Daytona Blog #3

936CBB0E-7707-44B5-B3FA-6E5CB1C87036.jpegToday we pack up the vans and have breakfast with some wonderful Taylor alums! Then we begin the 18 hour drive home. Pray that drivers stay alert and we enjoy these hours together. Also pray that we will continue to practice the discipline of “seeing the other” as we make our way back to Taylor. Thanks for your prayers and support!


Fort Myers Blog #2

08A322EF-C06F-4C81-925C-CB37898D334C.jpegWe have been at ECHO for a few days now and the best way to describe how I am feeling would be pleasantly tired. For the past two days, I have had the privilege of working in the Appropriate Technology area of the farm with an intern named Will. This section of the farm has a working hydroponics system, many plants in the ground, and working examples of appropriate technology that can be used all around the world.

A9B0BB3B-6EE3-4EA7-9D8C-A6D1F73EB8B2.jpegOne of my favorite moments of working so far was yesterday, on our rainiest work day so far. Myself and a few others had been busy planting some new Grumichama plants in the midst of a heavy rain when Will invited us to come into shelter for some fresh mint tea. Will proceeded to light an outdoor stove fueled by biogas that had come from composted human waste and put on a pot of water. Once the tea was ready, we cupped our hands around warm mugs and enjoyed each other’s company and thesound of the rain on the roof. After our tea, we were also able to learn how to plant black and green sugar cane which proved to be very satisfying work.

1D9708FB-02E0-46AF-A96B-063DD302C02E.jpegAs I reflect on my time at ECHO so far, I am completely in awe. Something just feels so right about working the land; to be directly involved with God’s provision for us through His creation. To be covered in soil, smelling like the earth is lovely and humbling. I have always found it important to never turn a blind eye to where the things we eat and the things we buy come from, and it really is eye opening to be a part of the process.

9C4A9BD1-1A1C-4EB6-93C1-D58D1EE1C35B.jpegAs we were preparing to go on this trip, a word that we talked about many times was partnering. This is the idea that we want to do work with others and not for them. This morning I was thinking about this, and realized that farming is a way of partnering with God. We put in physical labor, but we must trust that God will provide the sun and rain to help the plants grow. We are really much lesser partners in the relationship, and yetGod gives us the privilege to be part of His process of growth and life. As we continue to work the land, I pray that we remember that there is no life apart from Him.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Claire Rush


Memphis Blog #2

2F7F8958-4AD7-4907-978E-4215C8D4F60E.jpegToday was workday number three at Miss Annie’s home. With today being a half day of work, the five of us went into this morning with just a few things left to do before fully diving into the shingling process. We were able to get a considerable amount of the new shingles placed before we took a break for lunch and ended work for the day. We then headed back to SOS to shower and get ready for an afternoon and evening exploring Memphis.

83413896-5A34-4B77-A5B1-88DE31F2D9D2.jpegOur afternoon began as we headed out to the National Civil Rights Museum in downtown Memphis. It was such a cool experience – something that these words could never do justice (you’ll just have to come and experience it for yourself!). Then after spending a few hours at the museum, we headed over to Central BBQ for dinner. From BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches and mac ‘n cheese to BBQ nachos, pulled pork, and ribs, we were definitely fuller when we left than when we entered. However, seeing as how we are in Memphis, we couldn’t stop from getting something else to eat. We ventured over to Crosstown Concourse (google it) where we stopped at Mempops (google this, too) for popsicles and walked around the building. Afterwards, we drove over to a place called the Rec Room where we played Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. on a giant projector screen. After about an hour of racing around corners and battling each other with our favorite “Smash” characters, we headed back for SOS and called it a night.FC39EFD1-913F-4473-A3FC-71D5BA5C354F

Ela Alvarado, team member of the trip had this to say about her experience so far: “The city of Memphis is vibrant; the people, the places, the overall atmosphere – they all scream of God’s glory. Whether you are putting on new shingles on a roof or trying the best barbeque in town (you can’t go wrong with Central BBQ), there’s never a dull moment here in the city of Memphis.” We have had such a great time so far in Memphis and are looking forward to what’s to come on our final workday on Thursday, as well as a day of exploring Memphis on Friday! Continue to pray for us as we wrap up our week and prepare to head back to Taylor!

