Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

Only two more days until our break. Time flies. I still remember the day I arrived at the ministry in August. It's quite amazing and crazy to think that we have been with CTI for over 4 months now.
Thank you, our supporters, for your faithful prayers and encouragements. We can't continue our journey without you. Thank you, our hard working CTI staffs. Thank you for taking care of us and diligently working behind the scene. CTI will not be the same without you.
We wish everyone a very blessed Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)


Monday, December 07, 2009

We are back in Willmar from our fall tour! well, been back for a week, and it has been a pretty busy week with end of the year projects for CTI: Annual Campaign and the CD.
But I will go back to the fall tour, it was at times very trying for me, and not really physically or emotionally, but spiritually. More then half way in, while at a hotel in Idaho, I was wondering why I hadn't been growing closer to God. I am here on a trip serving Him, and doing what I am called to do, but I wasn't growing. I realized with help from some team members that I wasn't being fed, I wasn't reading the Bible. I was cruising along in the tour, getting by with what I knew in my head, but I wasn't actively reading and searching after God. I got the chance to share this with a Bible college in Steinbach Manitoba during our last week of tour. Reading the Bible and growing in Christ was the theme for the year there.
All tour I saw God using each of our stories on 14:21 to connect with people, from all walks of life. It's cool to think how different we all are, but yet we all have the same need, Jesus, and He is the one that really is able to fill us and makes us whole.
During this time of year, with Christmas right around the corner, remember why Jesus came to earth in the first place. He came to die for our sins, for my sins and yours. Let's praise Him for that!
Thank you so much for all your prayers and support of us, God bless!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Being Faithful

Sorry it has been so long in writing on the blog but we have been quite busy these last weeks. For the last 10 days or so we have been "living on the edge" of the statelines that is. :) Washington one day, Idaho the next, then back to Oregon, and back to Idaho for another concert. But thankfully amidst all this driving and traveling the Lord has kept us safe and has been choosing to use us for His kingdom work. The other day we were all in a coffeehouse and we began talking and sharing what the Lord is working in us. It was incredible to listen and reflect on the work the Lord is doing in us and through us. As I sat there, I was hit again with how this year really isn't about what we are doing but instead about being faithful to God's call and living our lives glorifying and praising Him. He has chosen to bring us to prisons, schools, churches, outreach groups, and college campuses in order to share His love with those He wanted to bless this tour. It always amazes me when I think about the fact that God chooses to use us despite the fact that we are broken and sinful people. We as a team have nothing in ourselves to offer but only God's love and His message of grace for everyone. May we be faithful in sharing that message with whomever God places in our path whether it's on-stage or off.

Tomorrow we are driving back to Montana and preparing for our last weekish of being on Fall Tour. Thanks so much for the prayers, support, and encouragement... it means so much to us all.

Faithfully Answering the Call,
Carrie (and 1421) :)

P.S. the photo just shows how we have been able to bask in the beauty as a team as well... God's creation is simply stunning!

Monday, November 09, 2009

On the road again!

Wow! Can't believe that we have already came back from Honduras and on the road again.

It's only been couple days since we began our tour, and God has already worked in amazing ways in and through our team.
We got to share the love of God with the kids at a detention center, worship with the ladies at a women's prison, celebrate Bo's return at his home church in WA, and see the world's largest buffalo. =)

Please keep us in your prayers:
-Health and safety: the weather is getting colder everywhere we go, and we still have long travel times here and there.
-Team unity: that we can be open to one another and love one another with the love from Christ.
-Focus: may we continue to focus on God, not on ourselves.

Thank you very much for all of your support! We can't do this without you!!!

And here's the world's largest buffalo:

Thursday, November 05, 2009

14:21 Off on Their Fall Tour

Team 14:21 left before dawn this morning on their Fall Tour. They will be heading to the Northwestern Part of the United States and spending a few days in Manitoba, Canada on this tour.

