Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all.

We'll see you on tour shortly...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

No Failure in Obedience

Last Monday ended Partnership Drive for team 14:22, and I can confidently say that that last night of calling our supporters is the one I will not soon forget. It was really only one conversation that I had which sets the night apart for me. I was talking to this guy who I could tell just wanted to get off the phone and go back to whatever it was he was doing. So I said, "Well, before I let you go, is there anything that we could be praying for you for as a ministry"?

"::Long Pause::...Really?"

"Yeah. We pray together as teams before we start work, and we would love to pray for you".

He thought for a minute and then, through his cracking voice, he said, "If you guys could pray for my wife...she's really sick". I could tell he was trying not to cry and that he was really uncomfortable so I just said that we would definitely be doing that and I closed the conversation. As soon as I hung up the phone though, it was as if I could feel the Holy Spirit pulling at my heart strings, "Gretch...why didn't you pray with him THEN? I gave you the perfect opportunity".

At first I just didn't want to pay attention to that. Yeah sure, I didn't think to pray for him over the phone because I was so taken off guard by the guy trying not to cry. But, alas, the moment had passed and now it was too late. I wasn't going to beat myself up about it because there's nothing I can do.

"You can call him back Gretch".

I'm ashamed to admit that If God were there right in front of me at that moment, this would have been my reaction, "You've got to be kidding me Lord! I am going to look like an idiot and a very annoying person if I call him back right now and interrupt him again! Plus, what am I going to say? 'Hey, I know I just talked to you but....can I pray for you over the phone?' I don't think so!"

And that's when I realized that regardless of what the outcome was, the Lord was clearly laying it on my heart to call back. I needed to decide (quickly) whether or not I was going to obey him or deliberately ignore that conviction?

I called him back...and this is how the conversation went:
"Hi Kevin (I changed his name). This is Gretchen from CTI again. I'm so sorry to call you back like this but...I just felt like maybe you...can I...Can I just pray for your wife right now over the phone?"

"uhhmmm (choking up)..."

"If you are uncomfortable I understand, but I would love to do this for you".

"I don't think so right now. But thank you so much..."

"Alright, well, you have a good night. And Merry Christmas Kevin!"

"You too. Bye" didn't go as great as I would hope. I felt like an idiot when I hung up. But now when I think about it, I'm pretty sure that even though I didn't get to pray for Kevin right then, he was still moved in some way by the fact that I called him back. Besides, maybe this whole scene wasn't about him needing prayer as much as it was about me obeying the voice of the Lord. I pray constantly that the Lord would tune my heart to his, and that He would give me wisdom in His ways, and mold me into a woman of great faith. Did I think all of that would just show up in my character one day? I hope not!

Being tested is hard work, but the great thing is you will never fail when you obey. Even if the outcome isn't as monumental as you expect, the victory is the mere fact that you did what you believe the Lord asked you to do. There's no failure in that.

*Luke 12:48

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Time Is Here

It's that time of year again. The time where Jack Frost loves to come out and touch our outer extremities, and where pine needles clog up our vacuum cleaners.

And it's also the time where we stop and remember our Saviors birth. I'm very guilty of logging that fact into the back of my mind, and recalling it whenever need be, in order to prove that I really do know the true spirit of Christmas. Funny, that reminds me of a well told story. Jesus was born in a stinky manger found in a dirty, stinky stable outside of Bethelehem. Why? Well, there was no room for him in the inn. I can remember thinking when I was a kid that I'd never be as mean as that mean old innkeeper. Who does he think he is, keeping Mary and baby Jesus out in that place when they could have a good room in an inn?

Then the correlation hits me. This last week, at our CTI Christmas party, Chris Reed shared with us a message that had meant a lot to him. And really all I'm doing is translating the message in my own words. The Bible is the Living Word of God, and it can teach us at any time, and this story reminded me this week of the fact that I am very much like the innkeeper. Christ is too often pushed into the corners of my life because I have a great "business" going on in the rest of me that can't be replaced with anything else, or at least I believe the lie that the business is good.

I want to wish you all an incredibly Merry Christmas, as I have told all the various answering machines that I had the pleasure of talking to during our Annual Campaign partnership drive these last two weeks. And I want to encourage you to remember the parts of Christmas. Christ-mas. "Mas" in Spanish means "more". So, therefore, this word means "Christ more" or "more Christ". At least it means that in my head. Let's put Christ where he belongs, in the center. Not in the stables.

So have yourselves Merry Little Christmases, one and all. For He, who was very God of very God, decided to love us enough to put Himself into tiny, frail, human form. Then He loved us enough to teach us how to live as humans, and then, He provided for us the Way that we could LIVE as children of God. Now that sacrifice is cause enough for joy throughout eternity. Let's show that joy now. To our family, friends, and all who we meet in this awesome season.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Not Mine Anyway

Music.  I love music.  This shouldn't be surprising since I am in CTI for a year, but have you ever just gotten blessed or challenged by a song?  Thanks to a friend I was introduced to a new artist JJ Heller.  I have been listening to her songs and I absolutely love the messages.  Well this morning I was listening to her song called "Not Mine Anyway".  As I let the words absorb into my thoughts I was reminded that I can't do a thing without God.  He's given so many blessings and gifts to each of us yet, there is nothing that we have that isn't already His.  The last line "it's not mine anyway" is such a great reminder that although we may "give more away" what we have to give is meant to be given away.  So I ask myself, What AM I giving away?  I pray that what I'm giving is the best thing I have to offer - God's faithful, never-changing love for us.  Just like JJ said "My name is written on your hands".  Now that's a love that must be given away because it's not mine anyway.

