Friday, December 12, 2008

Partnership Drive

Ok, as I see it, there are three major blights on modern society; here they are in increasing order of irksomeness: third – people who talk in the theater, second – those who start honking the instant the light turns green, and first and most terrible – Telemarketers (need I say more).
In light of this, can you imagine how I felt when I got the details on what “partnership drive” actually is? I’m not one of the technologically savvy members of the information generation, no, I’m a face-to-face sort of guy. I don’t spend much time on the phone with friends and family so the thought of calling a complete stranger at home…not a fun thought!
I do, however, love this ministry more than I loath the phoning prospect, therefore I decided to tackle this project with zeal and a “good attitude”. Before we started the calling process Joe (VanderArk that is, development director) told us, regarding negative calls, “Don’t take it personal, they don’t know you, so it can’t be personal.” This became my mantra. I geared myself up, grabbed a calling list, and sat down to make my first call. I got a machine: second, third, etc… all machines or no answers for the first page. I sort of fell into a groove until I got a real live person on the other end of the line (bum bum buhhhmmm). Awkwardly I stumbled through the script as best I could; obviously I was not charming nor charismatic enough and they declined my offer to partner with us in the coming year.
Then followed a string of what I perceived as failures. Answering machines, no answers, exasperated sighs followed by hang ups or begrudging half-hearted participation in the first bit of the conversation only to end in “I’m not interested.” Then there is this countries current economic whatever it is which has a good percentage of our supporters out of work or “just scrapping by” and I felt horribly insensitive for even mentioning money in most of the calls I made.
There was, however, a second and far more admirable portion to our calls, we were taking prayer requests, and even praying for people right on the spot. No matter how bad it got with the partnership spiel there was always prayer, and I love praying. I would trudge through the bits with which I was uncomfortable then with joy and genuine concern ask if they had any specific prayer requests. This seemed to change people’s attitudes toward me; some people were touched, some were indifferent yet nicer, but some (and this I just don’t get) got annoyed! Sort of a “how dare you presume to pray for me!” Then they would hang up angry and I would sit there slightly confused, and (don’t tell them) pray for them anyway. But redemption did come in spite of all the indifference and apparent anger.
There were those calls that had some sort of divine purpose. For instance, a man I talked to; He seem a bit overwhelmed and I could hear his kids in the background. He said he was unable to support us this year (which is no problem) and started to hang up when I asked if there was anything I could pray for him and his family about. His tone softened, “actually yeah there is” he said and went on to tell me they just found out his daughter has a brain tumor. He did not go into any detail , but I could hear the pain and love and concern for his daughter in his voice. I felt a lump in my throat and the heat of tears welling behind my eyes as I asked if I could pray for him right then. I finished praying and said amen; there was no whaling or gnashing of teeth (sorry to be anti-climatic) he just said thanks and hung up the phone. But I got the privilege of being in his life for a moment and I got to share my life with him; I hope he felt how much I care about him and his family and I want him to know that his daughter is in my prayers every day.
After that conversation I started looking at the moments in every conversation where we (the supporter and I) were real and honest. I had more genuine moments with people, I was even asked if I had any prayer requests and then prayed for on the phone by this man who was just straight up nice all around. He was interested in the ministry and what we were doing, and wanted to know about the whole team; he asked if he could pray for me and for the team, and I’m not going to say no to that!
It was because of willingness like his to engage in conversation or prayer that we all persevered and pushed through the negative calls. It’s basically a willingness to share life with one another that helped this bothersome, draining task transcend obligatory duty into a legitimately enjoyable ministry opportunity.
Essentially we (the supporters and the ministry at large) are one community, one body, and by reaching out through this phone drive are offering part of our community, part of our life, part of who we are. Those who accept our extension of life were and are, hopefully, blessed, because I know they blessed me. Well, that’s all I have to say about that. Okbye.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

a break from touring.

hey guys! on the second of december we drove into willmar from madison wisconsin. this marked the end of our fall tour, which lasted one month. many great times were had and countless memories were made. we got to experience canada (for many of us, it was our first) and all of the wonders that canada entails. now that we are back in our "home town", we will be hanging out here for the first couple weeks of this month contributing in cti's annual campaign drive. this means we call people (many of them), and chat with them about maybe donating to cti. my favorite part about this whole thing is that we take prayer requests from the folks that we call and then before we beginning calling the next day we lift all of those requests up to God. it really is an awesome experience being able to get a glimpse into the lives of people from all over the world and being able to pray for them. these next two weeks will be long and hard, so i ask that you keep all of us in your prayers. ask that God would grant us the energy to be on the phone for four hours at a time and that we could truly minister to these people that we are calling.

thank you guys all for your support and caring enough to read our blog posts!
it means a lot, really really really.


