Sunday, July 31, 2005

Home from camp!

Hello all! Team St. Pete, checking in!

We figured it was about time to give you all an update, and to show you some of what we've been doing for the past 3 weeks. They seem to have flown by, though some of the individual days seemed to last forever (funny how that happens).

The past two weeks have been spent teaching VBS at camp. Well, a sort of VBS anyway. Two days before we left for camp, we were informed that we weren't allowed to talk about God at all. This certainly came as a shock. We were going to be monitored as well, to insure we didn't. Since our VBS plans were the different characterisitics of God, this also led to some frantic rearranging. We managed though, definitely learning that in Russia the only motto to follow is: "Be flexible!!" We managed to come up with a program based off the story of the wise and foolish builders, hoping to show the kids ways to build a solid foundation for their lives that happened to correspond to lots of Jesus' parables. I think we managed pretty well, and hopefully our kids picked up some good stuff from us. We managed to work God into the lessons in the last few days of camp, as we gained the teachers trust and they stopped watching us during our lessons.

Our kids were definitely a handful, but we fell in love with them over the two weeks. We were working with orphan children who were ages 7 or 8 to about 14 and 15. It was pretty difficult. Most of the children had some sort of ADD or other attention disorder, and all of them acted out often. They were all so desperate for attention and love, it was heartbreaking. We had two children who became extremely violent when they got angry or upset, which was often. All of the kids resorted to violence very quickly which was hard for all of us. It was very sad to watch them sometimes, though we are all pros at breaking up fights now.

The camp was a strange one--it was very different from any camp we've seen in the states-- and we were never quite sure what we'd be doing from one day to the next. We had our kids twice a day, in the morning and afternoon. We spent a lot of time jumproping, playing Pioneer ball (Russian kids version of volleyball), soccer, and Uno. One of our greatest achievements is that we can now play a complete game of Uno in Russian! The kids were fun to play with, and they all got very good at sign language by the end of the two weeks. Our interpretors were invaluable as well, and we learned very random Russian words to get along. All in all, we tried to show the kids Gods love through actions, since we couldn't through words. Hopefully we managed. The last day at camp was so difficult. It was very hard to say goodbye to the kids, as they were all beginning to really open up to us, and trust us more. I don't know if it was harder on them, or us, as everyone was crying. It was like a scene from a movie, with the kids surrounding the van and running with it until we managed to drive away. We can only hope and pray that we were able to impart to them that they will always be loved and taken care of, no matter what; or maybe stirred up some curiousity about God.

We arrived back in St. Petersburg on Saturday, and will be working with the Nazarene church for the rest of this week, helping to maintain their ministry center by painting and doing other maintenance duties. We're all looking forward to the painting, and getting back to the apartment, and a working bathroom! We made do with an outhouse for the two weeks of camp. I don't think I've ever been more happy to see a toilet in my life! All in all things are going well. We've managed to stay healthy for the most part, though Kendra picked up a cold on the last few days of camp. I think we may all have lost some weight at camp, because the food wasn't the greatest, but it was an adventure! We've had our share of adventures so far, and are looking forward to more before we come home! We miss everyone, and hope all is well. Zvogom!

'Anzhelika', 'Carliknose/C-money', 'Brisha' and 'Keeyendra'

Saturday, July 30, 2005

North Africa Update

So its been awhile since our last update, and we have definitely been busy. We came to AH on a Sunday evening and began work early the next morning. We worked on the foundation of a house and had press all around because the ambassador was coming to see the work that was being done. The next day was pretty busy, lots of people all over the work site. Wednesday was back to normal work. Brandon came that night and stayed until Saturday. There have been a few teams coming through -- one was an international team, with members from Australia, Canada, Korea, and some other places. That was a while ago so we forgot where those other guys were from. Then there were four people from England. Those people were pretty cool; it's too bad they're not here anymore. They taught us polite British phrases such as "taking a tommy" to use in light of the vulgar expressions we have in the States to refer to relieving oneself. We've Americanized that particular expression to "Blasting the Thomas".
Work is kind of like a normal job here. We changed the schedule a little bit from the first week we were here because its so hot in the middle of the day, so now we leave the house between 6:30 and 7, we all climb in the back of a pickup and ride about a half hour up to the site, a little after noon we all climb back in and come home for lunch and a little nap, we usually go back to work around 3:30 and come home 7:30. Also, sometimes we go pig hunting. One of the guys here shot a pig (twice!) with his 12-gauge, but didn't have the spotlight so it got away before it died and he couldn't find it. Curses! We found it the next day but the meat was already spoiled. Man, we would have had bacon for the rest of the trip!
Weekends we have some time to relax. We all have had the cultural experience of a public bath now. And we went to a wedding yesterday and today. Yesterday before the wedding we poured the roof on the house we began when we first arrived. In Derik's words, "We made a djinn whose name was Atchun, or Thirst. We mixed him up and slowly, bucket by bucket and wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, he became the roof of the house. We got a couple pictures of it if anyone'd like to see". The girls had to dress up in these traditional outfits for the wedding. The guys and girls are in different houses. They tried to make all us girls dance, it was hard, but really fun. The bride sits in a different room and isn't supposed to be happy or smile or anything because she is leaving her father. The guys were in another house and ate and talked.