"Not Mine Anyway" by JJ Heller
I don't know what to say
No words could ever be enough
I stand up because you hold me here
Because you brought me here tonight

I could not ever try so hard
I could buy a place in your heart
But here I am
My name written on your hands
Because you paid the debt I owe

Without you we all fall down
Without you we all fall

You make life worth living
You make me wanna start giving
More and more away to you
It's not mine anyway

Monday, December 08, 2008

Give Me Your Eyes

If you have had the pleasure of seeing one of our concerts, (when I say pleasure I AM assuming things because I hate to think that seeing one of our concerts would be anything less than pleasurable) then you may have noticed that we often do a song called Give Me Your Eyes. I like that song but sometimes I have to admit, I do not pay attention to the words that we're singing. "All those people going somewhere, why have I never cared? Give me your eyes for just once second, give me your eyes so I can see everything that I've been missing...." But every once in a while I have a moment when lyrics totally click and I see a real life application of what I've been singing the past four months. Today I had one of those moments:

I was sitting in the team room, listening to all the prayer requests that were gathered the night before during our partnership drive/phoneAthon/annual campaign, and I suddenly felt very overwhelmed. See, during our partnership drive, when we are calling past ministry supporters to see if they would like to continue with their financial support, we also take some time and ask if they have anything specific they would like us to pray for. And then, the next day, before we start working again, we come together as a ministry and pray for them. It's a really great ministry that I think blesses people in unexpected ways.

Ok, so I'm listening to all of these prayer requests and they are breaking my heart. There are people all across the country struggling with health, dealing with death, fighting financially, sending kids off to college, praying for parents to be saved...anything you can think of, someone in this country is dealing with it right now at this very moment.
That's when it hit me: the Lord is answering OUR prayer as a ministry...and we need to respond faithfully.

Carrie stands up on stage every concert and before we sing Give Me Your Eyes, she talks about how the song has become a prayer for our team: how we all wantto see the things we usually miss; to see people that we typically do not. I think this is one way the Lord is answering that prayer.

In response to all of this, I just want to pray for all the people we have talked to in the last couple days...right now (I hope that's ok):

Heavenly Father,
Lord I lift up all these people to you. God, we have had short conversations with them, but know them well. You know their deepest thoughts and their greatest needs. Lord I pray that you would pour into their lives in ways that are undeniable. I pray that you would heal the sick, comfort the mourning, give courage to the weak. Jesus, I pray that you would be near in this time of financial hardship throughout this country. You are greater than all of our difficulties God. Thank you.
God I thank you for the opportunity that you have given us, as CTI 14:22, to talk with people; to pray with people. Thank you that you are good. Thank you that you want our trust so that we can see how faithful you are Lord.
God I praise you! I praise you.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Every time we do tour debriefing I'm reminded of so many ways the Lord is ministering TO us as wellas through us. I guess that's a good thing right....since that's the whole point to debriefing.

We just got back from 5 weeks of driving from Willmar to Seattle and everywhere in between. We played in prisons, detention centers, recovery houses, colleges, and churches. And we met HUNDREDS of wonderful people. The north west is full of generosity. We had the joy of staying with amazing people everywhere we went. Praise the Lord!

One lady that Sara and I got to stay with was Lana. She was....ahhh, I can't even explain it, she was just incredible. She kept talking about how impressed she was with us and how their church was so blessed to have us there, but she had no idea how much of a blessing SHE was to US. I had the opportunity to talk with her for a few hours on the last night we stayed with her and she shared with me a lot of her story. She has suffered the loss of a 7 month old son, a broken relationship with her mother, two abusive marriages and the death of the one man who ever really loved her well. She told me how she grew up in a very traditional Catholic church and dealt with resentment toward God for years and years. But...through all her trials the Lord led her to His peace and His safety and His faithfulness.

You should see her light up when she talks about her savior. She starts to tear up every time she mentions His name. It's beautiful, it really is.

Lana has many many stories of how the Lord used her to minister to people at the most unexpected times. One time she was in Wal-Mart, in the check out line behind a mother who had a severely autistic child in her cart. The child was fussing and making a scene, causing everyone around them to look at the mother with disgust and resentment, as if to say, "can't you control your child? You're impossible!" The mother looked back at Lana and apologized profusely, "I'm so sorry...I really am sorry, this is so embarrassing".

This apology was completely unnecessary for Lana, "Honey," she said, "don't you apologize. This is the child God gave you, and he is precious. You do the best you can, and you love him well ok". And then she laid hands on the mother and prayed for her and her son. With tear-filled eyes the mother responded, "NO one has ever done that for me before. Thank you".

It was so humbling to hear that story because in my heart I knew that I currently do not have the courage or faithfulness that Lana has to do even that one simple thing. And I realized that there is so much good that can be done in this life if we are intentional with it. I want the Lord to be able to use me in every situation. I want to be obedient to Him and not worry about what people might say or think.

It's not that I need to necessarily have a plan for every second of my day, I think it's more just being available to God.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Day Thankfulness

So being the time for giving thanks I was thinking about all the things that I'm thankful for over the past few weeks.  It's been a great tour thus far and God is definitely at work and using us everywhere we go.  So here's a list of things we are thankful for as a team this tour.

T: Times of ministry when least expected and in ways unexpected.
H: Host home hospitality
A: All the friendships made in many states
N: Never-ending generosity
K: Killer meals
S: Singing for 1, 100, 1000.  Each an opportunity to praise a God who is worthy.
G: Guys who carry our suitcases: Ed, Carl, Eric, Nate
I: indistinguishable smells (one theory is that it's from the "G" in thanksgiving :) )
V: Views from the van and outside the van
I: Interstates so we can drive fast and arrive on time
N: New experiences that open us up to just how great our God is
G: Grace given 

I pray that we remember not only the things we are thankful for but more importantly the One we are to give thanks to who has blessed us so abundantly. Thanks for all the prayers and support!!

- Carrie 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Philippines Highlight Video

A LONG awaited video with pictures from the Philippines. Enjoy....


Monday, November 10, 2008

From One Eve to the Next

In all honesty, I think the most fun I've had with an audience at a concert was at Pine Lodge Corrections Center. Last week we had the opportunity to play for over 100 women and it was so rewarding. At first I was a little intimidated because I thought they were going to think we were a bunch of dumb kids coming in to play music that they couldn't care less to listen to. But it was nothing like that at all.

These women were incredible! They were so shameless. They sang their hearts out; they laughed with each other; they cried on each other's shoulder; they danced in their seats. These were women who knew exactly what the Lord had done for them and who weren't afraid to express their joy over it.

