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  • Writer's pictureJonny Nelson

Staff Spotlight – Jake Tastad, Program Director

Jake Tastad, JSAW Program Director

Tell us a little about yourself

For the past 18 years I have been skateboarding, wakeboarding and snowboarding. I was drawn in at a young age by these sports. As a child, I can remember being in awe of these athletes and their skills. My parents noticed this and put me on a board at a young age and I have been passionate about them ever since.

When and how did you become a Christ-follower?

I grew up in the thick of the Christian culture. I attended church every Sunday and went to a private Christian school. I didn’t know anything else. It was very confusing for me to understand there were people who were not Christians. It wasn’t until my parents got divorced that I truly saw Jesus work in my life. My mom ran towards Christ for love, healing and support and my dad ran towards the world. This split destroyed the surface level Christian faith I had experienced and sent me searching elsewhere. I tried finding satisfaction in sports and relationships but it was never fulfilling. I ultimately found it in Jesus through the influence of my mom. I have learned that being a Christ-follower is a daily surrender to Jesus. With every challenge in my path I am forced to depend on God more and more.

How did you get connected with JSAW? Why do you serve?

I actually was a part of JSAW when I was in middle school. The first encounter I had with JSAW was through email. I had just gotten back from a mission trip and was pumped up in my faith. I had this vision of putting on an evangelistic event at Hyland Hills to reach all of my snowboarding friends. I was directed to Jonny Nelson and I told him my idea. He replied with a simple question, “Do you even know how to put on an event?” To this day we joke about this experience. Even though this event didn’t work out I began riding with the JSAW crew and going to their Bible studies. I came on staff 5 years ago as a seasonal employee and have gradually become full time. My current role at JSAW is program director. My job is to supervise and carryout all of JSAW’s programs which include: camps, trips, weekly small groups and mentoring.

I serve because Jesus has changed my life! I sincerely believe that God has put me into the position I am because of the redemption I have experienced. Many riders struggle with the same things I did growing up. As I share my weaknesses I get to share how strong I am in Christ and invite them into a relationship with Jesus.

Additional Thoughts?

I am married to my wife, Abby and we have a baby on the way. We are both very excited to raise a family and thankful for all God has provided for us through JSAW. I have loved my experience at JSAW and I can’t wait to see what God is going to do next.

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