As a child Earthbound showed me the power of friendship and it helped plant a seed in my mind of what could happen with people that were committed to a purpose and to each other. Several years ago I started to grow closer to Jesus and I got involved with a small group at a local church. After a few months of being committed to the individuals in this group I felt like God put an impression on my heart that said “You have always longed for deep friendship just as you experienced in your favorite game, now you are able to live it out in reality”. As I gave my life to Jesus and to his people I began to experience what can happen with friendship as I began to experiencing healing, joy and wholeness in my life like never before. When I received this for the first time I looked back at my earlier years of playing the game and realized that this is what I have always longed for!
For me travelling through the story of Earthbound creates a sensation of feeling like I am personally going through a noble quest that is both purposeful and character building. This feeling of accomplishment in the game was at its pinnacle for me at the scene where I am drinking tea with the Tenda Tribe. I take a look back at our long journey reflecting on what we have gone through while these words are spoken over us “You have known injury and defeat, but you have struggled on to reach this place. Your in-born intelligence and courage have helped bring you here. You have believed in your friends, and as a group, you have supported each other. Have you ever stopped to consider how much your power has grown?” When I first arrived to this moment in the game 15 years ago I felt a sensation of accomplishment that one receives when they look back on a life that is well lived to the fullest. Through this experience in the game a seed was planted in my heart that yearned for adventure and purpose. To live a faithful life that is true to the calling placed on me. A longing to go to great extremes and great lengths to see this calling fulfilled just as Ness and company had done. To sacrificially love and care for others that cross my path just as I had observed in the life of Ness, Paula, Jeff and Poo as they helped others.
In 2007 was the first time that I had one of these Tenda Tribe moments happen to me in real life. It happened in Uganda as I was part of a team of others who all shared a common mission. Our team went to the heart of Uganda just south of the Nile River where we focused on building orphan homes, a medical clinic and agricultural training grounds for Ugandan adults and children who have been fortunate enough to escape the threats of the local terrorist army. Our mission was clear- to help develop a long term place of restoration for a war torn broken people while communicating the love of Jesus to them.
About a week into my time of living in a mud hut in the African jungle surrounded by miles and miles of 7 feet grass known as the “the bush” I found myself sitting on a large termite hill looking at my surrounding and was reminded of the atmosphere of the Lost Underworld. As I looked around I felt God whisper to my heart in a way that reminded me of teatime in the Tenda cave. In that moment I reflected on my adventure of traveling across the planet by airplane, sloshing through the mud roadways of the African bush to arrive at my current location. As I sat I felt like God reminded me of my time in the Lost Underworld- having just experienced a motivating time of reflecting on accomplishments through the tea break and now in a land so foreign, so beautiful, amongst people that seemed so different than me yet so familiar. All while staying true to the mission that is before me pressing forward to what lies ahead.
In the stillness of the African bush, I reflected on the last several years of my life since choosing to follow God with all of my heart. Similar to the words spoken over Ness “You have known injury and defeat, but you have struggled on to reach this place” I looked back on the struggles that I had faced in life over the last several years and also “this place” that I have struggled to reach- maturity in God that I was just beginning to experience. I reminisced on the injury that my heart felt as I broke up with a girlfriend of 6 years that didn’t share my passion for following Jesus and living for a purpose. I remembered the defeat that I endured in 2004 as I relapsed into drugs. And then the victory that I achieved soon afterwards as I finally turned away, once and for all, from a lifestyle of substance abuse. At that moment I felt like God was saying “Have you ever stopped to consider how much your power has grown?” Through the power that He has given me I have been able to lead others in their sobriety, in their freedom from immorality and their pursuit of God and the calling that He has placed on their lives. Just as I observed in the tea moment in Earthbound this was a reflection on both an accomplishment in mission and also in the refinement of my character.
One of the biggest things that I felt the presence of God speak to me in my time in Uganda is the same thing I feel from Him when I am on mission in other places both locally and abroad. I feel like He is saying my desire to live for adventure and purpose that I experienced in Earthbound as a child is now being fulfilled and it is making an eternal impact on the lives of others.
Today I realize my calling as clear as ever; to go to the ends of the Earth all for the sake of knowing God and making him known. I have made this shirt as an expression of my own personal journey with Earthbound and how God has used the game to point me to Him.
So why the “Heavenbound” logo? Because I see Earthbound as heavenly. For me personally it is “heavenly” because it ties in to my Christian faith. I recognize that most fans might not share the same beliefs as I do about Christ but regardless of your faith background you might agree that this game has touched you in a way that might feel “heavenly.” If this is true for you then I hope that you wearing this shirt serves as an encouragement and as a reminder of the positive effect Earthbound has had on your life. More importantly than selling you this shirt my ultimate desire is that we can open up a conversation with each other so that I can hear your story and about how Earthbound has been used to influence it. Please contact me through the “Heavenbound” t-shirt site if you would like to talk more about this this.