Sunday, August 31, 2008

Look. Andrew's hair is gone. It must be time to leave.

Last night Luke Willoughby took the electric buzzers to Andrew's head. Hair's gone. Time to travel.

From Andrew Leigh
Day before Departure:

Right now I'm packing the last few things in my backpack.

Today we're going to Denver to hang out with family and friends. Then tomorrow we are going to the airport at 11 am and our flight leaves at 1pm. Thank you so much for your prayer. We look forward to keeping you updated as much as we can.

We'd love to here from you. Keep in Touch!


A Word on Sunday.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.
~psalm 34.8

It's a day to remember and look ahead. V-Team will tell you, in the last few years they have experienced God's abundant Life in Jesus. They can each speak about personal issues in their lives where they have been delivered, into freedom. They have seen miraculous provision for this trip. And they are about to taste and see more of God's goodness -- all across this beautiful and dying world -- more than most of us ever will. Today, they are blessed, because they really trust their God. They are following Him with their lives.

We trust in a God who gives abundant Life, and we expect to taste and see so much more of his goodness.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

V-Team, Gumbo & Sweet Tea
Yesterday Christian found a new supporter of V-Team, at Sweet Tea Country Cafe'. During the lunch hour, a lady sitting at a table next to Christian and Billy Outlaw struck up a conversation about the day's soup -- Gumbo. Long and short of it, after Christian explained that his Mom runs the place, the discussion turned a corner, to V-Team's departure. And, over lunch, V-Team gained a new supporter, email update recipient, and friend. Stories about people connecting with the heart of V-Team's mission are many. And yesterday's lunch is just one example. This amazing journey has even found it's way to people's hearts ... over a bowl of gumbo! Who knew?
A word for the day.

All three of the V- Team guys read and re-read quotes and passages from the Bible. For them, it is inspirational and directional. They have chosen this ancient passage from the Bible as their own, for this trip. These are words spoken long before Jesus lived. And, hundreds of years later, Jesus claimed this as a prophetic description of himself. Now as they set out to learn how to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people all over the world, V-Team is inspired to claim these words as their own. They hope to offer freedom, comfort, and new Life to anybody they are led to love and serve. And they'll be quick to tell you, this will not be by their own might or power, but by God's Spirit embedded inside them. This is their own Good News to pack and bring with them.
Isaiah 61
Good News for the Oppressed

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. "
Isaiah 61:1-9 NLT


Friday, August 29, 2008

Counting Down to Lift Off

They aren't astronauts. We aren't waiting for a space launch. But, it kind of feels that way. Monday's flight out of Denver is just a couple of days away. The Team has done last minute cheklists, and more last minute checklists. Actually, Christian has been packing for more than a week. Andrew and Evan just started today.

Final gear includes airporter bags to cover the backpacks when they are checked, hard guitar cases, and ultralight hammocks. All three of the guys got together and tried out the hammocks last night. After getting them hung in trees at Evan's house, it started to rain. So, the first trial run was a bit soggy -- but successful.

Saturday will be the final day to pack their backpacks and head out of Woodland Park, Colorado for the last time until next year. When they come back, we'll have a new President.

Family Good-Byes
All three families will be gathering in Denver on Sunday. We will meet in a park for lunch, then head out to the Denver Aquarium. After dinner and some swimming in the hotel pool, we'll all head for our rooms and get ready to leave by 7 am Monday morning. Friends and family will be there to send V-Team off at the security gate, bound for Miami, then Port au Prince, Haiti. As Moms, we have made a pact to celebrate the departure, big time. This is going to be a great send-off weekend. Tears will come after they're gone, past security, and out of sight.

Yes. It is hurricane season. V-Team will be flying into some unknown weather conditions. Hurricane Gustav left a wake and 22 people dead in Haiti. It is now headed for the Gulf. The Team will miss Gustav in their travels. The current hurricane under watch is Hanna. ( )
However, the projected course of that storm does not appear to be bound for Haiti. The team appears to be on a hurricane-free course, at least for the next week or so while they travel. We will keep you posted while they are in country and storms continue to form.

