Thursday, October 15, 2009

Band

Hey everyone! this is Andrew. I just wanted to share what God has been doing in my life over the last six months. We arrived home and started to acclimated back to what it is like to live here in the states. God began to lead us all in new directions and to new great things. Christian got accepted to JBU, and Evan headed to California to try his hand at sharing God's love with some of the world's richest, and the State's poorest people. Meanwhile the only thing God seemed to be doing in my life was wrecking everything. He started to say that i was not supposed to go to Belmont and i wasn't even allowed to go to pikes peak community. i needed to wait for him to show up.

As time went on, it became increasingly more difficult. Relationships here fell apart and my best friends went to opposite sides of the country. Needless to say it felt pretty rotten "stuck" here in woodland park missing my three best friends. This whole time I have to admit I had my days of being frustrated beyond belief, and wanting to give up on this whole waiting thing. It just didn't make any sense from where i was sitting. i mean really. how is doing nothing productive, ever?

Its funny it always has to get hard before it gets better, it seems. My last week of this crazy time I went to church down in the springs and the pastor gave a lesson on how basically if your not moving, God can't use you. I was sent into a tail spin. had i been disobedient this whole time? This happened several other times where i would be talking to someone and they would bring up laziness or not hearing God's voice. And just at the point where i couldn't hardly believe in what God had said anymore, he showed up. I got this phone call and the person introduced himself and we talked for several minutes like everyone does when they don't know each other. Then he says this, "Andrew we are looking for a guitar player to go on tour. are you interested?"

Now before i go on, i want to say that God is not good because circumstances are good. He is good because he is God. So, as of right now i am going to be leaving to go on tour with a band called Andrew Witt (formerly Rough Draft). If you want to listen you can find them on iTunes as Rough Draft. I will be leaving the 28th of october to go to Florida, and would totally love your prayers. This is a christian band so please pray that we can be able to point people to Christ whenever and wherever we are. I am so thankful that God has given me this opportunity for how ever long it lasts. thank you all so much for your prayers.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Update from Richard (Canaan Farm)

About 2 months back, we put together a care package to send to Canaan Farm. Well, they received it and were very glad. Back a few years ago, Andrew and I (christian) played in a band called Doxology. When we broke up, we had a bunch of shirts left over that had our logo on them. We had been thinking of what we could do with all these spare shirts, so we figured this would be a great option. So in the package, we sent a bunch of 'Doxology' shirts as well as kitchen knives, elementary english books, movies, devotional books, and a few other personal gifts for Richard and Susan. After receiving the package, Richard took pictures of all the guys wearing the shirts, as well as one with him and Susan.
As most of you remember, while at Canaan Farm, we built a hut for a widow named Tabitha. Well, a couple months after leaving, someone donated the money to build her a real house, made of concrete. One of our friends from the states was there while Tabitha's new house was being built, and tells us that Tabitha was walking around weeping and praising God for her new house. Richard also sent us pictures of Tabitha's new house. Praise God for our friends in Uganda!!! Enjoy the Pictures!

-Christian
Dennis wearing his new shirt
Dennis (number 2) wearing his new shirt!
Geoffrey
The Guys with Richard and Susan in the middle!
Group Hug!
Our bible study guys with their new shirts
Check Out her smile!

Tabitha and her new House

Friday, September 18, 2009

Update from Christian

A few months back, I started this process with a ministry called HCJB out of Colorado Springs. I began pursuing working for them in Quito, Ecuador for the summer 2010. During my visit to their office in the springs, I got to meet a guy named Brandon Cole who had been an MK (missionary kid) with HCJB in Ecuador the majority of his life. He was now interning with them. I also found out that Brandon was a student at JBU, the school I currently attend. I was really excited to hear this. 
   Through our conversation, he told me about his brother, also a student at JBU, was currently in Echador working with a few different ministries. Brandon told me that I should meet his brother this fall and maybe talk to them both about HCJB. 
   After my meeting that day, I started the application process but I was taking it slow. As I was praying about everything, I felt the Lord telling me to put the app on hold for a while, just rest with this.
    Fast forward a month or so to me being in Arkansas...I was starting to feel a bit unsure with the whole thing. Was I supposed to stop pursuing? I wanted to wait it out though, atleast until I got to school and saw some of the opportunities JBU offered. During registration, I signed up to join a 'passion group', basically bible study/guys group. The passion groups wouldn't get organized for about a month or so. 
    Fast forward about a week ago now. I was really starting to doubt whether or not I needed to just email HCJB and call it all off, but God told me to be patient. So I prayed about it for the next few days. 
    Last Tuesday, I got an email saying that that night there was gonna be a ' meet your passion group' event. When I got to the thing, I went and looked up what group I was in and theN I went to meet my leader. His name is Brian. Within a couple minutes of talking with him, I realized that I already knew who he was. Brian was Brandon's brother. When I realized this, I asked him if I could share with him a little story...and I told him all a out what God was doing this last summer. 
    I had gone to the passion group thing that night with the intention of telling my leader, after meeting him, that I was to busy to be involved and that I wasn't gonna do it. But from the moment I met Brian, I felt God was speaking to me. This was one of the ways He wants to communicate with me about next summer. I know that Brian being my passion group is not a coincedence. Gid had His hand in the whole thing. 

Friday, September 4, 2009

Learning about peter standing on the raging sea

"Cuz Gods got Hiz hand on ever-thang. To where He'll take care of da problems, is not fo 'you to worry 'bout." - Random hick guy on The Almost's music video to "Southern Weather" (written phonetically) . Spelling...? i dono.

I haven't fully processed or realized what has happened yet, but I got a house. Big news. I have been searching for a month for a place to live, living as an orphan in my uncles house, commuting hours to find a job/house. After school started and things got crazy with that, as I am begging to settle for, "well, maybe it's not a big deal to God, maybe I should settle for this terrible living situation and move on..." I set up an appointment and arrived VERY late due to normal circumstances (got lost and hit traffic). As the lady was leaving the house to lock up, I ran up out of breath and explained. After seeing the house I was fully convinced with 100% confidence I should be there. Its an alcohol free and drug free house of all males, most of which are going to Glendale College. I am in a room with free internet, two awesome room mates, a nice bed with sheets and a comforter, a dresser and all the works! Now I am hopefully waiting for a job to pay for the next months rent! I will be spending my time now continuing looking for jobs in the day and doing college online at night. Kayla and I found a home church to begin plugging into as well. This church is located all thorugh out L.A. (changes buildings and theatres at different services) and is called "Mosaic." We have visited multiple churches since arriving here, and have FINALLY found one that we feel a part of and are ready to give ourselves to serve and be in community. Hopefully that will be picking up soon too.

I don't know why all of this has happened, why it took me a month of hard work while it took my room mate one day (who moved in one hour after me) to find this place. I know that feeding the homeless no longer feels like an "ought to" as a christian. For the past month I have felt hunger more than I ever have, and just an overall lowness of being on the outside of everybody's lives. I was sitting next to a guy in downtown burbank, all dressed up looking for a job- while he was obviously homeless and hungry. It should have been a painting; he was whistling and smiling, while my top buttons were loosened and I was rubbing my forehead in doubt and worry. Sitting on the same park bench. Priceless. I was thinking, "it may not look like it, but you and I are in the SAME position right now man. We have more similar circumstances than it seems! Gods kingdom is made up of men like you."

