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!
the team

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Arrived In New Zealand

A quick update from Christian:

We have arrived in New Zealand. We are in a town called Papatoetoe (pronounce Papa-Toe-(as in foot)-EE). It's about 15 km south of Auckland. Brent Davie picked us up at the airport around 1030am. He is the director of PACT (Papatoetoe Adolescent Christian Trust). They work with at-risk youth. We've just been getting settled in. We are going to be staying at the PACT building (about 20 minutes from Brent and his wife, Neeley's house). Things are great and it is strange, because this feels and looks like the States. Also, I had my first glass of American quality milk in the last 6 months, this morning!
Life is Good!

Where are they working?

When they are not doing free travel in the countryside where "Lord of the Rings" was filmed, the Team will be working with Brent and Neeley Davie, and PACT ministries in Auckland.




You can also check out the Davie's Blog:
V-Team has had the privelege of working alongside many amazing groups of ministry partners worldwide. Their list of destinations is now behind them, but the following international organizations, and the Christ Followers who serve them so faithfully, will be family forever.
  • Hosean Ministries, Haiti
  • Challenge, BrazilBold
  • Xote Santo, Brazil
  • Canaan Farm, Uganda
  • Suubi/ Light Gives Heat, Uganda
  • Young Life, Uganda
  • IREF, IndiaBold
  • PACT, New Zealand

Please browse the websites of these outstanding groups, organizations, and people. The links can be found on the sidebar of this blog: "LINK LIST -- Global Partners." Take a minute to learn about these important people and their life-impacting work. V-Team could not experienced the power and love of God, all around the world, without them.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Leaving Thailand

Bangkok to Chiang Mai to Mae Seriang to Phuket; our time in Thailand has been eventful and wonderful, to say the least. I just remember as we were leaving India, we really had no idea what our time in Thailand would look like and really what we were going to do. Matt Parker had emailed us a tentative plan we could follow but it was more of an outline to look to if nothing else came up. He encouraged us in emails to really allow the spirit to lead us in our time here. However, in his original itinerary, he did not include the fact that he was going to be joining us in Thailand. When we arrived at our first nights hostel in Bangkok, Matt Parker came walking down the stairs to greet us. It felt unreal, like a dream almost. As strange as it was, seeing him was like a breath of fresh air.
The time spent with him has been so encouraging and he has spoken wisdom into all 3 of our lives. Asking God to lead us through our time in Thailand really meant completely giving up the itinerary that Matt had already put together for us.

So after a good night's rest, we got up the next morning and checked out of our hostel. At this point we had no clue what we were doing but we headed for the bus station anyways. After taking a half day to get across bangkok and reach the bus station, our idea to travel to Mae Sot (northwest thailand on the border of Burma) was not in God's plan. We felt like we were supposed to take a train to Chiang Mai. That evening we hoped aboard a 16 hour train ride to the north. God's plan for our time there was not even close to what we thought we might do.

Matt had previously been given some info on a pastor that lived in the area and so through our quiet times, Matt felt really pressed to call him. His name is Pastor Lu. What was so cool is that Pastor Lu had already heard about Matt from a mutual friend back in the states, and earlier that morning Pastor Lu had been thinking about and praying for Matt. Matt contacts Pastor Lu and we arranged to have dinner with his family that evening. We really had no idea who this guy was but we soon found out.
After sharing a meal, we learned that him and his family were Burmese. They now lived in Chiang Mai and were the head directors of an orphanage there. They had also been doing relief work in Burma where a tsunami in May 2008 had taken over 600,000. Pastor Lu and his family were currently discipling over 200 Burmese people, including Buddhist monks that had converted to Christianity. The next day, we visited his house and he talked to us more about the kinds of things he does. He showed us pictures from the tsunami damage, and it was devastating. Everything was washed away. But at the same time, there was hope. The Burmese people were very open to the Gospel and peoples lives were changing as they chose to follow Christ. That day we told him that we came to Thailand with not much of a plan and that we just wanted to follow after the Spirit. He encouraged us to visit some of the local villages in the mountains more or less to get a glimpse of the way of life in this part of the world. We would have loved to go into Burma, but we would have needed to contact Pastor Lu a while back and that is not where God wanted us in this time.
The next morning, we boarded a bus and that afternoon arrived in Mae Seriang; a small mountain community near Burma. On the bus we met a couple from Germany named Olaf and Anita. We ended up staying in the same guesthouse that evening and decided to go on a 3 day trek through the jungle to some of the rural mountain villages together. As we were leaving for the trail head the next morning, we were joined by another westerner from Quebec named Sara. So the 7 of us, plus our guide 'Kiddy' were on our way. Other than seeing the jungle and all its beauty, we had a great time with our new friends from around the world. We spent 3 great days hiking through the jungle, sharing stories, talking about lives, talking about God, and riding elephants! Please pray for those relationships built with those people that they continue to grow even being apart now.
To back track a little, some of you may be wondering, "How did Matt Parker get in the picture?" Well, back in November, our families and a few friends suggested that Matt meet up with us in Thailand for 2 weeks. The point was really for Matt to talk with us and help us figure out what life was going be like as we got back in the States. So, when we left Mae Seriang, we headed south to the beach. We wanted a relaxing, peaceful place to be able share and learn from Matt, and plus, we all love the ocean! So for the next 3 days, we swam and saw God's beautiful creation. Each of us individually met with Matt and shared with him what God had really shown us over the last 5 months. He helped us figure out how to take what we've learned and apply to life back home. It was great to have Matt help us get clarity with what things will look like.
On our last day at the beach, February 22, I (Christian) was baptized. I had been praying about being baptized for a while. I knew that I wanted Matt Parker to be the one to do it, but I also wanted to do it while on this trip. I felt like I was probably going to have to choose one or the other. Well when Matt shows up in Thailand, I knew that was God's way of saying, "Here's your chance, take it." So that evening, out in the ocean, the 4 of us stood by some fishing boats and Matt baptized me. It was sweet. I look back at when I became a Christian in 2001 and my life was very different. I was not devoted to Christ and kept the fact that I accepted Christ very private. My baptism was really a redeeming time for me. It was public and I had 3 brothers to witness.

