After months of planning and working, the very first Chazak cadet team launched on September 3! During their first segment of training, they traveled to northern Maine for eight days of canoeing and hiking. Their trip included sharing life stories while learning and practicing basic wilderness survival skills. As you can imagine, they encountered lots of sore feet and aching muscles along the way. Already, these cadets are being stretched and challenged.
According to Mr. Graybill, the Education Director, “They’ve gone from being nine individuals to one team. They’ve accomplished hard things with the help of God and the team and displayed a high level of honesty as they related and processed their experiences.”
In their own words…
“The Wilderness Trip with Chazak has been the most challenging thing in my life so far. I was pushed to mental and physical barriers I have not seen before and have experienced God in some really awesome new ways. I would not want to trade it for anything.”
“I always thought myself to be well fit physically and mentally. I knew…I was going to be pushed, but little did I know how hard I would be pushed!”
“In every aspect of life, I feel changed.”
“Most training programs that bill themselves as “insane” generally are just a little outside one’s comfort zone. Chazak actually lives up to the hype of insanity.”
MEET THE CADETS
We’re excited to share a glimpse into the people who actually make up this first cadet team.
In their own words, they’ll share with you who they are, what brought them to Chazak, and what their plans are from here.
Without further ado, here are Dawson, Trent, David, Adrian, and Zach, five of the nine cadets.
I am 22 years old and from Lancaster, PA. I enjoy playing both basketball and the guitar. Previous to Chazak, I was manager of an agricultural spray material warehouse.
I first heard about Chazak three years ago. While it was heavy on my mind, I figured it was something I’d never be able to do. Then while I was in Asia with the EDGE program, we talked about Chazak a lot. I got so pumped every time it was mentioned. Slowly, it started feeling more realistic.
Free Burma Rangers was another big inspiration for me wanting to join Chazak. Through a lot of prayer and consideration, I decided to go ahead and apply. I’m excited to be on the first team!
Right now, I am planning on completing all four years of Chazak. I am really excited to be part of a professional search and rescue team and see the ways God is going to use us in the hardest-to-reach and most hostile places on earth!
Random Fact: I write music and hope to record professionally someday.
I am 21 years old and from Snow Hill, Maryland. I love science, biology, chemistry, physics, all of them! I also enjoy playing the flute, reading and playing board games. My previous job experience includes pole-barn construction, canoe and kayak rental, and crew trainer in a local McDonalds.
The mindset and drive I carry today were largely influenced by growing up in China. I spent ten of my growing up years inside China (from age 5–15), and it gave me a passion for God and His Kingdom.
What drew me to Chazak was partly the adventure, but mostly, I wanted to live a life of purpose. I didn’t want to settle for the status quo. Any other option I considered seemed boring or without purpose. When I heard about Chazak, I felt this was what God wanted for me. It feels like everything I could have dreamed of; purpose, adventure, and the opportunity to take the Good News to the unreached in a very practical way.
I am planning to complete all four years of training. After that, I would like to continue with Chazak, but will see where the Lord leads.
Random Fact: I enjoy researching hobbies that I never end up finishing, which have included knifemaking, ship-in-a-bottle, a mini motorboat, and sheathe-making.
I’m 21 years old. Born in West Union, Ohio, I left the Amish when I was eight and moved north to the little town of Mesopotamia. Previous to Chazak, I worked for Country Lane Gazebos. I enjoyed traveling all over the East Coast building pavilions, gazebos, and pergolas. I also enjoy hiking, along with flying helicopters. Last year, I climbed my first 14’er in Colorado, and this year, two weeks prior to joining Chazak, earned my private helicopter license. I enjoy just about everything that gives me an adrenaline rush.
While working in the local fire department, I would occasionally see medical helicopters land and pick up patients. The opportunity of piloting one in the future with Chazak thrilled me. I also got to see firsthand the destruction created by natural disasters, as well as the condition of countries in need. Seeing that need, along with the opportunity to bring the hope of Jesus into such situations, made me choose Chazak. I believe Chazak carries much potential and I’m excited to be on the very first team.
Once I complete my four-year training with Chazak, I would love to either work alongside Chazak to develop a rescue/medical helicopter program or take my training and become a pilot elsewhere.
Random Fact: I was hit by a car when I was walking to school as a little Amish boy in first grade. I walked away with a concussion.
I am 22 years old and from Lancaster, PA. I enjoy playing sports, snowboarding and hanging out with friends. Before I joined Chazak Rescue, I worked for a manufacturing company welding aluminum.
What brought me to Chazak is the opportunity for adventure, to grow in my relationship with God, to help people, and to bring hope and joy to those I come in contact with. Growing up in Ghana, Africa definitely planted a seed of love in my heart for every tribe and every nation while desiring to see the light of Christ shine in those nations.
I’ve flown internationally many times and today I thoroughly love traveling. To be a part of an organization where I can not only travel but also bring the hope of the Gospel and the joy of Jesus, and where I can be a shining light for Christ is very exciting for me.
Lord willing, I will complete all four years of training. I would love to become a full-time international first responder for Chazak Rescue, continuing to learn what it means to be a leader and train in search and rescue to help bring hope and joy to those in the midst of crisis.
Random Fact: I absolutely love cookies and cream ice cream
I’m from Lancaster, PA. I previously lived in South East Asia where my family served with Global Tribes Outreach. I moved back to the States in May with the intent of staying for a while. Within three months, I was offered two incredible job opportunities. I said I would take a month to pray and think about my decision.
After looking around and coming to the definite conclusion that America does not need yet another businessman, along with the fact that 3.2 billion people today are considered to yet be unreached, AND that we send only 3% of all missionaries to those 3.2 billion people (40% of the world), I felt an intense calling on my heart from God to go to these unreached areas. I denied the job offers and began the search as to where God was calling me next. Long story short, Chazak Rescue came into view, and I immediately jumped on the opportunity!
Whether it be taking bread into China, being bugged and followed by undercover police out of Laos, or being homeless in Pittsburg, God has blessed me with an incredible life thus far. Joining Chazak Rescue, I’m quickly learning that some of my biggest life adventures may have only just begun.
At this point, my plans are to do the full four years of training with Chazak, although that could change! My long-term goals and dreams are to finish Chazak, move to some unreached area, and use my skills there… along with being only a phone call away from any disaster or major crisis!
Random fact: I lived in Thailand for eight years of my life.
WHAT THE CADETS ARE DOING NOW
Currently, the nine cadets are on their first six-week deployment. Five of them are in Greece serving with i58. The other four are in Uganda and are working with Love And Care For All.
Next time on the blog, you’ll meet our other four cadets: Eugene, Donald, Landon, and Jaden.
Until then, follow Chazak Rescue on social media to stay up to date with all things Chazak!