Friday, December 07, 2007

Episode 6, son!

I am currently sitting on Mr. Chris Reed's couch using Vanita's lappy while she and Joe Lee track "completely free" in the other rooms and pretty soon I'll go in and lay some sweet leads (hopefully)

but for now...


Episode 6!






-joe

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Episode 5!

Ladies and Jellybeans...I present...something long over due.


Cti 1422 episode 5- Hong Kong!







As the team and I sat around making this episode we realized how much we greatly miss the times of ministry and the quality people we got to spend time with in Hong Kong. Please keep Hk-yfc in your prayers as they live out the legends and folk lore that surround a cti trip to hong kong everyday.


------



Last concert of tour is tonight! then a 12 hour drive home tomorrow!!! I can't wait to be in willmar again.



-jd




you remind me of home

the paint cracks where the water leaks

from the dusty pipes that are just beneath my feet

you remind me of home

Monday, November 26, 2007

Camera Phone Tour Pics!

Well, we are...about 2/3 way through our fall tour and it has been a fun time so far...

We are currently in ..Iowa. haha But today we head off to the great state of Illinois for the last week of tour. Its still early and I am in my onesie foot pajamas and listening to anberlin's new b-side cd. Life on the road is great.

Here are some pics to prove it.







The boys and I made a fort with our hotel beds and I lead devo's in it one day last week



...brooke will get it



merch models



Brooke vs. the Big red wrapper game.



..matt



too fast



holler


Hold your head high heavy heart,

-joe

Monday, November 19, 2007

give us words to speak

As we re-adjust to life back here in the states with one concert every other day and the open spaces, it's as if our bodies and minds are catching up with all of us on the team. The experience in Hong Kong was truly a supernatural experience. Back here in state-side tour the battle seems subtle, different. Where in Hong Kong the approach was a direct evengelistic method, which proved effective with lives changed, here in the states generally with a basic knowledge of Jesus or "growing up in church mentality," how do we encourage others? How do we awaken people from this slumber and indifference? It's not the lack of response or the "cool" attitude of the self that is predominate in America that is the only issue, but how can hearts that are cold from the wickedness of the world be changed? I've come to realize that it is truly only God and the Holy Spirit that can transform and redeem this apathy, this age of Laodicea that has become the norm in these tumultuous times. We can only be the vessels, the instruments, the carpenters tools. In the book Revolution by Barna, stressed how in this technological age, we must become the church, the body. The blame is not the institutionalized church (the building) or even moral rights issues, instead the trend and way to reach people will be relational. It won't be credentials, degrees, titles, money and even a traditional, cultural, structured services that make the difference. I was reminded that if it was the local church that was so important, why are so many falling away? The author Barna, reminded me that what will save the world is Jesus, and Jesus alone. The spiritual state we are in is a choice, one that we are responsible for. It's humbling to go to these schools, prisons, not having a doctorate, or a seminary degree etc., which are not bads things in of itself, but truly God is glorified when he uses the weak to shame the strong, the fool to shame the wise. It is not easy to be on a team, but I realized that instead of a "Sunday Pharisetic non-compromised" stance I held, I realized that the Christian, church, is 24-7, anywhere with anyone. It's not the music that was the most important, but our fellowship, our love, our passion for Christ, the aroma we give to a dying world. Sometimes it's hard to speak the truth in love, a time where honesty or brutal truth is something we fear to do, to not offend, not hurt anyone, but if the Christian faith and bible is absolutely true in the end, the awful part is that we will one day stand face to face with our Maker, accountable for all we did in this life, what words will we say, what excuses can we make?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Back from Hong Kong




I'm back home in good ol' MN, and it seems surreal that I have been gone for an entire month. If I could describe the ministry time in Hong Kong, it would be intense. We were there for 4 weeks, and we did 77 concerts. About 45 of them were schools, 8 in malls, 5 street evangelism, and the rest churches and other YFC events. We worked with the Youth For Christ there, which was a huge blessing. They are very driven people and will go to all extents in order to share the Gospel with as many people as they can. I learned so much from them!!

Never had I been as physically exhausted from doing 3-5 concerts a day, hauling our equipment up/down many stairs, waking up at 5:30 a.m and getting home at 8, and walking a billio to wherever we had to go, but my time there really challenged me to go outside of my comfort zone of sharing Christ with people. We were asked to share our testimonies with thousands of people, a very daunting task. There were so many times where I didn't feel adequate to be speaking up there, yet everytime was an opportunity to share Christ with someone, and I couldn't miss that opportunity. We went out into the streets and malls to share our music/dramas, but more importantly the love of Christ. Those venues are something that we really don't get a chance to do here in the states, so I found it an honor.
I'm still trying to process this all-- Thank you SO much for all of your prayers.



Thursday, November 01, 2007

I am not ashamed

I am not ashamed

"I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed."
That thought kept on running through my head. I was standing under a skyscraper in Hong Kong, surrounded by hundreds of Filipinos, and I was a tree. Waving back and forth as my team performed a drama behind me. I was embarassed. I felt ackward and foolish. Who stands in the middle of a street in front of strangers who didn't ask you to be there... being a tree?

We were with YFC, one of the ministries that CTI partners with internationally, and they asked us to do street evangelism. Our ministry with YFC consisted of going to schools and singing songs in cantonese and then presenting the gospel to the kids. On weekends or evenings we did street evangelism or minister in churches. We would use dramas that we had learned in the states. I was lucky enough to be chosen for the drama "Dare You To Move". It's an amazing drama and I love doing it. But it looks rather foolish when you're just standing there for the first 2 minutes waving back and forth like a tree. Don't worry, I eventually turn into Satan in the drama so it's all good! I get used to eating dirt after Jesus destroys me!
Hong Kong has a large Filipino population. Mostly women who come there to earn money to send home. Most of them are domestic helpers and have only one day off a week. So we were ministering to these Filipino women who were enjoying their day off.

I always struggle with the thought of street evangelism, in regards to it's effectiveness. I know it would not work at all in the USA and to be honest I would be offended to see it in America. But we weren't in America. We were in Hong Kong, and we would be for a month.

" I am not ashamed." I told myself. But I was ashamed, ashamed of myself for being embaressed by the message of salvation. Ashamed that I wasn't bolder, or more joyful. And I was saddened that so many times I miss the meaning of why I believe in Jesus. I forget the mess I am, and the rescue that Jesus was, is, will be to me. Why can't I grasp this? Why can't I translate that into words, or a smile, or a note I sing? Or into being a tree?

While methods vary ( I would never choose street evangelism to tell people about Jesus) the message remains constant. Love is waiting. God is waiting. I am waiting for it, though I have it, I'll never have enough. Yet it still is too much for me to contain. Words fail to describe Jesus. That's why sometimes all I can do is stand in a busy street in Hong Kong, perform dramas, sing, play, and remind myself. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because this story of love is the power that renews life!

HOME SAFE!

Just a quick note to let you all know that the team has made it home safe. We're doing debriefing with them today in Willmar. Tomorrow will be a much deserved day off!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A last word from Hong Kong

Hello from Hong Kong!!

We have about four more days before we leave with 9 concerts in them. It's going to be crazy but I know a part of us will miss the crazy life style that is Hong Kong YFC. It's been a lot of fun and a huge challenge!

