creativemissionsAs I follow my friends as they serve on #creativemissions 2016 to Vermont, I thought I’d do a post on what #creativemissions is doing.  Sadly, things didn’t work out for me to serve.  I know God had other plans so it’s all good.  I searched out an image to use for this post and I stumbled upon a text document on file that I remember writing as I flew back from Boise, ID to Charlotte, NC.  I wrote it on my iPad and as I jumped right back into real world life, it was left sitting in digital limbo.  Since Jon and Tim are both serving in Vermont right now, and Sheri is off being awesome somewhere else, I thought I’d post it up.  Maybe, just maybe, I can encourage them in some small way.  Here you go, unedited, in all it’s recycled airplane oxygen glory:

Time moves so quickly. It seems like last week I was in Baltimore for Creative Missions, yet here I am on a flight home from Boise, ID contemplating all that God accomplished during a week of missions that came and went way too fast. I seem to be very sensitive how fast time moves, or maybe it’s because of the contemplative mood I’ve been in this year as Gage nears graduation and college…whatever the reason it’s why I tend to journal life through photos.  Many may mock my incessant need to have a camera on hand or my iPhone camera on and in your bubble of existence, but it is my visual way to document a time, place, and emotion.

This is an account of my experiences in random time and thoughts.
Flying is stressful. Baggage (carry on is the only way to fly) was my Timbuk2 bag, security checkpoints (TSA friendly bags FTW, nothing in pockets,  thanks to Scottevest), I mocked neck pillows before I left but would have loved one at many times (used my hoodie for free), print out boarding passes before heading to airport, if connecting flight times are tight its best to gets seats as close to first class as possible because exiting a plane from the back takes forever, headphones are not something to skimp on ( loved the comply earbud covers), power bars or cliff bars instead of candy/chips, buy water or bring an empty water bottle to fill up after security, window seat is great but aisle is good if you need to use the restroom or walk around, pack your bags then determine a few things to take back out(you need less than you think I still had three shirts and a pair of shoes I never wore), account for souvenirs.
Team Jon- Jon Rogers, Tim Gaskins, Sheri Felipe, myself.
Jon and Tim I knew some from Baltimore. Wish I had spent more time getting to know them then. Love them now. Sheri was a new connection, but instantly fell into place completing a team that gelled in every way. Another example of God’s hand at work. We were only four, but accomplished so much because we worked so well together and complimented each other’s strengths as well as compensated for each other’s weaknesses. My talkative/impulsive/ADHD self was tempered by Sheri’s consistent and calming personality.  Being in a leadership position in so many different roles in my everyday life…I loved taking on a secondary role.
Jon Rogers – Jon, while very self effacing as it comes to his leader role within CM, did an amazing job. We talked about his personal struggle with his role as leader as he seemed to spend more time managing vs creating a tangible piece of work…something he could point to and say, I did that. But what he did was so valuable, at the very least keeping us on point when I’d go into entertaining mode to break the mood or work monotony. In my defense, CM is a relentless pace and while I’m sure some could find me annoying, I think those on my team understand the purpose behind it. I can honestly say we laughed as much as possible.  We’ll have a lifetime of inside jokes ( peach smoothie, GPS directions, Jon has the best deadpan comedic timing I know. Pure genius in recognizing a moment and saying something so serious that it was hilarious). Jon and I had the initial common ground of our relationships with The Salvation Army. Jon is in charge of communications out of The Salvation Army’s New York Divisional Headquarters. I miss Jon’s quips already. The man could make me LOL at any given moment while still maintaining that leaders edge. Jon, I’ll follow you into battle any day. Much respect to you my friend. You are a stronger leader than you give yourself credit for.  Outstanding job this week!
Tim Gaskins- the baby” of the team.the youngest by a good bit. super nice. Seriously enjoyed my time with Tim. Tim was eager to take on the role as lead for our websites. Originally coming in I assumed that my role would be web development, and it was, but Tim really wanted the opportunity to handle it so I assisted. I helped set him up with a theme and showed the basics and he picked it up fast. The guy is super smart. Good eye for web design and layout coupled with a technical knowledge of WordPress put him quickly in the groove of creating a site that fit the needs of each church. Quick fact: I loved that he loves music so much and he has a band.  I loved working with him. He was willing to learn and step out of his comfort zone and I feel grateful to have been able to share my knowledge and help mentor a bit. God is going to do great things with this young man. I think Tim instantly felt at home in Boise as it had that whole mountain town type feel you find in Tim’s home state of Colorado.

Sheri Filipe- the dark horse, queen Sheri. This woman is simply A.MAZ.ING.LY talented. We would joke whenever we figured out something else that needed to be done, whether it was a small graphic, logo, or branding design, that Sheri had already finished it before we even realized we needed it. That she was that fast. The reality was that she really was almost that fast in bringing a design to life. Inspired by her quality and quantity of creativity, I coined the term for our team…”Mighty Creative Warriors”. We also turned her name into a verb.  Whenever doing something amazing, we would say we totally “Sheried” that. I was blessed to work with the formidable Sheri on our team. Hailing from South Florida, or the “basement of America” as one Boise local called it. Sheri reigns upon a vintage throne of design that she probably made from thrift store items? The  goal of each day….make Sheri laugh. Mission accomplished. Usually while dragging each of us in uncontrollable laughter in the process. Stoked to be able to call her a friend.

“This year Creative Missions took us to Boise, Idaho. If my calculations are correct, we provided approximately:
10 website designs or redesigns
12 logos, branding packages and/or style guides
3 new social accounts setup & branded
6 videos
27 total number of print designs (business cards, letterhead, etc.)
14 signs
10 coaching, strategy and/or training sessions (social, tech, general communications)
5 AVL upgrades or troubleshooting
3 photography/photo shoots
4 email newsletter designs/redesigns
1 stage design
2 ProPresenter or presentation system software design/install
11 Churches served
22 Creative missionaries
If you take a conservative amount of hours worked and multiply it by a conservative freelancer rate, we gave around $45,000 in free labor and services to the churches in the Boise area.
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