Sunday, November 30, 2008


hey everybody! as many of y'all know from our profiles on the CTI website, Aaron and I are from the south (Georgia and Texas, respectively). therefore, i'm sure many of you can guess that for the past month, we've been FREEZING our butts off up here. we have not seen THIS much snow in YEARS! so today at Christian's hometown, there was a blizzard (our definition of a blizzard)! I was so excited that I asked Micaela to take pictures of me standing in the snow. according to the following video, that photoshoot did not go down as I had planned...

Monday, November 24, 2008

coming soon....

So, for all of you who are loyally reading our blog, we recognize that you've probably been dissapointed. We hereby apologize for the lack of blogging. Colin has been trying tirelessly to post his "Back from Taiwan" video, and Micaela is writing one as we speak (or, in your case, read). Either way, we promise that something will be posted soon. :) If nothing else, mother always said that waiting is good for you. It builds character! :) Think of how much character you'll have by the time you get the next post. Heheh. Seriously though, we'll have something up SOON. In the meantime, let us know how we can be praying for you. Leave us a comment under this post with prayer requests and we'll get on it. Thanks guys! And happy (almost) Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

howdy y'all this is how's it going? we're doing good getting into the swing of things here in the state and it's going well. we've been in Iowa and Illinois and Indiana and Michigan ,yep all the I states (we'll work backwards to the G state no worries), we have had some great opportunities to play in Christian schools and churches, and as displayed in the picture to the left, this place called Mel Trotter ministries. Mel Trotter was amazing, we played for a group of at risk women and some children. So, as it turns out I am really bad at this "blogging" thing, but I hope I've hit some of the highlights. I want to say hey to all my host home families in Willmar and across the states, well from Iowa to Michigan anywho. not to mention a shout out to my family and friends back home... okbye.

Monday, November 03, 2008

hey all!

we are back from Taiwan and let me tell you it is quite a change to be in the states again. Less than two weeks ago we were in an apartment in Asia, and now we are at host homes in Iowa. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it, but I'm sure after about a few days on the road I'll get back into the state side swing.
Anyway, a word on Taiwan, we stayed in a city called Don Shwei, it's about a half hour away from the capital, Taipei, really the whole area is like one big city. We played all over the Don Shwei/ Taipei area at all sorts of different venues. We got to tell many people the good news of Jesus and even though we weren't there for the harvest, we were used by the spirit to plant seeds.
Well thank you all so much for your support, and prayer, bye


Saturday, November 01, 2008

1421 departs for fall tour!

1421 pulls out of the driveway on their way to Iowa to start their fall tour.

Be sure to check out their booking schedule to see if they are coming to a town near you!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Team 1421 arrives home safely!

Team 1421 arrived home safely today with al of their equipment! Check their blog soon for updates on their trip!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Update the Third (bum bum bumhmmm)

(Courtesy of Jeffrey Aaron Stephens, Esquire; and The Honorable Christian Wade Harger, RTB. Title provided by none other than The Terrific Tish Schuh [also known as Laura])

Greetings and salutations to all,

Things are going swimmingly in Taiwan, though we regret to inform you that we will be departing this splendiferous island all too soon. Early in the AM of this the 20th of October the year of our Lord 2008, we performed our final engagement. It was a glorious worship experience meeting with our brothers and sisters who are a part of YWAM, Taiwan.

Now, working retrospectively, we will regail you with tales of our past adventures. Since last we "spoke," we have had the privilege of ministering in a myriad of environments, ranging from orphanages and churches, to schools and homes for troubled youths. Musically we have run the spectrum from phenominal cohesion to utter chaos, but out of the mire and muck we have been extracted (wc2ls) by God. He has turned our paltry attempts to share His love into resplendent glory.

