It’s tough work. But, just as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, or difficulty.” Sure, it takes grit, but the positive trade-off of the tour life is worth its weight in gold.
Theo has never been much of a Timothy, someone who serves within the church walls. He’s always been more of a Philip, someone who is out on the road living out his faith among the people. Even with the lead singer being a Christian, TOP’s professional entourage is not exactly a Christian environment. For Theo, he sees TOP as a place where people need Jesus just as much as he does.
At TOP, Theo has tried to make himself available to serve people’s physical and spiritual needs. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s awesome! “People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care, that’s essentially what I want to do. Show people I care. I want to get down in the dirt for people because that’s what Jesus did for me.”
At the end of the day, Theo just wants to be faithful wherever God places him. This was definitely the sentiment he took with him when he boarded a plane for Japan. Between world tours, Theo got the chance to serve with the NorthStar Alpine Lodge, an Encompass ministry partner, which uses adventure sports to connect with people. At the base of Mount Norikura in Japan, NorthStar offers several seasonal services, including skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and biking instruction.
Theo was drawn to this ministry opportunity for three reasons.
First off, Theo is all about adventure sports, especially snowboarding. Second, he wanted to do something meaningful between tours instead of hopping onto another band roster. And third, he loves how NorthStar loves people, using their business to connect with others. Theo said, “There’s a lot of crossover between my work with TOP and NorthStar. Both are businesses where I can be exposed to unbelievers and be open about my faith.”
While at NorthStar, Theo helped maintain the facilities and instructed the guests in the art of rock climbing and snowboarding. He learned a thousand things when living in the land of the rising sun, but one lesson was extra special.
In one of his beginner snowboarding classes, there was a little girl who had never been on any kind of board before. On her first day, she got stuck in several snowbanks, fell on her face, tumbled, rolled, and went every which way except the right one. Even though this girl looked like a little boat being tossed around by a hurricane, she got back onto her feet every time.
Theo admitted, “I did my best to coach her through it, but in my head, I was thinking she should just quit. It took me several hours to see what she was doing. At the end of the day, I realized the value of her relentless spirit. Even in the face of seemingly imminent defeat, this little girl was full of hope. And, it was infectious.”
After his internship, Theo went on tour again with Twenty One Pilots. With no surprise, it was a hard season. But all along the way, as he pushed through the exhaustion, that little girl would come to mind, relentless and full of hope. That’s exactly what he has in Jesus.
With the tour coming to an end, Theo doesn’t know what’s next for him. Regardless, he’s grateful for how God has spoken to him through his TOP work and his NorthStar internship. He’s learned to be faithful in the dark places and relentless throughout. Wherever he ends up, Theo wants to continue being available to love people and share his faith.
Have you ever considered doing an internship with Encompass? Whether it’s for school or simply because you’re interested in doing missions full-time, an internship can be a great way to dip your toe into the global missions world. We’d love to talk more with you and become your resource as you discern God’s leading.
When God calls you to go, He’s not calling you to go alone. Just like Theo, take your next step toward the nations with an internship!