With love,

The Memphis Spring Break Team

Sienna, Ela, Luke, Jen, & Jacob

Fort Myers Blog #1

As we enter into the middle of our time here at ECHO, I feel pleasantly exhausted. I walked into this trip with few expectations and little knowledge about what life on the farm would entail, but feel overwhelmed with all that I have learned and experienced. As I let go of the worries and stresses of back home and immerse myself in the dirt and life of the earth, I am continually brought back to Genesis 3 when God tells Adam that through hard work and the sweat of his brow he will eat from the ground. I have read this chapter many times and have never quite experienced it in its true form until this week.

BB08D360-61E2-4485-93B5-AFC8EA357EB1.jpegOutdoor work is not easy work. The weeds reappear, your hands get dirty, the sun hides behind the clouds, and the outcome can be less than ideal. While this can feel discouraging and frustrating I have been struck more with the beauty that comes from good work. After a long morning of weeding and pruning in the pouring rain, I am able to look at the plot of land and see all that was accomplished and how the toil of our hands has brought life to an overgrown garden.

Through the long and tedious research of trial and error, ECHO farmers are able to find solutions to agricultural problems in all climates and areas of the world. Through this hard work that seems mundane and tedious, we are making a small footprint in the life of someone else.

76C2633B-2A54-4584-8278-2F30BC880291.jpegAs we will soon be returning to Upland, I hope that this trip will transform my perspective of work and life around me. As I am among the trees and landscape of campus, I long to stop and take time to appreciate the work and care it takes to produce that life and the glory of God that is represented in its uniqueness and splendor. As I study, write papers, and complete assignments, I hope that I will focus on the beauty of doing work well for the glory of God instead of focusing on crossing things off my list. I hope that as I interact with the people in my life that I will be able to see how God is producing life in them, like he is on this farm and the world around us. That is my prayer, that this trip and all that it has taught me will not stay in Ft. Myers, but change my perspective and transcend my everyday life back in Indiana.

Sydney Peugh

Daytona Blog #2

The last two days were less than perfect weather days for us. Tuesday continued the theme of constant cloud coverage with off and on rain – Wednesday brought us our first sunny day, but included colder temperatures and Midwest type wind. HOWEVER, the weather did not hinder us. The clouds and rain made it easy to get people to join us for volleyball and soccer. And our friends from Oceanview were more than happy to brave the rain to hang out on the beach and drink pop together. We met really great people and had wonderful opportunities to hear people’s stories. And while the wind on Wednesday made beach goers scarce, those who braved the wind were more than open to huddling up and sharing conversation with each other.

F1D1D2B8-D98F-41EF-B78A-A155D37F5898.jpegWednesday was capped off by one of the highlights of our trip as we spent time worshiping with the unique community at Oceanview. It is hard to capture the experience with words, pictures or even video – but singing and dancing with our friends at Oceanview is always a holy and beautiful experience. After so many years with these friends, the staff celebrated with us by providing cake, cupcakes and pop (along with streamers and balloons) during our time of singing. Truly an amazing moment!

1912B0B4-8829-43F2-AF8A-11183F38DE6E.jpegAlong with this overview, here are a few stories from the rest of the team:

I quickly shoved a sandwich into my face to spend more time with John and Eric for another couple of hours.  Micah

I had the pleasure of meeting the Administration Team at Oceanview on the first day we were here. My heart swelled when seeing my friends outside…for they are so precious to me and to our Holy God. I will never forget what the Administration Team said, “After Christmas, this is the most important time of the year for them, when you come.” Our team has been deeply moved by this and I’m so grateful for the friends I’ve met there because of this trip. – Natalie

0D06FE5F-D7A4-4B22-9614-E338112875EE.jpegI met Carl at the beginning of the week, every day I am learning more about him and how I can show Gods love even a little, and also how not to give up on my dream even when I am down and in the hardest place in my life than I’ve ever been (keep going, not only with words but with actions also). –pk

It was awesome talking to high school student yesterday, I feel like student most especially high school student are people who need to hear the gospel of Christ because, a lot of time they in the process of figuring out what their place in this earth is. So it was great to not only talk to them but share a little bit about the gospel. – DANK