Now we are back in Bangkok. Its been 2 weeks since we arrived and we fly out for New Zealand today. Our prayer coming into this was that our time would be led by the Holy Spirit and that we would continuously be in God's will. Looking back on the last 2 weeks, we know that we have done what God called us here for. We are looking forward to New Zealand and sad to see Matt Parker go back home.

Thanks for following us and reading about our experiences.
Christian (v-team)

India Video!

Its a little late, but here is our video from India.  Watch it to the very end!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Matt's Pictures

Matt Parker, currently traveling with the Team, has posted pix on Facebook. His wife Laura, wrote a quick blog description and posted the link -- below. Laura is patiently caring for their 3 kids while he's gone. And still makes time to write! Amazing. Go check out her blog, too!
In the meantime here are a couple pix, and Laura's blog about Matt and V-Team.
" Our paths crossed with a missionary named Paul in Mae Sariange. It blew us away to here he was from Castle Rock, Colorado. What are the odds? "

Pictures from the Jungle, Laura Parker 2.09
"Matt and the V-Team spent the last several days trekking through thick jungles into remote villages on the Burmese border. They scaled rock faces, trudged through rivers, rode elephants, slept in hammocks, and got to experience the extremely primitive lifestyle of these Thai people groups. It sounds like quite the adventure for all of them as they got to taste what it means to "go to the unreached." Check out Matt's pictures on his Facebook page. You can click on the link below. Currently, they are on the island of Phuket, debriefing the trip and processing the last months for the guys and their futures back in the States, which will begin in about a month (after Thailand, the V-team will spend about 3 weeks in New Zealand, and then head back to the U.S). Enjoy the pictures--they are pretty wild."


Thursday, February 19, 2009


I am just updating everyone and letting you all know I am currently composing a new blog intry but we have not had the capability to upload it. thanks for checking in and I will have it up as soon as I can. God is good. Thank you for the prayers and support!


Monday, February 16, 2009

A Couple of Pictures

The Team, at the hostel in Thailand, getting ready to hit the road. Look! Christian's backpack has a halo.

We met up divinely with pastor Lu, whom was connected with Paul Kreuger in Woodland Park, Colorado. Thanks Paul! We went to Pastor Lu's house and learned more about his ministry- and how we can pray for him. please pray for pastor Lu- he is really involved with neglected myanmar, china and parts of india and thailand. (In Picture, Matt holding a pix which shows Paul and Peri Krueger with Pastor Lu/family).

Evan, in a thoughtful pose, with Ronald.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Little update...

After a series of random decision making by the pulls in our hearts- we headed on a buss to Mae Seriong. Matt was feeling pretty queezy, but God really blessed us with settled stomachs and good health and energy after praying. We landed here in this small town that is not on the map for tourism, and greeted by a man asking for our attention. usually we would turn away and not bother thinking he was trying to sell us something, but we listened. A german couple from Munich were on the bus, and they too tuned in. He was offering his guest house (usually when they meet you off the bus or train they are fraud or shady) that wasn't in the lonely planet book. We made the decision to have a look, along with the German couple- Olaf and Anita. We headed down the road getting to know them.

We arrived and sensed a pull to stay there. The owner, Aekkasan, told us of a noble missionary man named paul who came by often and so we needed to be there too to meet him. There was an odd sense of unity with the German couple, and this place is in close quarters- with no one else staying here. We decided to do a trek through the jungle with them for three days. We are visiting two or three jungle villages that we actually get to stay in! We get food from the jungle and in the village, our guide will cook it and then we will sleep in the village at a home. This trip involves riding elephants, and traveling into burma. We are very excited to do all of these exciting things, but more excited to love on our new German friends- and reach the villages for the sake of the Gospel. We are so excited to stay up late with our friends, and our host Aekkasan, and listen to their stories and share with them. As we sat around the guest house, a man walked by and by chance he was Paul. The missionary! We were incredibly surprised by this, and not to mention the fact he is from CASTLE ROCK, COLORADO! His son played ball for wp, and they have been there before! Heavens to Betsy!