One of the parts of our ministry here in HK has been leading worship in the different Fillipeno churches. There is a large amount of women who have come here to Hong Kong to work and have quite a large community through out Hong Kong. The services that we have led for them have been such an amazing blessing to us as a team. First of all they are in English giving us a little bit of a break from translation. But to see the joy in these women's lives is beautiful. We've heard a ton of stories of how they have left their families and everything they know to come here to help those same families survive, and the faith that they have shown is amazing. Plus they've realized that they are here in Hong Kong for a purpose, to share the Gospel. So it's been really cool for us to share in this mission with them, if only for a short while.
Prayer requests:

  • Hong Kong YFC: they are constantly going and sharing the Gospel with youth. Pray that they would continue to be able to do this as the doors are closing more and more with China taking more control.
  • Concerts: We have about 9 more concerts in the last three days we are here (with three on the last day, plus flight packing all our gear) Pray that we would remain focused and that we would be safe traveling from churches and schools.
  • Traveling: We leave in a little over 4 days. Please pray that all the logistical things will work on schedule and that we will be safe (and for Laura, cause she's really dreading the flight back cause it's so long). And that jet lag won't be too bad cause we have to start rehearsing the rest of our music for US tours once we get back.
Thanks for your prayers!!
Rebekah
Brooke:
I'm excited to come home and share many stories with you all! Thank you for all your prayers and I will be home soon! :)
Much Love,
Brooke :)
Joe G:
The last month has been such an amazing time, it will probably take another month to dissect this blur of 75+ concerts, MTR stations, City lights, and a passionate people. I am excited to come home and see everyone and hit the American road for fall tour.
See you soon!
Yatzee!
Laura:
Oh Man! 3 more days and we'll be packing to come home. I don't think I could shove all that we've learned into this tiny little blurb, but suffice it to say that God had been faithful in revealing Himself to us here in Hong Kong and we have grown because of it. Thanks for the prayers. See ya soon!
Vanita:
Hola Todas!
Wow! We leave so soon, it's hard to believe that a month has gone by! I miss you all very much! Please continue to pray for our team, Especially energy to continue!
Love you all!
Vanita
Matt:
Hi everybody what's up. I'm doing fine.
Joe Lee:
Hey all. It's strange how time is going by so fast now. We are all still healthy and alive. My English has changed. It's bad when I say things like "I'm not Asian, I'm Korean-American" (from stage)
Take care all,
Joe Lee
Rebekah:
Wow I can't believe a month has come and gone and we'll be heading back to the US for a very different adventure. There's so much I can't wait to tell you all about!Love,
Beka

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Another Hong Kong update

Hello from Hong Kong!!

We're now in the beginning of our third week and it feels like yesterday that we arrived. It's been so busy here. This morning we lead worship at an international school where everyone spoke English. I don't know how to explain how relaxing it is to go from the many schools where we have needed translation to where we can talk freely. The experience is growing all of us and it's been exciting for me (at the sound board) to see the team try now ways of bridging the cultural and language gap. One of the most amazing tools we have are three songs that we learned that are in Cantonese. They have opened so many doors for us to be heard.

There are so many stories to tell but one that has stuck out in my mind was last night at the YFC headquarters. Every week or so YFC has an evangelistic night where they share the gospel and do a ton of fun, and very random, variety shows. YFC uses the different volunteers to preform and it's so cool to see everyone work together to make these nights happen. They have invited us (14:22) to come up and preform a few of our Cantonese songs and share testimonies and dramas. It's so amazing to see the people come to understand more of this Great Love that we know of. There is so much fear here, and it is so busy and commercialised, that the fact that there is a God who loves them is incredible needed to be heard and known. It has been such a blessing to be a part of that here in Hong Kong.

Things you can pray for:
  • YFC, they have been amazing and have blessed us so much. They work so hard for Hong Kong, it's really humbling to work with them.
  • Terry Veasy, he's an evangelist we are working with here in Hong Kong. Pray that we will be able to work well with him and that we would be united while sharing the Gospel.
  • Health and energy, we've all gotten mostly better from the first week or so. Also we are really busy with at least 3 concerts a day, it's almost as if 8 hours of sleep isn't enough! Please pray that we would get the rest we need.
  • Traveling, we are hauling stuff all the time going from place to place. Pray that we would be surrounded with protection.
In care of 14:22,
Rebekah

Brooke:
Hello everyone! We are all doing really great, though busy doing many concerts a day. The food here is great, and the people are so welcoming to us. Most of the students and schools we encounter are very receptive to our program, and it's soo awesome to see what an impact it is to have learned some Chinese songs. Mom and dad, I am still healthy, and I have still not lost anything...I know you're probably wondering. We will be home before you know it, so love and miss you all!! :-)

Joe Lee (the other Joe):
Well God is really in the small things. The weather has gotten cooler with less humidity, so instead of a steam room we have a dry sauna kind of atmosphere. We are eating a lot of chocolate. None of us are sick. I am actually losing a lot of of weight (fat) and have gotten much stronger. Strange I always hated working out, so God is so smart for sending me to Hong Kong. We need prayers for strength and protection for surely it requires a lot of energy and it is a spiritual battle that we are up against and it is a blessing that so people are being exposed to the gospel and saved. Keep all of us in prayer.

Laura:
Howdy! Life is still going well! We've witnessed God moving in incredible ways here. There are times when we are so tired that we think we won't be able to stand up, and having no choice but to let God sustain us, and of course, He pulls through. Other times He does things like provides us with chocolate and fried chicken when we're feeling a little homesick. It's wonderful. For a little bit of added irony, we have had the unique pleasure of being able to play the song Montana, a Spanish song, here in Hong Kong. The people here love it. Nothing like singing a Spanish song in an Asian country. Hehehe. Mom and Dad, I promise that we're all healthy, so don't worry. We've taken plenty of pictures and videos, so hopefully we'll get some posted when we get back. Ta ta for now!

Joe G (the real Joe hehe):
Yo man! 2 weeks down, 2 weeks to go. Half way through our time here in hong kong and we are still daily left in awe at how much God is moving here. We had the treat of playing at a few Filipino churches this weekend and we God to party it up with all of my "aunties and uncles"! I miss all of you guys back home (California and Wilmar) and am looking forward to seeing/talking to all of you guys again. We are all very much looking forward to some cold weather when we get back to Minnesota and I personally am craving some egg bake ;) .
Anyways, time to go! Peace, reverse that.

Matt
Hey everybody! hope your all doing well. I miss all of my jville homies. oh and my parents and stuff... ya. I am doing fantastic if you were wondering. k bye. sorry for the shortness of my blogs.

Vanita~
Hola todos! Wow so we are technically starting our 3rd week of ministry in Hong Kong. God is really rewarding and blessing us! This week we got to minister in some primary schools. It was such a blessing! I love ya'll and REALLY miss yoU! Happy Birthday Roni! Hi team 14:21! Soon we shall be together again! LOVE Vanita (aka ZIPPER)

Rebekah~
Hello, I can't believe it's been two weeks already. I haven't tried any cool foods here yet, but we are going to have hot pot. I was thinking about what I was doing last year and was remembering the game 99, Ahh old 14:22, I miss you! Happy B-day to Adam! Can't wait to hear stories of what has gone on in your lives in the past month!! Love to Mom, Dad, Chris, Jess and Jo. Miss you tons!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Update from Hong Kong

Hey everyone!!!
We've had an amazing time here in Hong Kong. I can't believe it's already been a week, time flies!