I saw these ladies and I had no idea what any of them had done, or what choices they had made, to lead them to this place...but I could just feel the pleasure of God resting on them. I think the Lord gave me different eyes that night than I have had before. These women that I was standing in front of were living a life in a correctional facility. They really had no freedom other than to love Jesus. When I looked at them I thought, They are just like me! I am just like them! The Lord delights in all of us equally.

See, the thing is (and this is the thing that I saw while I was there that night) that Christ died on the cross to cover the sins of Eve. In the Garden Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and committed the first sin. EVERY woman/Eve since then has committed sin that is just as devastating to God...But Christ's blood covers over those sins as well. When I (a daughter of Eve) sin, it is just as devastating to God as when one of my sisters at Pine Lodge sin. The beauty of it all is that He is EQUALLY merciful to all of us and sings over us with joy when we lay down our lives at His feet, no matter what it is that we have done; no matter how grave our sin's nothing in light of the cross.

Hallelujah Jesus!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Strength in Weakness

In the couple of weeks that we have been back here in the United States of America, I have had some time to finally think through and process some of the amazing things that happened to me in the Philippines. And as I was thinking about our trip, one "theme" stuck out to me, and I would just like to share the story behind this "theme". 
It might be helpful to add a bit of context to the situation. Our work was concentrated on three different islands throughout the three weeks we spent in the Philippines. The first island was Mindanao, where we spent our time in Cagayan de Oro City. The second island was Cebu, and the city we spent our time in mostly was also called Cebu. The third island is called Leyte, and the city that we were in on that island was called Tacloban. So, this story takes place right in the middle of our trip, in Cebu, Cebu.
We had just had an incredible week working with the staff at the radio station in Cagayan de Oro, and we were really excited to carry on our excitement to a brand new island, with a brand new contact, and brand new audiences. So here we are in Cebu, with energetic attitudes and smiles as wide as the sea that we had spent the better part of two days crossing about a week before, and we are asked to play in both church services held in Lapu-Lapu City Baptist Church. Well, to be fair, we didn't only play. We were also asked to spend time reading the Bible and talking about it, so I guess you could say that we were asked to run the service like a normal church service tends to be, just all us.
To be sure, we were all very excited about this. Just the day before we had run an all day worship seminar, so we felt ready to put all of our words to action and lead worship for our brothers and sisters on the other side of the planet.
Now, I do need to rewind a bit. In Cagayan de Oro, we heard that Lapu-Lapu Baptist wanted us to have a sermon in our concert at some point, so this wasn't a surprise to us when we got there. And, when I heard that a sermon was needed, I felt God prompting me to take the opportunity to share about him, so I asked my team if I could take the job, and they all agreed. We also decided on having Gretchen share her talent of memorization by reciting a bit of Scripture.
Okay, fast forward again to Friday night, our first night in Cebu. I was in the hotel, reading my Bible, and Gretchen comes over to me, asking what I wanted to talk about in my sermon, and I had a couple of ideas, but I asked her what passages of Scripture she had memorized, so that we could tag-team the event and not just read some passage and preach on a different passage. And, after a long discussion (about 30 seconds) we decided on using 2 Corinthians 11 and 12. So, I proceeded to open my Bible to 2 Corinthians to re-familiarize myself with the passage. And something really stuck out to me when I was reading that night. 2 Corinthians 12 has this passage:  "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
That passage speaks some amazing truths, and there in the Baptist Missionary Guest House in Cebu, I knew that God wanted me to share these truths with the Church in Lapu-Lapu on Sunday. So I made an outline, going through the normal process of coming up with an idea, then scrapping that idea and moving on to the next one until I was finally satisfied with what I wanted to share. But then something hit me. Doesn't the passage say that Paul delights in weakness? And here I was almost delighting in the fact that I was preparing a couple of days early and I was going to have all the "right stuff" to say. I knew my attitude was a bit off. So I decided to take the message to heart in an interesting way. I decided that I would take my notes and outline that I had prepared, but I would plan on NOT using them, and simply relying on Christ to be strong in my weakness.
And that is exactly what I did on that Sunday. I simply opened my mouth, and talked about what Christ had showed me in that passage. The first service I talked into a microphone, but the second service was a bit different. I guess God really wanted to make a point about Him being strong in our weakness, because the power went out at the end of the first service, and we played an acoustic worship set and I just yelled out my sermon unamplified for the second service.
But that was simply an act of God. He showed that His strength really is made perfect in our weakness. And He saw fit to show that in an interesting way that Sunday. God was still there, even though our equipment didn't have it's desired power, and we couldn't sound like we wanted to. But does that matter to Him? He wants us to delight in Him, that's where the real worship is, not in our sound.
And what's more, this little exercise in my faith proved to be something more than any of us could have imagined. The passage that Gretchen and I felt we needed to share became our theme for the rest of the trip. Praise God! Without us knowing anything at all, He was preparing us for the next week, when our bodies started getting sick, and struggles began to become a reality. He prepared us by fixing our attitudes on Biblical principles. And with His word in our minds and hearts, we can take anything on.
So, I want to encourage all of you. I decided to obey the promptings that the Spirit placed in my heart, and He blessed me and the whole team to boot. And all I did was realize that He is what my life is about, not me and my ability to speak in front of crowds. I just went up and opened my mouth, like in the book of Acts when Paul and Peter did just that in front of councils and large crowds. And even though I stumbled in my speaking, and I know I broke some of the rules of the "perfect speech", God worked through me, and after both services, several Filipino brothers and sisters expressed to us how they were encouraged by our message and our music, even though the power was out! Truly, it wasn't ever us that impressed them, it was the power of Christ through us. So this turned out to be a theme of sorts for our team for our experience in the Philippines. And Praise God for that.

Monday, November 03, 2008

1422 Departs for Fall Tour

Team 1422 pulls out of the driveway on their way to Montana, starting their fall tour! Be sure to check their booking schedule to see if they are coming to a town near you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Team 1422 arrives home!

