Friday, April 4, 2014

Life is with Derek Beauchamp

Life is with Derek Beauchamp

As I walk into Starbucks to interview Derek, I immediately get in the busy line to get a drink. As I stand waiting, pondering my choices, the man in front of me turns around, “You can go ahead of me, don’t want you to keep Derek waiting.” I smile and ask how he knows Derek. “Lincoln Christian University”, he says, “He's a great guy, really going places.” And before I even begin my interview I find myself feeling so grateful that I am already hearing promising things from a total stranger.

Turns out the kind stranger at Starbucks is completely right. Derek Beauchamp is inspiring and genuine. With his goals, dreams, and an intent to better the lives of everyone he comes in contact with, it’s no wonder he has been able to reach out to countless youth in Las Vegas, NV. We started talking about writing and becoming positive voices in the Las Vegas community and Derek said something I won’t forget, “No matter how old you are people will always be telling you are too young to do that.” Derek is definitely proving those wrong: At just 21 he is a co-founder of Create Las Vegas, a High School Pastor at Lake Mead Christian Ministries, writes at and has a detailed vision to plant a church, write a book, and is in school to solidify those goals. 

First off, I need to say that once again, I am finding myself totally speechless and incredibly grateful to interview someone who inspires me and reminds me of why it is so good to chase dreams and live life on a grand scale.

What is life to you?

“My life centers around building the kingdom of God. It’s what I focus on a day to day basis. It’s my goal, my hope, my true north. I guess it’s how I ground myself.”

What are moments that have shaped your perspective on life?

“When I was seven my mom was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis-a disease that paralyzes your muscle system over time. During that time, my mom really turned to her faith. She is now paralyzed and was on life support several times. I can remember a specific time when I was nine and she was on life support, and I had this car bed, and my dad came into my room and sat on my bed with me and said ‘your mom is going to die’ and we both just cried. It was throughout that time I realized my faith was bigger than the senselessness around me.”

After Derek answered that, we both talked about having a family member who is sick and looking at it as they are a gift, our biggest blessing from God,  and Derek said, 

“I had to learn that my mom isn't mine. If I hold her like this, (Derek motions holding someone tightly at the shoulders), and I can spend everyday hoping she doesn't die, or I can spend every day enjoying who she is."

What are three things that get you through the day?

1.”My morning quiet time, hands down. I wake up, get my coffee, my bible, got my Pandora playing, well now I guess my ITunes radio playing. I need that time."

2. “Coffee, for sure, that’s an overall throughout the day. Trying to break that.”

3. “Time with close friends and my parents. Otherwise I lose focus and become a machine.”

What is something in your life that has inspired you greatly?

“This past summer, my family went on a cruise to the Bahamas and my mom was like ‘I am going no matter what.’ And she can’t walk, and so we get to this private beach on one of the islands, and my mom says ‘I’m going to get in the water’, and my dad and I are like ‘there’s no way’. But my mom is persistent. And there is this sign that says, ‘No chairs beyond this point’ and we park her wheel chair right there and she leans on my dad and I, and we walk into the water.” (At this point in the interview I’m about to cry and Derek is smiling widely reliving the memory.) 

“And now anytime I feel uninspired I just think back to that and there is hope, there is joy in the little things. We spend so much time telling ourselves we can’t but my mom just rocked my world that day.”

Growing up in Las Vegas, do you think there is a separation between the city and church? What have you learned by living in Vegas?

“Yeah I think there is a sad separation between the church and the city. Churches were intended to be cultural hubs, not silos. I think the city overall has taught me a few things, it’s taught me that even the most broken, messed up people can be renewed and be restored. And then C.S Lewis has this really good quote and it’s taught me too, “That I can be in the world but not of the world.” The most effective ministry and what I can do for this city is be in bars. I don’t have to be drunk or wasted out of my mind; I can have a few beers and talk with and be in the community. I don’t have to be sin city but I can be apart of sin city.”

You recently went to Guatemala for a mission trip? What did you learn?

“The main thing that struck me is we can see poverty on the news, but until you are walking on a cobble stone path in the middle of the world, and a malnourished kid comes up to you for food, that is when you understand poverty. And the main thing I learned was how blessed we are with so many things, and cursed because I think it is a lot harder to have faith when you can have faith in everything else. Living in America, I could live a completely healthy, productive, satisfied life and not have any faith, while in Guatemala some people don’t know when their next meal is coming from, or if their dad is going to get worked to death, or if their brothers and sister are going to be alright, or if they are are going to survive to be a teenager, I think that’s when you start to have a little more faith. It was an eye opener.”

If you could say one thing to everyone in the world?

“It’s not profound but I could say one thing to literally everyone it would be a lot of the issues in this world would dissolve if you stop gossiping, stop judging, start loving, and start encouraging.”

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