They will be doing quite a bit of driving over the next few days (They'll be in Spokane, Washington by tomorrow [Friday] evening!), so please remember them in your prayers!

Check back soon for updates on what God is doing in and through these team members on their Fall Tour.

- Paul, on behalf of team 14:21

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I know the thought that keeps running through my head is, "A little over a week ago, we were in Honduras." And now we're back in the US and about to leave for our Fall Tour on Thursday. Life is so crazy and it's all going by so fast!

I think my team would agree with me when I say that I don't want to forget the lessons that I learned overseas, and how my perspectives of so many things were enhanced. This year has a better definition to me now and I feel like God was taking me out of myself and replacing my own desires and love with His. To think that we were given the opportunity to go to Honduras at this time and play in so many schools, churches, a factory loading dock, the YFC camp and so many other places, is unbelievable, and I feel so blessed to have met the YFC staff that were huge examples of Christ's love to me, and to have experienced everything that God had in store for us there. We played 40 concerts, overall, in three weeks, and were able to share the Gospel at every single concert except for one. What else can we say? It's such a privilege to even call our God Father, and we know He is so good and gives such good gifts to His children. He is so faithful.

Even in times when we feel like we can't go on, that we are completely inadequate to share the Gospel or to be called His own, He gives us His strength, and we find joy in the Lord and in His promises, that He is always faithful and that He has chosen us to live for Him. That's why we live like we do, why we cry out for God's heart to replace our own and why we count everything else in this world as a loss compared the glory of knowing our Savior. We are set apart, renewed, and changed by His love that surpasses all others. In the process of seeking His heart, we find utter joy in Him. And we learn how to live and how to change. That's one of the many things that I learned in Honduras and not by my own actions, but by His grace. He keeps showing me what's really important in life, how I can be less and He can be everything, and then I learn how to seek His face more every day. His faithfulness surpasses our understanding-our God is so, so good.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have so many pictures that would tell the story of our time there but these are just a few to give you a hint into our lives during the last weeks spent in Honduras. The black & white one is Mauricio sharing the gospel with the 400 students at a school. The next is some of the beautiful children we got to play for... i love their smiles. The other ones are of us getting prepped to go to the futbol game which was incredible, and then us at one of the most fun schools as far as audience participation goes. The last one is of our bus that we rode around everywhere in and fit down streets and alleys that I thought no bus could ever go. :)

All this said... our lives were changed and impacted greatly by the people and places in Honduras. As we prep now to continue our stateside touring I ask that all of you not only keep us in your prayers but YFC Honduras as well as they continue the work that God has for them down there!

Learning to love deeper,
Carrie & 1421

Monday, October 26, 2009

Team 14:21 Arrives Home Safely!

Team 14:21 arrived home safely late last evening. They had spent the whole day traveling and had a pretty lengthy layover in Miami, so they were happy to see the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport.

I've only heard a few of the many (I'm sure) stories of God at work in and through the team members, so check back soon for updates from the team members themselves.

All of their equipment made it safely and their travels went very smoothly!

- Paul, on behalf of 14:21

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Update from the Field

Carrie (Team 14:21's leader) called this morning from Honduras to update us. The team has not had internet access for several days and may not have it again prior to their return to the U.S.

She reported that the team is doing great! They are ministering in the area surrounding the YFC's camp in the Copan region of Honduras. They have been averaging 1-2 outreach concerts per day. In their free time they have been seeing much of what the country has to offer, with Mauricio (YFC National Director) as their guide.

They'll be leaving the camp early on Saturday morning to head back down to San Pedro Sula. From there, the team will catch their flight back to the U.S. on Sunday!

Check back for updates on the team's arrival back in the U.S. and for stories from their time abroad!

- Paul, on behalf of Carrie and Team 14:21

Thursday, October 15, 2009

To Love - the greatest commandment

I know it has been a whole week since writing and we apologize but we haven't had a moment to stop and reflect and I don't have much time now but wanted to fill you all in a bit. Each day has been so full of concerts and new experiences. We have been loving it and being reminded daily that it's not about us and what we have to offer but instead about loving God above all and sharing this love with those we meet. So far we have played 18 concerts in the last 9 days and when we aren't playing a concert we have been doing things like climbing waterfalls (lesson in trust), watching futbol games (lesson in joy), swimming at the beach(reminder of God's beauty), or riding on the bus(reminder of God's sense of humor). :) But through all of this I have been reminded of one thing that is the most important of all. We are called to LOVE. There is no greater thing than to love God with all we are. And when we learn to focus our lives on him then we can pour out that same love onto others. And with all the different concerts and interactions with the Hondurans here we have been given many opportunities to love them and learn how to love one another on the team better as well.

So thank you for all your prayers as we continue with our last 9 days here in Honduras. Tomorrow we head to Copan where Mauricio has a camp which is his pride and joy. We are really excited to see it and be able to spend some time with him there "in his element". We won't have internet so we won't be able to update again but keep praying for us and for YFC here. And may we all be reminded to LOVE God with all we are and LOVE other likewise because when it comes down to it that is the greatest commandment.

Pouring out Love,
Carrie on behalf of 1421 :)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Hola from Honduras

Hola everyone!!

We are safe here in Honduras. So far we have already played 5 concerts, and even though the weather is pretty hot, we have been enjoying ourselves with our contact Mauricio (who is the head of the Honduras YFC).

Thank you so much for your prayers! Please keep praying for us as we will be playing 3-4 concerts a day, and will be meeting many people everywhere we go.

And as a bonus, we are going to the Futbol game of Honduras vs. USA! We decided as a team that we will cheer for Honduras, and Mauricio was kind enough to buy us all Honduras jerseys for the game, what a blessing!!!

Thank you again and God bless you!!

Kylie and Bo

Monday, October 05, 2009

Team 14:21 Reports Safe Arrival in Honduras!

Team leader, Carrie VanderHorst, called this evening to report the team's safe arrival in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The team met up with Mauricio (YFC National Director) and have settled in at the YFC base.

Their equipment made it safely and there were no hiccups in their travels at all!

The team will be splitting their time in Honduras between San Pedro Sula and a camp that the YFC has built in the Copan region of Honduras.

They are excited to play their first concert tomorrow morning!

Check back in the coming weeks for updates from the field!

14:21 Checks In Safe and Sound!

Team 14:21 had a safe smooth check in this morning at MSP airport.
Check back soon for news of their arrival in Honduras as well as
updates from their time overseas!

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Hello everyone!!

We are about to leave and head to the airport today. Our flight to Honduras will be 6:30AM on Monday.
I am very excited, but at the same time a little nervous about being in a different place for 3 weeks.

If you could please keep the team in your prayers:
-Please pray for smooth check-in process
-Please pray for safe travel and safety in Honduras
-Some of the team members are sick, if you could pray for speed healing and recovering, also health for the whole team while we are there
-Please pray for team unity
-Please pray for FOCUS on God
-Please pray for our hosts (YFC), people we are going to meet, and ministry opportunities

Thank you so much for your love, your prayers, your time, and your supports.

God bless,

Monday, September 28, 2009

A snapshot of training tour

We are back in Willmar (as of two hours ago) and are about to embark on a week of training for our overseas adventure starting next Monday (October 5th). Training tour was absolutely fabulous while it lasted, and now we are pumped for a week of overseas preparation and then leaving again! A huge thank you to all of our hosts, contacts, schools, churches and gazebos: we love you all and we can't thank you enough. You gave us amazing memories and inside jokes that we will be using for the next month at least, I'm sure :)
Here are some pictures from the past three weeks! Enjoy :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Our Hosts, Thank you!

We are really grateful for all our hosts, and we are very thankful for all their hospitalities. I (Kylie) personally feel so blessed that we get to meet new people everywhere we go. The stories we have heard from our hosts and the relationships we have built are so valuable and precious.

So, thank you so much our host families!!! You are amazing!

Picnic with the hosts at Pella, IA.

We girls with our host at Milwaukee, WI.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Last night we had the privilege of for playing at Ascension Lutheran in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. Now we had driven from Pella, Iowa after leading Pella Christian High School in a time of worship and came into the evening a bit tired from the 6 hours in the van. But we loaded out and set up ready for action. Julie, who is the youth director, asked us to be a part of the youth group's time before the concert and wanted us to share about ourselves. We answered the question of which animal we would choose to be and after many laughs and such answered a bit about why we were with CTI. When we had each finished answering the questions Julie hit us with a deep question. "You all shared about how God made it clear to you that CTI was your next step, but HOW does God make it clear to you?" Whoa, how to answer that one. Chris stepped up to the plate and shared the verse, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4). Then shared with the kids how we need to first seek God and in the end His desires will be planted in our hearts and our "fleshly" desires will fade. When we seek God with all we are His desires becomes our desires and we will be able to follow God as He leads because when we seek Him with all our heart we will find Him. (Duet 4:29)

Now you may be wondering why I'm sharing this but it just hit me last night how often I just say things like "God made it clear" or "I just followed His call" without really thinking through HOW I know that or WHY I follow His lead. So I've been thinking more deeply about the whys and hows of following and listening to God's leading. Sure it's not always clear as day, but I am learning what it means to seek Him with all my heart and the joys that come when I am able to find Him and make His desires my own. I have a ways to go, but don't we all??

So thanks to Julie for prompting me in this thought and may we all begin to SEEK HIM with all we are so that we will be able to FIND HIM and follow those desires that will be planted within us.

Learning to Seek,
Carrie Joy :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Go Bulldogs!

1421 takes in a high school football game in Boscobel,WI before playing an evening concert sponsored by Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In His freedom

well hey there (:
We are officially in Wisconsin at this very moment. And I say officially because for the last couple of days we have been border hopping between Iowa and Wisconsin to find meals or a cherished cup of coffee. We've been playing in the curious little town of McGregor, Iowa, since Saturday and we moved on to Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin, yesterday. So far, life on the road is wonderfully sweet and we are enjoying it very much. Not to say that it hasn't come with lessons and craziness also, because it definitely has. We got the privilege of spending four days in McGregor, being able to minister to two churches, a happy group of people in a park (while we played from a gazebo, of all things!) nursing home residents and several other individuals. God is so good to us and we can't express that enough and how thrilled we are to be meeting all these wonderful people who have blessed us so much. Many of us have already expressed certain lessons that God has been embarking on us in the short time that we have set off on this journey, and already we can see similarities and bridges between these new changes that are happening inside of us. I think one of the main prayers of our team is that God would become more in our lives, our devotions, our ministries, our van, our conversations and our music, and that we would become less. I find myself being too much in my own life; trying to pour out love without being filled or having nothing to pour outside of myself, is impossible. We as 14:21 have a desire for the knowledge of God and how to be models of Phil. chapter 2. So while some of us are very far from home and others are just a few states away, God has been imparting huge lessons on us of worth and of breaking strength. In Christ we are finally satisfied and ready to pour out from His love. Christ's love has completely and utterly overwhelmed us and takes away any scars we might have had before. As one of songs states, we have "received another name" and are worthy to receive Christ's love. Knowing that we are free and that the lie of guilt has been cast off is one of the biggest freedoms I've ever experienced. In turn His love empowers us to go out and pour His love into other people's lives. In His freedom we choose to live, and our prayer is that this year He would fill us up, ready to pour us out and that we would make Him everything in our lives, diminishing ourselves to absolutely nothing without Him.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Ahh, the road...

Day one, on the way to Iowa...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Team Overview

Hey all!

This post is coming to you from Aaron Briggs, drummer for 1421! First off let me say that these first two and a half weeks have been so much fun just getting to know each other and our trainers and leaders and also just learning more from God and what his plan is for us. So now then, Lesley for team 1422 kinda did a rundown of their team and a little quip about them so i thought i should give you the pleasure of learning about members from 1421.

First off, our team leader, Carrie Vanderhorst!, Vocals
- Carrie is a crazy baker and makes yummy and delicious creations that don't have a snowball's chance in Africa when they enter the CTI kitchen. She has a killer voice and even killer-er egg shaker skills. She is what keeps us on task during rehearsals and we appreciate her leadership a ton! Carrie is also our spiritual leader and is always the one to lead us in our Bible Study and Prayer, and that is one of the most important things that she can do as our leader and for that we thank her!

Next, Kylie Yueh from Taiwan!, Vocals
- Kylie is also a vocalist, and even though she has a slight speaking accent when she sings it all comes out in a beautiful harmony that makes Simon Cowell go nuts. She is a ton of fun to be around, and despite what she says is amazing at Volleyball :) "Why Would You Do THAT?!?!?!?!?" Anyway, we love having Kylie on our team to lead us vocally! Kylie blesses us as a team by being the helpful one to take out cases, wrap cords, and do anything that we need her to do. She is a blessing to all of us on the team!!

Next up, Steve-O Buhler!, Bass
-Like Ferris, but cooler. My rhythm buddy shreds some mad licks on the rep songs we have this year without breaking a sweat! He is a fun-loving Manitoban who enjoys picnics and long walks on the tundra. Just kidding ya Steve-O :) Steve hails from Brandon, Manitoba along with 1422's drummer, Denny. there are quite a few Canadians on the teams this year which is awesome! Steve is always there to liven up the mood whenever we get down on ourselves or if we have a bad practice. He is the first to say, yeah guys we really messed up that song, but is also the first to hand out compliments when we nail a song so Steve is our encouragement buddy!

Next, Rich Scott, Rhythm Guitar
-Rich's coolest feature has to be his middle name. He has the coolest middle name ever, WEBSTER! :) Being one of the oldest on our team, Rich is always there with the wisdom we need, but is also there having fun just like the rest of us. he is always there for an encouraging word, or the lyrics/dance moves to any 70's/80's or 90's tune :) We are so glad Rich is on our team and that he sacrificed leaving his family and girlfriend for a year! We love ya Rich!

Next, Jim Dernell, Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
-Aside from carrying a ginormous voice with an even ginormous-er range, Jim carries some powere on teh 6-string as well. not only does Jim have to learn lead for 25 songs, including one by Lincoln Brewster, he also has to sing lead on qutie a few of them. As if doing one or the other isn't hard enough, Jim has to do both, and he excels at them both too! We love Jim for his work ethic getting down the songs and the lead vocals parts and for the fact that he never complains about them! Plus, Jim can sing just about any song by journey, higher than Steve Perry can.

Next, Nicola Losik, Keyboard, Vocals
- Nicola Losik is a piano master. Also, aside from tickling the ivories, she also sings, and very well at that. We commonly refer to her as , the Glue, meaning her diverse keyboard play is really what brings the songs together. Without the keyboard in there, it really doesnt sound the same, so we are glad nicola is with us! Nicola posesses the sweet and gentle spirit that works well on our team because of how we are as individuals. Nicola is always there to give an encouraging word or a smile and will be indispensable on the road when we get tired and grumpy. Thanks Nicola!

Next, Ken Simerly, Sound, Vocals
-Michael Jackson + Steve Perry = Ken Simerly. Ken posesses the great dance moves of Michael Jackson with the amazing voice and vocal range of Steve Perry. Plus, he makes us all sound good form the soundboard. Ken is an integral part of our team not only for his knowledge of sound and electronics but the fact that he is a returning fulltimer means that he can also lead us on the road when we meet certain situations he can show us what worked well for his team last year, and in turn, what we may do this year on our team. We love KEN!

Finally, Aaron Briggs, Drums, Percussion
-Aaron hails form Spokane, Washington and is a multi-faceted musician. In addition to drums, he also plays guitar and bass, and actually tried out for CTI on those instruments but got the position on the drums. He is thankful to God for every moment he spends at CTI with friends, leaders, trainers and the like. He also hates speaking about himself in third person.

Well, its kinda long, but this is us! Team 1421!!!!!!!!!!

For now, GOD BLESS!!!!!
- Aaron

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"You must complete your training..."

It’s been a week and a half here with CTI, and already I am exhausted. I haven’t put so much effort and been so deeply involved in something for… well, since last year’s CTI experience, but other than that, for a long time. I am really looking forward to diving in this year, and giving fully of myself not only in commitment to the program, but as completely as I can to God and what He has for me. Already He has been pruning and challenging me, getting to it right from the get go there, eh?! But I have been assured over and over again by those who have gone before that it IS worth it. So often I find I really don’t believe that when wagering obedience and devotion to our God. Hmm… Other than that, I think I am pretty set as far as musical challenges go for the year, Lincoln Brewster will have me practicing for the next five years to get that stinking solo. We have a heck of a team, and I am very excited to go out and to grow with them. We’ve got smarts (Carrie), wit (Kylie), sunshine (Nicola), insanity (Steve), wisdom (Rich), ease (Aaron),’I don’t know what you call that’ (Ken), maybe this can become the team name via acronym or something. SWSIWE – Idkwyct…(“I” for short)… oh what will we come up with? However, since this is indeed the first official blog of the year, all this chatter is simply the precursor to the message - training for CTI has begun and will continue, but this is only within the greater context of God's training for our hearts and lives throughout this year - indeed we must complete it!... and press on toward the goal as the year progresses, holding fast to the hope we have in Christ's saving work. Let's see how it unfolds...Day 1...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Meet the new crew!

Introducing CTI 14:21 '09-'10:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Music In Worship

Here is a video i put together over break, I hope you enjoy. Its a low quality so i could fit it on the blog, but its still worth it. -TaCo

Friday, March 27, 2009

One more week!

Greetings from Greenville, IL! We are hanging out here at Greenville College where Christian's older brother, Luke, attends college. Two days ago, we were in Taco's hometown for the third time, and tomorrow, we'll be back in St. Louis for the second time. It's always nice to make stops in places where it's familiar.

Well, our Winter tour is slowly coming to a close. We will be heading back to Willmar in less than a week after being on the road for 13 weeks. Being out on the road, especially for this long, is a unique experience. In times of weariness, we somehow need to figure out how to reenergize, to fuel up, to fight the routine, to take one day at a time, to take one venue at a time, to take one person at a time. It takes a TON of perseverance, but in order to get there, it takes a little bit more...

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 5:1-5

Those are my thoughts for the week. I hope that you are encouraged!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Monday, March 09, 2009


Greetings from the beautiful state of New York! We are currently housed with the Russels, who's daughter- Beth, was a part of a CTI team in 2005. It's always great to be housed with alumni (or the families of alumni).

Stanley, Laura, Aaron, Taco, Micaela, Ken and I all sincerely apologize for the extreme lack of blogage. We don't purposely let it go so long with out an update.. It just sort of happens. We promise you that from here on out, we'll be better.

Since the last time we updated, we have been continuing our climb of the east coast. We have made stops in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and now we're in New York. We've been so blessed I can't even begin to explain it to you. The amount of love that flows from these people who willingly let us stay in their homes and eat their food is incredible. It's so great to be able to see how God works through these people and how He continually proves His faithfulness.

It's insane to think about how much time has gone by since the beginning of this tour. It seems like it's been such a long time since we rolled out of Willmar back in January, but at the same time I think we can all agree that it's going way too fast. Our time together as a team is growing short. I thank God everyday for my team members- they are the coolest cats ever. I wouldn't rather be spending this year with anybody else.

Speaking of the team, we are sort of falling apart as far as health goes. Mr. Stanlers has been sick for about an eternity now, and Ken hit rock bottom this morning at church. On Friday I decided to play a game of basketball against two of the kids that went to the highschool we had just performed for. This was such a wonderful idea, seeing as how I'm incredibly athletic. To make a short story even shorter, I damaged my foot and now I'm on crutches. This proves to be more difficult that I thought it would, but the team is being great about it.

So yes, keep our team's health in your prayers please! Also pray that we continue to have safe travels and as we come to a close with this tour, my prayer is that we won't lose sight of why we are doing what we are doing. Pray that we will continue to grow together and build relationships with our hosts and contacts.

Until next time, peace out homies!

In Christ,

PS: Pictures to come soon!

Monday, February 16, 2009

She just coughs.

I cough a lot. Some of you are very aware of this and others may not quite appreciate what I mean when I say I cough a lot. When I say this, I mean I pretty much just cough insescently for about two months at a time. As a result, those who happen to be around me on a regular basis just learn to ignore it. Those who are not around me on a regular basis become extremely concerned and ask questions like, "Are you okay?" "Are you choking?" "Are you dying?" or my personal favorite, "What is your malfunction?" I also get offered a lot of cough drops. It's become a bad habit to collect them. See, the problem is not in my throat. It's a latened bronchial infection. That means that it's an issue in my lungs. It's not a tickle in my throat or a cold. There's nothing wrong that a cough drop will fix. However, when I begin coughing in the middle of a Sunday morning church service, and five minutes later, when I'm still coughing, someone is kind enough to get up and bring me a cough drop, I often do not take the time to explain the situation. I just accept the gift and smile gratefully amidst the hacking. I usually just write it off and try to avoid having one in my mouth when I have to sing. But in the last couple days I've been bombarded with medicinal offerings. In the last two concerts alone I was offered 18 cough drops, two jolly ranchers, a package of sweetharts to suck on, and an entire bag of lemon Ricola lozenges. Throw in the 6 cups of water that were offered, and that is definitely a record number for me. As I was sitting at the sound board counting all of that up last night, I found that I was a little overwhelmed by the feeling of gratitude I felt towards those who had offered them all. Here we are playing concerts for strangers- people we had never seen until 5 minutes before the show started- and here they are offering me anything and everything they have in their purses/wallets/pockets/car/etc. for the sake of my lungs. I've seen more people go out of their way to make sure I'm comfortable than I could ever have hoped or imagined. It's tremendously humbling. It's embarrassing at times, and usually a little uncomfortable. I know I don't deserve any of it and I also know that I should be doing the same for the people around me. How many times are there people in need around me that I just don't notice? How often to I empty my pockets/backpack/etc. for the sake of those around me? I guess I'd just like to say thank you to those who have shown me that kind of love in the last few weeks. Thank you to those who just pat me on the back and smile as I cough on them. Thank you for the reminder of what it means to serve, and the example of what I should be doing in the lives of those around me.

And I really do just cough a lot. I'm okay. I promise. :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My name is Taco

Hey its el the taco..havent been able to get my account to work, so im posting on micaela's. (smilie face)(smilie face). Its been an incredible past couple weeks. One sweet kickin thing we got to do was take some time off on a free day to just jam out and worship. We endud up putting together a redention of the song "freedom" by the band Full Frontal Sunshine! <-which i will be posting a sweet video of that i put together :D. We also had the opportunity to go to the Kennedy Space Station for free! A generous gift of a host family. So we spent the day there learning about the history of NASA and the craziness of actually getting INTO space. One of my favorite parts of the last weeks was the time we spent at aarons house out in the middle of Georgia. He happens to have acres and acres of woods surrounding his house, so i spent a good amount of time exploring and going on adventures in the woods climbing hills, going through creeks, and around lakes, and up trees. An amazing time getting to walk through the glorious untouched creation of God himself. Sometimes its just healthy to take some time and just stop and think, to just be in awe of Him.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hooome sweet home!

Adding on to Ken's previous post, we were in my hometown just a week ago which was pretty awesome. I'm sure some of us can agree that it's always nice to be back home while on tour. While we were there, we held a concert for my church. If anyone from my church is reading this, thanks to all of you who came out and supported us! It meant ALOT to me. I don't really have that much to say about it except that it made me miss worshipping with y'all and leading ya'll into worship.

Currently, we are in Aaron's hometown in Columbus, Georgia where wrestling wildlife is a sport AND probably a means for survival. Something that stuck out to me this week was this marquee in front of a church we passed by while driving to one of our venues. It said, "Our need is not for God to prove His faithfulness, but it is for us to show our own faithfulness to Him. (poorly paraphrased, sorry)." I'm the type of person that needs something proved to me before I actually follow through and do it. Many times, it's easy for me to walk around with that type of mentality towards God. "Show me how powerful You are, first!" In reality, He's already shown His faithfulness towards us and shown us what He is able to do. Jesus walked on water, healed the sick, fed thousands, conquered death, and those things aren't good enough for me?? All He wants from me is to be faithful to Him in all that I do. Anyway, that was something that encouraged me this week.

Psalm 115:1
Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Houston Texas, home of Stanley Tso, and 1421 (for the next day and a half). This is our second week on winter tour, we left Willmar on the 3rd and spent a few day's in Bushnell IL at Taco's home church. Then we went to Chicago and spent several days with Laura's family. After Chicago we went to St Louis were we stayed three nights with Kim's family, Kim has done cti summer three summers in a row so it was fun to see her :) From St Louis we drove all day to Dallas were we spent one night, then we drove to Austin and played a concert and stayed the night. Today we left Austin and drove to Houston were we are staying with Stanley's family, we will play at his church tomorrow.
Needless to say we have traveled a long way, and we have had a lot of great times. God is using us in truly unique ways and that is a wonderful thing to be a part of. We would appreciate your prayers as we travel and thank you for your support... and for reading our blogs :)

Here are some pics from our trip so far, these are from all over so I'm not even going to try labeling them all. Yes we went to the Zoo :)

Monday, January 05, 2009

On The Road Again

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you're doing well. We're off again and enjoying the first few days of our 13 week tour, in which we will be traveling in IL, TX, FL, and the rest of the East coast. So far we've been hanging out in Colin's hometown (Bushnell, IL), where we've played at his church, and soon the camp that he loves so much. Today we spent our day off at Fun City playing laser tag, bowling, go-carting, and playing tons of games. It was AWESOME. Yesterday was Colin's birthday too, so that made this particular stop that much more enjoyable. There was cake and ice cream galore! Not a bad way to spend the first weekend out, if you ask me.

Beyond all that, I'm so grateful to be back. There's nothing like a nice, long, relaxing break to remind me of what it is I'm called to do this year. While it was wonderful to be at home, to spend time with friends and family, and to catch up on some sleep, I must admit that I missed our team, our nasty van (though we have a few more weeks before it really gets all that nasty), the many host homes we've been privileged to stay with, and the music we all love so much. There is a feeling of utter contentment I get every time I'm on stage (or back at the board)- knowing that I am doing exactly what I was created to do. It's a remarkable feeling, and I can only pray that I can be aware enough of God's calling in my life to be in this state all the time. While I realize that I will not always be called to be traveling with CTI, I know that God has a plan for my life, and only by following Him into that willingly will I ever recieve the kind of peace and joy that comes from fulfilling that purpose that God has in my life. I pray this for all of you as well.

Here's a few pictures from our time so far...

These are Stanley wearing Ken's new specs, Colin wearing the apron he got for his brithday, a host brother wearing the Macki cover, and Micaela and Aaron bowling.

Ta ta for now!