Team 1422 arrived home safely! Their gear made it safe and sound as well!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Salamat Philippines

It has been quite the time here in the Philippines. I could tell so many stories and I'm sure there will be time for that but for now I just wanted to share one thing that has been impressed upon me during my time here and I'm sure I will be thinking over for a long while: God is greater than I can even imagine.
Sometimes I find myself trying to make Him into something that I can understand because it seems it would be so much easier to grasp faith and what it means to follow fully after Him if I can understand Him. I know I'm not alone when I say I want to understand God. If I can label God with certain attributes I can better describe Him to others and I will be able to explain why certain things happen. Or if I can understand why He would ask me to share my story with others this year, I wouldn't be so afraid or nervous. But when I try to make Him into a God I can fully understand, I realize how much I leave out. God is so much greater than I make Him. I can't describe or explain Him in human words and I definitely don't understand all the reasons why He has called me to share my story this year. But one thing I do know, I don't want a God that I can mold and make into something I understand because it's in the mystery and greatness of God that I find my peace.

Sorry for those that were looking to read about a story of our time but hopefully this will cultivate some new thoughts as you search the greatness of our God.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So Close

So we are almost to the end of our time here in the Philippines. It is going to be weird to head home to the different weather, traffic, and food, all things we have come to feel (almost) at home with here. In the next few days we have a few shows, including one at the new amphitheater by Leyte Landing (where a certain American general returned to the Philippines). Please lift our team up in your prayers, our bodies are starting to wear down and sickness looms, we have a bunch of weird travel plans lined up to get back to the states, and (for me personally) a lot of gear to move back and forth. Prayer for all of that, especially our health and travel arrangements, would be amazing. We are looking forward to seeing family and friends again, but sad to be nearing the end of our time here (and the new friends we have made everywhere we go!).
Grace and peace to you all,

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fun, Fun, Fun

Ok so...I really wish I had some pictures to post for you (and I actually do I just can't post them at this particular time) but I have several fun stuff to share.
First of all, I want to say that we had an amazing time in Cagayan and miss the DeCleenes a great deal. If we didn't mention it before: We got to go white water rafting...IN THE PHILIPPINES mind you! And that was an incredible journey that we will probably refer to more and more this year.
Even though we are missing Cagayan, we are really enjoying Cebu and everyone we have met here so far. We just got back last night from a fantastic adventure to the island of Tingo. 3 things we want to remember about this island: 1) we traveled there by boat...WITH all 900lbs of our gear! 2) We ate copious amounts of shell creatures. 3) We played a concert under the palm trees with a pretty sweet opening act, followed by lots of fun games in the rain with the locals.
All in one would disagree that our time here in the Philippines so far has been wonderful. We have met incredible people, shared the gospel with non-believers, encouraged fellow believers, and have seen the Lord move in very real ways.

I would love to go into more detail but I must leave...we are headed out for a high school concert.

Until next time...please continue praying for us ;-)

Team Taiwan (14:21). If you haven't done so already, check out their blog. And continue praying for their health and safety throughout their tour.

Our health and attitudes.

The New J radio station in Cagayan: that they would continue to move people toward Christ through their ministry.

Mary and the rest of our contacts here in Cebu: that we would be able to serve them in the best way possible and that the Lord would be with them as they continue to minister to the schools and churches of this city.

We love you, we miss you all.
Beside you in the Faith,

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sara and I just realized that we have some photos on this computer so that you can see a bit of what we've done. I'm sure there will be more to come whether next week or when we return to the States, but hopefully these few will give you a glimpse into our lives here :)

An End and a Beginning

Maayong Happon! (Good Afternoon in Cebuano)
Today I write you from the home of our Cagayan de Oro hosts, the DeCleenes, while Ed and a rotating shift of the rest of us pack up our gear for our flight tomorrow. We have officially been in the Philippines for a week, focusing our ministry so far in CDO. However, tomorrow we must leave this beautiful city and fly to the island of Cebu for 5 days of ministry there. We are sad that we can't spend more time with all our wonderful friends at the New J (CDO's Christian radio station), but we are so excited for what God has planned for us in Cebu!

To give a quick wrap-up of what we have done so far:
- 4 school concerts
- 2 worship seminars
- 4 market concerts
- 1 Sunday morning worship service
- 1 outreach concert
- learned Hillsong's 'One Way'- it is a HUGE hit out here!
- given many hugs, autographs and photo opps
- saw the sun rise while swimming in the ocean
- witnessed native tribal dances
- Sara battled a crazy monkey- and won
- went whitewater rafting

Last night while talking, we estimated that we have reached over 10,000 people in just a week! We pray that those who listened continue to work with the radio station who, in addition to offering a positive alternative in music, offers Bible studies and can connect people with local churches for the long-term ministry that we aren't able to do.

Thank you to everyone who has kept us, our partners, and those who hear Christ's message in your prayers. None of this would be possible without your support. Here are a few specific requests we have this week:
- for 14:21 and their continued ministry in Taiwan
-for health. We are only a few degrees from the equator which means a lot of sun. So far, we are all keeping really hydrated and sunscreened (is that even a word?), but continued prayer for this is soooooo good.
-for our flight tomorrow. It's a short jump between islands, but our gear needs all the tlc it can get from the luggage handlers.
-for our drivers from this past week who, although not Christians, volunteered their time and vehicle to drive our gear around and in turn, were saturated with worship and the Gospel. We pray that their interest in Christ continue to grow and develop.
- for our partner, The New J, and everyone who is a part of it. They are doing amazing work in CDO and we pray that they are able to continue blessing the lives of the Christians who live here and can reach out to those who do not know Christ through the medium of music.
-for the people of Cebu who we will come into contact with- that their hearts and ears be open to the message we bring and the love God is pouring on them.
- for our hearts and ears that we may remain mindful of why we are here and what God has asked and is asking us to do.

So that's it for now (at least from me). I hope we can put more photos up soon, but if I could sum up what all of our photos are, I would use the word BEAUTIFUL. God's amazing artistry is extremely evident at every turn here. From the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep, we are reminded by nature and the people that God is all-powerful and infused into everything we are and do. Could we ask for a better reminder on this trip?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Hello from the Philippines

Well...we made it! We have been warmly welcomed into the wonderful city of Cagayan De Oro (aka. the City of Golden Friendship). SO...while the rest of the team is playing Apples to Apples behind me...I've decided to let you in on our adventures to the Philippines.

