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  • Writer's pictureJonny Nelson

A Note From Andrew

A Note From Andrew

“There’s this skatepark that does bible study every Wednesday. You should go!” urged a kid from my cabin at Trout Lake Camp. So on August of 2016, I stopped by Help Boardshop and met with Jonny and was given an interview the next week. They recruited me as an intern and on January 1st Jonny and Jake welcomed me on as a JSAW staff member.

That was one year ago and it has been an amazing year! I never imagined myself working for a ministry, raising support and relying on God to provide everything I need. Everything. That can cause a lot of stress in a guy like me. Every time I start to think this is too hard and I should do something else with my life, the Lord pulls me back by some perfectly timed, encouraging reassurance.

I was having doubts if I was making a difference in the lives of people I was around. I expressed that feeling to my parents at our annual donor dinner this fall and not two minutes later a mother of one of our riders wanted to talk to me. She told me how she trusted me with her child and was excited I was mentoring and pouring into her kid’s life. Some time passed and doubts crept in again about my significance to my team and if they really wanted and needed me around. That night, Jonny called and inspired me to keep driving forward to pursue God and keep living for him and the mission he has for my life. Then this Christmas, I was worried I wasn’t going to make my quota for the quarter as I still needed to raise 50% of it. While I was celebrating Christmas with my family, a mother messaged me. Her son and I had been friends for a long time but he had died in a motorcycle accident a year and a half ago. They gave me what I needed and then some in honor of their son. I was shocked and wept with gratitude. She simply said, “By His grace and for His glory.”

God has time and again shown me he can and will provide me with everything I need…..emotionally, spiritually and financially.

Our vision is to transform action sports culture by making riders into disciples of Jesus Christ. In the past year I have met and talked with many people about the deeper things of life. Many of them were apathetic to those conversations and were just seeking a good time and a homie to ride with. Yet, there are some who couldn’t ignore that there is something more at stake. One of those riders is a former heroin addict. He got clean and is now a manager where he works. He often comes to our board shop to skate. Everyone knows him as the “rager” because he can lose his temper fairly quickly. He knows it too and he wants to change it. I drove him home once back in December and he told me he looks up to us at JSAW because we have this sense of peace about us and it seems like nothing can get us down. I was able to tell him that it’s all Jesus! Only He can take the anxiety away.

The past year I have been on more adventures than I could have hoped for.

  1. My co-worker, Brandon and myself, started a weekly bible study at the skatepark in Eden Prairie last summer. We brought water and pizza to serve the local riders. They were so shocked we were there every week with them, riding with them and bringing encouragement to those who needed it. Over sixty different riders heard the gospel message just at that park.

  2. Our wakeboard camping trip to northern Illinois was a mixture of thrill rides and chill times. We set up a campsite and took day trips to two cable parks in Rockford and Lake Crystal. I challenged the guys who came to find solitude the next day and just read a chapter in Psalms. The next morning, we couldn’t find one of the riders for two hours. He was so excited about what he was reading that he finished fifty chapters and was so pumped about it the rest of the trip.

  3. One of JSAW’s international mission trips this year was to Egypt.This was my first trip out of the country. It was an amazing, cool trip experience. We connected with a ministry that coaches middle schoolers in many different field and court sports. We came as the only Americans and probably because of that, we had the biggest group of kids who signed up to learn skateboarding – thirty-two boys and girls, all from Cairo, eager to learn how to skateboard on eighteen small, stiff skateboards. We were on a mission. These kids needed to know about Jesus. One day during our skateboarding lesson, Brandon told his testimony to this group. We were so encouraged when afterwards, kids came and talked to us about it. One girl said she wanted to know more about Jesus. And, another rider was encouraged to be more open about her faith in Jesus. Please pray; “God please protect and grow those seeds we planted. Those young Egyptian riders desperately need you.”

A lot of what I do on a day to day basis is shop work, behind the counter of our skatepark, helping our local riders. But, the mission stays the same no matter where I am. This group of riders needs Jesus and it has been made possible by you, our donors, supporting us by your donations and prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Right now, I am only part-time, working 27 hours a week. My dream is to, one day, become a full-time staff member and am trusting God will make this happen. It has been a great year. Let’s have another one!

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