Westmont Magazine In Search of the Epic Life
When 1997 graduates Trey Sklar, Matt Kronberg, Mike Peterson and Jedd Medefind walked into a Westmont chapel service in November, they didn’t find seats in the bleachers. Instead, they made their way to the stage to speak to the students.
Their subject was their new book, “Four Souls,” an account of seven months of traveling and working around the world.
Instead of going to graduate school, seminary or the corporate ladder after graduation, the four pooled their resources and mapped out a plan to meet and serve Christians across the globe in search of “the epic life.” They didn’t plan to write a book about their experiences, but, midway through the journey, they felt that God might be leading them to do just that. After fasting and praying in the mountains of South Africa, they decided to turn their extensive journals into a book.
The trek involved more than seeing historical places or seeking extreme adventures. The friends wanted to encounter Christians in other countries and see how they lived and loved. None of them wanted their lives to end up “meaningless, living for weekends and a two-week vacation.” They hoped that meeting and serving people around the world would give them insight into what an “epic life” looks like. The book chronicles their discoveries.
According to Jedd, “We found that an ’epic life’ has less to do with situations and more with attitudes. The trip would have been extremely disappointing if we had looked for God only in certain moments, because even adrenaline eventually wears off. The epic life we learned about is found through serving others regardless of what it costs you, pursuing Christ despite persecution and constantly seeking growth and change.”
They each admit returning home was difficult, and the instinct was to hurry to catch up to their friends who had a year’s lead on them in the “real world.” They each went right to work, but later quit their jobs to move to Big Bear, Calif., to write the book. They worked as ski instructors and substitute teachers during the six months of that difficult but rewarding period. Mike relates, “Just as on the actual trip, there were four egos and four personalities to contend with. But just as on the trip, it was a rich time of growth and refinement.”
Since their return, they have all gotten married, three to Westmont alumna. Kristina De Vries Sklar ’98, Summer Ralphs Kronberg ’98 and Brittany Cox Peterson ’97 are now part of the “Four Souls” traveling party.
The group is committed to traveling and speaking to college students, youth groups and others about what they learned during their adventure. Their aspiration is to continue in a ministry of serving and educating young people about the riches of a life in Christ. But no matter where they are or what they may do, they are all intent on pursuing the “epic life.”
Westmont Chancellor David Winter says, “I believe our students (and many others) will be provoked, challenged, and even impassioned by the vision conveyed by these young men, particularly as they see the call to radical apprenticeship to Jesus authenticated in four of their peers. It is, perhaps, the most important message students today can hear.”
To learn more about the book or their speaking tour, visit their Web site, www.foursoulsthebook.com.