Yesterday (which was Friday for us) was our first full day of ministry. We had the privilege of playing at a high school for about 2000 students and then got to hang out with the De Cleene's at the radio station with the rest of the New J staff.

We ended our day playing at the Night Cafe, for hundreds of vendors and passerbys.

We're switching it up today and doing some worship seminars for a couple local churches....we're so excited to see the things the Lord is doing through the talents of our brothers and sisters here in Cagayan De Oro.

On a completely random side note: Plus 200 Mango Drink is AMAZING!

Until next time...
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Update from the team!

We received a phone call from Nate this morning (evening for them.)

Things are going very well for the team- they're really enjoying their hosts and accommodations, and they've had some great ministry opportunities already. They participated in 3 events today: a concert at a large high school (between 2,000 and 3,000 kids) followed by a smaller Christian school and an appearance at a "night cafe." They're working through some difficulties with their equipment and we're hopeful that these will be resolved soon.

Tomorrow they will begin working with worship teams at two churches, sharing some thoughts and ideas about worship ministry with them, and then leading those congregations in worship on Sunday.

The team hopes to post an update in their own words soon, so check back for that in a few days.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

1422 reports safe arrival in the Philippines

Nate called this morning to pass along word of the team's safe arrival in Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines. They have met the DeCleene family and are getting settled in. Check their blog in the comming weeks for updates on their ministry there!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Team 1422 departs!

The members of Team 1422 have checked in safely and are on their way to the Philippines! Check back soon for updates on their trip!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Countdown to tropical paradise....

Early Tuesday morning (tomorrow) we will be leaving for the Philippines! Please keep our travel plans in your prayers as we are looking at 40+ hours of travel. We have to make a bunch of connections, clear customs, have all our equipment meet us, and figure out what day/time it is when we get there in less than a day before our engagements start. Sooooo, that'll be a blast! (in all seriousness we are looking forward to all of this). We've heard stories about the food (it's very important in Philippine culture), weather (hello current typhoon), and snorkeling (amazing), and are now ready to get there and try it for ourselves. Hopefully this blog will be updated once a week, but if you do not hear from us for a few weeks, fear not (keep praying, but fear not) we shall return. We're back in the US around the 23rd of October (I'm a little fuzzy on the date as time zones change quite a bit). Our time in country will be spent on three islands working with a radio station, some established worship teams (kind of a cross cultural worship exchange), and hopefully some outreach concerts. 

To sum up:
Leaving for the Philippines first thing in the morning.
Back later in October
Pray for travel, people we meet, EQUIPMENT, etc.

We'll be having fun!
Peace and grace to you all,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hey all! Just wanted to send out a quick shout to all the fine folks who put us up and put up with us on this tour, you all have been great! We have amassed memories which will be spoken of in reverent (and not so reverent) tones for years to come. A bat, throwing knives and home theaters come immediatly to mind.
We also would like to thank all who have been praying for us and supporting us in many ways for this last month of training. It has been grueling at times, but ultimately rewarding. God is so big, and His people are so varied, and we all feel like a part of something so much bigger than ourselves, and that is amazing.
Please continue to pray for us as we prepare for our next adventure: the Phillipines! Pray for flexability and humility for us as we learn about this new culture, and for sensitivity to the spirit to discern how best to reach our fellow humans.
May you all be blessed by that which shall never lose its palor- the Life of Christ.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Vision of 1422

So we have discussed as a team where we want to be focused this next year. No one decisive concrete answer came from that discussion. However, a basic idea seems to be agreed upon. As a team we want to see people (and thus be able to treat them) as Jesus does(would). The song is "give me Your eyes" and it's included in many concerts for that reason; we want to see people through His eyes. You'll notice a lot of pictures unconnected with our recent travels, I pulled pictures and videos from our pasts (see if you can identify people/places/yourself in any) to show the people and places we have been (and potential opportunities lost/gained). I put more thought than usual into this video, it started as a joke music video idea that snowballed into something serious. Enjoy.

Almost Home

This morning 1422 is in Cushing, MN (pop 65 according to the sign) to play at Lincoln E-Free church. Carl will be preaching and we will be performing for the last time before we arrive in the Philippines. We are all looking forward to being back at "home" and have many stories from the road. 
Some interesting notes from the last few days:
*I might have jury duty soon (weeee)
*Most host homes have pets of some kind (usually at least a cat and then a second). We love animals.
*I didn't eat this well down at school. 
Peace and grace,
It's service time,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008


Team leaders... CHEAP!!

Sheboygen Christian HS

Aaron Edwards, CTI summer alum (Singapore '08) shared with his fellow students about his experience.

Oostberg Christian School

First chapel service on this "double header" Friday. This was our time with the awesome middle schoolers! We're headed to the high school this afternoon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Giddy Gretchen rocks a sheep...

CTI 1422 Episode 2

And we are finally on the road!!! Enjoy this video explaining why it is so good to get away from Willmar (although we will certainly be very happy to get back!).

Peace and grace to you all,

The tough boys loading out...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Celebrating with the awesome family at Ascension Lutheran in Fond du Lac!

Hellllooo Wisconsin

The band has now moved into the great state of Wisconsin (after a nice long 10 hour drive). Tonight we will play at Ascension Lutheran in Fond Du Lac. The new sanctuary wing is quite nice and we look forward to playing this concert. A brief view of our driving:
1) Person driving (Eric and Sara yesterday) staring blankly at the road ahead.

2) Everyone else falling asleep or vegging out watching the office/ipod..
3) Occasionally viewing the beautiful creation God has provided us.
Another video will be released shortly...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Van life...

Yesterday we spent the day at Oak Hills college, and we want to sincerely thank the students and faculty there for being such gracious hosts.

Today we are driving to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin - about 9 hours. Night night, Nate and Carl!

Breakfast with the Caracios!

Thanks, Tom & Dawn, for a great breakfast before we headed to Bemidji!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Team Time!