The first day we got here (at 10pm) we unloaded, set all the equipment up and then went to bed at around 2am. The next day we got up at 5am and played five concerts. With jet lag and everything I think we all felt as though we were pushed to the end of ourselves, which was a really good place to be.

We had two concerts on the street with just a boom box and we did all our songs karaoke style along with all of our dramas. The rest of the week wasn't quite so hectic till yesterday when we had again 5 concerts...but this time they were all full set up! I didn't know there was that much time in a day. We've been challenged a number of times to do all English performances (without translation) so we're all learning to taaalk slowwwer so that the students can understand us.
We've been to a ton of schools which have all been a ton of fun and you should see the smiles of their faces when we start singing the Cantonese songs we've learned. There's one in particular that's a kung foo fighting song from a Jet Lee Movie that's having it's 10th year anniversary here. Everyone starts to go crazy and joins us for all the "HOA"s and "HEY"s. Every time we have a concert I see the team grow in their stage presence...we'll be a force to be reckoned with once we get back to the states!!!

Prayer-wise we've had a few people who have had a cold and our bodies are still getting use the to humidity and the physically taxing days so if you could pray for our health. And for our safety while hauling the equipment everywhere (up stairs, in the middle of streets...you get the idea).

God has been amazing and has blessed us so much with random little things along the way (like chocolate yesterday). It's been such a privilege to be here and work with YFC. The food here has been amazing. YFC has volunteers that cook for us and boy are they good. We have had quite the eclectic mix of Chinese/American food....nothing like fried rice with spaghetti!! Please pray for YFC as well as the coordinate all of our concerts and all the logistics :) that go into it.
Thanks for your prayers and we will see you all soon,
Rebekah Fleck


From: Matt
To: You
Hey everybody just wanted to say that I'm doing great. Hope to see you all soon. I love you Donna.

Brooke:
Hi everyone back at home! We are starting to adjust to the new lifestyle, weather, and food here. The YFC is taking really great care of us!! We've already done over 20 concerts and have many more to come. Mom and dad, I am feeling wonderful, and I haven't lost anything...don't worry :) I miss and love you all very much. Blessings!

Joe Leee@!#:
Nay Ho ma everyone back at home. I am learning to embrace this culture and also accepting the ways of the Dong Jee Keung (HUH!-with a jump kick). The schools and crowds here are open to what we have to say and present. It was rough at first but we have been able to manage. Eat seng HOng Yat Kwong....!

Joe Gomez-
Hey everybody! We've been here in hong kong for about...8 days now and have had 25 concerts already! (5 on our first day with just 3 hours of sleep) Jet lag has nothing on us. God has provided incredibly for us this last week, giving us energy to get up and go and blessing us with so many great oppurtunities for ministry. It has been amazing! anyways, Hello's to Mom, Alex, Charles, Dad, Shane and Amanda, CHriiiiis reeeed, Bomstad's, Paul, Housekeepers, Jump, Ovcc, and...Nate and Christina's new baby. See you guys soon!

Laura:
Hi! Hong Kong has been wonderful so far. We've been learning a ton and are challenged on a dialy basis. It's awesome to see how God is moving here, and to know that we're just a small part of it. Mom and Dad, don't worry, we're not sick, and the food is AMAZING (though they insist on making American food for us sometimes- yesterday, we had fried chicken and french fries!). To everyone else-Thanks for all your prayers and I can't wait to see you all soon!

Vanita Joines-
HOla Todos! Hong Kong is WOW! We've been so super busy but it has been a fantastic experience so far and I'm having a great time and staying healthy ( that's for Vera and Mom :) )... I am learning a few Cantonese phrases... the essentials, like, "where's the bathroom?" and stuff like that! Singing in Cantonese has been fun! Hello to Mom and Dad! Praying for you both and love ya! Vanessa and Dave (Dave I am drinking PEPSI haha) give Stephen and Ruth a kiss for me! Take it easy Vanessa! Hi Vera, Roni, Vida, Vance! I miss you all and can't wait to talk your ear off when I get home! Thanks Cross keys for all your prayer and support! Ngor oi nay, ho pung yau! -Love Vanita

Rebekah-
Hi Mom, Dad, Jess, Chris and Jo...I miss you all so much and I love you. It's been a ton of fun here, really challenging with all the concerts, but I'm learning a lot. Hong Kong is making it up on the list of places I'd like to live for a while. Thanks for your prayers!! And tell the grandparents I love them.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Safe arrival in Hong Kong

Hello from Hong Kong!

We arrived safely, early in fact, with all of our equipment. We spent the first hour or so setting up our stuff with the equipment YFC provided and then went to bed. Boy did those beds feel good!!

We have our first two concerts today at a school, where we will get to use our Cantonese songs for the first time!! Everyone says "HI" while eating their bread roll thingies.

Miss you all,
Rebekah

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The great commission

So, today we had our commissioning service and it was wonderful. We worshiped together (and for a nice change we weren't the ones leading it...), had communion and also had our feet washed. Let me tell you, it was a humbling experience. As I sat there waiting to go up to have my feet washed, I was thinking about how uncomfortable it is to be served like that. The point of the whole thing was to teach us and prepare us to be servants, to be willing to wash other peoples' feet, but while I was waiting my turn, I realized that I have a harder time making myself available to serve. I sat in the pew thinking about how nasty my feet were, and like Peter, I didn't want anyone to have to wash them. I was worried that I might have toe jam, or that after being stuck in shoes all day they would stink. I didn't want anyone to have to experience that. I'd gladly have washed someone else's feet, but I didn't realty want anyone to have to wash mine. As all this was going through my head, I couldn't get Gomer's story out of my mind. Gomer was the "adulterous woman" that God commanded Hosea to marry. She left Hosea three different times, each time running away from a nice, clean safe home, back to her life as a prostitute. As I think about that story, I find it hard to believe that she ever went back to prostitution because she enjoyed it, or because she missed it. On the contrary. I think she was afraid. God spoke to Hosea on a regular basis. His life was a living example of what the Israelites had been doing to God. Every time Gomer ran away, Hosea had to go back and get her. Every time she sold herself back into the slaver, he had to come rescue her. I'd imagine that she was pretty ashamed of what she had become. She was dirty and tainted. She was no longer pure and innocent. And I am the same way. How often do I tell God that I am not good enough for the job he has ahead of me? How often do I feel like what i have to offer is insufficient? It was devastating to think that my dirty nasty feet were about to be washed by someone who didn't deserve to be exposed to my gross feet. I didn't want her to have to experience it, just like I don't want to show God how tainted I've become. I'm ashamed and afraid and it hurts my heart to think that it was my fault that He had to die. But, by not approaching Him with my weaknesses, I don't give him an opportunity to cleanse me of them. By not facing my own sins, I deny Him the chance to forgive them. I miss the bittersweet redemption that he has offered me by grace.

All that was to say that we are leaving for Hong Kong, and 1421 is leaving for Singapore tomorrow (well, technically for all those in the central time zone and east, I suppose we're actually leaving later today) and I feel totally inadequate. Luckily for me, I have an entire team going with me. Also, I know that God would not send us without equipping us. He'll show up as long as I will. Tonight was my reality check. Am I trusting God to equip me for those things that he has called me to? Or am I just going to cop out and make excuses for why I don't think I can handle it? Is my own shame getting in the way of His grace? Am I buying myself back into slavery like Gomer, or do I have enough courage to follow where God leads me and humble myself in front of him? How about you?

