Gardeners and Advisors


The Gardeners are a group of volunteers who facilitate the growth of theRIVER Communities and Connections by promoting the vision of theRIVER and maintaining the relationships within the network.

Name: Katelyn

Position: Regional Gardener of the Americas

Advisor: Shallyn

Main Responsibilities:

    • Communicate to communities in the Americas after each meeting; summarising what was
      discussed, how it impacts the communities, and asking for feedback.
    • Connecting new communities in the Americas and perhaps training them
    • Connecting theRIVER to other projects, networks, organisations in the Americas when

Some more details on what he/she will be doing:

I am currently living in Boston, MA. My involvement started in 2013 where I volunteered at the Shelter Jordan in Amsterdam.  During my time there I attended the conference that started theRIVER and it has been near to my heart since. I have been a part of other RIVER communities such as Light House Hostel in Edinburgh and have done a pilgrimage based around RIVER communities and connections through Australia, Thailand, and New Zealand.  I am working on plans to start a community for travelers in the Boston area and travel in North America to scout for other great spots for RIVER communities.


Name: Nicki

Position: Regional Gardener of Australasia

Advisor: Steve

Main Responsibilities:

    • Communicate to communities in Australasia after each meeting; summarising what was
      discussed, how it impacts the communities, and asking for feedback.
    • Connecting new communities in Australasia and perhaps training them
    • Connecting theRIVER to other projects, networks, organisations in Australasia when necessary

How are you connected to the traveller scene?
I have travalled around the world and experienced different cultures mostly through serving those in need. I’ve worked with street kids in India, mentored univeristy students in China, aided sex-trafficed women in Thailand, etc. I’ve also done a bit of solo travel through Europe just for fun. I know what it’s like to travel from hostel to hostel, wait for trains & boats, and meet interesting people along the way. I am an American now living aborad in New Zealand for 10 years. I live in a small tourist town called Kaikoura. I meet people from Germany, France, Israel, etc almost every day. I host backpackers in my home, Shabbat meals on Fridays, and run a Scripture meditation weekly. These are all ways that I connect with travellers passing through Kaikour.


Name: Matt

Position: Regional Gardener of Asia and Event Gardener

Advisor: Chinua

Main Responsibilities:

  • Communicate to communities in Asia after each meeting; summarising what was discussed, how it impacts the communities, and asking for feedback.
  • Connecting new communities in Asia and perhaps training them (starting new ministry) (updating)
  • Connecting theRIVER to other ministries, networks, organisations in Asia when necessary
  •  Branding for theRIVER (logo, posters, pamphlets, flyer, etc)
  • Planning and thinking ahead about RIVER Gatherings and RIVER Events

Some more details on what he/she will be doing:
‘ll be checking in regularily with the existing communities in Asia. I’ll be communicating information to, gathering feedback from, connecting with, visiting and looking to love, support, help, hear give voice to, dream with and learn from the communities in Asia however I can.
‘ll be planning, thinking, praying about, gathering feedback on, brainstorming, looking for wisdom about RIVER events and Gatherings as well as related branding. Plus unrelated projects.


Name: Felix

Position: Online Gardener

Primary: Jan
Secondary: Chinua

Main Responsibilities:

    •  Taking care of online presence of theRIVER
    • Making videos for theRIVER
    • Taking care of the website

How are you connected to the traveller scene?
I‘m travelling around the world in 2014. I lived in Australia for 1 year and in Spain for a few months, I did different road trips and interrail trips.
I’m an open-minded, creativ person with many different interests.
Since the start of my journey, I worked in many different jobs. I worked as a self-employed photographer and filmmaker, I was part of the organisation team for events like Reformationsjubiläum and Kirchentag, both big Christian events in Germany. In Australia, I worked on different farms.
My journey with God started at the same moment when I started travelling.
As a traveller, you learn to trust and to listen to God when you are on the road.


Name: Cassie

Position: Story Teller Gardener

Advisor: Shallyn

Main Responsibilities:

  •  Collecting stories from the communities
  • Running the blog on the website, Instagram and other social medias for stories
  • Doing the newsletter with highlight stories

How are you connected to the traveller scene?
I am connected to the traveler scene in many different ways. I have been the manager Warm Heart Guesthouse, one of our communities located in Mexico City, for about six months now. We welcome Work Away travelers and help them to connect with local culture, and non-profits while also engaging with them about faith and religion – if it is real/relevant and how it impacts our lives and society. Through my role with News Release Basketball I get to lead tours of Women’s basketball teams through Europe every summer to conduct kids camps, scrimmage professional teams (in hopes of placing Christian players on teams locally), and sharing our stories and discussing faith/religion with our lovely hosts! While travelling I enjoy connecting with different anti-trafficking organizations and efforts in order to learn how this issue differs from country to country. It is also an interesting cross over, in that many travelers have witnessed and/or experienced sexual trauma or exploitation in their wanderings. It is an incredible opportunity to discuss, raise awareness and edjucate others on the injustices that are around us and how we can be a very small, yet affective, tool in the fight against the consumption and trade of others.


Name: Danielle

Position: Mobile Communities and Pilgrimage Gardener


Primary: Chinua
Secondary: Shallyn

Main Responsibilities:

    • Mobile communities training and development, advice, support, guidance
    • Pilgrimage advice, support, guidance

How are you connected to the traveller scene?
I just love to travel and meet new people from anywhere! I’ve been in more than 20 countrues, but my memories are mostly connected to the people that I’ve met one the way, and the random amazing relationaships that were created. I love to travel in the nature and also to experience human nature – culture.


