Pelota Vasca

Hey guys, I just wanted to write to say hello with a fun cultural update. I don’t do this often, but something pretty fun happened this week and I thought you might all like to learn a bit through my experience.

Our team was invited to learn the sport, Pelota Vasca, which just translates to Basque ball or on Wikipedia, Basque Pelota. It’s a really famous sport here in the Basque country in Spain.

There’s a professional player along with a group of guys who run a business of teaching the sport and helping to expand its influence. The sport can be kind of described in American terms as a mix of squash/racket ball and handball. Two or four players hit against a wall and the game-play is much like racket ball. The catch is, you hit the ball with your hand. (pun fully intended)

Anyway, this business is doing some publicity, so a local news crew came by to record it and our team was on the news. It was kind of a fun “Let’s watch the foreigners try to play our sport” piece ūüôā

You’ll see my teammate Brendan shaking off his hand after hitting the ball. That’s because the ball is very hard (almost like a baseball but smaller) and even with padded gloves, it hurts! The professional (Fernando) showed us his hands and all of his knuckles were sort of misshaped and bent or overgrown from all the fractures. Most pros have pinky fingers that are bent almost to a 90 degree angle from all the breaks, and even they wear pads!

So, we were on the news in Pamplona. For those of you that always wanted to hear me speak Spanish, this is your opportunity.

Click the link below to play the video. They’ll make you watch a 20 second ad, and then you can click forward a bit until you get to 2:55 or 3:00 minutes. You’ll get to watch our team as well as practice your Spanish a bit!

You’ll see me, Brendan, Christine, Minhee, and Dominic.

-Brendan is the other guy that’s my age. He’s a tent-making teacher who helps with the ministry
-Christine is wearing all black. She’s also a tent-making teacher who helps with the ministry
-Minhee is a foreign exchange student from South Korea. She’s wearing the blue Gap shirt. We invited her as well since she’s another foreigner that’s involved in our ministry.
-Dom is wearing the Florida shirt. He’s the pastor and leader of the ministry here.


Check out Missions Untold!

Hey guys, I’ve been quiet here for some time because I’ve dedicated most of my creative writing time to a site I started called Missions Untold.

It’s a website focusing on encouraging and informing those that are seeking out a possible future in mission work.

I hope you find it encouraging! I’ll try to check in here a bit more often as well with personal updates. Thanks for reading guys!


Darkness Gives Way

Clocks and Clouds

I was honored to have my friend Luke Shogren write recently to ask my input on title ideas for a song his band is releasing. Luke is a wonderful musician and he, his wife Steph, and Derek (on drums) have been part of the worship team at the Rock (my church in Minneapolis) for years. I’ve always loved their music.

I was encouraged that he sought me out for a creative title because as an aspiring writer, it’s said that you know you have a knack for it if others seek you out for your use of words and then benefit by those words. I am very honored to be able to contribute 3 little words to the musical talent of their group, Clocks and Clouds.

I had a list of ideas, many of them bad. That’s how it goes with creativity though. Any photographer will tell you that out of quantity comes quality. “Just write,” is how that sounds for a writer. You can edit later.

So, I sat down and watched the video twice, brainstormed some ideas, then at the end of the day I watched it again and brainstormed some more. From my brainstorming, I narrowed it down to three. “Darkness Gives Way” was the best fit.

I hope you enjoy the song. -And the title ūüôā

Team Update

Our team in 2011.

From Left to Right: Christine, D√°maris, Debora, Dominic, Me, Naomi, Brendan, Daniel.

Naomi is our adopted team member from England. She’s teaching in the same program as Christine and Brendan.


I Don’t Wish You a Happy New Year. I Wish You Something Better.

Every year around this time, a bombardment of negativity flows freely from numerous publications while they make light of those who make New Year’s resolutions. ¬†Why? ¬†Because most people fail.

Real world-changers don’t allow the failures of others stop them from being great.

What’s that one thing you should have done? What’s that one thing that’s been on your heart for a long time? You want to start an outreach? You want to finally kick your laziness and get time in the Word every morning? You want to pray more? You want to kick impurity? You want to take care of your body?

Start now. ¬†The others will fail like they always do. ¬†That’s their problem. ¬†They’ll write snide articles about it to make themselves feel better and comfortingly reassure each other that people cannot really change.

Well guess what? ¬†That’s a big fat lie. ¬†Remember who the father of lies is?

I don’t wish you a happy new year. ¬†I wish you a Christ-centered, God filled year. Most times those years aren’t easy, but I promise you, they’re better than just¬†happy. ¬†They are full of Joy. Let this be the year you laugh in the face of the father of lies, and realize why we are called “More than conquerors” in the Bible. ¬†We did not receive a spirit of timidity and slavery to fall back into fear. ¬†We are victors in Christ.

