Relevents: Jonathan Avery
Jonathan Avery, divisional youth program specialist for the PENDEL Division, reflects on his 12–month trip to 11 countries and shares the life lessons he has learned so far during his spiritual journey with God.
Photography is a great way to remember moments and capture pieces of time. It’s a way for me to reflect on how God had worked in that split second. I can imagine a scenic shot being a beautiful painting that God created just for me, or as a reminder of the people He has brought into my life. With photos, I can look back on moments that I may have completely forgotten.
When I travel the world, engaging people and hearing their stories is so encouraging to me. My travels are enriched by their incredible testimonies and become much more than simply sightseeing. That’s when I feel the strongest connection to God: when I see and hear how people who live with so little still have so much faith in Him.
I wear my necklace all the time. It’s a little guitar made out of a coconut shell, with a cross in the center of it. I received it while in Cambodia. It’s a reminder of my time there and to keep Christ in the center of everything I do, such as my music, my relationships with others, and even my work as a graphic designer.
I listened to Selah’s album “You Deliver Me” while I was in India. One day while I was sitting on the roof of our church, which overlooked the city, I practiced chords from one of the songs on my guitar. As I played, a little Indian boy came to the church roof and sat next to me. He spoke no English and I sang in English, but I could tell he was getting something out of the music.
The books Love Does by Bob Goff and Greater by Steven Furtick spoke to me on my travels. Love Does taught me that love is an action, rather than simply a word. It reminded me to show love to everyone I met on my trip, especially in countries where law forbids directly teaching about Jesus’ love. In Greater, the author tells us that God’s plans will always be greater than what we can ever imagine. Although the next adventure in a new country might be a mystery, I’m reminded that God knows.
I like to collect Coca–Cola bottle caps. They’re easy to just grab after a drink. I have a picture frame made of 11 bottle caps for the 11 countries I visited in 2013. Each cap comes with a special memory. Coke is a drink that I can find wherever I go overseas. But the taste changes, depending on the country you’re in. South Africa’s was my favorite, while the taste of India’s Coke was, for me, a little too acidic.
Interview by Hugo Bravo