One of my tasks at the banquet was to give the vision talk. This is where I basically summarize the past, present, and future of iGo. After thinking it through I realized that putting the history of iGo into a concise summary was going to be tricky. Fortunately, inspiration hit me and it turned out a little something like this. Keep in mind that the live version of this was a slide show, but hopefully you will still “get the picture.”
A Brief History of iGo (Written by Shu, Narrated by Shu, Illustrated by the World Wide Web)
When iGo began, I was actually living in Indiana.
I’m not from Indiana. I’m from the Republic of Texas…of course.
My buddy JR Vassar and I had been in conversation for quite a while about the possibility of starting a student mission organization.
So we decided to stop talking, team up, and get it started (that was 13 years ago).
Our first student team, in the summer of 2001, is still in many ways LEGENDARY.
The team was made up of 13 people.
We flew out of DFW on Friday, the 13th.
And the flight to Japan was 13 hours long.
But in the end, we hit the jackpot. Our airplane was a Boeing 777.
At the end of 2001, JR made an exit from iGo staff and ended up as a church planter in what is basically an unreached state.
And then a cowboy arrived.
Yep, a real cowboy. Brad Cardwell came on board at the end of 2002.
With the help of our then interns Ky Martin and Aaron Clayton, we started every day the same way. Someone would ask me, “Shu, what are we doing today?” And I would say, “Same thing we do every day. We’re taking over the world.”
So we worked and we worked and we worked. And soon, God began to let us grow.
And then, the whole thing began to really take off.
Of course, there were bumps in the road along the way. In 2003 the SARS epidemic hit Asia, where we were planning to send all our teams.
God worked that out by opening up some other doors. Our East Asia team ended up in a closed country in Europe. We aren’t allowed to tell you which one.
And our team headed to Taiwan ended up working in Cologne.
No, not that kind of Cologne. The city in Germany. That detour began a whole new gateway city strategy that we still embrace today.
We even had a team that left Base Camp headed to London,
but they came home with some strange souvenir photos.
But enough about our problems. God worked all of them out and we don’t have time to discuss them here.
Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but they are important.
Since we started, over 3000 students and adults have been trained and mobilized. Which is probably about the same number of people that cross the street at Shibuya every time the light turns red.
Along the way, God has added to our staff the right people at just the right time. I like to think of our staff as a championship team.
But in reality, we function more like a big awkward family.
Looking back, sometimes I wonder how in the world this group of people became so successful.
And that is the history of iGo.