Have you ever met someone and instantly been amazed? For me one of these individuals is a woman whom we stayed with in Houston, Brenda. From the first hello, her love and joy spilled over. There was no doubt she was serving God with all her life. One night as we sat and worshiped together with her family she shared her story of the Lydia Home. Her home is open to any and everyone who needs a place to stay. A few years back God spoke to her and told her to build a home. She was in a small apartment but knew she needed to obey God. So, she sought out land and heard clearly from God exactly where to build and then built the home where we stayed for 3 days. God told her that she would not need to do a thing but build the home because He was going to bring in the people for her to bless. As she told us this story I was amazed at the amount of faith, but more than that obedience in her life. Building a home at her stage in life with no way to really pay for it and no way to know who would be coming in her home made absolutely no sense. Still, God spoke so she obeyed. She then shared that it’s not that she’s just such a nice person but it’s because she knows that God wants to use her in this way. She said it doesn’t matter whether or not we feel like doing something or that it makes sense, but instead when we just obey God’s call we are always blessed. There have been so many different people who have come to stay at the Lydia Home and each of them are touched by Brenda - her generosity and genuine love for others and God - and in turn Brenda is blessed by those who share life with her even if only for a short time. As we parted ways in the driveway that Saturday morning, we were sad to leave and she was sad to see us go but in true Brenda form, “Remember if you are ever in Houston, come on in. You have a bed and home here.” I think that it would be the same for anyone needing a home in Houston area for short-term. If you ever are there and in need, call up Brenda because you will have the opportunity to be amazed and blessed by a woman who is simply listening to God and obeying Him no matter how strange the call may seem.
A fun day off at our host home yielded this video. The pictures were taken by Gretchen on her camera. The person you don't recognize would be Meghan, my girlfriend, who flew out for the weekend to visit. As far as we know nothing serious happened during the making of this video.
Meghan has a patrially-torn MCL and potential meniscus damage, MRI to follow....
Most of what I see and want to express, I do through our videos. In case you don't know me too well, yes, I joke that much in person as well. But the past two days have posed some new venues for us that have been... eye opening (not the right phrase, as you will see later) for me/us. You might remember that we spent a great week in Seattle with the Union Gospel Mission there. Here in downtown Dallas we were again reunited with the UGM. Last night we played for their chapel service. We've been in non-standard concert venues before (detox houses/missions/boys & girls ranches/etc) so I was expecting more of the same. And outwardly it looked like more of the same that we have done before. But it felt different. We've had some bad weather here the past few days (read, highs in the 40's, overcast, and raining) so the guys coming off the streets to the mission were not in the best shape. At one point I looked down and noticed wet footprints. One of the guys didn't even have a pair of shoes. By the time we played there was over 220 people in the room with us from all different backgrounds (I even met one from just outside of DC in VA). Something struck a chord in me during the show. Coincidentally I was also the one who was supposed to talk. I'm still not entirely sure what I said from stage. I know it wasn't anything close to what I was planning. And that my usual nervous ticks weren't present. Where am I headed with this post? I'm not entirely sure. I'm not really known for my writing abilities. Let's leave it at, God is definitely using the different places we play to show us His view of all aspects of humanity, to mold us unto His will, and transform us into something different....
Today we played at The Bridge (a shelter type place) where we saw a lot of the same people. It was astonishing... Sadly there is no documentation of either concert.... oh well...
One of my absolute favorite things to do in this life is give gifts. So, today was a very good day for me becaaaaasue....it was ED'S BIRTHDAY! Sara, Carrie and I came together with this fantastic plan to give something spectacular to him for his big day (he's 23 now in case you were wondering). He's always joking around that he wants to beat me up, and that the only reason he will ever protect me against evil is because he hates the idea of anyone being mean to me aside from himself. We have a very stereotypical brother-sister relationship :-)
Therefore, I figured the best gift I could give to Ed was to let him actually beat me up. Soooo...we got him a pinata that very much resembled me. It was fantastic! The bonus was (as if having a Pinata for your birthday wasn't enough) this whole shindig took place at a car wash in El Paso Texas. We found a park on the GPS, but when we arrived at our destination there was no park to be found, just a Self-service Car wash in the middle of nowhere. As luck would have it, it was the perfect opportunity to distract Ed while we rigged up the Gretch-Pinata.
So, I know this is my second time around with this full-time thing, but I still had a thing or two to learn about living in constant community. That, and I feel we should be honest about who we are. Sure, we can be serious and we love writing the 'thinking man's' entries, but we aren't serious all the time. Much of the time, we are a little less impressive than that.
On that note, here are a few things I've learned so far:
Cleaning the van once a week isn't just a rule the office came up with arbitrarily. It is a necessity for anyone who values hygiene and keeping their nose happy.
Following a TV show when home is hard enough. Doing it on the road when you have concerts scheduled or host homes who either don't have TV or watch a competing show makes it much more improbable. But we don't back down from a challenge... downloads and van rides are our best friends.
Carl and pants never make it very long. The pants seem to always move on into the afterlife not long after he decides they are his 'favorite' pair.
Sometimes, the floor really is the best option for sleeping.
We have a lot of fun on stage. Sometimes, I like to make faces at Carl when he's looking.
In an effort to not feed us lasagna/pizza/spaghetti, people instead feed us steak. Lots and lots of steak. I think this is a good problem to have, especially for the guys.
No matter how hard I try, I absolutely can not sleep in a moving vehicle. I'm still optimistic that it will one day happen, but realistic enough to have plenty of vehicle activities in stock (hello coloring books!).
Carrie and I read through books way too fast. We have a decent library forming in the back of the van. Book donations are always appreciated. We may even trade if you ask us nicely...
The bigger the dog, the more prone it is to believe it fits in your lap. When it's a 180 pound bull mastiff, this can prove to be a problem for a human much, much smaller than the dog.
We started out with 7 team members. Over time, we have found that personalities are asexual- they begin to multiply on their own. Right now, I'd say we have about 9.5 personalities on the team right now. As of now, there is no known cure.
When Eric is backing the trailer up, don't speak to him in terms of 'feet'. He is Canadian and an avid practitioner of the metric system, rendering him helpless when told he only has 3 more feet of space to move in.
When left to our own devices in conversation, it always comes around to poop and occasionally other body functions not generally accepted in day-to-day dialogue. Seriously. Next time you see us, just hang around for a while- it'll come up. Whether in passing or emotionally charged debate, it will happen.