We met up for dinner to have some killer thai food (again). Pineapple fried rice, chicken with cashew nuts... wIth a pineapple shake! We discussed being missionaries and how refreshing it was to meet up with our brothers around the world. It was great to meet another person who's common ground was God, but seemed like old friends meeting up again because of that! We felt his love, and were excited to get his contact information. As we parted he said in the street, "And the apostles said as they left..." then waited as he walked down the road stepping back ward, he shouted at the top of his lungs for the town to hear "THANK YOU LORD!" Paul spends his time living here in this small town, loving on and reaching the westerners and people who are put in his day. He spends his time walking around these streets finding people to share the love that has brought him here.

We are thrilled to come visit the tribal people, and see what kind of impact will be made here. Thank you for following. Please pray we may continue to grow rapidly- be transformed into serving and loving machines. pray that we can be lights for all to see, and that people would hear the name of Jesus and come to Him. We really want to be a blessing to the people all around us.

with love,


Friday, February 13, 2009

Chang Mai

We are thrilled to be in Thailand to say the least. We arrived in Chang Mai and searched like mad men to find a suitable hostel. Thailand is such a tourist-friendly place, especially Chang Mai. So it wasn't too difficult to walk around and find a hostel. After finding aplace that has a lot of westerner's called "Julie's", we settled inand went to see what was next. Even before food we got thai massages,one hour for 150 baht ($4.25). AMAZING. We headed over to get somelunch to discuss what we felt God was leading us to do for the rest ofour time. Chang Mai was really just put in front of us and we went forit. We began our quiet times and individually we were floored. Matt felt led to get up and call the owner of an orphanage. He turned out to be an asian Billy Graham. After some time we got all set and met up at the hostel. Lounging in the "garden terrace" that was oh-so-thaiand-relaxing, we discussed how matt felt led to meet up with PastorLu, the asain Billy Graham.
As there were clear instructions for the man in the front desk to notify us at his arrival, we waited where we were supposed to. Time passed as we checked multiple times to see if we had missed something, but it was clear that we were not even tried to be contacted of his arrival. Feeling attacked by the enemy and that we were being fought,we asked God to send His angels to army and that if it was His plan for us to meet with Pastor Lu -- He would make it clear. We just walked down to the end of the road, and stood there. Lu is Thai, so we had no idea where to start. We prayed again that if God wanted us to meet with this man like we had thought, He would make it clear. That He would make His way plain to follow. We stood there in this big city simply waiting. About 2 minutes later, a man walked by with a woman and at an impulse asked him (only the third man we tried, and the first two were white, not Thai), if he was Pastor Lu. He said yes and relief filled his face. He had been searching for us for an hour -- andwas given very wrong directions. The man at the front desk gave him wrong directions, and we felt the enemy's attack long before we found this out. He said he was very confused, but felt led to continue searching no matter what. We told him immediately that the enemy wasabout and knew God had a plan, and tried to thwart it. God had victory.
We sat over dinner hearing this man's vision and passion for missions. Hearing how he was the head of pastors that led people by the thousands -- leading them and teaching them, we didn't know what we were in for. He speaks a Hindie (Indian), Chinese, Thai, English, Burmese. He is a connector for revivals and movements in Myanmar and these other countries. He has a huge heart for orphanages, churches and empowering people. He was talking about how he lived his life for Christ, and was awaiting us. He woke up today thinking about matt. Matt was heavy on his heart, and once we were in touch, he feels led to work with us for the next few days. Our tentative plan was to stay in Bangkok for a few days (2 maybe) and reach the red light district. God hadn't given us favor, and it was clear that God wanted us to pray together later on, but we He didn't ask us to be there. Feeling odd about that, we understand now that God is planning everything and has tomorrow taken care of, so why try to understand everything along the way? We are looking forward to touring his orphanage tomorrow and seeing whatever God has for us in Southeast Asia on this wild goosechase. it was obvious how we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Clearly, that God is bigger than all the denominations and culture andsuch, and He was with us as we were one with each other and with Him.We shared nothing in common with these people but this: we were here in Thailand to serve God, others and bring God glory.
God has made this place ripe with opportunity. We just know that everything is divinely planned out, and this is all apart of a huge scheme, something way bigger than us. We aren't sure we understand this completely, but we just know God is leading us and following us,that He loves us and is letting us take part in this adventure, andthat He has a marvelous plan that we don't deserve. God is good.

Fueled by the Spirit, alive with consuming passion we headed home fast in a "tuk-tuk" -- a three-wheeled beast with an advanced Kia Sportage engine, that feels like it is going to tip ...