Thanks to everyone for all of your prayers and support. Hopefully we'll be able to update you on the blog while we're over there, but in case we don't end up having Internet access- see you in a month!

Toodles!
Laura

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Team 14:21 (wronged) and Team 14:22 (thieves)

It started as an ordinary day....life was good in the little town of Wilmar...

Two teams...

...harshly torn apart, separated for two weeks...reunited under the same of name of community...

They looked upon each other with sheer delight & rejoiced at the beauty of their friendships

Until that cold, dreary Tuesday morning...

Rehearsal was progressing nicely. There was a strong camaraderie between the teams
...or so they thought.

It all changed when the lunch bell rang. They exchanged delightful comments during the course of their noontime meal...both basking in the beauty of the lunch meat, pretzels, and eliquent conversation.

A group of individuals vacated the building, leaving good memories with the people still inside....BUT thieft was fresh on their minds...In walking outside, the individuals began to covet after a particular motorized vehicle, kindly known as Luther.

(* Let the record show...that Luther was a very special motorized vehicle and so the group of coveting thieves were overcome with emotional bitterness at the cold reality that Luther would never be theirs. They struggled with the acceptance of reality and in a moment of weakness....allowed their bitterness and feelings of strong emotion take over)

Unbeknownst to the owners, their beloved Luther was taken right out of their grasp. They soon realized upon exiting the building, that they had been seriously and unforgivably wronged. Being the mature individuals that they were, they decided that anger would not be the path they would chose to tread, but instead, revenge, sweet revenge.

Nocholantly the scheming began. It was obvious to the wronged, that the thieves needed to be taught a lesson. No one, I mean, NO one, could steal a piece of their heart and get away with it.

As these poor distressed individuals arrived at their destination in a beat up, deterioriting, sadly pathetic, and floor stained motorized vehicle, they purposefully parked in a most inconvinient and remote area of the deserted parking lot.

Joy filled their hearts when they saw that Luther, although traumatized, was still alive and well! Knowing full well, the extent of the malicious behavior of the thieves, they decided, as a preacaution, and safe guard against further attack, to temporarily sacrifice the ability for Luther, to fulfill his man made duty. And so, wires were to be crossed. It was difficult to cause pain to a dearly loved motorized vehicle, but they knew, it was for the best.

With eager anticipation they ran through the doors of the religious building, happy that Luther was safe and their future looked bright. But then, they remembered, times of sweet fellowship, of kping, and playing apples to apples, and laptop parties at coffee houses and the pain that being seperated for two weeks had caused these two groups of people. So, being, the amazing and benevolent individuals they were, they decided, to...... green line!

So they treated the thieves with kindness, and love, and compassion and remembered above all, to never gloat about having the newest, biggest, and best, motorized vehicle ever.

Life lesson= Jesus.

Even though... I'm pretty sure the answer is squirrels!

We love you guys! Consider yourselves Pung yaued!

To all thieves and wronged,
Vanita and Michelle ( 2 out of 4 coolest homeschoolers in the Full Time program)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

So...you know you're getting owned when you see a 60 year old man stand on his head...he even did some random tricks while he was up there...I can't even stand on my head...and I'm definitly not 60.

We played at our first correctional center today. It was so sweet to worship with these guys who love God with all thier hearts. It was also so humbling to be there. You go in thinking that you have some corner on God or Christianity. At least for me I've never been to jail or "sinned" that much. I mean, I was homeschooled, I'm perfect right... ;) But then I realized after seeing these men who love God so much that thier faith is much more child-like and honest than mine has ever been. They know that they NEED God. I'm rather jelous of them, I wish I had that kind of faith.
Without Wax,
Rebekah

Grace...

Tonight I was in prison. I played my guitar and sang. I worshiped with 37 inmates and my team. And I can't remember when I've been so blessed before.

I guess I kind of knew what to expect. I've done prison ministry with CTI in Mexico and have been blessed. Still, it continues to astound me how God fills me up with His love and grace in these moments.

We simply sang a few songs, performed a drama, not that big a deal. But the appreciation on these men's faces was sincere. I guess I should say, MY appreciation for them and their ministry was sincere.

These men come from all different backrounds, they've made all sorts of choices, choices that I make everyday as well. Who knows but God all their lives have entailed?
As I listened to their prayers, prayers for their children, for soldiers in Iraq, for Israel, for us.... yes they were praying for US and our ministry and for the people we will be ministering too, I almost cried. God is so amazing isn't he? His grace amazed me tonight. So how fitting to close the evening out we sang about it

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found was blind
but now I see

Hallelujah grace like rain
falls down on me
hallelujah all my stains
are washed away
washed away

I feel encouraged now to return to training. My purpose is clearer, it's simply this: to be available for God, whatever He wants of me...

Knowing full well in all of this, without His grace...I am nothing... Paz todos!
Can't wait to see 14:21 and chat about your road experience!

this is Vanita signing off....

#4 already?

yeah....I guess I am getting scared at the thought of not being able to post any episodes while we are in Hong Kong, so I am cranking these bad boys out day after day. Hope you enjoy!



------------

On another note, I came across this in devo's today and really wanted to share.

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

...

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.


Dang son, The God who created everything in existence is in LOVE with you. Do you know that?

I forget it far too often.

-joe

Monday, September 17, 2007

Video Journal #2 AND #3

#2



--------

#3





-joe

Belated Picture


This is Vanita masquerading as Laura posting a photo for team 14:21s Canadians... but i am hoping that the rest of you Americans will enjoy it too! Sorry it took longer than expected... paz todos

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's a hard-knock life for us...

Well folks, tonight I'm writing to you from a house with a hot tub, a pool table, a espresso machine (and a host mom that used to own a coffee shop- oh sweet mocha... here we come!), as well as an actual movie theater in the basement, complete with 3 rows of movie seats! Yeah... life is rough for us out on the road! :) Today marks the one week mark for 1422. It's hard to believe that we left only a week ago. Here's a quick overview of all the things we've accomplished:

1. We ate dinner at the world's first Pizza Ranch. (Hull, IA)
2. Vanita had her very first cafeteria lunch.
3. We went over Sioux Falls in a barrel (Well.. okay... maybe we didn't go over them... but we did see them..)!
4. We witnessed the Iowa Firefighters Convention parade. This is a once a decade opportunity!
5. We've learned to communicate using only a series of gurgles, squawking noises and eye contact.

Oh... there are so many more things we've done that I can't capture in this blog. On a more serious note though, there have been tons of things we've just in this short week. Personally, I am totally overwhelmed by the hospitality we've received. In the towns we've been to, there were always people there, waiting to open their homes to us and offer us love for the short time we're there. If you were to ask me how I've seen God moving in this past week, I would tell you it was through the people we encounter. Whether it was the host families, the contacts we've had at churches and schools, or just the people we talk to after a concert, I've heard God speak to me through those people. Sometimes it's words of encouragement, shared wisdom, or just an enthusiasm about our message, but in all of it, I am reminded that God is moving all over this world, and we are privileged to be part of the movement. It's also great to know that it's a universal movement and that you are all part of it as well! Ta ta for now!