Name: Gabriel

Position:  Coordinator Gardener

Advisor: Steve

Main Responsibilities:

  • Communicating with the CCCC and Advisors Team as a whole and making sure that there’s
    harmony with the Gardeners Team
  • Filling in the Gaps on all that needs to be done and making sure that everything that needs to
    happen is happening
  • Taking care of the finances of theRIVER
  • Support and train Gardeners

How are you connected to the traveller scene?
For the past 7 years I’ve been travelling and living in different places. I started simply as a seeker ending up at the Shelter Hostel in Amsterdam. Since then, I’ve been connected to theRIVER, living in community and exploring the traveller scene and its many nuances.



The Advisors are the chosen representatives of theRIVER Communities and Connections to oversee the direction of theRIVER. They support the Gardeners through prayer and mentoring.

Name: Shallyn

Advising: Danielle, Cassie, Katelyn

Experience in the traveller scene:
I have been a traveler since 2001, when I graduated and hit the road in the States with a funky
American missionary team called “Jesus Loves You”. I soon married the leader, Joshua, and we
have continued to travel with our family (4 kids) over the last 16 years. We set up a space at New
Age events and festivals, like Rainbow Gatherings, and simply love people in practical and
meaningful ways. Food, both physical and spiritual, is always central. We have also had the
chance to travel through Europe as backpackers when our children were smaller (in size and
number!) Presently, we have established a traveler’s hostel of our own where we offer hospitality

Passions and Gifts:
My passions are for the sweet things in life: music, creativity, connection, good coffee. All shared
in the Light of Christ. I love a meaningful conversation, seeing a beautiful place, or reading a
good book. Praying with people is one of my favourite spiritual practices. I think that I am gifted
in the areas of taking a big idea and “getting it done” in the practical sense, making beautiful
spaces, and creating places for people to connect. I really enjoy “behind the scenes” service, and
hosting a crowd, and facilitating others to move in their gifts. I am adaptable, not too uptight, and
flexible with change.


Name: Chinua

Advising: Felix and Danielle

Experience in the traveller scene:
I’ve been sharing life and Jesus with travelers for the last 25 years, It’s been clear to me that this
is my lives call for a long time now. After Bible college, I started off on Haight Street in the 90s,
where we helped start an amazing house called the Christian House in a ministry called Prodigal
Project. We saw many nomadic travelling youth come to Jesus, and were inspired to start several
other houses in other cities in other states. We went on tour many months at a time with our
traveling bus and often worked with amazing people like “Jesus Loves You” (shout out to Shallyn)
and others. I was married to Rachel, and over a decade or so we went to many rainbow
gatherings and music festivals to share Jesus, managed a discipleship community and oversaw
the organization. I was the Ministry Director at Prodigal Project and worked on everything from
media production, initiating programs, overseeing building communities, and much more. I helped
pioneer an international traveling ministry in the early 2000s that travelled to India and other
traveler hotspots like Israel and Turkey with many small teams. I was one the three original
Gardeners for theRiver and helped develop and grow theRiver into what it is today, including
planning, executing and sharing at gatherings. I was part of a team that pioneered the first
Shekina Community in Goa India in 2008 and went on to start Shekina Garden in Pai Thailand
where we continue to serve. I am an elder in Shekina and sit on the board of directors for Prodigal

Passions and Gifts:
I am a musician, music plays a huge part of my life. I am passionate about sharing Jesus through
deeply integrated life and incarnation within the traveler scene. My giftings are in creativity,
oversight, project management, and critical analysis and improvement of existing programs. I am
a dreamer and love to help new things come into the world.


Name: Jan

Advising: Felix

Experience in the traveller scene:
I have grown up travelling. My parents did not take us to usual holiday spots in stead they took us
back packing to Yemen, Ethiopia, the Himalayas or countries like Armenia or Syria. It si kind of in
our blood to explore. So to go backpacking and start in Australia when I was 18 was kind of in the
line of expectation. I have travelled all the way between Australia and New Zealand and China at
that time. After getting married and getting settled, God took us on an adventure that led us to
Australia. We worked in Australia on farm that employed wwoofers, ministering to them. Currently
living in community on Spain with outreach to Camino pilgrims and offering a community for those
seeking reflection and spiritual nourishment.

Passions and Gifts:
Visionary person, enthusiastic, but quite pragmatic also, do-er. More apostolic giftings


Name: Steve

Advising: Nicki and Gabriel

Experience in the traveller scene:
My travelling experience began in earnest with my wife, Jen, in 2012 when we packed up our
house for 12 months and took off around the planet. Our intention was to visit and link up with
missions and friends in mission that we had supported over our married life. While in France,
volunteering at the SurfHouse Biarritz, we sensed God opening and closing doors. In 2013, we
came home, readjusted our family home and began SurfHouse Narrawallee. Our heart was for the
traveller and we were stoked to start seeing the world travel through us. We also have a
connection with Christian Surfers and belong to an Asian team with responsibility for Hospitality.

Passions and Gifts:
My passion is to see people living Kingdom lives, and to be sharing with them in that. The
contexts that I love doing that are in hospitality; surfing; conversations; teaching and volleyball!


We are still looking for

if you would like to help theRIVER fulfilling one of the following roles, contact us:

Regional Gardener: Africa

  • Communicate to communities in Africa after each meeting; summarising what was discussed, how it impacts the communities, and asking for feedback.
  • Connecting new communities in Africa and perhaps training them (starting new ministry) (updating)
  • Connecting theRIVER to other ministries, networks, organisations in Africa when necessary


Regional Gardener: Europe

  • Communicate to communities in Europe after each meeting; summarising what was discussed, how it impacts the communities, and asking for feedback.
  • Connecting new communities in Europe and perhaps training them (starting new ministry) (updating)
  • Connecting theRIVER to other ministries, networks, organisations in Europe when necessary