From Thailand

Sahwahti! (Hello in Thai)
We want to say thank you for praying. God has made this trip so fullwith adventure so far. He has really answered all of your prayers andmany of our requests! We have good health, our travel experience wasgreat, we are all squared away!
Matt Parker met us at the HQ hostel in Bangkok, Thailand wednesdaymorning. As he walked down the stairs with a camera and hugged us wewere in disbelief. Throughout this world trip we will constantly seepeople's twins- Indians or Brasillians or Germans that look like ourfriends. And as matt came up to us we unanimously said that it was afalse image. A "matt" twin. I didn't even respond for the first fewminutes- and it took the whole day for it to sink in. immediately wewent to a really nice coffee shop, had frappucinnos and went throughthe notes and letters from family and friends. Thank you so much forsending those along with matt! As our social skills slowly came backto us we talked about the miracles we had seen, and were besideourselves with excitement that we had our best friend here. We alsohad another opportunity to meet up with Kelsey Pazera and her friends she was traveling with. Here we enjoyed our first Thai lunch with this group of friends. It felt like a dream. We were around American's first off, and people we knew! We were feeling ready to step into a castle on Venus filled with penguins, the way this was going.
We headed back up to the room to pray for the night. Here we had the plan of going to the most famous Red light district in Bangkok. We got geared up and prepared to go into the darkness to pray and share andlisten to the customers of the girls here. We sat down across the district and waited. We prayed and waited patiently to see what God might have in store. As we waited we realized this was way bigger than we were.
It was crowded and dark. We were bombarded with people thinking we were the customers of the girls. As time passed we felt led to pray over the area, then leave. We sat in a restaurant battling with the thoughts of feeling defeated, but remembered that we don't understand Gods ways, and had a specific plan for us. We knew that God had a unique plan in store for us in Thailand, even though it is giong to probably look so different than we had in mind. It was great to catch up more, and laugh together. It was an Ebaneezar Stone for all of us, that matt wasn't our youth pastor any more, but our brother. And we found at this point how excited we were to push on this journey as four brothers, not being led by our youth pastor. It is a blessing that matt is letting us use the skills and leadership skills we have gained. Matt is not the man taking the bullet 24/7, it is just us four moving at God's leading. It is a real blessing that matt isn't treating us like we are the same guys as we were in September.
The next day was very long, traveling every way you could through Bangkok. We were trying to get a way to get up north. Um Phang was our desired destination, but this whole trip is just at the Spirit's leading. So as we explored around Thailand by taxi, motorcycle, skytrain, underground train and regular train, we finally got ticketsup to Chang Mai.
We are not sure what is in store for us, but we are looking at trekking through the mountains in the jungle- and reaching out to the refugees at camps. Really we are excited to just be with people and love them however we can. As we get on the train we found ourselves amidst an amazing plan! An american girl named Anna and apro golfer from Thailand named Chang. We sat in the empty train car in our group and opened up in a conversation. This turned out to be an amazing experience hearing about Anna's and Chang's stories from their travels and lives. We know this is part of Gods plan for all of us.
After we get thai massages (2 hours for 6 dollars!) we are going tosee what is next. There are many options, but this is just a time ofbeing together as brothers, and seeing what God has for us. In a book"Red Moon Rising," there is a quote that best describes the Thailand experience for us:
"Waiting on God," according to Scripture, is not a passive, vacuous state, but rather an active process of asking, seeking, and engaging with His spirit. Samie and I knew it was time to start waiting in this way. We also knew it was time to brake a few rules. It's often said that the ancient Celtic church symbolized the Holy Spirit not asa domesticated dove but as a wild goose. We decided therefore to embark upon a wild goose chase, following His leading around Europe, seeking simply to make friends, have fun, and all the while listen out for the still small voice of God"
- Pete Greig
This is our solid plan, however our tentative plan is to move southfrom Chang Mai back to Bangkok.
  • Please pray for our direction.
  • Pray that we would have a fine-tuned ear to Gods voice
  • Pray that we would find out who God is making us in this time, and how He has asked us uniquely to serve each other and others around usin this time.
  • Pray we would grow in our relationship with God at full tilt.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

OH Man!!!!

The next adventure... pit stop sri lanka!

The night before we left was so great. Francis has become our great friend. Throughout this time he has really been on our heart, and a unique friendship has been formed. We go out every night for hours to surrounding villages. Every night we are bonded closer with him, hearing more of his story and just becoming better friends. It is so amazing because on at random times when necessary we will just start praying for each other or whatever needs to be prayed for. We were so grateful to hear his full testimony the last visit to a village. There is something incredible about hearing someone’s story. He was told by God to just start memorizing verses after he became a Christian- and He definitely has a gift. I spoke to the village about idols, and Francis finished with a sermon from memory that tied up all the loose ends and put the icing on the cake. He is an incredible teacher- preaching on the fly. We ended our very last night with a long goodbye from Dee, and laughing very hard with her and her family watching the video of us scaring Christian in every country. Francis walked us to our room where we enjoyed the snacks he got for us as a send off memory. We had rice-paper-sugar treats with the curry chips. Soooo goodJ Really! We prayed with and for Francis for quite some time then it was time to hit the hay. Of course we couldn’t really go to bed with the girls consistently knocking on our door to give us goodbye balloons and treats. We tried to put a 5 pound can of ham in christians back pack, but he caught itL and so no success. So we woke up at 4 ish from going to bed at 1 a.m. Tired. We woke up groggy and ready to leave. When we were loading the car, when one boy saw we were leaving the word spread like wildfire and soon enough about 100 boys were saying goodbye. We left, making it through the gauntlet of boys shouting, “happy journey!” and trying with every bone in their bodies to get some kind of hold on you. This was very difficult for us. The boys have become our own. Doing devotion with them and being with them every day- they have really grown on us. It was so difficult leaving knowing we couldn’t provide for their needs, but needed to trust God with all of them. Leaving Basha was difficult as well too. This is the boy who is struggling to get through due to financial issues- that we have come close to. So we left Basha, the boys, Francis, Dee, Emmanuel and their family. Up up and away.