Sapphire and Derik

Photo's from Brandon's trip!

Some Pictures I brought back from North Africa:

Team NA, plus Brian Grove...

A soccer game got the best of Em...

Derik, John and Bryan ... use their upper lip to become accustomed to the culture!

Children of the people they are serving...

After a hard mornings work...

Some pictures I brought back from India:

Asha Kiran's visiting summer teachers...

Where in the World is Meadow Wright?

Matt playing King or the Moutain with the Mukti Girls...

Ashley looks right at home, don't ya think?

Joel rolling Chipati's... Nice form bro!

Quick! Move Brandon! Here come the pacidermes!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Hey All! We are now on Holiday, and Lucan was an absolute blast. As you can see, Brian was quite involved as on of the premier members of the "Rock and Roll" duo, and played the whole week for the kids. They absolutely loved him, and he had a lot of fun, and also learned a lot of guitar! We made a lot of good friends and were touched by a lot of the kids at the camp. The daily routine was Junior camp in the mornings and teens in the evenings, and it was a good experience to be involved with these two different ages, and get a feel for ministry. We left Lucan on Saturday via rental car from Enterprise . . . it's been interesting. This is like the 2nd or 3rd time that Brian has driven a stick, and along with the fact it's on the other side of the road, and that the roads are about the size of a bike lane, it's been an adventure. We've traveled the west coast, visiting the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, stayed the night in Lisdoonvarna at a B&B (the host lady was a Manchester United fan, awesome!). Next we hit Westport, and climbed the Croagh Patrick, which is 2,510 ft up, and is also known as 'the Reek' or Holy Mountain of Ireland, and thankfully we were here this weekend and not next weekend, because about 50,000 people are going to pilgrimage there to climb it . . . and some of them barefoot. It was magnificent, the view was amazing, and we were all so glad to have done it. Then we hit the beach. GORGEOUS. It was an absolutely beautiful day, we walked the beach and Tyler rented a surf board and wet suit to ride the foot high waves. Now we're at the Downhill Hostel, up in Derry which was a long drive. But we took a break and saw the Marble Arch Caves which were really really cool. The beach here is so amazing, and it's just a stones throw from the hostel. We met up with Angie Little and Jessica West, who go to the INN and are working here over the summer. We'll be heading back south on Thursday to drop of the car and pick up luggage that we left with friends, perhaps catch a movie, and then head up to Belfast Friday to meet up with the Lowe Memorial team. We're excited! And praise the Lord for this amazing holiday! Hope you're all doing well, and God Bless!

Much Love, Becca, Mel, Brian and Tyler

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Brandon has arrived!

We just got the privilege of picking Brandon up from the airport in Bangalore. It was quite a sight to see him rolling out in his wheelchair. Brandon, Matt, Joel, Meadow, Rita, and I(Ashley) are heading to Puna tonight by train. It will take us 18 hours to get there, so we will definitely have some time to catch up. But, we are all really excited to experience the Indian train. We will be spending 4 days there helping at an orphange. Hope all is well wherever you all are. God Bless- Ashley

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Ja sam pristasa seljacke stranke (I support the Farmers party)

Dobro vecer prijatelji i obitelj!

We have so much to tell you since our last update. Our first camp, for kids with cancer, ended and the second camp, for kids with downs syndrome has also come and gone. The building has been quiet without the kids here, and we miss them a lot, but we are getting pretty excited for ROM! Our ROM leadership team is growing as team members are arriving here at Hope House. We switched rooms, and are now living on the top floor with two roommates: Lauren from Texas, and Masa (Mah-sha) from a small town in Croatia. Tihomir and Christine have been keeping us busy with projects in preparation for ROM. We even learned a new skill: sewing! This we definitely come in handy, as the two of us are responsible for making 60 robes in the next week! All prayers for this project are appreciated. Also, this weekend, we visited the city of Rijeka, on the coast, to attend the Baptist church. Our host “dad,” Tihomir, was the guest preacher. After the service, we spent the afternoon swimming at the beach, and eating sladoled (ice cream) in Opatija. Below are some pictures from the past few weeks. Uzivati!

The first picture is of the kids from the downs syndrome camp receiving their diplomas at the end of the week. We got to spend that afternoon prior to the ceremony helping the camp staff (Brett, Mirta & Dinko) create the diplomas.

The second picture is of us and our friend Paula, who is the older sister of one of the girls at the camp. The background of the photo is dark because we are in “Spilja Vrelo,” a cave in Fuzine. Even though the outside temperature was nearly 80 degrees F, the inside of the cave stays at around 40 degrees F all year long.

The third picture is of us working on our sewing project. Lindsay is ridiculously gifted at cutting fabric & Hillary is learning to sew in a straight line! We just want to make sure you all know that we really are doing work here!

