It's always a good story when someone works hard for an actualized dream they have in life. We're drawn to, and Disney even built an empire from it. "Dreams Coming True" are an inspiration to us all, and to be honest; I think that's why the Olympics are so popular.
We love hearing stories of gymnasts who gave their life to realize a gold medal.
We love watching the underdog compete on the track and win a dream no-one thought he could ever accomplish.
We love watching those who didn't think it could be done silenced...as someone took a-hold of a vision and watched it grow into reality.
If I may, I'd love to share a dream with you, a dream I've just realized.
Long ago, in a land far far away...(Ok I won't be cheezy here.)
In 1997 I helped build a program for teenagers to come to Colorado and experience an unbelievable vacation. With the trust of Kanakuk Kamps, and the help of Adventure Experiences, we built a place where teens could come and get away from life for a while, and have a lot of fun getting building friendships with other teens from around the world.
In 2001 I had a chance to partner with a wonderful family out of Albuquerque who had a vision for a teenage camp on their property outside of Durango Colorado, and again with the trust and help from Kanakuk Kamps and Joe White, we built a location where teens could come and explore their Worldview while they had a chance to see the "Best Of" in Colorado.
But there was always a tug in my heart to realize a different place. A place where we had fun, but a place where people could come together and really Love God and Love Others in the hard places. I saw a great divide begin in our culture, our faith, and our ability to Love On Another after 2001.
Christians were divided across denomination or theology.
The Political divide began to expand at a rapid rate.
Artists were arguing over great art versus censorship.
And while teenagers were trying to develop a Worldview where they could understand all the forces pressuring them to grow up around them, they were being filled with this need to "Stand Up,"
"Be Right," "Change the hearts and minds," and the divide grew greater.
My dream: To develop a place where we could be honest in our convictions, and courageous enough to respect those convictions no matter where we come from.
In 2009, KIVU emerged as such a place, and for the last two weeks we saw it play out like never before.
We had kids here from Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and various places in America. We had Evangelical Christian's, Catholics, Atheists, Agnostics, Muslims, and teenagers who were confused about a lot of the divisions our world creates.
With the help from dear friends in Durango, we actually had an opportunity to partner with a larger Middle East initiative to help kids see the differences in the ways we live here, and bring them together to have FUN in the outdoors.
At the end of the two weeks, I couldn't stop smiling.
This is the way the world is supposed to look.
Nobody vying for power.
Nobody trying to steal the attention from others.
Just pure community.
It doesn't mean we didn't have disagreements.
We talked openly about faith, and the differences.
We didn't try to hide the fact we believe Jesus is the answer for our world.
We served each other.
We laughed A LOT!
We learned how other cultures work, and why.
And in the end, I felt like we were a part of helping to orchestrate one of the greatest World Changing events on the planet. For the first time in my 15 years of teenage ministry, I saw broken people understand they didn't have life figured out, and we can still function as imperfect people striving to be better.
I saw teenagers see the heart of Loving People on a grand scale.
I watched staff members provide Excellent Adventure.
I saw every sort of division fade into the place where we recognized the value of our own humanity in light of our strong conviction.
I saw teenagers Love God, and Love Others.
It was nothing short of AMAZING!
When the two week term ended, I felt like we crossed the finish line in first. Won the gold medal. Changed the World. (at least for a time) Made friends from far off places. Understood each other in our own humanity. And went home with a glimpse of hope.
I guess I'm just trying for a moment in time to put into words what it feels like to be a part of a team doing wonderful work in a space often laced with aggression, fear, and hatred.
Term 4 at KIVU was an unbelievable picture of Jesus' commandment, "The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. The Second is like it, To love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments."
Dreams do come true.
I just lived it.
And we proved to the world, it can be done.