When I was 19 I went on my first backpacking trip, to Central America. I was alone, and being an extrovert - that was hard! But I soon found solace. I found a place that was full of like minded people my age, people who weren't normal, they where backpackers. And I was in a hostel.
One night a girl asked me why I wasn't smoking weed, and the conversation that followed soon led to religion. They thought I was religious, but Im really not. I follow Christ wholeheartedly, and I accept His grace to be enough for me. Religion doesn't play a big part in what I believe. I explained this, and I explained church. One of the girls was captivated, and she told me that if I started a church that operated like what I had just explained - she would join. All I had done was walked the group through Acts...
I realized that these people want community. They are different. I am different. We dont do well in the nice box of society, we crave something more. We want real experiences, we don't judge others beliefs, we want to be heard, and we are willing to listen. I realized that backpackers are all running from something, I sure was. For me it was the hypocrisy I saw in my church in Orange County California. Reuben was running from his wife. Sean from his girlfriend. Foss from his job. We all where tired of something, and looking for something real, authentic, and true. I watched countless people find something that worked for a short time, sex with the hot Australian in their dorm room, opium from a Laotian farmer, an elephant ride or even getting to see the Great Wall of China. As fun as these things are, we wont find truth in it. It wont satisfy.
My time backpacking was an amazing chance to learn about peoples beliefs, I was able to spend 20 hour train rides through China explaining what I believe and hearing what a girl from Estonia believed. I sat on canals in Amsterdam and kept people calm while they where having a bad trip. As the temperature dropped while stranded on a mountain in China, I explained to a friend from my hostel how I was so peaceful and not afraid of death. These stories can go on forever, and I realized that this is my ministry. These are my people. I know how to relate to them, I know how to love them, I know what they need to hear and what they have already heard to many times.
My vision is to start a hostel of my own, a place where these backpackers can come and find the community that they are looking for. A place where after a day of looking and not finding the truth, they can kick back with a beer and hear the truth that they need to hear. Or not, maybe they just want a beer. And thats fine too.
Please, if you want to know more about this idea, send me an email to hear how you can help.