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)

End of Tour...

A few more quick notes and pictures, so we can officially wrap up the training tour (blog-style!). After leaving Lakeview Christian, we finished our tour by playing in three services for Mission Covenant Church in Poplar, WI. It was so much fun playing in the church, because the people were so kind. It's much easier to do our jobs when the reception we get is positive, and this is definitely one of those occasions. The room we played in was beautiful, with a large stage and climbing wall! Unfortunately, we didn't get to scale the wall while we were there, but we still had lots of fun hanging out at Dinah and Rick's house. Below are some pictures of a bonfire we had.





Special thanks to Carey and his family for hosting our time at Mission Covenant. It was great, we'd love to come back!

After that, we headed back to Willmar. We arrived around 7:30 on Sunday evening, and dispersed from there. We spent Monday recharging, and dove back into training this morning (Tuesday). From here, we prep for Singapore, and we leave on Tuesday morning! Thank you all for your prayers and comments. Seeya!

-Brad

Monday, September 24, 2007

Wow am I glad team members are good with time/place details to be able to update happenings so well. Thanks guys! I am sitting here on the computer wishing I were back on the road. We had a day off today (Monday) after getting back to Willmar last night, and I am homesick for the road. It was the first day in over 2 weeks that we all weren't together as a team, and for me I was missing everything a lot. God has really fueled my passion for this ministry over these past two weeks, and I am so on fire to get to Singapore! Wowzers, that is only a week away!! YAY! As much as I miss the road though, it is nice to be back in Willmar again...actually able to unpack my mobile-home (suitcase). So tomorrow we kick off a fast-paced week of training to prepare for overseas. We've got quite a bit to do, so thank you all for your prayers and support. Well, I guess I ran out of things for now. God bless!

Jessie

More touring...

Last weekend we got a chance to hang out with the crew from Our Savior's Lutheran in Illinois. We had an opportunity to participate in two of their services on Sunday, and then we played for their youth service in the afternoon. It was neat getting to know some of the kids there (Hi Lyle!), and the youth group was kind enough to make dinner for us!

We were hosted by with Priscilla and Tony, and their three kids: Renee, Mateo, and CeCe. What a fun family! They shared their home with us for 4 days, and made sure we had everything we needed. It was so cool to meet them and hang out there, we didn't want to leave when we were done! Thanks to everyone at Our Savior's for making our stay fabulous! (Side note from Renee: It was so fun to stay with another Renee - and we found out that our middle names are the same, too. What are the chances?)




The Team with Tony & Priscilla Austin - our awesome hosts!


Renee Nicole Austin & Renee Nicole Marshall

Following the weekend, we visited Valley Christian School in Wisconsin. They set us up in their cafeteria and we played for two chapels - first for the high school/middle schoolers, and then for the elementary kids. It was so much fun to play for them and just to talk and play afterwards. Several of the kids signed up to possibly join a team later on! After the chapels, we had lunch and chilled with the kids. Several of them got hall passes (Michelle had never had a hall pass before) to visit with us, and we played outside with the elementary kids during recess. Thanks for having us, guys!




Michelle's first hall pass










We made our exit that afternoon, and headed northeast to Christ the King Lutheran, also in Wisconsin. We rolled in and set up in their sanctuary (a beautiful place with big glass doors in the back). This was definitely one of the bigger crowds that we have played for thus far, being close to 250 or 300. It was so much fun to be able to encourage them and lead worship with them, and even recruit a few young people! It's always great to meet people who are excited about the Lord's work. The following morning, they sent us off with a prayer.






Thursday was just a long driving day, as we had to cover 7 hours to get to Duluth, Minnesota. Chris, Renee, and I took shifts driving.

We arrived at Lakeview Christian School, and they showed us the chapel room where we would be playing. Since we couldn't setup in the evening, we went home with our hosts after that. Apparently, the previous full-timers had to sleep at the school, but this time several of the faculty decided to open their homes to us. Sorry previous FTers, but we got spoiled! Renee's and my hosts, Brooke and Jesse, took us out with Michelle and Jessie's host, Melissa, to have Chicago-style pizza at The Green Mill. It was so delicious - I'm kinda surprised at how infrequently we have pizza, so it's a real treat when we get to.

We played the High School chapel the next day, leading worship and singing with the students and staff that were there. The room was small enough that I didn't need to use the drum wall - and Jessie got to share her testimony with the students. My only regret about the time we spent there was that I didn't get to say goodbye to Brooke or the other staff members I met, since we were in a hurry. But it was a blast to play there. Thanks, Lakeview!

Well, that's all for now (I'm trying to do this in installments). See you guys later!