God is amazing! But the price of an hour of internet is not.. meaning we can't afford another hour.. meaning we have to go.

PS we climbed a volcano.

okay bye! love you paul!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Another update from Taiwan

Here's another update we received today from Laura:

Hello Friends, Family, and others!

We hope things are going well there at home! We've had quite a week here in Taiwan. I'm not really sure where to begin. I know we mentioned last week that we have a pretty varied schedule, and it has continued into this week as well. In the last 5 days we've played for a kindergarden (TONS of fun!!!), at another hospital, at the Fishermen's warf, for the YWAM staff, a homeless shelter, a high school, and another convelecent center. It has been wondederful. The hospital we played at was one that we had played in the very first week. When we were there the first time, there was a boy named David that we were able to pray for. He was 5 and very, very sick. When we came back the next time, he had been feeling much better, getting ready to go home, and very excited to visit with us. He thanked us for praying for him and told us that God had made him feel better! It was really cool to see. At the homeless shelter, we were able to perform for about 100 men and then had the opportunity to serve them dinner. Talk about humbling. And we've had experiences like this every day so far.

We've also been spending a lot of time at The Rock in the evenings. We've been able to connect with a lot of students there and had a ton of ministry opportunities there as well. Just the other day I was talking to a couple of girls about movies when they asked me if I believed in ghosts. It was the perfect set-up to tell them about the gospel. We've all been learning a lot about what God can do when we make ourselves available for ministry. We've also been learning a lot about encouragement. Over the last three weeks, most of our devotionals have been on the theme of encouragement. Then on Monday, we lead worship for the entire YWAM base, and afterwords participated in the montly prayer day. The topic of the month (which every YWAM base in the world will be praying about this month) is encouragement. One lesson we've learned is that it goes far beyond words. It is a constant attituted of lifting each other up. To make another persons path easier to travel by clearing the way for them. It carries itself out it words, yes, but also in actions, in thoughts, in prayer, in sacrifice, etc. Encouragement. We all need it. And we all need to practice it. By practicing encouragement the way Christ did, we grow closer to Him. It's awesome.

On a lighter note, we've been able to do some pretty fun stuff here in Taiwan. Last week, we went to visit Taipei 101 and one of the largest night markets in Taiwan. We were going to go to the beach today, but it rained all day. We were able to go exploring a bit in our free time. Just today, we found an Irish coffee shop on the riverfront. We all ate tacos. Yeah... we had Tacos, in an Irish coffee shop, in Taiwan. Can life get better?!!! We've tried things like frogs, blood soup, pot-stickers, porrige (made with eggs and horse urine), and all kinds of other fun things. A team favorite has been the pot-stickers. It's our standby late-night meal. We also went out for a sweet meal involving lamb and clams. I'd tell you more about it, but it all happened in Mandrin, so I don't know much more than that. Most of our meals consist of us pointing at food that looks like it would be good, getting it and thinking, "Hm... I wonder what THIS is..." and eating it anyway. We've probably eaten tons of cool stuff without knowing what it was. The point is, FOOD HERE IS AWESOME!

Here are a couple of shout-outs from the team:

A quick word on Taiwan:
Great people, great city, great food, and we're all still alive. Keep praying for us. We love you all! Bye!
Greetings to all.
The most importat thing I have to tell you is that the United States is in desperate need of more scooters.
The second most important thing I have to tell you is that I am alive and well.

Everyone else is out galavanting aound the city and didn't get a chance to write down their messages, but we're all healthy and enjoying ourselves! Thank you so much for all your prayers. We love you and miss you!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Update from the team!

We received the following update from Laura today:
Hey everyone!

We're here in an internet cafe enjoying a day off! It's hard to believe that we've only been here for 5 days! Technically, we've been gone a week, but we've been in Taiwan for only 5 days! It's been quite an adventure. Here's how it happened...

It was a dark and stormy night...