Let today be the day when you throw away your shackles. ¬†You’re not a slave, you’ve been adopted out of that cursed inheritance. ¬†You’re now a son, a daughter, an heir.

How to Sound Less Intelligent

Today I was reading from The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis, an author who’s not a stranger on this blog.

In his chapter on friendship, he discusses how a group of friends is naturally based on common interests.  In Affection and Eros the objects look toward one another.  In friendship, the members walk side by side toward a common goal.

He breaks away from his main theme for a second to talk about the awkwardness experienced by a group of friends when it’s invaded by an outsider who does not care for their conversation.

In the example he uses an uneducated woman (which by today’s standards, this passage might seem to be bordering on sexism, but I don’t believe he was drawing a blanket statement.)

In his example, an uneducated woman walks into a group of erudite intellectuals like himself.  It was most likely something that had frequently happened to him.

He says the men in this given situation “know what discussion, proof and illustration mean.” The woman hasn’t gone beyond high school and long since forgot those elements of culture, “whose reading is the Women’s Magazines and whose general conversation is almost wholly narrative…” To be polite, the men try to explain what they’re talking about, and try to make her feel better by trying to make sense of her “blundering observations.”

“But the efforts soon fail and, for manners’ sake, what might have been a real discussion is deliberately diluted and peters out in gossip, anecdotes, and jokes. ¬†Her presence has thus destroyed the very thing she was brought to share. ¬†She can never really enter the circle because the circle ceases to be itself when she enters it – as the horizon ceases to be the horizon when you get there.”

What really grabbed me was that this woman was only able to speak in narrative. ¬†Was Lewis saying that those who lack intelligence and culture speak mostly in narrative? ¬†Why yes. ¬†It’s true isn’t it?

What a mind job! I’d never thought of it. ¬†The more narrative somebody uses , ie “She told me,” “Then I went…” “I was like…!” the less intelligent they normally are.

Those who talk of ideas, truths, worldviews, and the meaning behind things rely little on narrative.  Ideas and abstractions lie outside that realm.

It’s something so simple really, but I’d never stumbled upon it. ¬†Of course this does not mean that all narrative connotes low intelligence. ¬†Many of the greatest teachers exercise narrative in order to better convey their ideas. ¬†Think Lewis himself with the Screwtape Letters, or a better example, Jesus with his parables.

Well, now you have a cheat sheet for sounding more intelligent.  Less narrative.

What do you think?  Is narrative the sign of a lesser intelligence? Maybe I should rewrite the first line of this post!

Where’s Jordan Been?

Hey guys sorry to not have written much here lately.¬† I’ve been doing quite a bit of writing but not here at my blog.¬† I also took a week and a half vacation to the US, an early Christmas if you will, to see my girlfriend Aubrey, my family, and friends.

You’ve been writing?

Yes, I took November as a trial period to see if I would be able to dedicate an hour to writing every day while not letting it affect my ministry work.  It was hard at times, but I did it.  I had to be more diligent in waking up early!  That said, this blog took the brunt of me spending my writing time elsewhere.

The reason I dedicated that amount of time to writing is that I hoped to start a missions blog/website and needed to know if I could commit to writing for that long without being distracted from ministry here.¬† I’ve decided to go ahead with the blog idea I shared about last month.¬† I hope to have it up within a few weeks.¬† To read about that, click here.

In November I took part in the challenge called NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month.  I was a great way to test if I was able to spend that kind of time writing without it affecting my ministry.  The goal was to write 50,000 words during the month of November as a rough draft to some form of literature.  I got to 42,000 and called it a month.

I was very satisfied with 42,000.  The goal was to get people writing, and whether or not I reached 50,000, it served its purpose in getting me writing.

I started a novel idea that had been on my mind for quite some time.¬† I’m currently half way done with the first draft.¬† I think it’ll need about 70-90,000 words to be finished, which is the perfect length for a novel of its kind.

It’s a missionary story about loving God in the hardest of circumstances.¬† I’ll leave the plot out for now, but that is one of the spiritual themes the runs through it.¬† This theme has started to become one of my main ministry mantras.¬† I hope to finish the book someday and see what might come of it.

I won’t necessarily hold my breath hoping it gets published.¬† Those chances are incredibly slim.¬† However, I don’t want to take it less seriously than if I were trying to get published.¬† The quality of the book will be reflected in the attitude I have in the writing.¬† My real desire, Lord willing, will be to finish it and at least order a bunch of copies to give to supporters, family, and friends.

So, that said, I have been writing, just not so much here.¬† I hope to soon start the missions blog, and steadily continue on the first draft of the novel.¬† Maybe in a year or two you’ll be able to read the finished version!¬† Meanwhile, I’ll try to poke in here more often.¬† It doesn’t take long to write if I don’t take it too seriously.

I’ll let you know when the missions blog is up.¬† I’m really excited to try this!

Thanks for stopping by,