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A woman sitting in a chair at Hawa Mahal (Palace of Wind) in Jaipur, India. Photo by Eliana Rothwell (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest Finalist).

Eastman — Introduction

Hello everyone!

My name is Joshua Eastman, and I’m from Huntington, West Virginia, a small town nestled into the Ohio River Valley right next to Kentucky and Ohio. I was born in Mt. Vernon, Washington but flew to Dhaka, Bangladesh with my parents when I was only ten days old. I lived there for about 16 months, then lived in Philadelphia for a few years and arrived in Huntington just before I turned four years old. Huntington is home to me: rolling, forested hills, dazzling fall colors, high school football, friends, and my home church.

Here at home, I tend to spend my free time reading, hanging in a hammock, playing with my pets (my dog, “Bear” and my cat “Judge Dredd”), playing video games with my dad and older brother, helping around the house, and tinkering with computer systems. I played football all through middle school and high school, starting varsity when I was a sophomore and becoming a captain my senior year. I also pole vaulted and played tenor saxophone through high school, though I haven’t touched a pole or my saxophone for some time now. Truthfully, the most relaxing thing for me to do when I get home from school or work is to nap, then drink a cup of decaf coffee and dink around on my computers.

I am passionate about everything, which means that I’m passionate about whatever I’m doing at any given moment. I choose to live a life of great joy and great excitement, and I’m always eager to participate in anything that isn’t morally questionable or stupidly dangerous. That being said, some of my motivating life passions are service, grace, justice, and poverty development. I feel called to live a life of servitude, discerningly devoting everything I have–my time, my possessions, my passions and my talents–to the well-being of others and the alleviation of human suffering. All of these passions and my general love of life flow out of a central passion, a central love: Jesus. I want to know Him, to be like Him, and to be an emissary of His grace and transformative power to all the world.

I’m attaching two pictures to help explain my love for India: Indian Curry is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE food in the world, and I’ve been eating it my whole life; the other picture is an image of my family when we lived in Bangladesh. My early childhood there left an indelible longing in my heart to return to the Indian subcontinent. Now I’m finally able to do that!

To prepare for my move to India, I’ve been reading, as suggested by my dad, Bryant L. Myers’s Walking With the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development. This book has been an incredible academic insight into the realm of development and international service work. It thoughtfully, graciously, and holistically explores all aspects of poverty, of development history, of good and bad practices, of the characteristics of beneficial development workers and organizations, and so forth. As the BYI 9.0 team shifts into a period of volunteerism in a foreign country, it has been extremely helpful for me to challenge my own preconceptions and misconceptions about service, about development, and about poverty by reading this book. It’s given me an important foundation for coming to understand and thoughtfully explore the coming experiences of our nine months in India.

I hope all of you are as excited and ready to go as I am. I look forward to meeting you soon!

Grace and Peace,

Joshua Eastman