P.S. To 1421- Vanita is about to post a picture from me to let you know we were thinking of y'all. To all of the non-Canadians on the team, you're included in this... we just didn't think to take a picture of the American flag as well!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

even more life on the road with 1422

CHAPEL AT UNITY CHRISTIAN HS


TEAM WORSHIP TIME IN SIOUX FALLS


JOE BONAPARTE

1422 ON THE ROCKS



...and this episode's video installment:
THE THINGS WE DO FOR YOUTH GROUPS:
video

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Episode 1

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Beginnings of tour

Hey everyone! It's so exciting and surreal to actually be on the road. We've technically only been on the road for 3 days, but we're already becoming a family. We're currently staying in Edgerton, MN and have done 2 school concerts. It's really great to have people to have an audience since the past 3 weeks we've been playing to ourselves and the trainers. Some prayer requests are: continued team unity, opportunities to share with the students we meet before/after concerts, strength and courage to share what God has laid on our hearts. Thank you for all of your support and prayers! We'll be back to Willmar before you know it :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

more life on the road with 1422


CHAPEL AT WESTERN CHRISTIAN HS


MR. GOMEZ SHARES...


KIDS IN THE HALL:


WRONG TURN, LADIES?


RECRUITING TIME AT WESTERN CHS:


and this episode's video installment:
DIRECTIONS ACCORDING TO GOMEZ:


video

Life on the road with 1422

Pictures tell the story best:

SERVICES AT OLIVIA UMC:



FLECK FALLS OUT...




LAURA... (well, just Laura I guess):



MATT (IL) SHOWS CORN TO JOE (CA) AND JOE (NY):


GOMEZ GETS SCHOOLED:




If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth... well... a lot more:

VAN LIFE:

video

Friday, September 07, 2007

We Leave for Tour Tomorrow!

As I write this from the "front" desk at the cti ministry building I can see Eliot and Matt playing hackie sack outside, Michelle is walking back and forth in front of me with her macbook, Vanita is walking up the stairs singing, Deshi is in her cubicle behind me "working" (i say "working" because having just got a wallpost on facebook from her I wonder how much work goes on in there ;) ) and there is an unmistakable buzz in the building because we are hitting the road for our first tour tomorrow!

There are so many things going on right now, and I don't have anywhere close to the amount of downtime to write them out on here...but I just want to ask for your prayers for the team and myself as we head out into the literal unknown to gain "context" on what we've been having drilled into us for the last 3 weeks of training.

Brooke just High fived me for buying her the tackiest socks ever at the dollar store.

David Lanning just walked by, poked his head into Chris Reeds office, looked at his watch, and then ran down the stairs.

I never ever ever thought I could be one for insane schedules and pressure, for 3 hour long recruiting meetings, or for ALOT of hard work day in and day out (packing up and loading stages into trailers, constant errands, paper work, rehearsal, concerts, recruiting, and rinse and repeat)...but as michelle walks in the front door and flashes her awkward home schooler smile, and as eliot comes in...followed by brad probably heading down to the hangout spot in the team room, I can sit back and know that amidst all this craziness, I am finally home.

Anyways, here are a very SMALL amount of pics of life at training the last 3 weeks through my eyes...














-Joe Gomez


Monday, September 03, 2007

Hey

Here we go again!! Well here I go again. It's been so much fun being back for another year, I can't wait for you all to meet the team and I can't wait to see a bunch of you again and meet some of you for the first time. We're (14:22) in the middle of training here in Willmar, MN with a week left to go before hitting the road. We can't wait to be on the road. Our first service is at Faith UMC in Olivia, MN and then we're going down to Iowa for a bit. Stop by this site again to see what we've been up to.
Without Wax,
Rebekah

Friday, August 17, 2007

Welcome the new crew!

Our 2007 - 2008 fulltime ministry season starts tonight as our next group of fulltimers arrives here in Willmar for training.

Members of 14:22 this year are:
  • Rebekah Fleck
  • Matt Duncan
  • Joe Gomez
  • Vanita Joines
  • Joseph Lee
  • Brooke Pearson
  • Laura Schuh
Look for pictures and bios soon on CTImusic.org

Friday, May 25, 2007

Farewell stateside, hello world!

Greetings!

As we gear up for summer, one thing we don't want to let fall by the way side is you, all of those who have been rooting us on throughout our year with CTI. We have been back in Willmar for a few weeks now, going out on the weekends, doing parternship drive. While we weren't able to connect with as many people as we'd hoped, we also had some great opportunities to talk with supporters, past and present, to keep them connected with the ministry and thank them for all they've done. Thanks for the continued prayers and financial support of this ministry! It's been a huge blessing.

This past week has been spent debriefing our year, saying goodbye to our team as it's existed since the start. While we are looking forward to what lies ahead for the summer, it's bittersweet to say goodbye to people you've spent a year of your life with, our CTI families who have become near and dear to our hearts. It's a bit surreal to know that while my team will still be in my life for a bit, it will be different. As I look back on the year, I can't help but remember many of the amazing people I've met along the way. I have been blessed in ways I can't explain by some of you, people who just met me and my team, and took care of us like we've known you forever. Thank you for all that you've done! I will treasure the memories from this year forever, as I know my team feels the same way. It's a unique opportunity to be a part of CTI for sure, and while it wasn't all peaches and keen all the time, I have grown more through it all than I ever could have imagined. And for that I'm truly thankful.

So, thanks again for everything, for putting us up in your homes, for coming to our shows, for the prayers and words of encouragment offered. They have had more of an impact than you could possibly know. Please be praying for us and for all those who will be coming on summer teams. Sending six (that's right, I said --six-- for those who haven't been able to check updates much) teams overseas, and that is no small task. Check the CTI website for updates on locations and teams. We are excited to have y'all here, summer teamers!! Keep preping and we'll see you soon!

Blessings on all of you!

Signing off,
Tiffany (and CTI 14:22)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Safe!

Hey guys!

It's official, we are safely back in Willmar and have finished up our Spring Tour. In fact, we are done touring as a team. That's right, it's sad, but we still have a few weekends away before our final concert on June 10th. If you're in the area, come check us out then, we'd love to see y'all. Thanks for the prayers and support! We have greatly appreciated the support or every one of you. We couldn't have done it without the prayers and backing of the Lord. We serve an awesome God, don't we?!

Anywho, I wanted to touch base and let y'all know where we're at. Please do keep those prayers coming as we gear up for partnership drive and then as we dive into summer. We're excited to meet those who will be joining us for summer and excited to see some of you again as you fly out to be part of the ministry. Also wanted to say hello to 14:21! We're excited to see you guys again soon. We've been praying your tour is going well. That's it for now.

Blessings,
Tiffany

Monday, April 30, 2007

Multi-Media Update

Well after noticing how few pictures and video have been uploaded lately I decided it was about time just that to happen. Cuz... well I like pictures, they're easier to read than text. So here is a somewhat eclectic collection of pix and one short movie.


