In 2005, I started taking students around the world to serve. I quickly saw our World View Traning was lacking an important part to be significant in the lives of the students coming to our facility in Colorado, EXPERIENCE.
We began as a small group of 12 heading out for the great unknown in Costa Rica. Without taking up the majority of this blog with details, I can say with definity it was the best decision we ever made.
Learning to Love God and Love Others is our motto. We served for a whole week of real mission like service, and at the end of the trip we saw students who returned home different than when they arrived. They're care for others in their own community grew, and many of them have become life long friends who embody WHOLE FAITH LIVING.
On a parent night at KIVU a few years later, one of my parent friends asked me, "What is your longitudinal trajectory for kids to come to camp and travel around the world?"
I didn't really know how to respond at the time, but I've come to shape a response mirroring the effects of that first Costa Rican Experience.
"We are sold out to helping teenagers understand how to Love God and Love Others no matter what. At KIVU in Colorado, we learn how to Love Others through a variety of Colorado outdoor sports, interacting with students from around the world. At The KIVU Gap Year, we show students how to Live a Life of Loving Others through the paradigm of Jesus' Message while He was on earth, as they spend 9 months traveling the globe. And our KIVU intercontinental trips are designed to re-enforce that training as we travel together and learn about the world in service."
To date, we've been to China, Rwanda, Guatemala, Ecuador, The Philippines, and tomorrow we're heading out for Israel.
Eighteen of our KIVU friends are heading to The Holy Land to walk the footsteps of Jesus. We're going to put real geography to our study of the Bible AND we're going to interact with some of the foremost thinkers on the Israel/Palestinian Conflict.
Our mission: To LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS.
We're going to spend time with Israeli Jews, Palestinian Christians, Israeli Atheists, Palestinian Muslims, Israeli Muslims, all while we will see how the message of Jesus was one that broke down the walls of differing people groups. My hope is we come home being more PRO-PEOPLE than we were when we started.
As we walk the shores of the Sea of Galilee, see Jerusalem through the eyes of Jesus, and visit with friends in Bethlehem; this group is going to get a back stage pass to all things Holy Land.
I'll keep my blog up to date next week, and let you know how things are going. We've got lots of media outlet available, and one of the students is even going to Skype into his High School "Issues" class while we're there.
I'm so excited for this, and can't wait to report back to you.