Well, no. Actually, it was a bright sunny morning when we left Willmar. Our drive the the airport was ejoyable and uneventful. We arrived at the airport about 3 hours before our flight, only to find out that we no longer had a flight. We were supposed to fly to Tokyo and then to Taipei, all within about 17 hours, but they ended up canceling the flight to Tokyo, which lift us stuck in the US for an extra day. Soooo, we got re-routed to the next available flight to Asia, which didn't leave until the next day. So we flew into Chicago, where we had an overnight layover. Luckily I (Laura) live in Chicago, so my parents were able to pick us up and we had nice comfy beds to sleep in (thank to a few friends!) as opposed to the floor of the gate at the airport. We then flew to Detroit, and then to Osaka, Japan. Upon our arrival to Japan, they informed us that there was a typhoon in Taiwan and that we couldn't fly in until the next day. As a result, we got to spend a night in Japan! Boy was that an adventure! Hahaha. At about 4:00 am we finally boarded our last flight to Taipei. We arrieved on time, met Sandra, our YWAM contact, and started our day!

So far our ministry here has looked different than we thought it would. I guess we didn't really know what to expect, but it was definately a lot less varied than what we've actually been able to experience. So far, we've played in two hospitals, a convelecent center, and residentail home for the mentally handicaped, and a high school. It was inceredible. Each place has been significantly different from the last, and it's been fun to meet people in all stages of life here. Tomorrow we're going down to the fishermen's warf to do some concerts out there. Beyond the music side of things, we've been spending a lot of time at a place called The Rock. It's a free coffee house that YWAM (Youth With A Mission) runs as a means to evangelize and deciple. The Rock offers English classes as well as "hang out" environment where people can come and practice their English with native speakers. We've all had a ton of fun spending time with the students that come. Most of them are universtiy students from the school just down the street from our apartment, so we have plenty in common. There's never a dull moment at The Rock.

Today we're going to downtown Taipei to see the sights with a few of the people here gracious enough to show us around a bit. I've heard rumors of Taipei 101 (which I beleive is the second tallest building in the world), as well as a few other treats that Taiwan has to offer. The food here is incredible and we're all looking forward to eating more of it! Not to mention the fact that we get to spend some quality time with our Taiwanese friends here.

Here are some prayer requests you can be lifting up with us:
  • ~Please pray that we remain healthy so that we can continue in our minsitry.
  • ~We are suposed to get hit by another typhoon this weekend, so please pray for the safety of everyone here, as well as minimal damage. Especially since they're still recovering from the one we had last weekend!
  • ~Pray for the ministry of YWAM and their staff as they work hard to share the gospel and disciple Christians here in Taiwan. ~Pray for 1422 as they start their ministry in the Philippines.
That's all we have. Miss you all, and thanks for all your prayers and support!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Team 14:21 Reports Safe Arrival in Taiwan

Team Leader Laura Schuh called this evening to report the team's safe arrival and connection with the YWAM staff in Taipei. The team encountered several delays (mostly due to weather) but their equipment made it safe and sound with them as well.

They are looking forward to a month of ministry with YWAM. Be sure to check out their blog for updates throughout their month overseas.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Departing for Taiwan!

Team 1421 departs for their month of ministry with YWAM in Taiwan!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We're Back!

Training Tour is over! On Monday, we drove back to Willmar and shared many stories with 14:22 and the CTI staff. Since the tour was only less than three weeks, there are many things that each and every one of us took away from this trip. For me, I learned that prayer is powerful. I also learned that God is always available, and that it's really up to us whether or not we make ourselves available to Him.

I'm sure there are a TON of things that we learned from this trip, but that is just one of very many. So right now, we are back in Willmar getting ready to leave tomorrow for our overseas tour in....TAIWAN! Yup, I'm excited! Since there are a number of things that can possibly go wrong on this tour, there are a few things that I would like to request of you to pray for us about...

- safety for our travels to and from Taiwan
- nice customs agents in Taiwan who won't give us problems checking out our equipment
- our physical, mental and spiritual health
- the receptiveness and openness of the people in Taiwan towards us and God

We will return on October 23, so there's a small chance that we will be posting until then. Also, take some time out to check out 14:22's blog. They will be leaving for the Philippines next Tuesday.

Thanks for reading!