This first very... uhh ... pink-- picture, was taken in probably the girliest room I've stayed in thus far. I'm trying to think of a word to describe it, umm I guess the best thing to say is that it was very ... pink. But none-the-less very comfortable and great hosts.
I call this pic: "Slightly Edited Cactus in the Desert with Mountain in Background Taken Mid-Day but Customized to Look as Though it Were at Dusk"
I know you don't have to tell me; I'm very good at coming up with concise, all-detail-encompassing titles




Now ladies and gentlemen, if you would direct your attention southward, this is a picture of us hiking in NM on a very beautiful day.

Hey Jon!


14:22 on the rocks




AND fresh off the SD card! These pictures were taken this morning right here in Lakin Kansas. Jon and I's host parents own a power-parachute! (or para-plane) So this morning Mr. Rice took us up in the air for an action-packed, fun-filled, death-defying, flight! Ok, maybe not death defying, but it was pretty exciting! So please excuse the dramatic emphasis.


Clear prop! Hang on! Here we go! "put the mic a little closer to your mouth" Can you here me now?

Wonder what would happen if I pulled on these strings......


And with that symbal God promised never to flood the earth again.




Just a couple more days of tour left then were back in Willmar. -A decrease in prayer support is not insinuated or implied whatsoever in the previously stated sentence. Party of the first part still covets prayer, including but not limited to lots of prayer!-

THANK YOU! :-)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Goodbye AZ, Hello NM

We officially left AZ yesterday after a very enjoyable, and ministry effective time. We just played in a town called Show Low AZ the night before last. We were actually mostly playing for Awana's kids. I really enjoyed it cuz I love kids, and it seemed to go very well. In fact a little 10 year old girl gave her life to the Lord during the Creation drama! That was really exciting for me. It's just great to know that God is using our ministry to make an impact. We drove here to Rehobath NM, at a school where most the kids are Navajo Indians. Just played for the middles school chapel this morining and went hiking in the desert this afternoon. And I am now being told that we are gunna go out for supper so.... I guess I'll sign out.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

updates from Show Low

What a time we have been having in AZ! We have not only thawed from the snow in Minnesota (who knew it would warm up AFTER we left?! Come on now!), but we have met some great peeps along the way, Christian's family for instance. Thanks for taking such great care of us, Petersons! It was a pleasure to meet you. Also wanted to send a shout out to Trevor. We are excited to see you again soon. Glad to have you on board for the summer!

We have officially spent our last day in the great state of Arizona and are headed back to New Mexico today. We have done some great shows, and for the most part are healthy... That is except for me. My team has definitely been great troops to be down a vocalist yet again. At least this time I can still help with everything but the music. Oh the joys of allergy season! If you could pray for continued health for the rest of the team so we can finish strong and for my voice to return to normal soon, that would be wonderful. No worries, I'm taking care of myself and I'm on the mend. But the prayers are greatly appreciated.

Thanks to those who have welcomed us into your churches and homes this tour! We pray it has been a blessing for you, as we have enjoyed out time so far and look forward to meeting more amazing people over the next week. 14:21 - we're praying for you! I hope you guys are doing well. Finish strong, friends! That's all I've got for now. Thanks for your support, y'all!

Blessings,
Tiffany

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hello Spring Tour!

Greetings from Arizona!

We have spent this past week (well, not really a week, though it has felt like it at some points!) working out way southwest from MN. What a trek it has been! Close to two thousand miles in just a matter of days. Talk about some close, personal van time! But, we made it down to New Mexico for a show in Mescalero on Tuesday. What a time we had there! Thanks to those who came out. It was a great start to our last tour as a full time team. But don't you worry, folks, we'll be going strong for a few more weeks yet and then helping out with summer, so we aren't going anywhere yet! :) Well... we are going places, but that's relative. You understand what I'm trying to say!

From NM, we have made our way to Tuscon then Phoenix. Go Sundevils! (Is that the right sports reference here?) We are looking forward to meeting Christian's fam, as he is from here and seeing his old stomping grounds. Many good times ahead. We had a blast with JSM last night and then Valley Lutheran HS earlier today. Thanks for the enthusiasm guys! We hope you had as much fun as we did.

I think that's it thus far. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We are all currently healthy and hoping to stay that way. We also covet your prayers for traveling mercies. We made it down here in one piece and we would love to stay that way all the way through. Thanks for your continued support! We look forward to those who we have as of yet to meet for this tour.

Blessings,
Tiffany

Saturday, April 14, 2007

One more time...

It only seems appropriate to leave a message as we venture to leave the state...once again.

We're just about to journey off on another adventure to the South Western United States. I'm ready for some Tex-Mex and Cowboy hats... OK, OK...I won't go too crazy, but I know that Christian will sure join me on the Mexican food. Our first few days will be travel days, we'll be puting about 1400 miles on the van the first few days. Departure gate: Willmar, MN...Destination: Mescalero, NM. I've heard that it has been nearly perfect weather down there and its only getting better! (i.e. 75 degrees moving to 85 and 90 degrees)

So, our whole team is well now...hopefully the warm dry weather will keep us that way, but as we journey, please continue to pray for us. Please pray for our safety as we will journey about 4000 miles in roughly 20 days. Please pray that our team stays healthy and we can all finish strong. Please pray that God sustains us through rest of our time together for the work he has called us.

We hit the dusty trail in the morning, so we'll see ya in three weeks! God's Peace!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is risen!

Happy Easter!!! I hope this finds you well on this blessed occasion.

We're coming up on meeting back up after a much needed break, and look forward to meeting more of you on the road as we gear up to head out again, this time to Arizona and New Mexico, two states I haven't been to yet, very exciting. I know this past week has been full of rest and relaxation, and I'm geared up to meet back up with my team and see what the Lord has in store for this next tour. Keep checking back for updates, and I hope you have a great time with your friends and fam today!

Blessings,
Tiffany

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring Break

Hi there!

Well Team 14:22 is enjoying a week or so off for Easter. I can't really speak for the rest of the team, but I'm certainly having a great break. It's been great to have my parents visit from Australia. We haven't been doing a whole lot - mostly just hanging out and enjoying seeing each other again.

It was a blast to have Mum and Dad see us in Mankato at our final concert for the tour. They'll be heading back home in less than a week now, and the team will be back together again for our final tour! My, how time flies.

I'm sure we'd all love prayer for a refreshing, rejuvinating break. And also that we would feel prepared to face our last tour. Also the office staff have many really important decisions to make regarding the Summer Teams that are approaching, so if you could keep that in prayer too that would be wonderful!

Thanks for checking out our blogspot! God bless,
Carolyn

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Rapp'n it up

Alright well we have just one more concert left to finish up the winter tour. After ten weeks of touring down to florida and back up the east coast we are now in Hudson WI were I can see MN out my window. We are traveling to Mankato tomorrow and we'll be doing our last concert in the evening. Carolyn's parents (all the way from australia) will be there to! Which she is slightly excited about. Or at least I assume that since she reminds us ever other hour or so. So that'll be fun. -Well It's been a great tour, I've really enjoyed it. Got to meet alot of great people, see some cool sights, and minister to many people. Kind of a happy/sad thing that its almost over. I enjoy being on the road and meeting new people all the time, but I'm also excited to go home and spend some time with my family. This tour has really been a growing but enjoyable experience. I praise God that we've made it through another tour, and we're still all in one piece. -Back to MN tomorrow!

signing out,
Josiah

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fun times

We have spent a very relaxing week in Rockford, Illinois. Well actually, the quaint little township of Cherry Valley, Illinois. Anyhow, we were hanging out with Josiah's folks for 5 days and they were so much fun to be with.