We got on the train and were greeted by a very friendly man whom we named “Stuart” for appropriate reasons due to his buzz. He was very excited we were on the train and laughed more than spoke. After waking up I saw Christian and Andrew had made a new friend, Kevin from Great Britian. He was a very intelligent and kind man. We had an interesting discussion about the church and just about everything else. He was headed somewhere else in Channai, but on the way to the airport. So we decided we’d take a cab together and we’d drop him off on the way. We were greeted by another very charged up man who was thrilled to see us. It seemed as if we were his long-lost friends. We piled into this taxi and were laughing the whole time. Our driver(s), Rodgie and Johnnie, kept us entertained that is for sure. After dropping Kevin off, we moved toward the airport. Rodgie (who was driving) allowed Christian to steer from the passenger side with one hand. This was a moment that we wished we had the camera, but our backpacks were hanging half way out of the trunk (which had the camera). So Christian steered the vehicle while we drove like a formula 1 race car through the city. Finally we have made it here at the airport and it has already seemed like two days. We are amped for the mission trip we have right ahead of us, and to begin a whole new one. WE ARE READY FOR A WORLD-SACKING, SUPERHIT ADVENTURE AS WE HEAD TO THAILAND!

Sri lanka thus far (the airport) is quite unique and one of those places we are realizing we are far from home. Couldn't be better though... we miss you!

In Sri Lanka

We are in Sri Lanka. Just checking in to say hey.

It has been a long day ... 4 AM, wake up, train at 7 to chennai, [Madras, India] got there at 2pm, taxi to airport for 1 hour. Sit in airport till 630. check in at 630, go to gate. Plane at 915. land in sri lanka at 1030. Now sitting in the airport. we get to bangkok at 630. Thats a rough idea of the day.

Over and Out!

(This post -- copied from a quick email update)

Monday, February 9, 2009

The People We Meet along the Way...

While in Jinja, Uganda
V-Team lived in housing with a group of Americans. There, they met up with a photographer and musician couple, Katie and Dan Snyder, from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Dan has posted and tagged the guys in some Facebook videos. You may have seen them in the last few days on Christian, Evan, or Andrew's pages.
Katie is a gifted photographer. She captured a lot of the Uganda experience in her own way. Go see Katie's work via her website.
Browse her UGANDA album by hitting the "Gallery" tab at the bottom of her homepage:
Katie Snyder Photography
And, check out her blog about Jinja. It chronicles some of the same people and places that V-Team experienced.
While in Repalle, India, the Team met up with Kevin Sprinkle, from Kokomo, Indiana, USA. If I got my facts right, Kevin has a different day job, but also engineers and digs wells for unreached people groups. Andrew has mentioned that he would enjoy teaming up with him on another adventure at some point. Kevin was working at IREF with V-Team, and has posted a flicker album of his time there. Note the IREF, and INDIA FACES albums. And watch for glimpses of the guys.

Thanks for sharing your pictures, Kevin!
Kevin's India Pictures:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Curry, Prayer ... and Believers on Fire

Friday February 6th, 2009
V-team is unanimous in saying we wouldn't have traded february 6th of 2009 for anything. Able to do internet in the morning, we tried to cram as much as we could in a short time. This is where the enemy attacks us. We were frustrated, trying to get the flash drive to work, trying to communicate, stressed and pushy. We recognized that as a team this is where the enemy tries to get us a lot, so after finishing we got collected and prayed. We were still a bit off-center due to miscommunication with our flight and times leaving India, but we needed to meet Francis to leave for the prayer meeting. A bit disorganized, we made many trips back to our house across the compound to get water, snacks, and appropriate clothing. There was a general weariness in the air. We all felt a bit tired and not totally prepared for the few-hour long journey ahead of us. You really have to be filled up when you go to a prayer meeting because of all the people who ask you to pray for them.

At 2:00 p.m. India time (about 3:30) we left for another village yet again. Andrew was feeling odd symptoms for which we couldn't pinpoint a specific problem, which was usual because we randomly wake up sick with random symptoms then they go away anywhere from an hour to a few days later. My personal decision would have been for andrew to stay -- but we all moved forward to the adventure that we knew God had in store for us.