-Brad

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fun with Former Full-timers

Hey everyone! Time for a new update. I'll try to pick up where Brad left off. While we were ministering with Uwezo ministries we were staying with 06-07 team member Adam Falkenstein. We had an awesome time staying with him and found out that in addition to his musical talents, Adam is also quite an excellent chef!

After leaving Adam's on Wednesday, we set out for the home of Dan and Cathy Swenson in Wisconsin. Cathy is a former board member for CTI. We were sad that we only got to spend one night there because it was such a beautiful farm house - very peaceful and refreshing. We got to spend some time bonding as a team - playing ping pong, foosball and Apples to Apples, all of which we have been playing quite regularly on this tour! We're going to be pretty good by the end of the year.

On Friday we played a concert at the Rockford Rescue Mission in Illinois, which provides meals and ministry to the homeless. The men and women come in for a service before meals, and we had the opportunity to lead the service for the evening. It was awesome to see the dedication of the chaplains and the volunteers that work there, and we were really blessed to be part of their ministry. It was more of an evangelical focus so we were able to use the Creation drama to present the gospel.

Below are some pictures and a video from rehearsal for that show.







video


During our ministry in Rockford, we stayed with Josiah Sjostrom (another 06-07 team member!), and we had a great time hanging out and getting to know him and his family. We left on Saturday with lots of good memories from their home, and great little metal puzzles that keep us occupied for hours in the van! I'm still stumped by most of them. I think we have a video somewhere of us working on them; we'll have to post that sometime. Before we left the Sjostroms we got to add our signatures to the walls (and ceiling, in some cases) of their clubhouse, along with friends, family and both of last year's full-time teams. What an honor! :)








It was really neat that all of our hosts for this week have strong connections with CTI! Thanks so much to all of you - we really enjoyed the time we spent with you. That's all I have time for right now, but there's lots more to come, so keep checking!

-Renee

Friday, September 14, 2007

First few concerts...


Hello Everyone!

What a great start to our year these past few days have been. We had a wonderful time hanging out with our brothers and sisters from Memorial Lutheran in Afton. We had a youth concert on Saturday night and participated in their Rally Sunday Service as well. At the youth concert, Michelle gave her testimony and we got a chance to meet with Mallory Kroschel (CTI Summer Team 2002) and her family, also. On Sunday after church, we spent some time walking in the Afton State Park, courtesy of Liz Kroschel.







We were blessed by the church's response to our ministry and pray that the Lord will continue to work through our time there. We want to thank Jon Kroschel and Pastor Greg for all of their help last weekend! Thanks to everyone at Memorial Lutheran, it was great to hang out with you!


On Tuesday, we had a chance to minister with Uwezo ministries, visiting some inmates at St. Croix County Jail, and a family group as well. In the morning, we visited with the inmates and played an acoustic set - Renee and Eliot shared some encouragements with the inmates, and everyone at the event seemed to really enjoy the time! Diane (with Uwezo) described the time by saying that the spiritual darkness had been lifted during our time there. Andrea and Jacob (also with Uwezo) opened their home to us to give us a place to hang out in between events. We played some tennis, caught a movie, and played some games. I (Brad) especially enjoyed playing Playstation with my new friend, Alex!

In the evening, we had a concert for friends of Uwezo ministries, as well as some families of inmates. We shared a similar program for them as we had done in the morning, with Eliot sharing his testimony. We even had an encore, thanks to Andrea! They were very encouraging in their comments about the program, and we all left blessed by the event. Thanks to Uwezo ministries for a wonderful day!











Thank you guys for reading, hope you enjoy the pictures! This is Brad from 14:21, signing out. Peace.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Divine Intercepts Liturgy

I walk in the front doors, I see the beautiful decor, I stand in awe as the Spirit connects with mine, the service starts, we are the worship leaders today, discouragement starts to take hold of me, crowd participation is lacking, the people sit and stand as we ask, minimal movements, the service ends, it was a beautiful service, the words spoken were full of meaning, surely the Lord is with us this day, they called it rally day so we stay for ice cream, the expression of thanks in the simple form of words is all it took to sweep me away, through all our thought and planning the Divine was encountered in ways we could never dream, numbers dont mean everything, quality is important but even our mistakes turn into blessings, a touch, a smile, a word can revel the Divine through Liturgy, its something I cant quite grasp

Thursday, September 06, 2007

hey guys, we are all here " suffering for Jesus". today we got all of our shots that are required for going overseas. practicing all day after being stuck like a pin cushion really isnt all that its cracked up to be. we will catch up with you later!!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

hey everybody, this is Tim. we have been working hard for this weekend. it's finally time for our first tour!!!