I can’t express with words how powerful internship was for me. It truly changed my life. It was the biggest step out into the unknown that I’ve ever taken. Over the course of three months, 35 strangers from all over the world became family. A random town on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean became home. Every part of this internship was an opportunity to let go of certainty, comfort and control. We were simultaneously watching God change our own hearts, and watching God use us to serve and love every type of person you can imagine. We got to spend every day immersed in the homeless population on Oahu, developing deep friendships with them. We got to work with kids from every kind of family background, coaching them in surfing, character, and love. We got to volunteer on farms of all kinds - turmeric, coffee, flower, taro, papaya. We got to set up and host an art festival, a Thanksgiving luau, food drives, surf camps, and weekly dinners for the community. We got to invest in ourselves, and look inwards, asking big questions about our identity, dreams, and purpose.
In all of my processing, two passions of mine were brought to the surface. The dreams I have can all really be put into two categories: Telling great stories, and Creating great spaces. I want to live and tell Stories that captivate, free, and inspire. I want to have my photography featured on National Geographic. I want to create videos that bring people to tears. I want to play my music on stages around the world. I want to have my writing featured in the New York Times. I want to write poetry, blogs, books that truly communicate the love of God and the beauty of life to audiences around the world. And Spaces — I want to build platforms that change peoples life. I want to own a coffee shop that creates community in a disconnected town. I want to operate a retreat center for starving and discouraged artists and leaders. I want to create new ways for people to share and hear stories, music and wisdom.
I had a distant sense that these were my dreams before internship, but over the last three months, I have decided that they are worth pursuing with my whole heart, regardless of how ridiculous they may seem right now. Internship connected me with literally hundreds of other dreamers that encouraged me on my way. Surfing the Nations itself is a testament to what can happen when a normal human affirms the dreams in their heart, and prays that they would see them come to fruition each day. Tom and Cindy Bauer have created an organization that is truly a miracle. It’s origins can all be traced back to their willingness to pray and trust that God is who He says He is.
Reflecting on internship has been an emotional process, as I know that things will never be the same again. Today, I said goodbye to the majority of our internship as they fly home and are scattered all over the world once again. There is so much sadness in saying goodbye to people that live so far away, so separate from my life. And yet, I am full of joy from having known and lived with such great and adventurous people, so grateful for these friendships that will last a lifetime. Goodbyes are something I suppose I’ll have to grow accustomed to over the next few years. In a way, I think they pull back a curtain to reveal the value of knowing and loving people.
There is so much more to say, but I’d prefer to be able to chat in person. So hit me up. Tell me about your life. Buy me beverages. 847-346-6710
Oh, here’s a crap ton of pics from internship if you’re interested: