"Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice role on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing steam."-Amos 5:23-24

7/9 ARRIVED in New Orleans! 1704 Miles paddled downstream to fight the upstream battle against the injustice of human trafficking.

Down the River with the Upstream Team

The Big Picture


Everyday we go about our lives either unaware of social injustice in our world or lacking in compassion for them. There exists in our world a multitude of injustices, not the least which, is human sex trafficking. The facts are:

  • Human trafficking is the world’s third largest criminal enterprise, after drugs and weapons.
  • Worldwide, there are nearly two million children in the commercial sex trade.
  • There are an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 children, women and men trafficked across international borders annually.
  • Approximately 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors.
  • Sex trafficking is an engine of the global AIDS epidemic.

Throughout the world oppressors choose to indulge their selfish and brutal urges and dominate the defenseless. The world is not going to simply change on its own.


As a trio, we are kayaking down the Mississippi River, starting in St. Paul, MN and finishing in New Orleans, LA. On May 12th we will set out on our adventure, not for our own benefit, but with the hope of spreading awareness and raising money to fight against sex trafficking. Our goal is to raise $20,000 that will be donated to the International Justice Mission, a human rights agency we are partnering with.

The International Justice Mission (IJM) is an organization that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery, and oppression. They are extremely active in the fight against sex trafficking. Their strategy is four-fold:

  • Victim Relief- Rescuing sex trafficking victims
  • Perpetrator Accountability- Prosecuting those responsible
  • Victim Aftercare- Facilitating the recovery of victims and providing alternate means of income.
  • Structural Prevention- Promoting functioning public justice systems.

We have chosen to partner with IJM because we believe and support the work they do in the battle against sex trafficking.


There are several ways to support our cause by giving to the International Justice Mission:

  • Online donations can be made to the IJM website. Be sure to write "Upstream Battle" in the comment line!
  • Checks can be made out to "CBU" and sent to: ATTN: ISP - Box #1146 California Baptist University, 8432 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside, CA 92504 Write "Upstream Battle" in the Comment Line of the check


If you have any questions, comments or ideas, please email us at: anupstreambattle@gmail.com

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's Over!

Here are pictures of our last day and our final landing!
Just a taste of the ships that were on the river with us...scary!
Downtown New Orleans, we're so close!
Ethan's rudder, held together with sticks, fishing line, and duct tape
No cigar, no beer, sweedish fish are my victory indulgence
We're done!
IJM Shirts
Jumping pictures are my favorite, you never know what you're going to get!
We're in New Orleans, and we're having a great time. We all sold our kayaks already, and we don't know when we'll go kayaking again (hopefully not anytime soon). Justin flies back to Sacramento Saturday night. Ethan and I will be here until Monday. Ethan will take the train to Texas to visit family and then fly home after than. I will be flying home to San Francisco. We have had a wonderful trip and have truly been blessed by the people we met, IJM, and everyone back home. We have loved being here, but we're so excited to go home!
With much Gratitude and Love,

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Orleans, Here We Come!

Sitting 37 river miles from New Orleans, it is almost surreal to us that we are that close. The trip has gone by so quickly in some ways, but I also almost couldn't imagine paddling another day after tomorrow. We are spending the night in Reserve, LA at First Baptist Church Reserve. We'll set our kayaks in early tomorrow morning, and hopefully be in New Orleans at Audubon Park around 2pm. Some friends (or soon to be friends) are picking us up tomorrow and we'll be well taken care of in New Orleans.
Thank you all so much for the ways in which you have blessed us with your prayers, comments, and all the other things that you have done. It has been so encouraging having that support along the river, and we cannot tell you enough how much we appreciate it. As we complete the trip, please do not let this be the end of praying for the fight against Human Trafficking and for IJM, but please continue to pray for justice to be seen in the lives of the oppressed.

Friday, July 4, 2008

River Wisdom

The other day a reporter asked us, "What have you learned from this trip?" I don't remember what we answered, but the question sure set me to thinking. After much contemplation I produced the following list of...

Things I Have Learned On The Mississippi River.
  1. Just because a sandbar is there at night doesn't necessarily mean it will be there in the morning.
  2. Deer are very strong swimmers.
  3. The song "You Are My Sunshine" was written about a man's horse (we saw the horse's grave in St. Joe's, LA.)
  4. Berries float and honeydue sinks.
  5. Bald Eagles aren't really endangered...they are all just in Iowa.
  6. Don't bother trying to catch up to Justin until he is ready to be caught up to.
  7. Don't bother estimating mileage because Tim's guess will be more accurate anyway.
  8. Churches in the South are suprised to learn that there are Christians in California (bonus lesson: Dr. Mooney is right about everything).
  9. Catfish can grow to be as large as a VW bug (...or so they say).
  10. Just because a city is named after a state doesn't mean it is a large city (Arkansas City, pop. 400).
  11. $20 tents don't keep out rain.
  12. Bug spray doesn't work on gnats.
  13. If you can get used to it, holding a few ounces of water in your mouth will cool down your whole body.
  14. Vicksburg, MS did not celebrate the 4th of July for 100 years because it was on the 4th that the city fell to U.S. Grant and the North.
  15. Apparently, you aren't supposed to hide under a bridge during a tornado.
  16. Kayaking the Mississippi River is hard.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana

Its been a long week. We have safely arrived in Vicksburg Mississippi, and we are staying at the First Presbyterian Church. We've been moving really quick. We successfully outran a thunder storm that followed us for nearly the whole day today. It was angry, but the storm was no match for our quick paddling. We had a few consecutive 50 mile days this week. We camped out a few times and we enjoyed some great stays with families in Helena-West Helena (yep,thats its official name), Arkansas City (the names a bit deceiving...it has only 500 people), and Lake Providence Louisiana.

In Lake Providence we stayed in a mansion-cabin-camp right on the river. Tommy Scrogins fed us delicious steaks, and then a huge breakfast to get us going in the morning. We are really roughing it out here on the Mississippi. We walked in a small coffee shop called Jehova Java in Lake Providence. We weren't sure what we were getting into, but we met about a dozen southern ladies who were supporting their friend who was having a book signing. these ladies were a lot of fun, and they taught us all about what southern mama's tell there daughters.
Blake from Helena-West Helena
Campsite on an island outside of Crumrod
The gravel road to Arkansas City
Campsite at Greenville MississippiThe interior of the mansion-cabin (the last person to stay in this place was Brett Favre...not kidding)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Upstream Video

Here are three glimpses of life on the river for the USB team in recent weeks:

(Note: These are large files in Windows Media format)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

6/25 Voice Update

6/25 Update from Arkansas City, Arkansas:

Thanks to KLOVE and Air1 for telling the Upstream Battle story on air nationwide today!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Picture Post

We are in Memphis TN!! Here are a few highlights from the trip so far. We have so many pictures, but we can only put up a few. We haven't had to camp since ST. Louis, so we want to thank the generosity of all the families that have opened their homes to us. We are very grateful.