I went to Ecuador. I lived in the jungle. I pooped int he jungle. I swam across an Amazon tributary. I jumped off a bridge.
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ethanunzicker has written 6 entries about this goal
Well this is sort of adventurous. I decided to go to Ecuador for my mission trip this year. The first thing that drew me to the trip was the fact that I’m terrified to go to the jungle. Which is exactly where we’ll be. We’re going to hang out with and serve the Shuar tribe in the thick of the Amazon jungle. It’s a two hour drive from Quito, as far as I know.
This is seriously a dream come true though. I’ve always wanted to go to a place that is not ruined by technology and architecture. I’ve always wanted to see the earth as it really is. I’ve wanted to experience God’s creation. The closest I’ve been to that is the mountains in Idaho and even that is incredibly modern.
ON TOP OF ALL THAT I get to live with people who are truly different than me. Not only do I get to live with them but I get to treat them like kings and serve them! I’m gonna get to play with their children! I seriously just want to play soccer with kids down there. If I could do that the whole time…well I wold probably end up just staying there. I’m seriously so excited. I can’t wait to be eaten alive by bugs that shouldn’t even be on this planet. I not so sure I’m excited for the spiders but whatev….
So yeah I need $2,500 to go on this trip so if you wanna help me out…please do.
I’ve spent a few more hours thinking about the topic of that last post- the one about me taking off for the summer. It only makes sense that the more I would think about something so foolish, the more it would get picked apart in my mind and I would see how incredibly foolish it really is. It only makes sense that my desire to do it would be choked out by practicalities and my perception of the will of God. It only makes sense, right? Well if you live in this place called Earth, especially with the knowledge that it was made by a God who cannot be beheld in the minds of men, you know that not everything makes sense.
The more I think about this ‘adventure’, this bold trek to do God-knows-what, and the more it sits atop my brain, the more I want to do it. The more it inflames passion inside of me, the more I figure out solutions to the practicalities that seem like they should render this mission: impossible. The more I think about it and allow God to sit in on the think tank, the more it I feel bound in spirit to do this.
Bound in spirit…where did I get this phrase. I got it from Paul (the apostle). In Acts 20:22 Paul tells his dear friends from Ephesus that he has decided to go to Jerusalem “to tell of God’s great kindness”, instead of staying in the province of Asia. He said he decided this because he: is “bound in the spirit”(KJV), “constrained by the Spirit”(ESV), “compelled by the Spirit”(NIV), “drawn there irresistibly by the Holy Spirit(NLT- with the foot note: “Or by my spirit” or “by an inner compulsion”. Greek reads “by the spirit”). The word “bound” or “constrained” or “compulsion” in the Greek is the word “deo”. It means to literally be bound or fastened or chained. It’s this idea of not being able to get away from something because you are attached to it by a force greater than your own strength. The the word for spirit or Spirit, in the Greek, is “pneuma”(makes me wonder why Rob Bell calls his video series NOOMA…?). This is a pretty big and yet general word. It’s the word for breathe or movement of air-wind(hence why all things referring to the respiratory system have the prefix ‘pneu-’. But it’s also used to describe the “sentient element in man, that by which he perceives, reflects, feels, desires”(thanks blueletterbible.org). It also means an actual spirit, like an evil spirit is a demon-that kind of spirit.
This word is used many times throughout the New Testament. It’s used to refer to an ‘unclean spirit’, The Holy Ghost(Spirit), and the perception of man (his gut feeling). I find the most interesting passage to be in Mark. It’s when Jesus had just forgiven the paralyzed man of his sins. It says that Jesus “perceived in his spirit” that everybody was questioning in their minds whether or not He had the authority to forgive sins. This word here is not capitalized in any translation, thus no implication is given, at least in English translations, that this was a revelation via the Holy Spirit of God. But the same word, pneuma, is used to tell how Jesus was led by the Spirit, being the Holy Spirit of God, into the wilderness. There is no real definitiveness here in this passage with Paul. It’s been translated as both his gut feeling and as direction from the Holy Spirit.
All that to say that I have this seemingly unquenchable, fiery passion to go on this trip and I can’t honestly say that it is direction from God’s Holy Spirit or it’s just a compulsion from my spirit-my essence of perception. I feel bound, chained in my spirit, my perception to do this.
I should clarify to any readers what had to be clarified to me last night as I was thinking more about this. This idea first appealed to me as an incredible adventure that would be taken just to do something crazy in the name of, well, adventure. That was indeed the first and surface appeal. So I was thinking of whether or not I would ever follow through with a plan like this. It’s something so risky, a little dangerous, and would no doubt have a huge impact on me and everyone I love. I had to think of whether or not I would actually follow through with such drastic plans in the name of…adventure. How selfish would that be? To put so many relationships and responsibilities in jeopardy because of a longing for something other than the mundane and normal?! That is more foolish than any adventure I could ever dream up! So I continued to ponder. If I were to actually do this, how would me being a believer of Jesus Christ my Lord fit into all of this? What would my relationship with God look like while on this adventure? What would my relationship with people look like? What kinds of things would I talk about with God and with people?
