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,

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.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Navarre, Florida

I never thought I'd say it, but it is nice to be down here in Florida away from the cold and snow! Ah, how could I say such a thing?! Well yes, I do love the snow and it's still a bit of a novelty for me, but it's cold and wet and gross when it gets dirty. And I never thought I'd say how warm it is at 50 Degrees F. But after negative 5, 50 is pretty warm.

So yes, here we are in Navarre, Florida. It's nice and warm and we're having a fantastic time. Let me give you a run-down of the past few days....

A memorable moment for us as a team was on Wednesday last week when we visited a quilting group at a church in Iowa. They gave each of us a quilt! The quilts do take up a lot of room in the van, but boy are they nice and warm. Thankyou!!

Friday was a special day for me because it was Australia Day :-) We were driving for a lot of the day, but I made sure to wear my Aussie hat and keep Wobbly (my puppet kangaroo) entertaining everyone. And I sang the national anthem for my team (and one of my team mates - who will remain nameless - made me sing the first line during our intros that night at our concert!)

We spent the weekend in St.Louis, Misouri. We visited the Chinese Gospel Church and had a lot of fun doing a concert Saturday night and playing for the service Sunday morning. There were a few CTI alumni there, so it was fun to meetup with them. It was also the 19th birthday of our very own guitarist, Josiah. His family came down from Illinois to visit, and they took us all up the big Arch that afternoon!

Our next stop was Nashville, Tennessee. We did a concert at a homeless shelter, after helping serve lunch to the men. Our contact there was last year's fulltimer, Jeff Goins. Thanks for organizing that venue, Jeff! Rebekah's parents were able to come down and visit and it was really nice to finally meet them.

And as mentioned before, we now find ourselves in Florida. We've hooked up with some more CTI alumni here and we're doing quite a bit with the Chaplain at the Airfoce Base. We had a pretty cool day today, getting to know a little more about things here in the airforce. We had a demonstration of all the life support equipment - helmets, parachutes, breathing apparatuses, fire suits, night vision goggles (they were the coolest things ever!). We have a few concerts lined up over the next few days. We're looking forward to checking out the beach tomorrow! I daresay I won't swim, but I'm sure some of our boys will be game!

Thanks for your prayers! Until next time, Carolyn