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Wednesday, November 05, 2008 by Jon

What a night.

A few hours ago, Barack Obama was elected to be the 44th President of the United States of America. Barack Obama. A man of color, an African-American, is our nation's leader.

I write this for my own memory, because I did not realize until tonight just how momentous of a moment November 4th, 2008 will be in American history. And the pride and joy that I felt for my country when Barack Obama strode to the podium as the President-elect in Chicago is something I want to remember.

Just over a generation ago, there was widespread bigotry and racist hate in this country. We still have a ways to go, but this night marks a turning point and shows just how fast America can better itself.

In his campaign, Obama used the words change, progress, and hope often and openly. I originally thought that these were a little cliche, but you know what? Because of this victory, supported by a majority of the people of all ages and races, shows that change is real, that progress is real, and that gives me real hope.

Change, Progress, and Hope. It's true in America.

Now the real work begins. I look forward to seeing Obama walk the walk, and I also hope that John McCain is part of the success that this country will hopefully see. We're very lucky tonight to see two competitors gracious and empowering in both victory and defeat.

Lastly, "To all those watching from beyond our shores, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.''

And I go to sleep tonight a more inspired American than ever before.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008 by Jon

Back in the USA. More specifically, back in Springfield. An early departure from Bangkok left me sad, since spending forty days in one place leads you to get to know some pretty great people. I'll miss some people on the crew a lot, but I hope to be back someday, on a real vacation, and not for work.

After 32 hours of travel and a quick stop to get my tuxedo fitted, I arrived at the wedding rehearsal for Katie & Tyler just in time. The wedding was the next day, and what a beautiful event. It has yet to sink in that one of my best friends is married. But he's a lucky guy and she's a lucky girl, so congratulations to Tyler and Katie Kastner!

As I drove back after the reception, I realized that the moon and the stars shine brightest in Springfield, Illinois. And they probably always will. From work to travel to a wedding, things change as we get older. But its good to know that I can count on driving the empty roads on a cool summer night with the windows down and the moonlight shining in the town I grew up in to remind me of when I was young.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008 by Jon

Hooray first post in over four months. To recap: Chicago is awesome. I will live there some day and work in production. But for now, I am in Thailand for forty days. Work continues, but hopefully theres time for exploring and massages.

Forty days is a really long time. Come visit!

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008 by Jon

My time in the Midwest felt like a whirlwind. My first few days shivering in the Chicago cold seem like they happened ages ago, rather than a short ten days. But I guess its because I had the fortune to be placed in an environment conducive to personal growth that makes the start of my trip so distant from the end of my trip. I think its a combination of that, plus the fact that I saw so many friends in so many places that time and space seemed irrelevant. And when you don't sleep and pull two consecutive all really do maximize life by living life two days at a time.

The most significant part of my trip was being at the LCC Retreat. More than anything else, it gave me the chance to reflect (always a plus), and through that, I believe I have figured out or restored most of my beliefs in why I am here and what I am to do with my life. In a time when many counterparts of mine are having quarter-life crisis' usually due to the "what am I going to do with my life???" question, I have been ridiculously fortunate to have a clue.

Like TAF 2007, I served as the Coordinator Coordinator at the LCC retreat. In my nightly meetings, aside from general logistics and planning, I also led studies into servant leadership (TAF!)...but based on Scripture, which I've never done before. It was pretty awesome though, for me to be able to read the Bible and see and understand clear descriptions of servant leadership, and Jesus' calling for that to be the way we all live. (It helps me to know that something I believe so much in is backed up by the God that I believe in, ya know?)

On a tangent, some of you may have heard of a book called The Purpose Driven Life. It's big in Christian literary bookstores and blah blah I read it during college. And I didn't like it at all. When I finished the book and I thought, "thats it?". I had no revelation or mindfreak. And so what I realized this past week was that, my life has already had reason for quite some time. And I learned this purpose by growing up through TAF. A place to learn and execute servant leadership.

And so, if you are a TAF camper, or an LCC Youth Group member, I really hope you can take a step back and think of how fortunate you are to be part of an organization focused on servant leadership. Just, really, be grateful and embrace it, execute it as well, and most importantly, pass it on. (btw, have you ever actually thought about how BALLER the TAF Mission and Vision statements are???)

Just imagine if everyone lived to serve everyone else, and everyone served you in return, only to make you want to serve everyone even more. Would that not be an amazing world to live in? Full of caring and compassion and love from our hearts, defeating selfishness and jealousy. Unfortunately right now in this world, that model does not always work because people can still be selfish or inconsiderate. But how can we get people to change? Well most of us are limited to those around us, to the relationships we already carry. But we can serve each other in close quarters, one by one, hoping that as we impact one friend, family member, or stranger, they will go on to impact another, and pretty soon everyone is positively impacting everyone else. And our goal will be met.

I think that is a big reason why I chose to work in mass media (ie: film), because I view this as THE medium to communicate with the world. I get the idea of servant leadership on the relational level, but someone needs to do it through methods of mass communication to reach mass audiences. Hopefully, this is a place where I can help. My goal is to make media that matters, and still serving TAF and the LCC and whoever else is in my life as I continue to grow up.

Cheers everyone, and I hope you've had a wonderful start to 2008.

For my own posterity and for you to read if really bored, a log of my activities:

Alex and Bryan picked me up. We went to Best Buy. Brunch with Erin & Michelle S. on Christmas Eve. Train down to Springfield, Christmas Eve dinner with Mom and Cheryl. Christmas morning, pack back up to head back to Chicago with Tyler. See Katie briefly. Have another brunch with Brian and Tyler before leaving the city. Arrive at Michelle K's house. Play a lot of Wii, meet the rest of her family, especially a crazy three-year old named Joey. On the 26th, get picked up by Christina Chou. Meet fellow LCC Youth Group Winter Retreat 07 servants. Travel up to Milwaukee. See Roger and old friends and Youth Group kids. Travel up into rural Wisconsin to a snowy retreat center. For the next three days till the 29th, get little sleep, while being a Coordinator Coordinator. Pull an all-nighter on the last night doing slideshow. Retreat ends, head back to Chicago, get dropped off immediately at TAF New Years. See many many people. Too little time for that many people. Continue off to Chinatown. Eat more. Stay in a bubble tea place for many long hours. Go to Bettina's till 6am. Get dropped off at Roger's at 6:30am. Sleep. Wake up at 7am to go back to Milwaukee for church and to see my Korean kids again. Eat cheese curds. Travel back to Chicago, eat Lou Malnati's with Justin, Anna, and Ming. Finally get some sleep at Bryan's. Wake up, hang out with more TAFers, start a movie script, and finish off 2007.

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