We stepped in the car and asked God to come. As one of our friends Kevin (from the recent team here) would say, "God, we need you to show up and show off." We headed through the villages that seemed to get more and more rural as we drove hours to a new one we had yet to visit.
We stopped halfway through to visit Francis' daughter and her friends who lived in the same hostel as her. We prayed for a few of them when we first arrived in Repalle at the youth conference, so it was great to unexpectedly meet up with them again. We were invited to go get pizza with them (we were surprised too). We sat down and were so excited to have some pizza- chicken pizza in fact! We weren't told it was chicken curry pizza (although we should have assumed it being India and all), and were very surprised at the first bite. Andrew looked over quickly with a smirk saying, "This is going to be a long meal for you..." It was highly enjoyable but still spicy even for Christian and Andrew, but it was abuse for me. It was especially difficult since it was a personal pan pizza and there was no way of just grabbing one small slice. With the Indian hospitality i couldn't deny or even eat some, so I woofed it down. I plan on loosing 67 pounds on my all-curry diet. We stepped back into the car to finish our journey, and we felt sick again. The company and laughter was nice, but for some reason our stomachs' were exceptionally torn up and we just wanted to sleep.

The bathroom in India is massive, about the size of India really. The rule for going to the bathroom is just making sure you won't get hit by a car (but anywhere outside is pretty much free game). So after we joined in with the Indian culture by doing our business by the side of the road, we arrived at our destination.

Shortly we were informed more on how the church system works with IREF. Francis told us that a village would have a bunch of nominal christians and an evangelist would visit the village, and build a church with those people. That they would get built up and the evangelist would work together with the few people and eventually build a church. Well, here it was a bit different. We found that this village had no nominal christians, and this is because of persecution. You really have to love Jesus and give Him your life to stick with it in this part of the world. So we met the few believers that were on fire, who were really living for God.
After sharing with the church, we attempted to move out slowly by praying for the members one by one. Please continue to pray for physical healing for these people- and that they would be comforted and strengthened in every good thing they do and say. Strangely enough though we received the needed strength for every moment. God provided everything we needed, EVERYTHING. We were alive and well, with the Spirit's power moving through us. We were treated with hospitality and care from "Vani." She is blessed with the gift of hospitality. Afterward we were able to hear her story which was incredible. Vani's husband, Preshant, is Muslim and highly ranked in the air force. She is a strong follower of Christ, as well as her children. Vani's request is that you pray for her and her family. That her husband would have a change of heart, and come to know Jesus. He treats her harshly and she is asking God for a miracle. Please pray for her sons that they would grow strong and close to the Lord- and they would persevere the persecution and trials.
We got in the car, very content and in awe of what God did yet again. We asked Him to give us a safe journey (because it is a dangerous drive) and not only did He do that, but we were able to enjoy it. Of course when we got back in the car we were sacked out, but despite our exhaustion God was bigger that that and provided for us. He took control of our night and again, as empty vessels we saw God at work.

That was Evan...Now this is Christian
Funny Story. So last night, we were at a small village prayer meeting. After playing some songs, I spoke. After I spoke, it was Evan's turn. He was teaching on how we can't worship the things and gifts God has given us, how we can't make those idols and turn our focus from God. He was referncing scripture and asks the translator to read Hosea 1:8. After reading, the crowd was very confused. As a listener, I too, read the scripture. I quickly realized why they seemed so caught off guard. Evan had given them the wrong scripture to read and it did not apply at all. He meant to have them read Hosea 2:8, not 1:8. 1:8 is about a man getting his wife pregnant again and her having a baby. 2:8 was completely different. Check them out for yourselves. It was funny. I thought it was hilarious and Evan and I were the only ones that laughed. All the attendees seemed to be embarrassed. Oh, the differences in culture. Haha.