Every morning except for Sunday, when we had an early church service, we slept in. That was great - (Mum, shield your eyes for a sec) I think I was getting up around 9/9:30 each morning. Hey, sleep is healthy!

We spent a lot of time relaxing and hanging out at the house. Playing board games, an array of musical instruments (of which I was rather woeful), being soundly beaten at Nertz (card game) by Mrs. Sjostrom, and watching movies. We were treated to some amazing meals, too. Yesterday we had the opportunity to go to Chicago and we had a lot of fun visiting Navy Pier and the Museum of Science and Industry. Oh, I forgot to mention. The boys had an airsoft battle in the woods behind the Sjostrom's house. Wow, they really got into it and came out with some war wounds. We also played some tennis at a nearby court, but we were rudely interrupted by the dramatic arrival of a police officer who proceded to arrest Josiah. He was soon released when the rest of us attacked the police officer with our tennis raquets.....actually no. The officer was (still is, to my knowledge) a family friend and decided to play a trick on us just for fun.

So now we have one week left of our tour before we have around 11 days off for Spring break. And after our lovely refreshing week, I think we'll all have enough energy to finish strong.

Keep those prayers coming - we appreciate you!
Until next time,
Carolyn

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Conversation

Hi from Ohio,

After triangulating and crisscrossing paths around the Chesapeake Bay area and having a ton of fun (and getting completely confused at times and paying a ton of money in tolls) we have for the past few days been traveling in Ohio where it is it has been raining. Adam and I had a chance to get together and answer a few questions about tour and life in general.

Adam: So what did you do today?

Rebekah: We drove about two hours this morning and then set up for a concert at Bowling Green Christian Academy. We played for a chapel in the afternoon and the kids had a ton of fun at the concert. Have you been having a good week?

A: Its been pretty fun, I guess…We haven’t had any big news…I did get the opportunity to spend 6 intimate hours with our dear van “Evan” and our Trailor “Buck”

R: Why, what happened…

A: They kicked me…What about you, have you had a good week?

R: Well I’ve been a little frightened by the drivers, their love of energy drinks and long road trips. But, hey, it’s been raining and since I LOVE rain it’s been good.

A: Well that’s interesting…

R: So what did you sing this week?

A: Umm, I don’t remember…It all blurs together after a while. My favorite is the humpty dumpty song though…oh, wait that was last year…

R: Last year…? What set you back so far?

A: I think it was the Energy drink I had this morning…

R: I didn’t realize they had gotten so far in time travel yet.

A: You’d be amazed what they’ve come up with so far. By the way, who are they?

R: I think “They” are really just “The Man” but that would mean that they are Christian and for some reason I doubt his ability to create something that complex. But he does amaze us in many ways…

A: Uhhhh……OK. Moving on…If you were a pop tart what kind of a pop tart would you be?

R: Oh buddy, I always have a hard time answering these questions cause they seem all innocent but they have these deep underlying meanings as to who I am. And I’m not sure I want to be so tied down by the asking of just one question about food. If I say that I want to be a chocolate frosted (which are my favorite) that might mean that I have a deep need to indulge myself or maybe that I like pink ponies (which I really don’t have an opinion either way). So in answer to your question whichever one makes me most like me. What about you?

A: Frosted strawberry…I don’t know why. Story of my life…looks good but is bad for you to eat.

R: I think we should stay away from these kinds of questions.

A: Yeah, good point…that was a bit awkward...So, name your favorite place you were at this week?

R: Where were we this week? (after discussing for five minutes where we’ve been this week) I think it was in Delaware, we had a concert in the evening on Sunday and the next day we had a day off and Jo, John, Carolyn and I went bike riding. It was so nice to get out into nature instead of being cooped up in Evan all day. What about you?

A: I would have to say that my favorite place that we stayed at without a doubt was, as a matter of fact, the very place that you previously mentioned in your statement, except I slept. It was good.

R: Wow that was a long way to say that your favorite place was a bed….

A: Well it wasn’t the actual bed, but the fact that I slept…it was amazing!!! Isn’t it great to sleep for 30 hours straight? Have you ever done that before?

R: Once when I was really sick. It was over the 2002 Olympics and I fell asleep through the best parts. I was quite sad…but then I fell back asleep, so I guess it wasn’t so bad. You?

A: No…So, the big question…Coke or Pepsi?

R: Whatever! You know it is Coke, all the way baby. It’s so nice. Although the Coke in Taiwan was a little weird so I would have to go with Pepsi there. So since we are watching to Tube right now I have to ask flat screen or old school?

A: Only if its High Def!!! I don’t watch much TV, only movies…So I would go High Def Flat screen…So tonight, our hosts are making us a superb dinner, I can smell some wonderful chicken cooking upstairs…you hungry?

R: Oh yeah, although I did have a great snack of Thin Mints (you know Girl Scout cookies). But that smell is really good…we’ve had some great meals this tour.

Question from Christian: Where is your favorite place to eat on the road?

R: By far Chick-fil-a.

A: Umm…I would definitely say Moe’s Southwestern Grille. The Homewrecker is amazing…ok, so I’m getting really hungry now…let’s go upstairs and eat…

R: What a great idea…"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship".

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Pennsylvania

Hello there!

So, it's been a bit since we updated, so let me see if I can catch y'all up on where we've been and what we've been up to. Maybe later someone will post some pics, from for now you'll just have to settle for reading about it. ;-)

We've spent the last week or two since Virginia doing laps (really, driving loops) from state to state, namely PA, Delaware, and Maryland. It's interesting for me, the Seattlite, to go so quickly from one state to the other like every other day. We can't do that in the Northwest. But, it's been good times. We're getting to see lots of the east coast states, which I have never been to before. Very exciting. Monday, however, was our day off. We spent the day in the other Washington, that's right, D.C.!! Very fun! Most of us had never been there before, and man alive, did we ever go through there fast. We had limited time (considering how much there is to see in D.C.) and we did the whirlwind tour. I took tons of pictures (which is my nature), and am excited to say I have now been to the nations capitol. It was thrilling, and exhausting.

Needless to say, we've been keeping busy but having a good time. We've had fun meeting more and more people. Thanks for all your generosity and hospitality! We've been spoiled by so many of you. Anyway, thanks for everything, to those who we've met along the way.

Blessings,
Tiffany

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Greetings from PA

A big hello from CTI 14:22! We have had a rather....interesting week. Josiah blogged on Wednesday 10 or so days ago, so let me update you on what's been happening for us.

Since then, we've visited the Emergency Room twice and Urgent Care twice for 2 of our team members! Tiffany and Rebekah have been under the weather. Rebekah recovered fairly quickly...well after we changed her medication - the first lot she was given gave her acid reflux :-S And Tiffany took forever to get better! She was in bed as much as was possible during our travels. She was incredibly dizzy and weak and couldn't walk much at all without assistance. But last night we were blessed at New Life Evangelical Lutheran Church. They had numerous nurses and a doctor, who spoke with Tiffany and ended up taking her to the ER again last night. But this time, she was treated much better than the first time she went and actually got a diagnosis. Apparently she had a Potassium imbalance and so they gave her some Potassium to fix that up and she's been up and around walking by herself! It's so great to see her looking so much better. It's incredible the difference in her between last night and this morning. Praise the Lord, He's answered our prayers.

