Published in  
Volume 1
February 21, 2023

01 - Through The Lens

After digging around my living room, I stumbled upon an old family relic and stared at it for several minutes. Wondering what he would say, I hesitantly asked him, “Dad, can I have this?” To my surprise he gave me the go ahead: “Sure, we don’t really use it much anymore.” As an ambitious middle-schooler I excitedly hurried off into my room to figure out this new toy. What my dad had given me was my first video camera. With just a couple of tapes, a fresh battery, and endless possibilities, I now had a new hobby to look forward to. 

I was always a creative kid, but I could have never predicted the passion I would develop for film, the blessings I would experience from creating, or the places that it would take me. Growing up skateboarding, I quickly found use for this new tool: creating skate videos with my friends. I distinctly remember popping VHS tapes into my old TV and recording our sessions and skate clips directly from the DV tape in the camera. As I watched the glitchy playback edit I would feel such joy in something I created–something I still feel to this day.

Being raised in the church, I had read countless times in Genesis about humanity being created in God’s image and how each of us have been given unique gifts. It sounded nice and I believed it; but admittedly, I wouldn’t come to a greater understanding of this truth until later on in my life. It was when I got to college and started trying to figure out a career path when I started to get the hint. After changing majors four times and almost failing, I prayed and asked God for direction and clarity on what He was calling me to do. Little did I know it was right under my nose the whole time. I had been making videos ever since middle school and was still making them for fun. That next semester I started pursuing film–my grades skyrocketed and I felt more fulfilled than ever.

I knew God had led me to the place where I was able to use my passions every day.

After graduating I started a career as a freelance videographer. I gained tons of experience and started getting gigs; jobs that paid well. I was blown away–I couldn’t believe I was able to support myself doing this. Real estate, weddings, commercial work–the list goes on. As my portfolio expanded and work kept coming, I began to feel the need to give back to the Lord. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to be able to pay the bills, but the thought of only using my talents to make money wasn’t enough for me; it didn’t cut it.

God was stirring in my heart a desire to use my creativity–my gift–to help build His Kingdom, not my own. I began actively praying that God would provide an opportunity for me and my skill to be used for His glory.

It wasn’t long before that opportunity presented itself in the fashion of a DM on Instagram. A buddy of mine had tagged me in a post from a ministry I had vaguely heard of–Ride Nature. They were in search of a videographer, specifically one with experience in the action sports world. With eyebrows raised, I thought about reaching out after being tagged in that post, but to my surprise they sent me a direct message after seeing my name tagged and even found my portfolio. Recognizing how quickly the Lord had answered my prayer, I replied to the message and soon I was hearing the vision for the documentary film series To the ENDS. I was sold right away. Skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and the Gospel? I couldn’t have imagined a more clear fit for what I had asked for. Traveling the world, sharing the truth, and using action sports as the tool to do so–it almost seemed too good to be true.

However, they had 10 trips they wanted to film in 12 months, and with a fairly busy travel schedule already, the dates they needed me would determine if I was even capable of going. Within the next six months, there were few sections in my calendar that I knew would be hard to work with in light of my existing schedule and the jobs I had already booked. A couple weeks went by, and as if God had checked my schedule Himself, the dates aligned and worked perfectly. It was such a clear message from God; He was calling me to be involved in this project. An eleven-part film series isn’t light work and I couldn’t help but feel a bit intimidated. What if I couldn’t complete it? What if I wasn’t good enough? Was I the right guy for the job? In the book of Exodus, God called Moses to deliver the Israelites. Moses, who had a stutter and doubted his potential, wielded only a staff, but God used that staff in massive ways–to turn water into blood, to part the Red Sea, and to display God’s glory to those he was leading out of captivity. In many ways I felt like Moses. I wielded only a camera, yet God chose to use it for the same purpose. I accepted the call to take on this project and it was one that I will never forget.

That year of my life was devoted to shedding light on the many leaders, testimonies, and ministries around the world that use skateboarding to bring others into the Kingdom of God.

When going into a foreign country there’s always risk of illness, crime, or danger that you are susceptible to; but the Lord protected our multiple trips every step of the way. From having our drone confiscated at the Nicaragua border to miraculously getting it back, the stories of the miracles that took place during that year are incredible. I won’t spoil all the details of the series, but take it from me, although I’m a bit biased as the director of the project, it’s worth every minute. The Lord is holy and He has a plan that surpasses all of our own plans–an objective that we continue to fulfill as long as we pursue Him. We are all a part of His story! It was God’s design that I stumbled upon that first video camera in middle school. It was God’s design to captivate me with skateboarding so that I would use it later on in life for the Kingdom. It was His design that I got linked up with Ride Nature. It is still His design every day–through the decisions I make, the things I create, the people I meet, and the places He leads me; they are all for His purpose, His doing, and His glory. I’ve learned that to be made in God’s image includes utilizing the creative ability He has equipped us with. God is creative and has given us the ability to create also. My passions, interests, friends, ambitions, desires–all of these may change; but my identity lies in Christ, and where He calls me I must go.