Previously in the life of team 14:22...we had just met, learned some music together, and had our first concert (that was in a nut-shell of course).
Since then we have been having a lot of fun together. One of my personal favorite team times was our adventure at Carrie's host home...
We found a new friend...
cooked (and consumed) some delicious food...

watched the first season of The Office, and had a bed-time story by Carrie ;-)

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

End of training for the day

1422 finishes another day of musical rehearsal. They are pictured here with their beloved van.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

Almost On Tour

We have now in our third week of training. During this time we learned 15 songs (which we are still working on), ate numerous meals together, and generally enjoyed ourselves here in Willmar, MN. Our days "officially" started around 8:30 am with morning devotionals, and then between rehearsals, seminars, food, and having fun, we regularly got "home" by 9 pm. Weekends we had off to relax and have (much needed) fun. This Saturday we hit the road for our first tour. To follow our progress on the road, we will be updating this blog a few times a week, and your comments are appreciated. And another introduction to the team is our first video of the year (many more to come)...

Meet the Team

The band (as seen from left to right):
Eric Mok: Acoustic Guitar and Vocals
Sara Hoagland: Bass and Vocals
Nate Myrick: Acoustic & Electric Guitar and Vocals
Carl Dernell: Drums and Vocals
Gretchen Ehret: Keyboard and Vocals
Ed Baumann: Sound Tech and Frisbee Player
Carrie VanderHorst: Keyboard and Vocals

We look forward to keeping you in touch with our travels and ministry. 
Peace and grace to you all,

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Welcome the new crew!

Another fulltime year has started!

Meet CTI 14:22 08-09:
Nathan Myrick
Carl Dernell
Carrie VanderHorst
Edward Baumann
Eric Mok
Gretchen Ehret
and Sara Hoagland
We'll get pictures up in a few weeks, and they'll be posting soon!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Episode 10


Friday, May 09, 2008

"You'll shoot you're eye out, kid..."

There seem to be verses in the Bible that just jump out and hit you in the face with conviction every time you read them. For me, Matthew 9:37 ("Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.") is one of those verses, and I am sure that it is one of those verses for some of you as well.

Whenever I read that, I almost immediately drop to my knees begging God for a "field" to harvest. With my hands folded, knees bent, and face down right beside the shovel I have laid out for when God sends me to dig wells in Africa, I pray to be a part of God's work around the world.

I found myself praying that prayer again around this time last year. I was about to go out on a summer team to Honduras with CTI music ministries ( Two of my friends from church were going with me, and in less than a week we would be making the 2,000 mile drive from California to Willmar, Minnesota for training and all of that jazz.

Now there's something you should know: Jason, Jon, (the two friends mentioned above) and I have a very bad habit -- or hobby. We love playing with airsoft guns. For those of you who don't know what those are, they are bb guns that shoot plastic bb's. Now, being the adventurous guys that we are, we love the feeling of shooting down cans and various things that we can stack up in Jason's backyard. But when the cans and fruit have had their share, we turn to shooting at each other.

One week before we were going to drive out to Minnesota, we found ourselves in Jason's backyard shooting at each other. Jason was on the left side of his house, Jon on the right. As soon as someone yelled, "Go!" I shot until I hit Jon in the arm. In this blur of confusion, Jason ran out into the middle of the backyard hiding behind a trashcan. I turned to fire at him and shot three or four times. Within those three or four pulls of the trigger, Jason fell to the ground. I immediately got up and danced, the kind of victory dance you do in that sick game, but when I noticed Jason not getting up, I grew exceedingly concerned and ran over to him.

"Jason, you ok?"



We brought him inside and gave him an ice pack, but his eye just kept getting worse until he couldn't see out of it. After about 45 minutes or so of waiting to see if it would wear off, we decided to take him to the ER. The next few hours were spent in waiting rooms, exam rooms, and being yelled at by a very angry doctor that we would get so seriously hurt playing such a stupid game.

Quick side note: the only cool part about that time in the ER was when they ran this test to see into his eye. They dropped some sort of weird solution into his eye and turned on a black light to see it light up. The chemical glowed with a creepy yellow as the doctor looked into his retina. It started to leak out of his eye and seriously looked like one of those old Gatorade commercials! Awesome.

Anyways, back to the story. Before, during, and after the ER the three of us were in constant prayer over the situation. I was praying for God's healing and asking for a miracle in as many different ways as I could, but when Jason would pray, he had a strange calm contentment and prayed that God's will would reign over any of our desires. I didn't understand this at all, but I figured he was still feeling the effects from his recent trauma and wasn't quite thinking straight.

Jason ended up making an amazing recovery and was able to come with us on the trip. It was incredible to see God moving in such a visible way. (You could even see it with one good eye, ha!)

One day after his recovery, after our drive, after our summer, I asked Jason about that strange calmness and contentment that he exuded during what I would have deemed as a nice time to panic. I asked how it was that with just one working eye and a summer on the line that he wasn't praying for a miraculous healing with us. He turned and answered me with something that I had spoken to our church about that very morning.

After talking through it for a while, I came to realize it was all in that verse from Matthew, the harvest was plentiful. Jason knew that the harvest wasn't limited to Singapore. It was wherever God has placed him.

When I bow down and beg for a field and the tools, (I am not in any way saying that we should neglect to pray for guidance and the ability to do the work we are called to) I was missing the field that I was always in all along.

Another one of those convicting verses is known as The Great Commission:

"19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

In the original Greek, the first two words of that verse (Therefore go) are what is known as a present progressive verb which literally translates to "As you are going"

As you are going, make disciples. As you are going, baptize.
As you are going, teach.
As you are going, the Lord will be with you always.

As we are going, we are surrounded by a missions field that is ready for the harvest. Whether at work, school, with family, or even in our own churches, we are in the missions field. As we approach this summer, many of us will be going out to serve in some way on a missions trip. But for those of you who aren't, or for those of you who might not be because your genius friend shot you in the eye, do not be discouraged. You are constantly in a field where the harvest in plentiful, and often the ones close to home are right where the workers are fewest.

Every morning, as the sun rises, it seems that God is welcoming us to a field that he has planned for us to harvest long before we were born. A field that we have been in for so long but might not even have realized it.

Welcome to the missions field.


Monday, May 05, 2008

The missions here and now.

