we had to build in time for a big bucket list item. A trip to Southeast Asia would not have been complete without seeing Thailand, which is why we actually started our trip there, just for vacation. Cassie’s been dreaming of visiting Thailand ever since her sister traveled there more than a decade ago to scuba dive. Now that dream became a reality.
Sometimes when someone tells you about a place where they’ve had a wonderful experience, you aren’t sure if their experience was swayed by their personal circumstance or if it truly is an objective review of a place’s culture and setting. That’s how I felt when one of my (Cassie’s) friends told us we were going to LOVE Moldova, the teeny-tiny landlocked country in between Romania and Ukraine, and the poorest country in Europe.
We’ve been stateside for seven weeks now and EVERYONE has been asking us — “What have you been up to?!” With the exception of a few filming projects in NYC and Charlotte, the answer is “EDITING!” We have lots of videos we’re excited to share with you!
The month of May marked the fourth time we’ve visited AMOS Health and Hope in the past six years. Each time we go back, we see improvements in Nicaragua — both in the Nicaraguan infrastructure and in the lives of people living in the communities where AMOS works. This year, AMOS is celebrating their 10th anniversary, and we had the opportunity to film and produce their anniversary video. It’s our honor to share with you the below video, which dives deep into the foundational approach of the organization that really began 50 years ago, and on through the organization’s growing impact in the lives of Nicaraguans so they everyone can enjoy health and hope.
Back in March, we had the opportunity to work with two organizations in Guatemala. The first organization is RestoringVision, a nonprofit that provides nominally priced new readers and sunglasses to those throughout the world who otherwise would not have access. Vision is one of our most important senses — it impacts one’s ability to interact with the environment and other people. Unfortunately, 2.5 billion people worldwide suffer from uncorrected vision impairment, and of that number, 544 million people only need reading glasses to correct this issue but live in developing countries with limited or no access to glasses. That’s why RestoringVision is hoping to distribute 20 million pairs of reading glasses to 20 million people by 2020.
We produced three different videos for RestoringVision and its corporate sponsors. Below is one that we’d like to share with you.
Something that has always been on our bucket lists is seeing the northern lights. So when we learned from a friend that Wow Airlines had $200 round-trip tickets to Iceland out of Baltimore in January, we didn’t have to think too hard about booking our trip. Within a few days, we had everything booked and at the same time, nothing planned. And this excited us most of all.
We are happy to be spending time with our families for the first time in 10 months as we celebrate Christmas (and both of our birthdays, along with many other family members’ December birthdays)! We have officially finished all of our work with Silent Images and it’s amazing to look back on all that we’ve accomplished by the grace of God in serving Him and organizations throughout Latin America.
We thought you might enjoy a look back at our 2016 by the numbers:
132 people trained at our storytelling workshops
80 videos completed
56 flights taken
48 different beds slept in
43 buses taken
41 organizations served
15 nights spent in a tent
14 boats ridden
10 countries visited
10 books read
9 German Shepherds petted
4 parades attended
2 trains taken
2 blenders broken
2 camera lenses broken
2 passports filled
1 18-wheeler ride hitched
1 foot broken
1 water bottle lost
1 country’s Independence Day celebrated (Colombia)
We’ve been so busy between filming, editing and traveling that we’ve got TWO months to catch you up on! In these last two months, we’ve traveled to four countries and have a lot to share with you as we wrap up our one-year contract with Silent Images.
Long ago — way back in May 2016 — we had the pleasure of producing four videos for Threads of Hope.
Threads of Hope is an incredible nonprofit and we fell in love with its mission to empower impoverished women through microenterprise for artisans in Peru. Threads of Hope is different though, not only do they pay the women artists the wages they want for their handicrafts, they also sell their art in the US and give 100% of its proceeds back to the women in the form of grants.
This is where Threads of Hope makes a difference in Ayacucho, Peru.
This blog post is way overdue. Not because we haven’t blogged in a while, but because we haven’t had the chance to go through our several thousand pictures from our Labor Day vacation through Bolivia, Chile and Argentina until now.
Back in August, we took some time off before the Labor Day holiday, and being Jordan and Cassie, what did we want to do? Travel of course! Traveling is already part of our everyday lives as missionary video storytellers for Silent Images, but we wanted to see some other parts of South America and decided while we’re in the continent, why not! So the day before our vacation time started, we booked our flights for the following night and mapped out our travel from Peru to Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. We knew why we wanted to go to each place, but we had no idea what kind of natural beauty we would find until we arrived.