I wanted to mention the detention center we went to this past week. It was so cool to see the kids there responding to our concert. It excites me to see these young kids who have messed up in life and have found hope and new life in Christ. You can see it in their faces and it's inspiring to see how excited they are about Christ. I was really touched and encouraged.

And I also wanted to send a big thank you to everyone at New Life Evangelical Lutheran Church. We had such a wonderful, inspiring time with you guys this weekend. Thank you for your generosity and for taking such good care of us all.

So after a difficult week of cancelled and delayed concerts, struggling with 2 people down and now finally back to normal, I've learned yet again to rely fully on God's strength and allow Him to be all that I need.

Thank you for your prayers! We appreciate y'all heaps. (How's that for a combination of Southern US and Australian?!)

Until next time,
Carolyn

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sunny Florida, Hot-Spot'n in the McDonalds Parking Lot

What a great blog title huh? Well it was plagiarized. Christian was just commenting on how beautiful life is right now, and I stole his sentence. Yes we’re still in Florida but not for long. We are driving to Fernandina beach today, and that’ll be out last Florida stop. The tour has been going well. We’ve been in quite a few different places in Florida now, been swimming in the ocean thrice, and been doing quite a few concerts.
A few of them stand out. We played at probably one of the biggest stateside high schools we’ve done. Apparently it was kind of a last minute thing, but we got there and I think the message we had to share was very effective there. A lot of the time it’s pretty hard to get high-schoolers involved, ya know just because when you’re in high school you’re too cool for anybody else. This particular concert they were very receptive, they even stood up and started singing with some of our songs without us asking them too. And that’s, from our experience, pretty rare in high schools. Afterwards several of the kids came up to me and told me how encouraged they were by it.
Another school we played at really stood out to me too. As we were being prepped by the vice-principal beforehand, she told us the school was just starting to go through a revival of a sort. So she was excited for us to be there and had some pretty high expectations. But as it is in some schools when we started playing they were a little too cool for us, and right towards the end of our concert the lady we had been talking with got up and expressed how grieved she was at their response. She talked for a couple minutes and during that time the Lord laid a pretty clear message on my heart for the kids. Just about living your life to please Him and realizing that we will report to God someday for our actions and not to our friends. I was able to talk to a few younger kids after the concert and was able to speak some encouraging words into there lives.
This Sunday we played for a Presbyterian church and I was assigned to give my testimony by our faithful set list writer Carolyn (who we appreciate very much for always getting the set lists done, and who isn’t thanked for that near us much as she should be, whom we collectively appreciate very much for that) As we we’re playing the song that preluded it, the Lord led me to focus more on a different part of my testimony than I usually do. Led me to share some things that I get a little emotional about, so I got a little teary eyed. I mean of course I didn’t cry, cuz I’m a guy and guys don’t do that but nonetheless I had a problem with the plumbing in my eyes. But I’ve found that transparency and honesty are the best way to communicate effectively. After the service several people came to me with moist eyes thanking me for the encouragement they received from it. It is so awesome to be used by God! Seriously its one of the most fulfilling things and ya know what? You don’t necessarily have to be doing something like what we’re doing. Everyone’s mission field is different. Just ask God to use you where you’re at. If we make ourselves available to God he will use us.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

continuing on in Florida

When all things are said and done, I never could have imagined what the Lord had in store for this year of my life. Not that it's over yet or that I have a full understanding of everything that has and will happen, but tonight, at this point when I'm sick at home instead of out with my team, all I can think is that the Lord definitely had a plan for this year I never could have anticipated. I throw in that I've been sick and I'm at my host home b/c my team decided for me that I needed to be here instead of out with them. You see, I've been sick the past few days, and though I tried this morning to be with them, I ended up in the van sleeping b/c I just wasn't up for it. No complaints from my team, no hardships that I'm still not feeling better. Not that I expect them to treat me poorly b/c I'm sick, but I know it's hard when you're one person down on set up and tear down. Back home I always pushed myself too far, did what I needed to do until I physically couldn't do it anymore, if I didn't do it, then it just wouldn't get done. But here... we're a team, like it or not, good or bad, we're a family out on the road and that encourages me, challenges me even. I have been challenged and loved on and stretched by these six people for the past six months in ways I could never have dreamed of. And I'm blessed.

So, I want to blog this week, I was thinking later in the week to see what else happened, and I like to rant, as I'm sure you've noticed from previous posts, but I was thinking, maybe I'd change the tone this go around. Not so much. I just keep coming up against these joys and challenges and it's hard to truly express on here just how life on the road is, but I can say for sure that I'm thankful the Lord has a plan. I'm blessed to be where the Lord has lead me for this time in my life, and I'm taken aback time and again at how much I have to learn from CTI, from my teammates, and from life on the road. So, here's to all those who have impacted my life thus far in this journey! I think of many of you often and am blessed to have had the opportunity to meet you, whether for a day or a week. Thanks for your prayers, I don't think we can ever say enough just how much we value your support of each one of us an individuals as well as each one of us as a team. Cheers!

Friday, February 09, 2007

So I don't have much to say...

But they really want me to blog, so here goes a random rant about nothing:

We drove across Alligator Alley today. I was hoping to see some actual alligators. But no, for an hour and a half (we're in a van with a trailer, it takes us awhile to get places) we drove and saw trees and marsh and fence, but no alligators. I was looking too (got a crick in my back and all(I'm from KY I'm allowed to say crick)) Not that I want to go pet one (I'm not narcissistic after all), but to see one in the wild that would be too cool. But alas I was let down, I guess I will have to let that wait for another random trip across Florida.

We played at a school (Ft. Lauderdale Christian) this afternoon that was a ton of fun. Plus they are starting a worship band so we got to listen to them for awhile. Off to Titusville for Sunday morning worship.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Yeah Florida

Well we are now in Florida! Yes, and it has been pretty warm so far. The people that live here think its cold, but it seems really warm to us. We’re at a special operations air force base. Our contact is Captain Chaplin Watson. We’ve had a great time so far. He took us to the National Naval Aviation Museum a couple days ago! That was pretty cool. We’re also working with retired Chief Master Sergeant Cope. He works at the Chapel now. Well anyway he gave us like an air force briefing yesterday. We got to try on these aviator helmets, and suits and gas masks and radios. And we got to use some super nice night vision goggles!


This is Chritian wearing a parachute




And Adam wearing a helmet/face mask






That was pretty cool, then he gave us each a rope cutter and a military knife!

They’re pretty sweet too! For lunch we went to a sports bar on the base and played pool. Just from us interacting with each other, and having fun; Three different people came up to Chief Cope and are now interested in his ministry at the base. That was cool cuz I mean we weren’t even like trying to witness or anything but just by our actions God used us.
We went to the beach today. There was a seafood restraunt on the ocean so we ate there and then went outside to the ocean.

It was kinda chilly so we didn’t go in…. Well actually Jon went in and swam for about a minute. Yeah it was pretty chilly.
Tonight we had a concert at the base. They actually sold like a hundred-twenty some tickets for it. It went very well, and now some people that hadn’t come to church before are going to be coming to the Sunday service! So that’s pretty cool.
Well its like one thirty, and I have to get up at six thirty so I'm gunna hit the sack.