As we end our final tour to reflect on the magnitude of what was experienced is daunting. The mission is everywhere. May it be at work, home, schools, prisons, etc. The call to be a christian is 24-7. With CTI, it has it's perks. Eat every single fast food chain in the US but also see the beauty of each state, and God's creation and unique characteristics to this nation, may it be the corn fields, deserts, mountains, beaches etc. The reason why we ask for prayer is because a ministry cannot survive without support of the body of Christ. It's bigger than a denomination or just a church, it's observing things that happen off stage for us. For it's definitely so much more than an hour concert of songs, testimonies and dramas. It's what happens after the music stops that ministry still continues, the mission never ends. Our lives are a constant testimony, as action speaks louder than words, a story and a fragrance, scent, hopefully smelling delicious like Christ to a dying world. What I am really thankful for is all the homes that have been feeding and housing us but more importantly sharing their lives and history. As brothers in sisters in Christ which is the foundation and what binds us all together in unity, it's past and beyond any human ties, loyalty, and not discriminatory to age, race, gender, etc. More importantly it's this interdependence that is crucial. Gas, hotels, food costs money but we have only been able to continue as the body works together. My concept was so small as to what a church was. I thought it was the denomination, Sunday's, the task of doing stuff for God and fulfilling the rules. I"m learning that it is in sacrifice, suffering, giving it all and pointing back to the cross as to the why we do all this. Why a year, money resources are given up. Because as it all comes back to the heart of God, it is the simple command of fulfilling the Great commission. To go out, make disciples of all nations and preach the gospel to the ends of the earth. Of course in America we might go to church, and have massive exposure to the gospel and bibles, but has it become entertainment, to just have an easy life and wait until Jesus comes? There are many that talk of blessings, health and wealth which are not evils inherently within themselves, but what I miss is the reality of God's word. There is sin, judgment, separation from God. The harvest is plentiful because the workers are few. Now is the time to realize I may not go to Africa, the slums or even have that heart for missions, but sometimes the difficulty and ministry can be within the family, friends, neighbors and those closest and dearest to us. We all need Jesus despite what country, problem, struggle, background, denomination, christian school we go to etc, that is the mission, that is what should be our common heart cry, to of course awaken and encourage the church but realize what the mission is all about. It's not just the building project, the social reforms, of even politics, in the end it's all about Jesus (period).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Episode 8!


p.s. Rick Call is our hero. Thank you SO much for everything.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

We are the body. We are the church.
When I decided to come to CTI it was no easy choice. During that time in my life I considered myself a good person. I was working, graduated from college, supporting my family, involved in church and praise team. Nevertheless, there is a sleep that descends as the waters in life becomes stagnant when there is no change, no higher purpose to live for if not the dream to just earn money have a family retire and wait for Jesus (which of course is not a bad thing in itself but...) There can also be a tendency where a busy life, to fast, pray, spiritual disciplines can become more important than the purpose that it serves.
For me to join CTI, it wasn't just about the music, or that it was a new place and ministry, but it was a test of faith. It was a burning bush moment, where I had always said like Peter "Lord I won't deny you," or was holding onto my agenda, my experience my will (me, me, me) and true motives were revealed where I saw my real nature and stubbornness. If I had to join CTI it would be a sacrifice that costs me, a faith that really required no sight. I had to stop school, leave church, home, work, all these things and also as a non-profit organization, to pay money (for me was precious money that I earned with tears, blood and sweat although I later learned that all my money is the Lord's). It wasn't a formula to follow or blessings to gain. It was to lose my life in order to find it.
This was not a question of my salvation in the Lord Jesus it was something else. So I took a one way plane ticket and left NYC, (where I had been born and lived all my life) to Minnesota of all places. Besides the fact that people are super nice, don't honk horns, with cleaner air and wide open spaces, it was when I trained and went out on tour that the journey began. As a team we are with each other everyday, sharing meals, prayer etc, it was like the book of Acts.
We went to Hong kong, where we learned chinese songs, a christian funky rap song from the 90's, preached the gospel in schools (although China is communist, it gives Hong Kong sovereignty in some areas, esp. public schools to allow us to preach Jesus but we need to give them something else, like music or english lessons) streets, malls, senior citizens wherever we were needed, 78 concerts in 28 days, in 100 degree weather lugging equipment (sometimes there were no stairs, although it was an excellent work out and great way to lose weight, goodbye Jenny Craig).
God was good, people accepted the altar call, and God sent a cool breeze halfway through, provided us with an apartment near the harbor (the apartment was going to expire right when we left coincidence I think not) and also amazing was how delicious chocolate and ice cream are and that God created something like this.
Thus we bonded, because as a team all we had was each other, in a foreign country. When one was cranky, tired, attitude affected everybody in a close knit team. But we survived. After that we had other tours throughout the United States and now have entered our final tour.
We've experienced different styles of worships, small, big, traditional, modern churches, various denominations, prisons, schools, youth events. etc. I've come to the realization that truly America is in need of missions. I always thought missions was going to another country that was poor and helping (which is not a bad thing of course) but the missions more importantly was here and now. Church for me became something more than just Sunday, or a ritual. It is about relationships and most of all love for God and each other.
I look at my team and we're not perfect. We have moments of frustration, miscommunication and discouragement. It's times like that I begin to point the finger, blame others, get bitter and have a pity party for myself. Then the finger eventually points to myself. It's then I begin to see the flaws and mistakes I saw in others were things that I despised in myself. One person's weakness is another's strength so they say. We learn and grow when other's sharpen us, challenge us and the choice is hard to love, forgive, accept. I've begun to see that at times it's scary to speak the truth, be real, honest and vulnerable. But it's only in those moments when we come together and confess our limitations and sins that God moves mightily because we really need God so much because we're not capable to have an agape selfless love.
We all long for that perfect church even when people say realistically there is no such thing and if there was don't go to it you will mess it up or something like that. But we are all broken and fallen people that only are saved by God's grace working in us daily. To be a Christian is a life that is truly the narrow road, to obey instead of sacrificing our game like monopoly money, to awaken to the realization that there is so much more to this life than wasting it by inaction and laziness. There are so many hurting people in this nation, in the schools, churches that need perhaps not so much information or knowledge but tough love that is not afraid to proclaim God's truth and his word and ready to battle the enemy not so much outside or even a political matter but the demons and darkness that lies within every selfish human mortal heart.
What astounds me constantly is that unless this fallow ground is broken there can be no revival no change. Is there a hunger for God, a repentance and desperate humility? It ironically always reminded how in prisons there were so many prisoners that had nothing left, were totally broken and would just cry at these songs that we've simply sung hundreds of times, open to the message, God and the music because they've known what it is to lose everything, be separated from family, and to gather as christians is something that is precious and limited to once a week (and they are known to be christians and not ashamed which is quite evident there).
Then there's the other extreme. Where many of us are comfortable, have food, clothes, homes, and so many things and stuff, yet there's a subtle indifference a slow poison that works it's way in our system, perhaps the enemy realized that direct persecution is futile but a temptation and life of compromise would prove far more effective. Is there a fear that one day we all stand before God's judgement seat and will give an account of every word and deed, and what if Christ doesn't know us and we are strangers to him and we say "Lord, Lord did we not do these things in your name..."?
It's moment's like that I wonder how long will we waver between two opinions and be silent?
To be lukewarm, apathetic, and even create the choice that shouldn't be to not praise God, is something I wonder how it can actually be a possibility or even acceptable? How can such a thing exist? How come it's come to the point you wonder who are really christians and where is the love and grace and fellowship that is so difficult to obtain?
I think of brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world martyred, suffering, losing property and health, yet still joyful, praying for their enemies, and praising God, and really having love for God and others. Can I say in such moments we are the body, we are the church?