Please feel free to contact the team with well-wishes and Bon Voyages before they go!
Leave a Comment for them!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gear & Gadgets

What's in their packs?
For the gear geeks among us, here are a few cool gadgets the Team will be packing.

The days tick by toward departure. As a Mom, I'm seizing every extra minute I can get in order to hang out with Andrew before he leaves. Today, he did some final gear shopping. I was really glad to tag along. Here are a couple cool items from our day-out.
Photos and video will be such an important means of communication during the trip. V-Team has received both a digital still camera and a digital video camera from generous friends and supporters. So, in order to afix their cameras in any place, any time, in order to do group shots or video blogs, we have today's Gadget #1.
The "Joby gorillapod" is a toy-like thingy that firmly secures a camera to just about anything. "Each Gorillapod is made up of 30 or more fully articulating ball-and-socket joints. You can bend and twist them into any shape ...Unlike traditional tripods, Gorillapods do not require a level or elevated surface for you to take the perfect shot." And, heck, they are fun to play with!
Check out the gorillapod website:

There are some survival needs specific to global travel. One important survival issue, is water. Americans are extremely fortunate to have clean water at the turn of a faucet. However, globally speaking, water carries a high risk of contamination and disease. Water filtration systems are a necessary piece of gear for globe trotters.

Standard water filtration systems typically include some sort of pumping device which manually filters out impurities and water-born diseases. One side of a tube dangles into the water source and feeds pumped water through a hand-held filter, then pours out of a clean tube, into a water jug or bottle. Portable pump devices fit in a small draw-string bag. Some travelers choose to go smaller. Iodine tablets can be carried easily. Once dropped into a clean bottle full of water, the iodine requires 20 minutes to adequately filter out impurities. But it also leaves a slight after-taste.

Today's V-Team Gadget #2 is new technology in water filtration. Andrew purchased a UV filtration system for the team. The Steripen uses ultraviolet light to destroy microbes. "Whether your source is a woodland brook or an overseas hotel tap, SteriPEN purifies clear water by destroying viruses, bacteria and protozoa—including Giardia and cryptosporidium -- in seconds." (from the website). This purifier looks like a digital thermometer and comes with a solar-powered case that recharges the device. Cool. And I can be a real-life testimonial. We used one of these on my 4th annual Women's Backpacking Trip up into Holy Cross Wilderness, and it was handy!

And finally, today's V-Team Gadget #3 is a simple solar lid.

Proof that great ideas come in little packages, this water bottle lid by day, is also a light by night. During the day, the LightCap 200 charges with solar power. At night, the water bottle glows bright. Re-usable energy. Fits on any standard nalgene type bottle. V-Team has gone green!
Watch for more Gear & Gadgets updates..
and comment with your own travel gadget tips!

The LightCap 200


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Have Visa, Will Travel

Fed-Ex arrived at Christian Outlaw's door yesterday. The last piece of travel documentation was delivered, just in time. The visas for India are now glued on pages in the 3 team passports. Everyone can exhale. The Team is officially set to leave the country, with their passports in hand.

Why does someone need a visa if they already have a passport?

I've always been a bit confused about visas. Americans commonly use the word "visa" interchangeably with "credit card." However, worldwide, the "visa" is a small paper document with official looking stamps that are either loose, or permanently stuck on their own passport page. In addition to a government issued passport, some countries require travelers to formally request permission to enter and exit their country. The visa is essentially permission granted by a country to travel or visit during a certain period of time, for clearly declared reasons. Some countries just want to decide exactly who can or cannot enter. And they want to know exactly when foreigners are entering and leaving their borders.

So, the visa is basically a very serious go-directly-home-or- to-jail-without-it version of a permission slip.

For the guys, the Brazil visa application was cumbersome and hard to do on-line. Steve Leigh helped with that process, and was very frustrated with the way the form scrambled and wouldn't print out. He spent a couple of hours working on it before ditching the process to do it another way. The India visa, however, was simple and efficient. Christian was very happy with how smoothly the Indian government online visa process worked. So, if you are deciding between Brazil and India for your next spring break, and your main deciding factor is the visa process -- go with India!

Passports and Visas are in hand. V-Team is ready to fly.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Community Send-Off

Sunday, August 17th V-Team spent their last Sunday together at their supporting home church. In order to send them off well, their Pastor and mentor, Matt Parker, gave a brief overview of the mission and itinerary of the team. Christian, Andrew, and Evan each took a few minutes to personally describe their shared mission, directional verses from the Bible, and details of the trip. Then, the whole church family gathered around the guys, laid hands on them, and prayed for them as they depart. In that place, V-Team received the blessing of their large church family.

It was the last time for Christian and Andrew to play on the worship team (with Tyler Leigh, Luke Willoughby, Lindy Roberts, and other teen friends). They have both played guitar/ bass/ or vocals since Middle School. Worship Pastor and friend, Todd Zeller personally acknowledged how they have grown over the years, and they played together, for the last Sunday, for a long while.

The Team has been humbled to find out that an extremely generous offering was recieved. The guys will be able to depart, with more funds than expected! God continues to provide, in miraculous ways, through generous people. Community Church sent V-Team off ... hugely blessed.


Global Locator Given to the Team!

This week, V-Team was given equipment that will help us follow their travels from a bird's eye view! A small satelite device was donated to the team by friend & geographer, Marshall W., in Woodland Park. The Spot Locator is a satelite messenger that will allow a vital line of communication with family and friends via GPS networks. The team can also use it in certain parts of the world as an emergency device that will help us locate the team in a crisis.
How it works:

For Tracking the Trip

"Also known as SPOTcastingSM, this feature allows friends and family to follow your progress in real time or to save waypoints so you can review your entire route at a later date." (From Spotme website) The trip will be mapped as it happens and displayed with Google Maps.

For Emergency Situations (a feature that will be best-loved by the team's parents)
"Once activated, SPOT will acquire its exact coordinates from the GPS network, and send that location along with a distress message to a GEOS International Emergency Response Center every five minutes until cancelled. The Emergency Response Center notifies the appropriate emergency responders based on your location and personal information – which may include local police, highway patrol, the Coast Guard, our country’s embassy or consulate, or other emergency response or search and rescue teams – as well as notifying your emergency contact person(s) about the receipt of a distress signal.Once activated, SPOT will acquire its exact coordinates from the GPS network, and send that location along with a distress message to a GEOS International Emergency Response Center every five minutes until cancelled. The Emergency Response Center notifies the appropriate emergency responders based on your location and personal information – which may include local police, highway patrol, the Coast Guard, our country’s embassy or consulate, or other emergency response or search and rescue teams – as well as notifying your emergency contact person(s) about the receipt of a distress signal." (from website)
Now, the team's progress can literally be mapped and tracked, across the globe for a majority of their trip. (The only coverage exceptions will be portions of Uganda, India and Thailand).

Watch for this cool and generous gift to be put to use by V-Team, on the blog, and more!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Big Trip Map

Need a visual?
Here's the big trip all mapped out.

V-Team will be going global with one-way tickets around world. They will live in 8+ destinations over the course of 7 months.

Thanks to the generous support of family and friends in the U.S., Andrew, Christian, and Evan will be able to realize a dream that started two years ago in Brazil. And now, after many after-school and late night plans; after many phone calls and support-raising gatherings; and finally; now that the backpacks, passports, visas, shots,cameras and video are set to go; They are ready to leave.

Departure is September 1st, Denver International Airport. From there, the world.

Check out the map and follow their progress. (If it's hard to see, click on the image to enlarge the picture.)