Jinja #2

Friday, February 6, 2009

Amazing Days

February 5th
The past few days have been amazing. They have looked like this.
We go later in the evening after doing devotion with the children with Francis. We go to one of the surrounding villages with him to have a prayer meeting with the Christians in the village. We arrive, eat with them, play a few songs, share, pray then head out. A few hour process at minimum. We'll share with you Wednesday February 4th. This was a night to remember for all of us.We spend the day painting the IREF boy's hostel with a man who led us. We were informed by him that we would be traveling to his house later on for the prayer meeting that evening in very broken english. We had the honor of doing devotion with the boys before leaving. We headed over to the boys devotion where we were bombarded by excited adolescence who had an incessant need to beat my drum and try to carry andrew's and christian's guitars. During the Gospel conference we encountered a man who was known as tambourine man. He was known for his "world-sacking, superhit, powerful fire-songs of Jesus!" This was his album name. And so as we grew in our relationship with this tamborine player with his "Flock of Seagulls" haircut, red vest and polka dotted tie- we learned what an action song was. An action song is any song with dancing motions.
So after the boys were lined up and in order, we began the boys devotion with the classic "Waves of mercy, waves of grace..." action song. The boys loved it! They did all the dance moves as they followed along. It is so great to be in front of a crowd that will copy anything you do. So when you clap, they clap. When you point your finger, they point their fingers. So you could imagine how all the music went when we figured this out. After the message that Francis translated, we headed out to the prayer meeting. By now we have become good friends with Francis and since he has been to the USA before, we can joke with him and he gets it.
After a very interesting ride to the village, we met up with our painter boss (whose prediction about us coming to his home was correct). We began the night by sitting in three chairs provided for us by our host outside. We were entertaining the children while the adults set up the speakers for all to hear. We were amidst serious need. A boy came up slowly in his wheel chair. He handed me a piece of paper describing his medical condition with a photo attached. He had a muscular disease with a fading family. Simply because we are American, people assume we can give them money and provide for all their needs.
We are definitely there to care for them, but we are there to do what God has in store for us. So I am trying to explain that i was not going home soon and that I had no money. He was sitting there asking for help, and there wasn't anything I could do. A man with an infected eye was half-translating as a woman with a hunched back was trying to get my attention. As he was asking for 10 rupies, i was trying to explain that i had none. Realizing there was simply nothing we could do for him at that moment, we realized that we needed to turn him over to God and pray for him. We gathered around and gave his needs to God, who would be the only one who could provide for him. As children moved in, frustration grew as I was trying to talk to this boy that was unwell, to say the least. Andrew and Christian experienced frustration as well, which was unusual. A dog came out of no where and began to bark viciously at our group that had crowded around for the prayer meeting outside. Things felt much different, very hectic. We instantly realized that tonight was a spiritual battle considering all these feelings of frustration, and the immense amount of distraction that was taking our focus from the prayer meeting. We actually found out later on in the night that this was happening but felt this darkness individually even before talking.
We were expected to share so we all searched our bibles as they played telegu worship over the loud-speaker. Andrew and I were discussing possibilities, but nothing was coming together at all. After Christian gave the introduction, Andrew shared about how God actually has everything under control and he loves us. How God has tomorrow planned out, and we don't have to worry because He is God. The Spirit moved the sharing exactly how He planned. I then shared about God's love for His children that tied in with what Andrew was led to talk about. It was so powerful to tell these people with heavy burdens that they didn't have to be alone. Jesus' message was to bring Him our burdens. That no matter what these people were facing, no circumstance or person or demon could stand in the way of Gods love for them. And that God works everything out for us, directs our steps, and provides for us. That He is the good Shepherd who gives His life for His sheep- not the hired hand that runs away when the wolves come. That no matter what circumstance they were going through, that God was involved and taking care of them- right there with them to pull them through so they would come closer to God and be more like Him.God was leading this night step by step. We knew that God wanted all of them to know how much He loves them. He worked everything out exactly to His will, and He did everything. It was amazing to watch as God took control of our night. We ended with a prayer of casting out all evil. Of casting out all fear, because Jesus' love expels all fear.
It was the most powerful and heavy thing to have Jesus' name and love proclaimed in such a dark place- over the loudspeaker over the village. How the whole time God had everything under control, and showed up. How we were just the empty body of believers, and God is alive; He came and brought peace to our souls. We were able to rest together, and even laugh later on over dinner. We arrived with tension, confusion and frustration. We didn't do anything, it was only God who came down on us, and His Spirit moved in an indescribable way that was transforming. God moved in all of us that night.
On Thursday the 5th, we tried to visit another boys' home (named Basha) down the road. A few days back Andrew and I had been on a walk around the block and ran into a boy on the street we recognized from the Gospel meeting. He invited us into his home where we looked forward to going in the next few days. Thursday was a very good day! We slipped in rather quietly. While Basha was speaking very quietly, he gave us refreshments. We found that his mother and father had died some years back, and that his grandmother looked after him somewhat. As we pulled out the guitar to sing, him and his grandma signaled not to very harshly. Something about the neighbor and that he was bad. That he had a problem with us playing the worship. Our impression was that he wasn't a believer, and since in this part of the world Jesus isn't accepted and his followers are heavily persecuted- we put the guitar away. So we prayed for his grandmother who had an extremely fast heart rate and a running-low supply of medicine. We prayed for him as well. We left through the shortcut which was safer. We look forward to continuing our friendship with Basha and praying for him and his brother, sister, and grandma. Please pray for Basha and his family.
Please pray for Gods continued intervention in their lives.
Please pray for the people who we had the prayer meeting with. We prayed that night individually with a lot of people for physical healing. Please pray they would be healed and God would move in their lives.
Pray that they and the rest of their village receives eyes for Gods glory.
Pray for them to continue to come close to God, persevere, and have eyes to see all He will do around them.
Thank you so much!

January 30th

It was great to spend time and make lasting friendships with the team from Minnesota/Michigan. We did the Gospel conference with them and completed a half a week after in fellowhship. We were honored to be apart of their trip. One of our last great memories with the team was going to the local Repalle jail. There the pastor John shared while we played music. It was great to watch them as they were sucked into the teaching- focused and listening. We are very excited to return there hopefully before we leave to visit with them and share a bit more. We ended with this team with a church dedication in the morning. It was sad to see the team go. We really got into great friendships with the team from Minnesota/Michigan. But as they left we knew it was time for us to begin and continue to move forward here in India.