We are the body, we are the church.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

and also...

We'll be on "vacation" for the next week and a half so I wouldn't be sitting by your computer biting your nails, waiting for another blog entry from us.

All in due time my dear people.

But until then, take care.


End of Winter tour.

Wow! I can hardly believe that we have finished our longest tour!

10 weeks ago we were traveling to Nebraska, trying to remember how our songs were meant to be played, and getting used to being nomadic again.

Oh how much stuff we have learned, from each other, from our contacts on the road, from our audiences, from God.

I want to recap some fun moments or interesting times. To do so I thought to myself, "what could be better than asking your team what their favorite moments were?"

So I am going to do so.

Starting with.... the first person who answers this question...

1. What is your favorite place to eat on the road?
Brooke answers, " chipotle, or panera." Matt "panera". Brooke, "overall favorite of the group panera."

2. What was your favorite city, town, state that we visited?
Joe Lee: "California, all the people jogging, oh and Inn and Out!"

3. Best gas station to stop at when you need a snack?
Basically they all were talking about random places that nobody remembers... So I am going to say just for fun. Kum and Go.

This has gotten old as our team is incredibly indecisive!

We have been able to see so many beautiful places and people throughout this tour!

One of my favorite moments was getting to go horse back riding on a ranch with the team a week or so ago.
I love horses and haven't been able to go riding in years. It was an amazing blessing to be able to just relax and enjoy what I have missed doing.

Well we are on our way home. Or wherever we're going to spend our "spring break".

I think we are all looking forward to it in one way or another.

Thank you all for following our blogs and for all of your amazing support this tour!

I can't wait for spring tour! East coast here we come...

Blessings to your Easter celebrations!


Friday, March 07, 2008

the whole wide world

At a recent venue I was talking to a young lady about prayer. About whether or not she wanted Jesus to be in her life. She said that she wanted it as tears streamed down her face. "but" she said, "it just seems so hard". My only response was to say that Jesus promised that His burden was light, His yoke was easy.

This is a song I wrote a while ago. It's difficult to know there was so much more to say to this dear girl, but time and circumstances wouldn't allow it. If only I could just let her know;

You with the teardrop painted on your face
you with the knife cutting holes in me
You with the picture of a life bygone
come to me, come to me, I'll give you rest

You with the noose hanging round your neck
you who offer nothing to anyone
you who missed your last chance
take this chance on me
come to me, come to me, I'll give you rest

You with your face hidden in your hands
you with your shame imbedded in your skin
you born to no one
through me be born again
come to me, come to me I'll give you rest

Remember our God:
He would go the whole wide world, go the whole wide world just to find you
go the whole wide world, go the whole wide world to find out where they hid you

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

We've been having some amazing services recently. A few nights ago we were in a women's facility we were privileged to share two concerts with two different groups. Getting all of us in their was a bit of a hassle as one of my teammates had lost his ID to get into the facility and after searching the entire van and trailer we had given up and were trying to plan a concert without his instrument (I'll be nice and not say names...). Then about 1 minute before we were supposed to enter the facility someone told him to check his wallet again and presto there it was. God's cool that way. Once we did load everything in and set it all up we prepared for the first concert. It was smaller and therefore more intimate, but amazing nonetheless. The second was really loud, no holds back, "lets praise God with all we have". So there was dancing, one woman was off beat and off pitch but that didn't stop her from giving Him her all. It's just so freeing to be in a place that by any other ideas is the most controlled and depressing place on earth, but I guess last night just goes to show that what we have physically doesn't matter as long as we say Hallelujah no matter what.

Without Wax,

There are few things better...

than scrolling through your ipod passing the A's, B's, C's...stopping half way through the D's to click on your favorite band finding just the right album because you have 38 different ones of them, and picking the perfect song to match the moment.

This is where I found myself as we turned onto the 405 in Seattle, Washington.

If you know what song I am referring to, then leave a comment and I'll mail you a postcard from the road.

We are about to start heading east again, back to Minnesota. 7 weeks down through our long 10 week tour. It's been absolutely incredible so far and I am almost sad to be in the "home stretch".

But Seattle. I loved Seattle. It was so cool and like everyone describes it. Sleepy and quiet, yet big enough to be explored. So much character.

Us at the Waterfront (minus the wonderful Brooke)

I also liked the Er. I got food poisoning which resulted in a day of throwing up which resulted in dehydration which resulted in me being to weak and hurting to even exist which resulted in the team bringing me to the Er to get some Iv. Thank you guys so much for taking care of me.


p.s. This is my hero