020ACDA2-4362-4838-88BA-70DE54542677.jpegThe Lord is faithful. That’s the biggest thing I’m growing in this week. Every encounter is just the right encounter for me in that moment. Two days ago, I met Piper, Kaylee, and Piper’s mother. Thinking I would simply help a child with her sand castle, the hour turned to also letting a woman share her heart like she hadn’t been able to in quite a while. The simple things, the silly things, they reconcile more than just material brokenness to the Lord. – Lily

Our first day out, I met a homeless man named Tommy. He was simply sitting in a chair under a cover in the park we are usually at, Sun Splash, and the instant I saw him I knew he would be aimportant aspect to our trip. That day, we talked for two hours about his life, journey, and how he ended up in Daytona. Throughout the week I’ve seen and talked to Tommy every single day, and every time he gets more comfortable with me and my teammates, and today he’s said he will even come down to the beach! These deep relationships that grow each day are a huge aspect of our trip, and I’m so glad I got to experience such an interesting person, even for so short a time. -LeeAnna

Kentucky Blog #1

CEF6D91B-4DE8-41BB-A32C-7EE8FD102E87.jpegWow. We are so thankful to be embarking on this journey of spiritual growth, self-discovery, and the development of spiritual discipline in our own lives. We’re about an hour away from the monastery that we’ll be at for the next four days!


This weekend has been defined by its slow pace. The ten of us have enjoyed our time meeting with various spiritual directors and contemplative influences as we prepare for our time of solitude, silence, and stillness. On Saturday, we met with David and Beth Booram, spiritual directors that live just outside of Indy (Fall Creek Abbey). The team was welcomed by TU alum Chris Chang (’16) and his family at their restaurant The Oriental Inn. Our day was spent responding to a guided self-reflection; questions that moved us each into spaces of prayerful contemplation and personal discovery. We began to practice the art of giving ourselves a lot of grace as we learn and grow into this new practice that many of us are unfamiliar with.


On Sunday, we had a slow and relaxing morning, eating brunch together at Good Morning Mama’s before heading over to the beloved Hightower-Yoder’s residence to meet with Travis and Sara. There, we were given permission to get curious about what the contemplative experience was like. Travis and Sara have done a lot of work and personal development in this area, and so they were our guides and resources for the day. After asking some initial questions, we were given an hour to practice the art of purposeless time with God. We then shared our experiences, asked some final questions, and went back to the home where we are staying.


After leaving the Hightower-Yoder’s, we ate dinner at BruBurger with Taylor alums Dara and Jason Burkhalter. So many great people are speaking into our lives and supporting our personal journeys.  It is amazing how this growth process is happening on an individual basis but corporately at the moment. The evening at the house we have been staying at (graciously offered to us by the Bookmyers, a family closely connected to Taylor University) was spent differently by all of us. Some went on a walk, some processed through writing, some read books on contemplation, and others still practiced the spiritual discipline of sleep by going to bed early.

This morning and early afternoon have been spent travelling down to Kentucky. We hit the road around nine, got brunch at a cute little restaurant called Le Peep, and picked up some cupcakes to celebrate the birth of one of our own (Happy Birthday Brad!). We spent three hours in the van commuting to Louisville, where we drank some coffee, ate our cupcakes, and just enjoyed one another’s presence in some of our final moments before we practice a deep solitude.

We couldn’t be more excited to be where we are right now. We are all approaching this time at the monastery from different places, and so it will be a truly unique experience for us all. We deeply appreciate all for your prayerful support back home. We are so thankful for each one of you!


We have arrived! Here’s to entering into silence, solitude and stillness at the Abbey of Gethsemani! We are following the way of peace.  

Meet the Tucson Team!

imageMeet Team Tucson! As pictured from left to right, this team includes Amanda Heggem, Courtney Embry, Alex Gallup, Noah Riggs, Emily Bender, Brianna Kinsey, and (not pictured) Hannah Gumbert.

Partnering with Gospel Rescue Mission– a non profit organization directly focused on serving the homeless and needy for their spiritual, physical, and mental wholeness in Jesus Christ, the team will aid in the construction of their new rescue/community shelter in Tucson, Arizona.

Here are a few ways in which you can be praying for this team:

  • For safety and health as we travel
  • For our hearts to be prepared to serve and pour out to others
  • For boldness in Christ as we step outside our comfort zones

Team verse: 1 Samuel 12:24

“But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.”

If you want to contribute to the Tucson team, please prayerfully consider giving at, click “give to Taylor World Outreach,” and select “TWO Spring Break – Tucson.”