All I know is it's divine appointment to be living in this house. I know I am supossed to be in these guys' lives, and I couldn't IMAGINE a better living situation for me right now. I feel like this sort of thing makes me fully alive (besides being in the brush of Uganda). I am so thankful, and very bewildered still! I don't really know what to say about all of it except... YESSSS!!!!!!!! THank you for staying posted and checking in on us, hope all is well with you. Thank you for praying, it really does make all the difference in the world!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

last post by evan again

Doin life...

quick story: One tuesday night at 7:15 i was bored as ever here in irvine. I thought back to sunday where a guy named johnathon preached at oasis church in L.A. (Kayla's old church). He was from newport church and it was an amazing message. So i looked up newport church and saw they had "lifegroups" (laid back small groups for college kids) at 7:30 on tuesday nights! So, i hopped on the phone and the 405 north to newport (about 8 mins away) and figured i'd give it a shot. So i get a call and long story short I get set up with a bbq life group. i walk in the door to a room full of people ages 20 and above of people I had never seen or talked to. I was a complete stranger to these people. i thought to myself, "what the heck am i doing in CA?" I introduced myself to about 20 ppl and remembered 4. By the end of the night i made a few good friends, two being twin brothers who have a clothing label, run worship at newport church, and one is an architect. They were really good guys to take me in and take an interest in me, since I knew NOBODY and just had to put myself out there. they invited me to the next sunday service at night (this past sunday). Kayla and I went and it was AWESOME! We really enjoyed this church, as we are looking for a church to join now. We went to the dream center and are planning on going to a few more churches coming up. Right now we are really longing to plug into a community and get grounded in a church to serve and be a real part of.

I spend my time during the week spending time with my family (Aunt, Uncle and cousins), looking for houses/apartments, and helping out around this house any way that I can. On the weekend I go up to see kayla (couple hours away) and we look at places for me to live, go to the park, watch her dance, just hang out and be together. This has been really amazing, but I am ready to have my own place to live and a job. I am ready to get settled somewhere, get into our own church, and get going on this. This time is somewhat awkward for I am not sure what else I am supposed to be doing! School is coming up August 31st, and I would like to have a job and a place to stay in by that day. It would be my ideal to have a job and house by the time school starts. Also, to have the faith I should to get me there. With my feeble bank account and seemingly impossible circumstances, I am really in a place where I need to have great faith. I want to have this so badly! It is much different reading the bible and hearing in church how faith is so important and putting it into practical life and needing to completely rely on God having faith. Boy it's a new way of life that is for sure!

If you would be willing, please pray that
- Kayla and I would plug into a great community of believers
- I would grow in my faith and find God to be faithful to His word
- I would know how to be obedient to Him in this time and obey Him

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Melrose and Stanley

I am sitting here in the star bucks at Melrose and Stanley- Hollywood California. In this crazy mess I become settled... somehow. I don't know how that works because of how ADD i am, especially with coffee. I began to think of where I stood in this crazy land. Of this foriegn place. I mean, when i walk the streets I feel normal. More normal than India at least. But im still not in place. I feel like if i am to run this race that i am surrounded by then I am going to fail miserably. Because there is always someone better, taller, wealthier, nicer car, better looking- you name it! I felt more and more still as I realized that this race was escapable! I was telling Kayla- that when I am at a stop light I never have to fret. This is because we are surrounded by opulent vehicles that would smoke my four-cylinder, two door escort if I had a jet engine on it. But automatically I found the peace that comes with aiming for a different goal. Suddenly i felt like a winner when I opted out of this race. When i gave up my will- and surrendered it with determination. I meditated on Romans Chapter 12 verses 1 and 2 which say,

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is."

This was so inspiring to hear that God has a specific will and identity for each one of us. This changes us when we really believe it and take it in! And He has created us so unique and special, but it's for Gods glory. It is so people will see the vastness of God. And so again it was amazing to step out of the oh so popular "Ray Bans" and skinny jeans race (A popular look here). So sure, I am excited to walk these broken streets of Hollywood with Kayla and seek whatever can be done to pass the love on we have received. But its a different kingdom, a different purpose. It's a totally different experience! I must say that its much more peaceful and fulfilling. What an exciting thing it is to have a way out of this world!

~Evan Stookey 7:52 p.m.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A walk to remember...

This evening I took a walk down Newport Beach. From about a mile south of the peir to a few miles north of the pier. On the way I stopped at the pier and was asking God if He had plans for me in California. As i began my walk down the pier I saw an elderly lady laying down on a bench with EVERYTHING she owned packed into a grocery cart. People stared at her as they walked by. I found MYSELF walking by as well- feeling pity. On my way toward the end of the pier, i realized... "what am i doing? I call myself a follower of Christ but I won't do what He did or wants me to do!!!" So i turned around and asked God to take care of the rest. To take care of the words, of other's reactions, of her reaction- and just had a simple desire for her to feel loved. I sat down next to her prepared to let it all hang out and see what would happen... but she was asleep. Some others passed, woke her up and gave her money. after THEY prayed for her and left, i realized THIS WAS MY CHANCE!!! i scooted in, trying not to freak her out and told her my story. I didn't have much to give because I didn't have much at all, haha :) But we sat there and talked. Angel is her name, and I found how desperate she was for love. Just for someone to listen. For someone to sit next to her and not be freaked out. She spilled the beans of everything she could think of to not lose my attention. we talked for sometime about the reality of Matthew ch. 5- the beatitudes where Jesus teaches many people some basic yet challenging principals for comfortable, affluent Americans.

Later I walked down a jetty just north as the sun was setting and found a man fishing among the crashing waves. Shortly after introducing myself, I found (through his broken english and spanish accent) that he loved to fish. That he was where nobody was to catch the more rare fish- although he hadn't had any luck :) Very quickly we began talking about life with our hands and spanish/english. Very quickly we realized as we discussed together- "Life is so full with Jesus! If you have Him, you have everything! If you don't life is empty!!! Jesus is everthing!" I found that William was extremely passionate about the fact that Jesus is the way, truth and life. How exciting to meet him!? Just before leaving we talked about how pretty the ocean was and what a wonderful place to be. As i departed he reassured me, "Because of Christ, we are very good brothers!!!" I left on that note and returned to my walk down memorable Newport beach, Southern CA.

I don't know what all of this means, but I do know that an adventure lies ahead no matter the location or if its mundane. Gods gotta sweet plan for all of us :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The last post...

yeah, the last post was posted by me, EVAN STOOKEY!

California

"Father, the hour has come..." John 17:1 (Jesus)

Already things are happening here! I really am starting to believe that God has plans for everyones lives. So far I have been here for a week or so, a lot of the time searching for places to live with my family. The rest of the time has been taken up by hanging out with family spread across california- seeing what there is to see and enjoying their company. This has been a blast to see them and catch up with them! Southern California is beautiful and there is no place like it. I am in love with this weather right now, and I am excited about making new friends and jumping into a whirlwind of new culture and experiences.

So far there is no success with finding a place to live. Not a clue:) but strangely I am at peace against all human nature (and this is because of something supernatural). I have learned here so far that if I focus on my circumstances, then I am done for. Because this is probably not going to get any easier. Once school and a full time job kicks in God is going to be my only hope for strength, joy and remaining true to my REAL purpose on earth! Already though, God is remaining faithful to His word. I am learning to take Him at His word and leap out in faith that He is who He says He is. This so far has been amazing as I am humbled before God and how incredible He is- then seeing how He always carries through with promises He makes in the bible. His words to us of love, comfort, protection and providence are all I have right now. I feel peace, like I am on the raging sea like Peter, and Jesus is faithfully walking on the chaos of my life. I am humbled before God in this time.

