Alumni venture is part adventure, part ministry
They may seem unlikely business partners - one holds a degree in finance and the other in missions - but longtime friends Jason Boone and Stephen Powell have paired up for a rollercoaster of entrepreneurial adventure that has taken them around the globe.
They now have landed in Kenya, where they are working with BlueSky, an organization that offers Christian youth camps, leadership-building adventure trips and soon will open East Africa’s first indoor climbing gym.
Though it may seem an unusual approach, their adventure-seeking has become a ministry in progress for the 2010 graduates of ACU. Their vision is to build their own adventure expedition business with a strong ministry component.
"We want to start a camp somewhere in the world, reaching out to the local community, providing jobs, using those passions God has put on our hearts to ultimately witness to a given community," says Jason, a missions graduate.
"Kenya, like most of the continent, has the disease of poverty," he says. "It robs you of dignity and respect, things you can't give back with charity. That's why we want to provide jobs in the community along with our outreach."
Building relationships through adventure
Their vision has grown along with their friendship.
"We've come together in a dream that started for me when I was 14 and got back from mission trip in Brazil," says Jason. "Stephen and I grew up in Abilene together, roomed together as freshmen, did Young Life throughout college together, worked summer camps together, played sports together, have traveled all over the world together. I shared with Stephen this vision God put on my heart. In talking about it so much, it became both of our dreams - really it's God’s vision."
Between them, they've made education or mission-related visits to more than a dozen countries, most recently Egypt, Lebanon and South Africa.
The stint in Kenya is an opportunity to become adventure missions qualified, says Stephen, who majored in finance but never envisioned sitting behind a desk working for a corporation. "It's our grad school," he quips.
They share the message of Christ by forming relationships during those expeditions.
"If you give someone a really cool experience and you are part of a meaningful experience in their lives, it builds a relationship that God can use," explains Stephen. "We can do adventure trips and be relational, and we can mentor kids through that."
"Seeing how this gospel story really works, that captivated us both," adds Jason. "Especially for young boys, it's exciting to get out and conquer this adventure. [We wanted to show that] Christians can do really cool things. We all see the benefit of how God uses that platform."
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