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!