My family is amazing. I am so happy to be close to them here in California, although I had to say goodbye to my immediate family (who are soo important to me). That sucks, but I am realizing that God has a plan for me in this time and I need to drink that entire cup to the very last drop. I love my family here in California- and I am very excited to spend time with them and love them in any way I can! Thank you for staying tuned. Your prayers are invaluable. I cannot explain how much it means tome!!!!

Please pray
- I would be the fragrance of Christ here
- I would have more and more faith
- Christ would be everything to me, all my hope and security
- I would be obedient in this time
- He would give me strength to keep seeking Him
- I would shed all that is slowing me down

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spiders of Canaan Farm

Just thought we'd give you a little visual of some of the creatures we lived with back in December. Enjoy.

-V-team

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

There are Floaters in my Coffee

So, being back in the States for 3 months now I'm getting used to a lot of the ways of Americans again. At Starbucks, I take orders, meet customers needs, and make countless cups of coffee. Tonight (tuesday), we are sitting in the Leigh's living room, during one of our 'Interviews'. I was reading through a journal entry as we discuss topics and events of India and I come across and entry about coffee that made me laugh.

Here's what it said:
January 20, 2009
"... I was just thinking this might be a good title or chapter in a book. "There are floaters in my coffee." More or less, this idea is that I have become so desensitized to things. I can't really explain it. It has just happened. My standard of cleanliness and comfort has gone down in recent months. I guess my worries of things has too.
I have drunk the water and eaten the food cooked on the streets. All those kinds of things would be out of the question a year ago. But it's cool how my perception of life has changed.
Now, when we are in the airports we are 'safe.' Everyone is not out to get us. My level of worry has changed a lot too. I think all these changes aren't out of stupidity or carelessness ... maybe they are. But, I think a lot of it has to do with growing up. Always having a sense of awareness is good. But the thing I realize as I step back and look at the big picture is this: The rest of the world is full of people, too ... other humans just trying to work, eat, build, fellowship, communicate, grow, learn, love and simply live. To other westerners it may look different, but people everywhere are no different than in the States. I think I came to this while in Uganda. My mindset up until that point was smaller and more closed. But now I see it differently..."
After having been away from the 'civilized' USA for 4-5 months, I was beginning to realize how desensitized I had become to certain things such as cleanliness and sanitation. They are things that people all over the world have to deal with. Over time when you are exposed to something or a list of somethings, you begin to get used to it, maybe even desensitized to it. I wouldn't really freak out if I ended up doing the things that your parents always told you not to do. I think I really began realizing this when the team from the US arrived in India. They all had their hand sanitizer and personal cleansing items at the ready at all times. They were all double and triple checking that we could drink this certain water. This was all great and I loved being a part of it. This is not a put down in any way. It was just different for me. In the morning, they had there dunkin donuts coffee that included 'no floaters'. You know, a bug or dirt or stray chunk of something. Some people call it "trail spice." Others blame it on a broken dishwasher. Floaters.

And now, I work at Starbucks and make countless cups of coffee every day, without any floaters. I am faced every day with the worries and consumption of Americans... and all the little things that get in the way that cause you to miss the more important things. I am daily in the process of remembering how to not let those things consume me as they once did; learning how to love like Jesus in this consuming culture that we were born into. How do we keep Jesus and the way of his love as our focus in our day to day lives in America? 

What does that look like for you? I challenge you with this the next time your drinking your cup of coffee...without any floaters.

-christian

Sunday, June 28, 2009

for the love of pete...

"for the love of pete... DON'T FEED THE HUUUUUDDGGE!"
-the hudge is a mythical creature in the land of strongbad. Nobody knows exactly what happens when you feed him...

NOW THAT I HAVE GOT YOUR ATTENTION...! 

as we are working on this book and pursuing interviews, we have a photo-shoot date with Cassidy Nettles at  Olive Tree Photography. she's going to some to and interview sessions and do a "photo shoot" of us, for the book. Things are going well with the book, we are currently finished with Uganda, and VERY slowly working to the end ... turns out that a book doesn't just come together from talking, laughing and telling stories (unfortunately)- good thing we have Kelley Leigh to guide us through!

Life in the United States has been tough... honestly. Between the relationship shock and culture shock, we are finding it's difficult, if not impossible, to live as we did over seas. We heeded much warning about the battle of reverting back to our past, or living in a mediocre way- and are still trudging through. 
It feels good to be 'normal' as we are somewhat caught up on cultural norms.It is cool to see good ol' friends. Its cool to go to our local wal-mart in our small town and recognize half the people there. We don't feel like aliens too much! Haha, this helps but also leaves a lot of temptation to settle for comfort in how we live. By this we mean aiming and striving for comfort, complacency and simply ourselves in every day life. We are finding much need for time of reflection, on how things used to be, how God wants them to be, and how we/things are now. We have found in our lives that we only have so much time, and its easily wasted. Its up to us how we use it. 
every single one of us has a specific purpose daily, and we must take it upon ourselves to pursue it. God has made each one of us specially designed and unique, and its up to us to... BE! Its been amazing to find that God has these things for us no matter where we live, our jobs or who is around us! It is so cool to find that the trip is not even close to being over! All of these things are staying close in our minds and hearts as we prepare for the next step. Just another mission trip. Another mission day. For me this is the "modern day Soddom and Gommorah"; for Christian, it's an awesome community to mature his unique gifts and abilities; and for Andrew,  it's to worship God and all His glory, and to be with those who share it too.
while here in our small town, we are finding that God is here, with us, and working here. So we are taking much joy in seeing our friends find their purposes here, as well as ourselves. One thing I believe to be true is that we need God even more hard core than we ever have! God is proving Himself to be faithful to us. We feared returning dealing with the frustration of culture shock and "relationship" shock, and against our doubts of Him leaving us God has totally continued to be near us. 

So... things are good! Tough, fun, stuggling, with much joy and passion. ah.... LIFE!!!!!!!!!

stay close- we are going to continue posting whats happening here in Colorado!

watch for pictures from the photo shoot from Cassidy!

evan

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Zealand Video!

video

Sorry it took like 2 months to get this video up but here it is! We miss all you Kiwi's!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Almost 3 months back...where are they now?

So as most of you know, we have been back in Colorado since March 24 and it has been good. We have all enjoyed catching up with family, friends and our lives here in the States, but not forgetting the people and the places that had such a huge impact on our lives in the last 8 months. God taught us much on the trip and is continuing to teach us. So I just want to let all of you know what V-team is doing these days as we are back in the States.

Andrew is living at home with his family in Woodland Park, CO. He has also taken over the worship pastor position at Woodland Park Community Church for the summer, while the full time Worship Pastor, Todd Zeller, is on sabatical. Andrew is pursuing his career in guitar and working towards going to Belmont University in Nashville, TN for next year some time. Andrew is also working at a car wash.

Evan is living with his family in Woodland Park, CO. He is working for his dad's company as a pool boy and a volunteer youth intern at Woodland Park Community Church. Evan will be moving to Los Angeles, CA at the end of July with a mutual friend, David Gillie. He will be working and going to school at Fullerton Community College and only a short distance from where his girlfriend, Kayla, lives. Evan is also working at a car wash.

Christian is living in Woodland Park, CO in a cabin with a mutual friend, Micheal Correll. He is working at Starbuck's Coffee and volunteering as a youth intern at Woodland Park Community Church. Christian will be going to school at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, AR in August. His family has moved back to Little Rock, AR as well.

As V-team, we are doing some follow up things from the trip as well. Currently, we are working on sending a couple care packages to Canaan Farm in Uganda. We are also working on the production of our DVD and our follow up letters from the trip to be sent out soon! And for some rather big news...
Let me just go back a few months to the trip. While we were gone, we started toying with the idea of writing a book when we got back. We would share stories and experiences of what God taught us with trusting and relying on him. We would share about traveling on our own at a young age and living without parents for the first time (and in another culture). We would give our advice to those wanting to do similar things regardless of age. Ultimately we would encourage people to soley rely on and trust God whether in the USA or over seas. This was our thought.
After returning home, many people began encouraging us to pursue this book idea. Of those people included writer, Kelley Leigh (Andrew's mother!). So we sat down with Kelley and began brainstorming this thought.
Now moving forward, the process has begun. The project thus far is known as 9th Country: The Interviews. We sit down twice a week with Kelley, some snacks, a computer and our journals. We have been going in order of the trip, starting with Haiti, then Brazil, so on...Kelley asks us questions, we have themes, and we record it all on the computer. We were praying for a transcriptionist and God provided. A member of our church used to transcribe and she volunteered for the position. We are so grateful for this. We don't really know where this is all going but its a process that is just really at the beginning. You can be watching for excerpts of the interviews on our blog and updates of where the project is going.

We would love to hear from you! We still frequently check our email worldboundmissions@gmail.com
Please send us an email and tell us what is going on in your life!

~Christian

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Where are they?!"

It's been a little over 3 weeks since the Team returned to the United States. And, some dedicated V-Team Blog Followers are in withdrawal. SO... a little information for those of you who keep checking for some form of update. :)
First of all, yes, Evan finally shaved his beard and cut his hair. His hair was cut in New Zealand and was a re-vamped sort of mullet. His beard was cut once he got home. It was a group event. Andrew's brothers went over to the Stookey's to watch.
Andrew, Christian, and Evan were joined by more than 130 people in Colorado in a potluck reception that included pictures, dinner, music, and stories, stories, stories. It was a captivating night. Audience members wrote down questions on small pieces of paper, and Evan sifted through them. The three guys, positioned on stools, with mics, then took turns answering the wide variety of questions like:
"What was your scariest moment?"
"Did you get tired of each other?"
"What was the best animal you saw?"
"What did you learn about God?"
"How have you changed?"
"What are you going to do next?"

People gave the loudest reaction when video was played of Evan eating a form of goat yogurt (Andrew had offered Evan $10 to eat it). He didn't vomit... but boy, it sure looked like he was going to hurl, several times.

Christian talked about the adjustment of suddenly be apart all the time after being together every minute. It was difficult to re-adjust to being separated. Which is a very true condition at the moment. They are separate. For the first time in 8 months, the Team is in 3 different states. Right now, Andrew is in Minnesota, traveling with his Grampa Leigh. Christian is in Arkansas for a bit, visiting family. And Evan will be coming back to Colorado after he finishes up a couple weeks in California.

Once they all finish their short travels, all three will be back in Colorado for the duration of the summer. Christian and Evan will be working with Matt Parker and youth ministry. Christian will be back at his barista job at Starbucks. Andrew will be Intern & Interim Worship Pastor at Woodland Park Community Church.

Feel free to check back in for possible posts when they all land back in the same place again.
Thanks for your interest and support!



~KjL

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bittersweet feelings and Thank You's!

We have now been home for 9 days.  The time since we landed has gone by so fast.  It feels great to be home and we are learning how to do this American thing again.  Our prayer is that we do not forget what God has shown us in the last 7 months and that we can effectively live out his will for our lives.  We are currently figuring out job and living situations as well as college in the fall of '09/spring of '10.  Seeing many of you over the last week has been so good and we are happy to talk to all of you.  V-team would like to invite you to a gathering on Saturday, April 4, 2009 @ 6 PM at the Woodland Park Community Church.  We will be hosting a potluck dinner as well as a story/picture/question/answer/worship/prayer/etc time until 9 PM (or later).  If you would like to attend, please send us an email at worldboundmissions@gmail.com   

Now that this trip has come to an end, we would like to go back and thank the ministries that have hosted us over the last 7 months:

  • Caleb & Debbie @ Hosean International Ministries-Haiti
  • Marconi & Katiana @ Challenge Ministries-Brazil
  • Philipp Lorch & Family- Germany
  • Richard & Susan @ Family Empowerment/Canaan Farm-Uganda
  • Phillip Kakungulu with YoungLife-Uganda
  • Light Gives Heat (the whole house)-Uganda
  • Emmanuel & Dee and Francis @ IREF-India
  • All the people along the way in Thailand!
  • Brent & Neeley, Neda, Ben, Ian, Glen and everyone at PACT-New Zealand
*WE LOVE AND MISS ALL OF YOU!

AND OF COURSE: All of our supporters, prayer warriors, blog followers, families, friends, everyone we met along the trip and got share wonderful times together, those who served and helped in any way (printing letters, stamping envelopes, etc.), WE THANK GOD FOR ALL OF YOU!

Thank you all and God Bless,

The V-team

Andrew Leigh
Evan Stookey
Christian Outlaw


P.S. Please send us an email at worldboundmissions@gmail.com
We would love to hear from you further. We can't say it enough but thank you!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Arrived

Wednesday, March 25. After a long flight from New Zealand, which landed them in Los Angeles too late to make a connecting flight, V-Team took separate stand-by flights, in two different shifts, back to Denver International Airport. (Due to the time change, the 3 travelers had experienced two Tuesdays). Andrew and Christian traveled together and were greeted by friends and family at around 5:45pm on Wednesday evening. Evan, was greeted by his extremely tired, but happy, family at 1:00 am on Thursday morning. The V-Team World Bound Missions trip has now officially come to an end. Evan Stookey, Andrew Leigh, and Christian Outlaw are now at home in Woodland Park, Colorado.

Welcome Home, to the United States of America!

Watch for updates, as the Team now works to adjust to the culture, food, and people of the 9th Country... their final stop... for now.


~KjL

Monday, March 23, 2009

Leaving in an Hour

Well, the past day or two have been great. Getting ready to leave was AWESOME. It was sweet az mate, to put lightly. Brent took off Monday and Tuesday to be with us... we strolled Mission Bay with him and Neeley, just to ask questions and visit. We talked about life in a affluent society and how to live in it in a way that glorifies God (always a tough question ya know??? ) We wouldn't have picked any other people to be here, at this time!

We ended this two days by going to the beach and going over for dinner. Let me tell you, this was AN EXTRAVAGANT CULINARY EXPERIENCE! We topped it all off with orange m&m's and gummy sour worms. We played a New Zealand game by Cranium called, "whoonu?" which basically served as A VESSEL FOR OUTLANDISH EPISODES OF LAUGHTER!!! After the recapping of good stories and funny terms, we left extremely satisfied with a solid few days with our good friends.

This tuesday has been a surreal day... seems fake! We are packing and filming and it seems as if we are heading off to the next country! Well, we are. And as we view it, the States truly are our next mission spot. We took some family photos with Neeley and Brent, as well as our new friend Needa who has helped plug us in and make us feel comfortable.

As we leave to the airport in about an hour, fly for a few days (it seems) we are praying for a smooth transition. We are praying to learn much from reflection and pictures. We are praying to remember more than we thought humanly possible -- and for us to serve our neighbors in the USA with even more intensity than the previous countries.

AGAIN~~~~~~~ THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE FOR US!!!
WE HAVE REALIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING CONNECTED SOMEHOW, WHILE BEING IN RURAL AREAS.
THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOU INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OUR CHURCH THAT ARE RIGHT HERE BESIDE US IN SPIRIT, AND SUPPORTING US.
GIVING YOU THANKS DOESN'T DO IT JUSTICE, AND WE PRAY THAT GOD BLESSES YOU BEYOND WHAT WE'LL EVER SEE.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PERSISTENT AND QUIET PRAYERS.
THANK YOU FOR CARING FOR US IN THIS WAY.

Catch You on the Flip Side,
evan christian (kristen)andrew

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NZ Pix







Friends in NZ

Jamie Welch, Evan, Andrew, Christian

Hanging out with Jamie [our high school friend from Colorado] was amazing. It was cool to have a friend in our life that we could relate to and catch up with. It was great to hear her story of what God has been doing with her in Washington and what her desires are for the future. We traveled and sight-saw Auckland for about three days with Hayden, then we had liesurly time around Auckland visiting with friends.

We went to a rugby game with a youth pastor named Bruce. He is absolutely nuts and tried to cheer with the cheer leaders. Hilarious. We went with a group of "young adults" about our age to the game... and really began growing with them more. they went to our previous Bible study "block party" and to night church. So we hung out with them somewhat these two previous events, so by the end of this night we were able to discuss what God was doing in our lives.

Today was sunday and we went to Brent's opening of their new church facility. They finally got their new building and it was amazing for us to join in this experience. Jamie joined us, and we all got to go to the church before Sunday to help clean up and get it ready which was great for us to get a full experience of the opening. This morning they opened with passion and it was ASTOUNDING to hear their story of finally getting a great building. After the service, we met back up with our friends and ate some lunch at the church. With our group of about 5 or so, we discussed more about what God wanted for our lives, and we found out that they were all planning to go to Uganda to work with a mission organization there. They are going this summer and this was a great topic to relate on. Very surprisingly (for only 3 days or so) it was hard for us to say goodbye to our new friends.

We spent the rest of our Sunday doing what we love the most. Hanging out with Brent and Neeley and Araya (their daughter). We lounged around and ate out at a home-style mexican restaurant. Getting practical wisdom from a couple who are relevant and interested is one of the biggest gifts we could ever receive. I want to emphasize on this. Because of this, we have learned so much and are so glad to have had this experience before going home.
The last two days we are going to go to the sky tower and have lunch, go to the beach. Last day, we lounge then head off.

Some Slang:
  • "good on ya mate" (good job)
  • "sweet az" (or anything az)
  • heaps ( a lot)
  • togs (swim suit)
  • boots (shoes or cleats)
  • sneakers (tennies)

Evan




Friday, March 20, 2009

NZ
















Finishing Up and Counting Down

A good friend from Colorado came to visit us a few days ago! Arriving at the airport coming in from the south island, Jamie Welch went with us to get an authentic lunch from New Zealand: meat pies. Another friend, Hayden (we met after night church a few days prior) was our driver and tour guide. He took the three of us, and Jamie, around Auckland to see all the beautiful sights of the city. He also gave really well-detailed information on New Zealand for us tourists.

The five of us set out to do a trek through one of the North Islands most beautiful areas. This started at a black sand beach that we later found out was a hot spot for surfers, but we weren't between the red flags meaning we were in shark area! Escaping the sharks, we body surfed and then made our way further up the trail. We hiked along beautiful mountains and up a really cool river. On the river we got the opportunity climb some rocks and jump in it! During the few days of Hayden, and all of hanging out together, we went to a local bible study group of about 20 called "block party." Here we planned to give a huge speech and testimony... but it ended really short and the night was spent with us just talking in small groups ( very laid back ) about what God was doing in our lives and funny stuff on the trip. Here we really felt God take conversations out of our control. We sat in a group and the Holy Spirit took our words from us!

We also had a "Gathering" meeting and another teen bible study. On Wednesday night we split. I am very passionate about the Gathering and felt led to go there. The rest hung out with the group that meets here in the PACT building. At the Gathering, it was not as rowdy as usual, and the lady that was pacing, cursing, distracting and yelling the whole time didn't make as much of a scene. As we prayed beforehand that there wouldn't be any distractions, we say God answer our prayer this time as it was radically different. Just being amidst the homeless and drug addicts, it came obvious to me that although Ben's message was very clear and powerful, it would take the Holy Spirit, God Himself to lure them in -- to overcome the lies of failure and rebellion. Please be praying for the people at the Gathering. This was a successful night.

Coming back after the Gathering, I joined the group a bit late to join in a conversation involving how many chickens the "take away" place across the street sold per week. Very excited to try to win the bet, I jumped up and ran over to the fast food joint in the dark alley and straight up asked him. Surprisingly, and totally out of my hands, this led to an amazing conversation. I ended up sharing my faith and we talked about the miracles that God does. I plan to go get some fish and chips again and continue our conversation.

Debbie has been doing much better. THERE IS VICTORY!!! Turns out that night she went to night church, she had been planning to take her own life. SOMETHING made her go with her mom where God spoke to her and gave her a hunger to push on. Debbie's dreams have subsided, a few nights she hasn't had the same haunting dream. She has been getting a better nights sleep, and God is giving this to her. she understands that the hardships she is going through are because of the enemy. During this time we are giving her encouragement as we see the enemy drift as Gods power and love for Debbie conquers all evil. One more story, that Debbie's car was towed while she was in south auckland with her niece. In this scary part of town, Debbie prayed that God would protect her. Shortly after, God provided her with a member of the church to come and give her a ride. God is on the move in Debbies life, and our prayers are being heard.
PLEASE PRAY:

  • On Tuesday evenings (although it is Wednesday here, New Zealand is a day ahead... so yes, Tuesday evenings!) for Ben at the gathering. This is a HUGE responsibility for Ben, as there are rowdy and aggressive men that are involved in gangs that come, and it is in a bad part of town late at night. Pray for Ben to have wisdom, courage and patient endurance as he plants seeds in a difficult crowd.
  • For Debbie, that God would overtake this darkness in her life. Pray that Gods love would grow so deep and alive in Debbie that would transform her. That God would give her strength each day to wake up and move forward. Pray that God would protect her. ALSO, please pray for her loneliness. As she is separated from an abusive husband, pray that God would fill up her heart and life with inner strength and joy.
  • Pray for this final week, that we would have remembering minds and would be able to process this trip well; we would have a smooth transfer into the states standing on a new foot and a firm foundation.

Thanks!

Evan

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Night of Power

Tonight was more than full!
On this Sunday we have received many opportunities to plug into this place really well. Brent invited us to his church and we excitedly agreed! After church we found ourselves amidst a huge group of people around our age who were inviting us to come and be a part of what they did.

First was Phil. We went to lunch with him, and explored the Auckland Botanic Gardens and learned from him as he is a landscaping designer. We made a very good friend, and looked forward to seeing him later on in the evening for night church.

After this, we headed off for night church (same church but contemporary) - which turned out to be a blast. We were asked to lead worship and give short lessons. After we all shared we saw how God tied all our lessons together very divinely. I shared how God is immovable for Job. How he is unchanging, and in a world of changing culture, amidst struggle and calamity- God is a calm in the storm. There is something that God is -- and is in us -- that when tragedy strikes we can be centered and even respond in love! Not only can we have a God in these times who cares about us, but He even asks us to give our burdens to Him, trusting that He will take us through it all. Not only that, but God is so good and His love is so great that we can respond to it without fear. Peter jumped out of the boat to swim to Jesus as soon as He recognized him, 100 yards to shore. And Peter didn't care what it looked like- he wasn't doing it to look a certain way, or how a christian "should" love Jesus... but it was an impulse. Peter was so in love with Jesus he couldn't help but swim to him and didn't care if he looked silly. Only Gods love can move us enough for us to go against the grain of the opposing crowd and culture. Brent wrapped it all up with an AMAZING sermon, answering this common question, "you're a Christian... so what? what does Jesus do for me?" This was an experience we won't forget, getting to be apart of such a cool crowd. We found ourselves again around the same big group who comforted us at church earlier, but many many more people! After finishing, Brent gave the opportunity for people to give themselves to Jesus...

After meeting with inspiring people, we left to Burger King to wrap up the night. We are very excited to be a part of coming Bible studies to, as well as people giving their time to hang out with us!

Tonight was a night of power of God totally taking control, where we didn't doubt for a second God wasn't with us. We saw Him lead through the night and show up as we gave little feeble prayers for help on stage. Giving God our five loaves and two fish, he took our everything and gave thanks for it, then did His work through out the place. we saw how god answered every one of our prayers beforehand we prayed with the rest of the people.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Papamoa, NZ


.
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30 Hour Famine, in CO: We just finished skyping in with the youth group of our church. It was great to hear the distant shouts of familiar and excited voices! what an opportunity the thirty hour famine is! Here in New Zealand, we are very excited for all of you... we REALLY are! We are committed to praying for all of you.

Reality: Speaking to friends brings a harsh reality that... well... reality is coming! that real life with real responsibilities is coming in... 11 days:) *** ugh.. HEART ATTACK!*** but we are very thankful for this process here in New Zealand! Papamoa beach was a great time of us getting to rest and recoop, entering the realization the states was ahead of us. It's an odd spot honestly, because as we study the trip and all the amazing things God has provided. We are also giving ourselves to our futures ahead, life in the states. in this awkward and uncomfortable spot in life. We are so thankful for a God who is patient with us. looking back and reading journals has left us amazed at all God does through long periods of time and our persistence of prayer. And thankfully, He is so patient when we forget to remember who He is, and all He has done and is doing! In our attempt to see what God has done, answering prayers and transforming us, we are very thankful for this time period in our lives.
Back to the Shire: At the beginning of the trip we watched Lord of the Rings, and it saddened our hearts thinking of the return after the great adventure, back to the ol' shire. But as time as gone by, we are more than thrilled to take the next step of the adventure, which is even bigger and better! God has a plan for each of our lives individually, no matter what location we are at. He has equipped us with everything we need to bring Him glory, and He is bigger, captain over our life's situation. He has planted us where we are at for a reason every day! In this 11 days left, we will continue to be bewildered at the 7 month trip behind us.. and whatever is in front of us when we get to the states.

Thnx: Thank you for faithfully praying. in retrospect, there are countless times when prayer and support and such made the whole difference. being locked into a body of believers has made this great. We feel like the builders in Nehemiah 4, when they are rebuilding the wall. As the men stand around the wall, everyone prays; they have a trumpet in case of attack. half of them stand guard, ready to fight- as the other half work- building the wall together. If they heard the trumpet blast, all of the builders in the body would rush immediately to help fight as one community! Likewise, we blow the trumpet of help. We are thankful for a group of people who will come help fight in those moments. We have seen how the body of Christ works just like this! And we are thankful that in this massive project God has- putting the world back together- we can be in fellowship and unity with each other and God. Thank you.

"But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves... I explained to the nobles and officials and all the people, "The work is very spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!" We worked early and late, from sunrise to sunset. And half the men were always on guard."
- Nehemiah 4:9,19-21

v-team
"evan kristen andrew"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Video from Thailand

Thailand with V-Team and Matt Parker ...

A surprise visitor. Surprise friendships. Amazing Pastor. A 3 day trek into northern Thailand near Burma. Elephants. Waterfalls. Talk about life and faith. Scooters. A beach. And a baptism.
Check it out.
______________________________________
All For You.
the cross before me, the world behind
no turning back

raise the banner high
it's not for me
it's all for YOU


let the heavens shake and split the sky
let the people clap their hands and cry
our hearts unfold before Your throne
the only place for those who know
it's not for us
it's all for You

earth is shaking,
the mountains shouting
it's all for You

the waves are crashing the sun is raging
it's all for You

the universe is spinning and singing
it's all for You
it's not for us
it's all for You


not to us but to Your name be the glory
not to us but to Your name be the glory
our hearts unfold before Your throne
the only place for those who know
it's not for us

it's all for You.


~All For You, Chris Tomlin




"Who defined the boundaries of the sea as it burst from the womb,
and as I clothed it with clouds and thick darkness?
For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores.
I said, `Thus far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!'"


~Job 38:8-11, The Bible

Straight to the Point





Sunday, March 8, 2009

violet crumble!!!!

our trip to rotorua...


not over but incredible! we were able to rest better with the comfort of reservations at another back-packer hostel. After a short walk and getting accommodated, we headed for the usual fish n' chips. We decided to plan for the next day, and this night was going to hold for a special occasion- the maori dinner. This was a cultural show with dinner. This was a three hour event that ended with incredible food, and TRIFLE... an world sacking english dessert. After the whole thing i took a short trip to the souvenir shop and was greeted by a very friendly lady. God gave another great opportunity to share about our trip with and tie in with how God has a plan for all of us. On the ride home we were at total peace, not because of our circumstances but because we began having that little inkling... the still small voice of God saying, "look how much i love you...." just realizing that God really did have a plan for us, no matter what country we are in or where we are at- we have been given everything we need to bring Him glory. 


We woke up today with a big list... first was to go "zorbing." this is a huge plastic ball with another ball inside with some water inside where you sit inside with it as well. you slide around and slosh, bouncing around inside the big bouncy ball. After each of us going down this long, zig-zag course, we prepared for the next event... rafting. I remember hearing stories from Dr. Bingham when he guided in New Zealand- and getting really nervous and excited about this coming event! I remember his words so clearly... "you just wait, evan, and see if you raft in new zealand..." as we were picked up by a group of guys not much older than us- all his stories and words were ringing in my ears, as we prepared to go down 14 rapids in one hour, including a 7 meter water fall. Very excited with only us three and a guide who was noticeably smaller than us, we jumped right into it- even practicing flipping the raft! We took full advantage of our small and intense rafting experience... where we learned everything as we went. 


After being submerged after the two water falls, we headed for the big one... the largest commercially rafted water-fall in the world! We hung onto the wall as we waited for the photographer to get all set up... and we affirmed to him that we wouldn't sue him no matter what happened. We went down this waterfall completely vertical for a few frames on the camera, a second or so... then pummeled into the water. Going completely under (2/3 of the raft) we popped out of the water side-ways then with adrenalin fueling the raft, pulled out straight into the calm water. Now we were all loosened up and ready that is for sure! going down a few more rapids, we got to push the rules a bit more. going down a few rapids standing in the raft, or paddling the raft back up toward the rapid- getting blasted with gallons of water and filling up the raft to the brim with water, we really got our fill. Here we are in the hostel, very excited about rafting such an intense river... (our guides' words were, "this river gets straight to the point...") we are even more excited about meeting up with an old friend here in rotorua!


The german guy we met up with in Taupo that i shared my testimony with, has traveled here to rotorua... staying in this SAME hostel! We believe that God has given us this opportunity, and it is by no mistake that this same guy we roomed with in Taupo has arrived in the same hostel. Tonight we are hopefully going out to dinner to the "pig n' whistle" with our good friend, then see what else may happen!!!!


TIM TAM'S...

AHA~!


The past few days have been packed with adventure:) We left after having a kiwi breakfast with brent. Praying heavily for this trip, we were expecting God to show up in unique and exciting ways. The bus was long to Taupo from auckland. After ariving we shortly found out afterward the "IRON-MAN" race was being held there, which was going to constitute for a lot of non-vacant hotels, motels and lodges. After a quick search, we found a german hostel which was pleasantly cheap! After gettting settled in we made ourselves at home by sitting with a big group of guys to watch some movies, and figuring out plans to come the next day. This night we met two of our room mates, (we stay in dorm style rooms with six beds or so to meet people and love them- westerners are some of the best people we can reach because we can relate so much better) one was from england while the other was from switzerland. I grew a massive heart to reach these guys, and as i was contemplating how to spend time with them and share the Gospel with them- or even serve them in any way i could... the night got crowded with other things and it turns out i didn't even get to talk to them again! from a human perspective, it wasn't success! 


Financially reasonable and event-filled, we decided to rent some bikes and ride around to tour Taupo, visiting Huka falls and "crater's of the moon" the next day. we were enthralled with the beauty around us as we rode on a terrifying and tiny mountain bike trail through the mountains. After seeing the amazing falls, and ready to head to C.O.T.M. - i got a flat tire. by this time we were battling also with not getting distracted or irritable by hunger, the rain, andrew and christian's bikes WITHOUT brakes, and being half-lost in the wilderness with no map. Somewhat frustrating for all of us (specifically for christian and andrew desiring to ride ahead but waiting for me at walking speed)- we decided to head back. Finding our bags hidden in the trees where we stored them at the park- we opened up our food to enjoy. Just before we ate, we said a prayer that lifted all our possible distractions and frustrations- that eased everything and allowed us to enjoy ourselves and each other. 


It was obvious it was Gods plan for us to be separate at this time, for christian wanted to go straight back to the hostel, while i wanted to take a nap and andrew wanted to lay in his hammock. As andrew and i packed up later to get going back to the hostel, rain poured and we decided it was best that andrew take all the food and such to head home, while i sat under a tree and waited out the storm with my injured bicycle. I walked home after a bit with a unique praying experience with God- and realizing the time of return to a real life was coming soon. This night was different, as our new room mate was a guy from north Germany- who was ready to hang out! We entered into conversation and friendship immediately. On this night... we had the opportunity to go to the hot tub with him. With the same passion to share Christ with him and be with him in any way i could, a wide open door arrived for me to give my testimony to him. I hope that no matter how it all went, that he sees that God is pursuing him, and we weren't there in the same room for no reason! Later on this night i went to the movie room to find a large group of guys from europe watching the "Da vinci code". As i was going to have my quiet time, i sat down quietly in the back of the room and prayed fervently for each one of them. 


After another bus ride, here we are in Rotorua. Tonight we are going to an authentic new zealand dinner and buffet. tomorrow we have no idea- but excited (i am) to do something extreme!!! we'll see what rotorua holds...


please be praying for this specific time of our trip. this is a "wild goose chase" that we are on now in new zealand... but we are trying to heed the advice of others returning to "civilization"- and we are praying to remember all God has done, to have remembering minds. We are praying that God would do all the final touches in this time, and that He would wrap all of it together. That we would enter the states on a firm foundation and footing, ready for Gods plan for us there!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Gathering

Greetings friends and families! I want to share with you a bit of a story from our last week. (Pictured left to right: Andrew, Evan, Christian on beach in New Zealand)

We've gotten involved in ministry connected with PACT called "The Gathering." It is a street church for the homeless as well as the people that probably wouldn't come to a church anyways. The Gathering happens on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. The Gathering was started by an ex-professional boxer named Ben. One day, as Ben was jogging, he was pressed to share his faith with 2 men on the street who were getting drunk. From this conversation, The Gathering was formed. We attended on Sunday morning this last week. At all the meetings, the head guys, Ben and Mike (one of the other leaders), prepare a meal for all that attend. After everyone eats and hangs out, one of the 2 guys share a small message, and usually tie in the Gospel in some way. The Sunday morning Gathering is pretty low key and has fewer people. Last night, we attended our first Wednesday night Gathering. It looked different than Sunday. We met in a small outdoor shopping center. On our way, we picked up a man named Trevor who has been blind for 8 years. Trevor has 5 sons, the oldest is 19. Trevor is not a believer. We made small conversation with Trevor about where we were from and also about his home life. After arriving to the location, about 25-30 people showed up to join in the meal and hear the word spoken. A good percentage of the people attending were under the influence of some substance, but they are the reason this ministry exists.

We recognized a few of the people because they had also attended on Sunday morning. It was cool to see their commitment. During the meal time, we began to notice a lady walking around. She was very obviously drunk and possibly on drugs but as the evening progressed we noticed there was something more. After eating, Ben began to share a small message. He shared about how our world may seem messed up and rough place, but that God is here. God loves us and he sent his son Jesus to die for our sins. He referred to the fact that our world may be messed up, but hell is worse. God is present in this world, so imagine a world without God. All the while during his message, the woman I referred to would walk around mumbling, and getting in peoples faces. We began to notice that every time Ben said the name of Jesus, this lady would act out more harshly. We recall a few times, after Ben said Jesus, the lady would stand up, point her finger and say, "Why do we have to talk about Him (Jesus)? He is already here." This happened many times through the evening. As she would walk around, people would get distracted by her, but Ben would quickly grab their attention. Satan did not want these people to hear the message of Christ this night. In seeing this all occur, we were reminded of 2 scriptures:

"For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them." Matthew 18:20

"Many were possessed by demons; and the demons came out at his command, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But because they knew he was the Messiah, he rebuked them and refused to let them speak." Luke 4:41

It was very clear to us that God was present at this meeting and He has authority over satan. We are going to continue attending The Gathering for the rest of our time here.

In our time here, we have also gotten involved in a few more things. One Monday and Wednesday mornings, Ben and Mike (same guys that do The Gathering) host a boxing/training time at the PACT building for high school guys. They teach the guys good technique and healthy exercises, feed the guys breakfast, and give a small testimony/message at the end. Evan really enjoys being a part of this because he loves to box, and its a great way to reach out to these guys. There is also a guy who works for PACT named Glen. His works primarily with elementary aged kids and their families. On wednesday, Glen has a small group of students that he takes around to places and spends time with. This week, we joined him and took about 6 boys to the local swimming pool. We got to share with them what we have been doing and they asked lots of questions. It was great, and we plan on continuing ministry with Glen. Last but not least, we have also been working with a guy named Ian Foster. He runs The South Auckland Food Bank. We have been helping him around the food bank with organization and lots of lifting of heavy things! Its what teenage guys were made for!We have had a great time here getting involved with PACT and meeting so many people. God is definitely at work here in Papatoetoe. We are going away for the next week to see some sights and reflect. We will post and update as we have internet access.
Prayer Requests:

  • The Gathering- Ben and Mike & the people that attend
  • PACT-The boxing ministry-Glen and the elementary school boys-All the school involvement of PACT staff
  • The South Auckland Food Bank-Ian Foster and family Del (wife), Liam, Holly, Jensen
  • And prayer for our travel over the next week.

Grace and Peace,
V-team

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

GRAB YOUR "TOGS" MATE, WERE GOIN TO RANGITOTO!

AHA! boxing this morning was a celebration as we were able to fully enjoy being with the guys, and with NO pain, be in fellowship with them! we found that it is going to take us to step out of the box, and really reach out. This is quite the opportunity that we want to make the most of.

I am excited to write all of you on this fine day here on wednesday! A quick update... we were invited to go on a boat ride with Ian to Rangitoto, a little island on the coast of auckland, that was a volcano. He picked us up and we drove across the bay and hiked to the top to get an incredible view of Auckland and surrounding areas. We also got a few good shots of the actual volcano, as we stood at the mouth of it. After a quick swim and dive off the dock, or "wharf"- we headed back home for more events! Ian willingly has brought us to his home for dinner, a swim, friendship and taking us out on his day off to enjoy the ocean on his boat- then leading us on a beautiful hike. After praying and spending some time alone, we went over to Yvette's house for dinner.

Yvette approached me one day and invited us over to spend time with her family, share about the trip, and hopefully spark some inspiration- we were simply excited to go and love and serve her family. She is a very nice lady who cleans the PACT building and was excited to have us over to visit with her sons and husband. Her passion was great because her husband doesn't know the Lord, and has great desire for her sons to be close to God as well. We met her three sons and slowly began in our friendship, eating dinner and later doing a bible study.

They gave us a ride over to the PACT building where we met for a bible study/hang-out group. This was started one day, again unexpectedly! As we were in the offices late alone the night previous, a man came in who worked for PACT and asked us our tentative schedule. He was excited too that we accepted his offer for coming to the bible study/hang-out group, and that we would participate in the random side-job ministries he was hosting. That night we prayed over the bible study and our time in the future with him. So, we went with Yvette's three sons to this man's bible study for the young adults. Later we found that her three sons were already members, and that these two events had all connected with timing and being her with her sons (as well as getting to participate with this man whom we have briefly met).

God guided the whole thing exactly as He wanted. We entered the thing with a few young adults that we had nothing in common with, and just opened the floor. God guided the conversation to teaching and sharing, then praying for each other at the end! This also ended with a few funny videos, one being me eating the water buffalo yogurt/cheese, and others that were more hilarious. We are looking forward to meeting more with our new friends, and hopefully making an impact on them for Gods Kingdom.

It is pretty funny, because the majority of our time has been taken up by people simply who work here, ask us if we would like to do something... then they do it! We have been so blessed with this gift of an amazing community of believers that network together for all around. So, we are participating in that bible study, as well as his other ministry opportunities like swimming with the much younger children. Ben is another man who has invited us to box three times a week with troubled youth. God has healed my shoulder which is an amazing sign and green light to jump in with the guys and serve them. Not only does Ben do this, but he runs a sunday and wednesday church called "the gathering." this is a street church, where he brings food to feed the homeless, prostitutes and anyone who needs love- then shares the Word with them. On wednesdays we are so priveledged and honored to be apart of this experience, serving these members of the gathering in any possible way we can. There is so much opportunity to serve (specifically the youth here) in the bible study, boxing, the gathering, and whatever else comes tomorrow!

This week we will be traveling for seven days seeing whatever God has for us on the road- and finding Him in the adventure!!!! Totally our bag. Please pray for this time... that God would go with us, and lead us through. As we are using this time to wrap up this trip...

  • please pray God would brand our minds with His teachings, and cauterize His love into our hearts
  • please pray that we would have remembering minds and go to the states fresh and on the right foot- sure footed and steady.
  • that God would prepare us thoroughly to be in the States
  • that we would learn more and more who He has made us, so we can uniquely serve Him in the body of Christ, no matter WHERE WE ARE!
  • THAT WE WOULD FALL MORE AND MORE IN LOVE WITH HIM AND LIVE FOR THE KINGDOM

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hey Mates! We are in KiwiLand!

We arrived in Auckland very surprised to meet a somewhat new person but it seemed like an old friend. Brent Davie really accommodated us, touring around the city and getting us settled in. We felt at home while learning about the new culture. We were introduced to heaps of ideas and activities to choose from here in New Zealand- and took advantage of our full night's sleep by agreeing to decide the next morning what we wanted to participate in.

We woke up and found one of our options would be to serve one of Brent's friends by working in a foodbank shelving food. We felt that would be pretty sweet, so we called up Ian and shortly after him picking us up, we were on our way. After arrival on site, we jumped right into the work, moving big boxes and putting in shelves for our new friend Ian. As we trucked on during the day, we really grew to become really great friends with this guy! He even sent us back with some refreshments. But on our way back he was asking about our plan. We responded with that our tentative plan was to serve in PACT (the organization Brent works for) and to see what New Zealand had to see! To be in Gods beautiful creation! So he invited us over for dinner, which turned out to be even more bang for our buck. We arrived and jumped into his cold new zealand swimming pool with his children. Unfortunately I (evan) dove too far past the deep end into the 3 or 4 foot part of the pool. I looked something like an accordian, slamming myself against the pool floor, probably into what seemed like a new break-dance move. It was as ungraceful as it was painful. After shaking it off and laughing at myself, we played some ball in the pool with his children, completely bewildered at Gods plan for our time in New Zealand. We know that God is a God of surprise and a unique will for all His children. We were wondering at this point what direction we are supposed to be heading during our stay here. Ian invited us for dinner and we laughed with His children and shared stories. He invited us to come on a sail boat with him and his family in the near future. We made arrangements to help him more by working in the food bank, stacking and shelving- as well as arrangements to go sailing with him.

We arrived home and it hit us the amazing network that God has put in front of us. That Brent has all of these connections, and after we discuss some sort of plan... it ends with him or a friend saying, "I could hook you up with a car or a house in that town..." We even drove to a friends house that provided pillows for us three! God is amazing at the way he shows up and has planned everything out before us. We are amazed at the tight-knit community that has been sewed together here by God. We have really been amazed and seen an example of unity. Ian has really offered many connections and contacts, as well as Brent has been overly helpful and helping us to really be a facilitator of what God has for us. Brent has been a blessing, as well as all the people here at PACT who do amazing work for the Lord.

We are finding more and more who God is making us uniquely, as we wrestle with God through our own issues and help each other out. Getting placed back into real life and learning to grow and mature into the USA society and culture is harder than we thought. But we are trusting in God through this time to prepare us for the day ahead of us, and the next place too. We are simply falling more in love with God. Finding that Ephesians 3:18-19 to be the truth- Christ's love is enough and completing to us. Constantly humbled and in awe of how big God is and how small we are seems to stand true as well. We are beginning to realize that the end of the beginning has come. When we left it seemed as if it we would come home from the "big adventure," it is just the beginning because God loves us so much He has a plan for our futures. Looking back, (remembering its not over)- thus far it has been a wild adventure of finding out who God really is (haha, although we have probably not the slightest clue) and the kind of relationship He wants from us. with different themes God has made this for us, we are excited to continue to humbly move forward in seeking God, and find the different "flavors" and depths of God. i wish i had the words to describe how BIG God is, and how INCREDIBLE his saving love is. It sounds like a bunch of nice words, but we are finding it to not only be true, but who we become.

Love Love Love!
xoxoxoxo,
the team