- Stanley

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Crystal Lake

Team 1421 finishes up their set list for Sunday morning service in Crystal Lake, IA.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

From Pella to Damascus

Hello everyone, I want to tell you a bit about 14:21's week

On Tuesday, we played a morning chapel at Pella Christian High, then spent the remainder of the day in the school's common area interacting with the students. I talked to a number of students and many were enthusiastic about music and missions- over 18 auditioned to be on a CTI team !!! It was great to be in the familiar atmosphere of a God-centered school- I felt close to the students, because I was once in their shoes. Being at school made me realize how much I miss my wise teachers/ mentors. Especially you Mr Orr!
Thanks again Pella High School and host families for a great experience!

Tonight and Wednesday night, we had the privilege of ministering at Church of the Damascus Road, a church inside two correctional facilities. I think the entire team would agree that we did not minister to them, but they ministered to us. Listening to the prayers of broken men have the ability to re-break one's heart for God.

The team has been learning about God's grace...
Nothing we can do can make God love us less.
Nothing we can do can make God love us more.
God loves us because He wants to.

I pray we can accurately share God's grace to those we encounter, and continue to give each other grace day to day as we learn and grow.

Thanks for reading! Be Blessed!

- Micaela

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Concert at Epworth UMC

Team 1421 played a concert for an enthusiastic bunch at Epworth UMC on Saturday night.

Thanks to Pastor Corby and everyone at Epworth UMC!

Friday, September 12, 2008

paul, paul, paul..

paul had more fun playing with the inflatable child play fun toyish carnival type things than any of those kids did.

he specifically asked me not to share this with you guys, but i feel as though it is something that needs to be shared. paul actually forced all of the children off of these apparatuses with a stern face and a cold heart.

just kidding of course.

midnight jam session

swiss apples!

hey everyone!
its half way through the first week of tour and we are all having a blast!!! Today we are on our way to Jacksonville IL, I think we are playing at a college tonight but i cant remember, either way it will be fun. And speaking of fun, Christian and i invented a new card game today in the van that we call Swiss Apple, Its like the best game ever so you'll have to ask abut it next time you see one of us.
Please continue praying for us, love you all> bye : )

New team pet

Aaron found a new pet for the team. The team vetoed his idea.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Devos at the park

Driving day

We started our driving day off today with a rousing crab frisbee (pictures and video to come soon). After we recovered from that we started our drive to Oregon, Illinois.

On our way we stopped at a great local sub shop, called Arthur's. It's been a great day thus far, and we get to hang out with a youth group tonight, so the day is only going get better!

Monday, September 08, 2008

The epic battle

This is video of an epic battle between Stanley Tso and one of the youngsters at Milan Christian Church. Following the video of the battle, there is exclusive video footage of an interview with the victorious jouster.

Aaron's 1st Attempt at Blogging

So... we're on the road now, and there are some awesome videos and pictures that y'all should check out. we did our first concert, both a sunday morning worship type thing and a night time youth thing. I was super nervous, but it went well. we did a fortyish minute set and the drama. I don't know wat to tell y'all.

Rainy day rehearsal

Team 1421 spent their day off today rehearsing. It was a brisk, rainy day, so the natural thing for musicians to do was to play music!

Yesterday we led worship at Milan Christian Church in Illinois and then played a concert for their fall youth group kickoff. It was a great time! Thanks to our awesome hosts and a great church for making our first stop on tour a wonderful experience!

Check back soon for some great videos of the day!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

First day highlights!

Included in these pics are Colin's beef jerky, really cheap gas, and our arrival in Milan, Illinois.

Start of tour!

Everyone is bright and shiny this morning as we head out for Illinois!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

More music rehearsal

1421 spent another day preparing for their upcoming training tour.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Exhibition concert!


Team 1421 rehearsing for their practice concert.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Welcome the new crew!

Another fulltime year has started!

Meet CTI 14:21 08-09:
Laura Schuh
Aaron Stephens
Christian Harger
Colin Hornbaker
Ken Simerly
Micaela Tucker
and Stanley Tso
We'll get pictures up in a few weeks, and they'll be posting soon!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Summer's Coming!

Hey everyone!

