Jeff Hjort : Beyond Malibu

Dear Friends and Family,

Picture in your mind a setting with me. You are on top of a mountain. Looking behind you down the cliff, you see a fjord reaching down 5000 feet to sea level. Looking to your right side you see the mammoth glacier you crossed earlier that day that stretches far off beyond sight. And now look to the left and see the summit of the mountain you have spent 3 days hiking toward. You know that tomorrow is the day you will hike to the summit of that mountain. After a long day of challenges and teamwork you are now sitting down in total silence with high school boys staring at the sun setting over a far off peak:a point that looks like God pinched a piece of the earth and snapped it up into a tall peak. You have students from the Midwest with you that haven't ever seen anything in nature that shouts so loudly and yet so intimately of the existence of God. This is confirmed by a one student exclaiming that he vastly underestimated God's existence.

I am so blessed beyond words that this setting I just asked you to imagine has been a reality for me. I remember that day at Young Life's Beyond Malibu well. I felt so distinctly like a spectator watching God sit down these 17 and 18 year old boys from Chicago and speak to their hearts by simple revelation of what he created in a breath.

This captures what Beyond Malibu is about. However, to explain more explicitly Beyond was started many years ago and it is a ministry that is under the umbrella of Young Life Ministries. It is a backpacking and Jesus focused ministry that brings people from all over the US and Canada to be challenged physically, spiritually, and relationally. I was a guide for Beyond all of last summer and will be again this summer. We spend ten weeks of the summer taking people up mountains, across glaciers, through forests and into situations that bring them to an experience where they end up understanding the provision, protection and awesomeness of God in a deeper way than they have before The trips are each 1 week long and start at sea-level and often climb to over 7500 feet. As a guide I help plan intentional content in the form of bible studies and quiet times along with many other creative experiences and activities that facilitate deepening awareness and time with God. Although we prepare a focus for each trip based on the characteristics and make up of each group, God often speaks to our hearts and we adjust our plans to what God is showing us as we lean on Him. The best way to characterize Beyond is that it is an adventure ministry.

I have made a commitment to be a mountain guide with Young Life's Beyond Malibu (AKA Beyond) again this summer. Last summer I trusted God with this decision. His promise to hold my life in his hands did not return void by any means. The decision to do Beyond is one that comes with a cost. It's a great opportunity but gear, time, and geography costs(it is in a remote area only accessible by boat) really add up by the end of the summer. God provided for me very well last summer, however this summer on the eve of getting married, I'm feeling called to lean on my brothers and sisters in Christ more heavily.

The reality is that I'm nearly done with school and probably should be looking for a job to settle into before marriage. However my commitment to Beyond is a two year long commitment. Call it crazy, but as hard as it is to give up financial security, through doors that God has closed and through prayer, Katie and I believe that fulfilling my commitment to serve in this ministry over the summer is where God wants me. I want to ask you to prayerfully consider helping me find a way to fill some holes.

Here are the needs:

Prayer. I know it might sound obvious, but this summer will be challenging. I will be a lead guide this summer and it comes with a lot more responsibility than I had last summer. In addition to needing prayer from home for mountain and leadership skills, I want to ask that some prayers are kept here at home for my beautiful fiancé, Katie. This summer will be very challenging for us emotionally and Katie needs prayer as she trusts in God's protection and provision of us. It's not always very easy to trust God but we know that he is faithful. Prayer for her heart and mine to stay reliant on God would be appreciated greatly.

My average income currently has been around $600 a month. I receive no monetary compensation as a lead guide at Beyond; it is considered a mission. Over the summer I was budgeting to bring in roughly $900 a month. So my hope is to raise roughly $2700 for the summer. This is what I feel like would provide me a cushion in my savings that I deem responsible for me as I head into marriage. So $2700 is the monetary need. however anything above this is greatly appreciated and will go responsibly into our savings.

Katie will be staying here in the Bellevue/Seattle area this summer trying to work as much as possible. She will be the one heading up the search for an apartment to move into once I return and we get married, so:::. if you are praying and God puts on your heart a passion for real-estate; Katie and I are looking, and we are looking for deals. If you draw a box in Seattle from Madison to Sand Point to Northgate to Ballard/Queen Anne and back to Madison we love that big area that resembles a square (we are flexible and could picture being on the eastside as well). We are aiming for $1000 a month rent or less, so if you pray and feel a call to find deals, we would love any leads. In addition If you know a young woman who needs to sublet from August/September through November we would love those leads as well so that Katie has a roommate to split rent with before we actually get married and live together.

Katie will be planning a wedding largely by herself this summer. She will need help. If you are praying and feel your inner wedding planner stirred you can let me and Katie know and we can find a way to use your skills. Katie will have a lot to do and I know she could use some support.

Equipment: I am well stocked up from last years' experience however I could really use a few more things that wore out pretty badly last year. You might not know what these things are so if you don't and still feel like supporting me in this area feel free to call me and I can explain more fully. I am looking for some high quality gaitors (they really do need to be a good pair), I'm looking for a Z-rest or Ridge-rest foam pad, and two pieces of equipment that I don't need but would make my job easier would be nice Gore-Tex shell pants, a collapsable snow-shovel,and a bivvy.

I have a full load at school, mountain training, youth ministry, work, and investing time in relationships, especially with my fiancé, Katie that I am dedicating time and energy to during the weeks ahead; however I am good at mowing lawns, washing windows, and doing yard-work. In as much as time allows I am willing to work hard to earn support for this coming summer of ministry. I want to give back as much as I can, so if I can do any work for you, let me know and I would love to work something out with you. I would also love to talk about life and my passions with you if you want to grab lunch with me and/or Katie.
Katie and I are deeply, deeply thankful for your role in my life to this point however big or small it's been. We are also grateful for any support you can give us: whatever it may be.

You can here give at  

Thank you,
Jeff and Katie

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Jeff Hjort 
Issaquah, WA
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