Ya know, the whole reason all of this talk about this specific adventure even came up was because I was talking about my very near future with someone. I was telling him that I felt like I had to decide within 7 days what I’m going to be doing with the rest of my life. I just got handed my application to come to Masters next year. If I don’t want to come back, I have to fill out another form so that my leaders here can help me reach my goals as best they can. So I was consumed with the thoughts of next year. Even the fall of this year! Where would I be? What would I be doing? What would even be doing this summer? Would I try to plant my feet in ministries back home or should I just tread water because I’m going to end back up in Rockford? These questions brought a lot of frustration! I realized that I know my goal and mission in life. I’ve heard the call of God. I know that in whatever I’m doing per say, my ultimate goal in everything is to live in a love relationship with my Creator as was originally intended and do everything I can to help other realize that God desires them too to live as originally intended. So really my only question was, how does God want me to do that? How specifically does God want me to tell other the truth? Does he want me to develop a ministry and focus on one specific people group and reaching them, or does he want me to go home, get a job so as to get enough money to live comfortably(but in moderation) and eventually support a family and then just tell people truth as I meet them? Does he want me to move or bloom where I’m planted? I don’t believe God lets anyone just stand still and wait for the lost to ask for directions. I believe God tells us all to be proactive and tell people the way to go. So where does God want me to be proactive? Does he want me to take another year in Masters and learn more then get certified as an AG minister then go do something that at least the modern church would consider “real ministry”(which is bogus)? Or does he want me to live a ‘normal’ life and be proactive in sharing the truly good news to everyone around me at the time?(ok so that’s a little more than one question)
And I still don’t know the answer to that question. But I do know the answer to how to live wherever I am. I know that I need to love everyone and tell them the truth that the enemy so long ago ripped from them. Wherever that is, however that’s acted out…whatever. I’ll do it.
So in thinking about all of that and holding it up to this adventure I want to take, it changed from: an adventure that I want to take to have fun and avoid hard decisions, to: what better way to learn what it means to meet people where they are at, rather then waiting for them to come meet me? What better way to learn how to love people not like myself, then to meet people not like myself in places not like where I live or where I’m from. What better way to learn how to handle situations that are not ideal then to force myself into situations that are not ideal? If you want to think of it in “church terms”, this thing changed from a selfish adventure into a people-minded missions trip.
So now, I’m dead serious about wanting to take this trip. I want to get into my car with the mindset that I am driving into foreign lands with foreign people and I am going to love the hell out of them. I am going to make it my mission, I will be intentional about realizing that people are not just ‘other cars’ on the highway of life that, although they have some personality to them, really I just want to stay out their way and have them stay outta mine. I want to look at people as creatures that the Creator desperately wants to be in love with them, and they just don’t know it.
Yet, I don’t want to completely abandon to idea of adventure. I mean I still want to go to cool places along the way and I would LOVE to go to some good rock climbing places. I would love to make it all the way to the coast in northern California. There’s apparently great bouldering there and I guess the climbing community is pretty rad. I’d love love love to make it to Hueco Tanks, Texas. The climbing there is killer and there’s always climbers there. It would be so great to just go to these places and meet people! I’d love to just get lost and have to try to find my way. I really do want to do this for the sake of adventure but with the mindset that I want my eyes to be opened to people.
Maybe it’s not so much a missions trip where I go and spread the gospel but more like an awakening for me.
I was talking to my friend Jake about this ridiculous idea and he was saying that the way I want to see people on this trip and the way I want to connect with people where they are at, I can do all of that right where I am. He gave examples of ways I can connect with people and meet people right here in Rockford then back home in the Valley. It’s all very true. But that’s the same thinking that almost kept me out of Masters. I thought that whatever God wanted to teach me in the Rockford He could teach me at home. Which is true. But I know that God wanted me to come to Rockford and He wanted to show me things here, not at home. For some reason, I had to get out of my norm. I had to get away from everything I was used to so that God could show me certain things. It might be the same way with this desire to get up and leave for a month. But it might not either.
I’ve really been praying that if this is just a selfish desire, just something I wanna do because I’m sick of where I’m at, that God would just begin to destroy this desire. I’ve been praying that He’ll pick it apart and make it impossible to happen and even make me not want it anymore. I’ve also been praying that if this is something the Holy Spirit is leading me to do, that He will begin to confirm things. I’ve been praying that He’ll increase my desire, work details out, make it possible and even maybe get other people on board.