Our Spring tour has come to an end and we are busily preparing for summer teams to arrive. I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from our last tour before I forget about it!

These kids are from the pioneer club we played for in Kansas. The kids were so energetic and unaffected by what was "cool" or "acceptable" - if only we didn't lose that as we got older!

Here are a few pictures of frisbee and football with our friends from St. Louis Chinese Gospel Church. We were so excited to go back and spend a few days with them, and we had an awesome time getting to know them more.

Here's a picture of our "Dare You to Move" drama. It's so rare to get a clear picture of our performances, so I'm always excited when one turns out like this one.

This is Garmin, our GPS, telling us we had to drive on the same road for 303 miles! It was our longest trip on one road. I think we were traveling from Conway, AR to Austin, TX.

While in Austin, we had a great time hanging out with Austin Chinese Church. They took us to downtown Austin to see the University of Texas. After our concert that evening they took us out to get frozen yogurt, then the next morning we played volleyball and basketball before we had to leave. It was really exciting to meet Stanley Tso, who will be joining a full-time team this August!

At one host home, Brad and I got to go paddle boating on the lake behind our house. We saw a gorgeous sunset and got to spend some quality time with the local swans. They got surprisingly close to our boat; I think they were trying to herd us away from their eggs.

We traveled through Buffalo, TX 3 times on this tour. The first 2 times we got to stay with Tim's grandmother at their family ranch. It was one of my favorite stops on the tour. There were horses, cats, and dogs, Brad and I got to see our first longhorns, and we got to visit the zebra down the street!

This donkey was in with the longhorns to "keep the peace." I think this picture looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. He kind of makes me think of Puzzle, the donkey from C.S. Lewis's book "The Last Battle."

The last time we came through Buffalo we stayed with a couple who ran a marriage and family ministry out of their home. Each room was named after a fruit of the Spirit. There was a lake out back and lots of hammocks in their backyard. We were all feeling a little sad to be nearing the end of our tour, so rather than split up to relax in the hammocks, we all decided to stay on one.

We celebrated Jessie's birthday with ice cream and party hats at a hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma! Jessie was sad about turning 19 because it is a high prime number, and she doesn't like high prime numbers. Hopefully our little celebration helped to ease the pain.

And finally, we spent last weekend in Jessie's hometown of Sioux Falls, SD. This picture is of the team at famous falls themselves.

We're nearing the end of our year as a team; in fact, our final concert is coming up on June 8th at 7:00 pm - if you're in the area, we'd love to see you there! Today we got our summer assignments and next week we start debriefing our year together. I thought I'd include some stats from our ministry year for those of you who enjoy that type of thing...

Places we've traveled:
New York
North Carolina
South Carolina
South Dakota
Ontario, Canada
and of course... Singapore!

Ministry Summary:
50 Church Services
46 Youth and Family Concerts
25 Christian Schools
11 Detention Centers/Prisons
7 Colleges
3 Public Schools
3 Homeless Shelters
2 Coffeehouses
1 Retirement Home
1 Kid's Club
... and 9 "miscellaneous" events (mostly from Singapore)

Things I lost or forgot along the way:
Eye glasses
Water Bottle*
Driver's License*
Jessie's Book*
Face Lotion
Cell Phone*
Team USB Drive*

(*) means found and returned

There's absolutely no way to include in "statistics" the amazing encounters we've had with people from around the world, and the relationships that we've been able to form. There's also no way to include "statistics" about how we've seen God working in and through us this year. Hopefully we'll have the opportunity to talk with you personally about our experiences this year. Trust me - I don't think we'll get tired of sharing our stories!

We are getting so excited about the arrival of the summer teams! If you're a summer team member getting ready to come to Willmar - be prepared for an awesome adventure in discovering more about God, and more about yourself as well.

For all who have been following us, supporting us and praying for us this year... THANK YOU. We have been totally blessed by your encouragement, prayers and financial support. It has been very obvious that we've been covered by prayer over this past year. The safety and health and unity that our team experienced was something only God could do. Please keep praying for those we've come into contact with and had the opportunity to minister to, as well as those who we will meet this summer - team members and students overseas.

Adios for now!