The very next day after leaving we had the opportunity to go out with Francis (Emmanuel's brother) throughout some surrounding villages. Our first stop was world-sacking (adjective for incredible)!!! Gathering people from the village to come to the church, we went into a few homes and prayed with people. We prayed with two ladies and their families as well as a man who had recently lost a family member. Later during the church service we had the opportunity that comes literally once in a life-time. Once the prayer meeting was over a lady ran up with her baby asking for us to name it and dedicate it. We named him "David" and Andrew prayed for him. Next was another woman who wanted the same. We named the girl "Rebecca" and christian prayed for her. There was one last one named "Rachel" too that was dedicated. After the service was over we had another great opportunity to pray for multiple old ladies and children. This church service ended with some fire-hot curry chicken eaten with the hands. Later we traveled to another prayer meeting/funeral.

On the way we were drawn to a funeral and had the honor of praying with the family. We didn't get to share much, but we did what was needed. We went onto another funeral right after. We met far into this village, underneath a grass roof. 25 people were there listening directly, then the message was played over large speakers. It is amazing to see how in such a difficult time there can be hope. Because of the general darkness and oppression in these areas- it is incredible to hear people singing worship songs and smiling, holding tight together amidst the hardest of times. Jesus really is a hope and comfort for all things we go through. After sharing about perseverance we ate with the family and prayed with them. We headed home after a very complete and thorough day we hit the hay. So we look forward to finishing out India. A general day looks like playing soccer/vollleyball/basketball with the boys in their compound, then doing devotion with the girls in the evening. We really are hoping to travel to the jail again, and we are fired up to continue traveling with Franicis to the outer villages to reach them as well.

The American Team & A Big Tent

Janruary 25th

The Gospel conference couldn't have been more successful. A team traveled in from Minnesota/Michigan and we made awesome relationships with them. We dove in setting up the bit tent and stage. A few days of preparation were necessary, then jumped into it! Every night one of the three pastors would teach and invite the people to come accept Jesus. The untouchables were filling in to come hear about a hope that would save them daily and eternally. After John shared about John ch. 9, we headed in right before the masses went over to the sleeping tent in the boys compound. There we saw people letting the worship of God consume them. I remember seeing a man standing and clapping completely off beat- spreading his arms as wide as possible and crying. We were able to pray with people as we left too as we strolled back. A muslim boarding school sits on the backside of where we had the meeting for the conference, and the top was lined with students listening about Jesus. The next few days looked like this. Setting up, and tearing down. During the day the team held a medical clinic for all to come and get treated. People with scabies, fevers, colds, lame legs, etc. all came for any help they could get. While this was happening, the pastors would teach at another tent meeting for the evangelists and bible women of surrounding churches of IREF. As we (us three) and a few of the American team members worked alongside the boys in setting up, we saw how the body of Christ works in full swing. There was a medical clinic happening, some of us would just sit with the children while the tent meeting was going on, some would start setting up for the big Gospel conference in the evening working with the boys. We grew in our relationship with them while serving with them. Then once that relationship was established, they would hear more about God. The whole American team was assembled so divinely.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How many is a billion?

India is people. It's current population is 1,147,995,904 ... give or take a couple million. That's over a BILLION people. By comparison, U.S. population is 303,824,640. Even though India occupies only 2.4% of the world's land area, it supports over 15% of the world's population. Only China has a larger population than V-Team's current homebase. But, demographers expect India to pass China's population sometime around the year 2030.
Here are a few examples of the crowds that are everywhere. Above Left, washing plates to feed a crowd. Below, children waiting to play, or lining the streets in greeting. Bottom, crowds gathered for the big tent meeting. These pictures are just tiny glimpses of what V-Team is seeing and experiencing in their current crowded home.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


V-Team is still in Repalle, India. They are finishing up their last week with IREF ministries before they head out, bound for Thailand. Watch for updates as they get ready to hit the road again.

This following post is from "The Spill." Andrew Leigh's mom, Kelley, posted this on her blog today ...


"Today, a song. I'm thinking about my son getting ready to leave India for Thailand. I'm thinking about all of the humanity he's seen, and all the faces he's come to know, and all the need ... and how he has seen the heart of God in this world, in ways that I'll never know. This song captures the scope of it well. In the same way it sings God's ownership of the world; I sing it over my son. "... It's all yours, God."

I walk the dirt roads of Uganda
I see the scars that war has left behind
Hope like the sun is fading
They're waiting for a cure no one can find

And I hear children's voices singing
Of a God who heals and rescues and restores
And I'm reminded
That every child in Africa is Yours

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor
And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
You're the Maker and Keeper, Father and Ruler of everything
It's all Yours
~Steven Curtis Chapman

Posted on, The Spill --