I know that I would learn so much from this experience and others could definitely learn from my experiences…..but whatever.
Oh yeah. And I decided I don’t want to do this right after I graduate. How could I possibly miss Hose-a-Palooza?!?? I’d want to leave right after that.
hmmmmm….I know I’ve have to make a lot of sacrifices to do this. I’d probably end up making a huge mess that I’d have to clean up later. But there’s this quote that comes to mind that says “If God would grant us the vision, the word sacrifice would disappear from our lips and thoughts; we would hate the things that seem now so dear to us; our lives would suddenly be too short, we would despise the time-robbing distractions and charge the enemy with all our energies in the name of Christ”. Nate Saint said that. He gave his entire life for the cause of Christ because he knew it was true. He knew that his days were numbers and they didn’t belong to him. He knew that others’ days were numbered and they didn’t know what they faced after death. Saint’s good friend, Jim Elliot said “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose”.
I can’t get these quotes away from me. I refuse to let them go. I will live my life by them. Why? Because, in the words of Peter Taylor Forsyth, “It is not our choice to spread the Gospel or not. It is our death if we do not.”
I believe that is all for now.
I’ve really been wanting to get away, lately. Like really away. I want to leave the world of Illinois and my current life and just go! Where? I don’t know. Don’t really care. I wanna go on one of those “I just need to find myself” trips. But that’s not what I wanna get away for-to find myself. I know who I am, no question. I just want to go on an honest retreat- an adventure, of sorts.
I’ve always wanted to pack up my car and start driving with no particular destination in mind. I would like to have places in my mind that I want to visit. Like, I wanna see the Grand Canyon and I’d love to get lost in the Rockies and just see cool things. I’ve talked about stuff like this with a few people but with my friend Chris in particular. We were talking about it again the other day. Then I had a thought-a dream really.
How awesome would it be to just pack up my car with as many supplies as my budget of $0 could afford, take off a few days after I graduate and just tell my parents, “SEE YA! I’ll meet up with you in Seattle in August.” I know that I would eventually run out of gas and run out of money and run out of food and I would have to figure out how to get to Seattle by August. And that’s what makes me wanna do this so badly.
I’m dead serious about wanting to do this. I really don’t care how foolish it sounds. I seriously think the only thing stopping me from doing this is that there would be no one to experience it with. That’s kind of the weird thing about our generation in particular. It doesn’t matter how much something appeals to us, we won’t do it unless the right people are doing it too. If I could find one person willing to be an adventure-drunk fool with me for just one summer, I would do this in a heartbeat.
The more I think about it, the more I want to do it, and the more I realize that it’s now or never. My future isn’t yet set in stone yet (well in one sense it is), I don’t have a job and probably won’t be able to get one (who’s gonna hire someone for a month and a half?).I don’t have a family of my own to take care of(well I do of sorts. There’s really not much keeping me in the area. Except for people! HAHA that’s so weird. The only way I’ll go is if someone would go with me. The only thing holding me back is people.
I don’t want someone to go with me because I’m afraid and I want to make sure someone has my back in case I really screw up. I seriously just want someone else to come so I can experience it with someone.
Sigh…but alas, no one is foolish enough for me.
Don’t think that this blog is a cry for help or that subliminally asking someone to get on board with me hahahaha. I’m just writing. I mean, hey, if you wanna do this with me, lemme know.
I changed the name of this goal. It was “go on an adventure”. But really that’s only part of my real goal. I want to be adventurous. I want to do crazy stuff; live spontaneously. If something come up and it sparks an interest in me, I just wanna do it. No matter what it takes. Even if I hate doing it! Obviously I won’t do anything that negatively affects people. I won’t force myself to be driven and in doing so push the people in my life to the side.
But I wanna do crazy things. Dangerous things. Illegal things. Stuff that could maybe hurt me but not kill me. Stuff that could get me in trouble but won’t put me behind bars for several years.
I was talking to Cameron about this the other night. We were just talking about crazy things and all I could say was “Man I wanna do that!”
Whether it’s climbing to the top of a crane that sits atop a 60 story building, for the purpose of doing as many chin-ups as I can or saving up $5000 to buy a ZORB. I just wanna live spontaneously. This world is mine. I will subdue it.
There’s a book out there by Donald Miller called “Through Painted Deserts ” It’s about an adventure he took with his best friend. They set off westward with no specific destination other than adventure. They visited the grand canyon and blitzed down in one day. They camped in bear-ruled forests. They found out a lot about each other, themselves and the world the live in.
First off, I want to read that book.
Second, I want to do the same thing. I want to go somewhere, not knowing where I’ll end up or what challenges I will face. I want to go somewhere where the only thing certain is that will learn things I never knew I didn’t know and beauty will be found.
Sounds a lot like marriage if you ask me.