The fourth picture is of part of our ROM leadership team in front of the new Baptist church that is being built in Rijeka. The church we attended today will move to this building once it is completed. The church members tell us that the new building will look like a space craft when it is finished. Please pray for the new building to be finished quickly, and for the church’s youth program, which is struggling.

The fifth picture is of some beautiful buildings in the lovely town of Opatija, where we spent the afternoon on the beach, after a long, hard week of hunching over our sewing table. The architecture is amazing. Tihomir told us that the town was used as a vacation destination for the Austrian elite around the turn of the 20th century, but now it attracts tourists from all over Europe.

We are really enjoying our time in Croatia, and we can’t believe we have already been here for a month. We would appreciate prayers for ROM, specifically that all the participants are able to get their visas without problems, and for their safe travels across borders. Also, that the last of the funding will come through for the conference. Finally, we would like prayers for building strong friendships with the other ROM participants and leaders. When we leave Croatia we want to be able to stay connected with these people and continue to encourage each other in our efforts toward reconciliation and Christ-centered leadership.

We love you all, and continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. See you soon.

~Hillary and Lindsay

Brandon in Frankfurt

I just got back from spending some fruitful days with the North Africa team. They are way, way out in the boonies and are totally cut off from email for the summer. (Derik sent the below posting with me) But they are doing well overall! Keep them in your praers. Pray for team unity and for endurance as it is really, really hot where they are. I can't wait, until you can hear about their ministry. They are doing some amazing works and have some great stories to share. I will post some pictures upon my return home late next week.
I am off to Bangalore tomorrow and will arrive Tuesday (I think). Continue to pray for my broken leg. Other than wheelchair rides from popler who speak German, Spanish, Arabic, French and, oh, some English, getting around is fine.
Keep praying for the teams.
In Him,

Turkey Update

Brandon, It has been a good week here in Antalya. We started facilitating English-Turkish conversation classes this week, which we are doing on Mondays and Thursdays. On monday we had a lot of students and talked as a group for almost 2 hours. It was fun to talk to native Turks and learn about their views on things and their culture. They were also interested in American culture but mostly for the first day they told us about Turkey, the changes happening here, the places we should visit, the food we need to try, music stations to listen to, and talked about Ataturk, the founder of Turkey who we had learned about from Ben and Verna. All Turks have a picture of Ataturk in every room in their homes and offices. On Thursday the format of the conversation group class was very different, and we paired up for conversations and met some new people. Through the conversation groups we hope to havethe chance to build relationships outside of class. After class thursday we went to dinner with one of the students named John, which was fun. The crafts and gymnastics are going great and the kids are starting to know us and really like spending time with us. One group of the younger kids were so cute the other day after gymnastics lessons when they were all eating lunch inside thier lunch room. When we walked by outside the window they all stood up and waved and smiled and said "bye bye! goodbye!" which we have been teaching them taught them to say. A couple days a week two of us are starting another craft project with another group of kids at Tanchule's business (our lead translator). She runs a little learning program that lasts 2 and a half hours, 2 days a week. Im the only one of us who has helped at that yet, besides Alisha, from Ellensburg. Health wise we are all healthy except for Amy, who has been battling a cold/caugh/sinus infection which slowly gotten worse since we arrived 2 and a half weeks ago. So she could definately use some prayers for a quick return to health! The rest of us have only dealt with minor stomach upsets and small injuries such as cuts... (Well I managed to rugburn my nose the other day during the gymnasics lesson but we wont get to much into that). Some of you may have heard about the bombing on a bus filled with tourists on a coastal town in Turkey, but it wasn't near us so no need to worry. We are all fine. However please pray that we continue to stay safe and stay clear of any incidents such as that in the upcoming weeks, especially since we are in a tourist area and will be traveling on the weekends. Next weekend we are still planning to go to Ephesus, which we are really looking forward to! Yesterday we went to see the ancient Amphitheater and ruins at a the ancient town of Side, (pronounced Seeday) How amazing it was to walk on the same paths of people thousands of years ago! Mary loved to look at the Archetectural structures that were still standing. Afterward we saw a waterfall at a nearby town called Manavegat. It was nice to get out of Antalya for a few hours and see some of the surrounding area. We started a bible study with Verna, her daughter Karn, Alicia, and a girl named Chole from England. We are doing it on Theresa of Avila. So far we like it and it is great to get together as a group each sunday and review the week. Mary has been singing and playing the piano at Wednesday worship and Sunday church, which has been awesome! I attempted to help sing today and last wednesday, which was fun and challenged my courage. So that's it for now, and we are continuing to think about and pray for all of you wherever you are!Love, Kim, Amy, Heather, and Mary

Malawi Update

Muli bwanji!All is well here in Malawi. It’s crazy to think that we are at our halfway point. Our ministries are going really well. Our relationships with the kids at the farm are really growing. It’s taken more of an effort for us girls to build relationships because we aren’t able to live at the farm for policy reasons, but the kids are beginning to realize that we are here for the whole summer, unlike the short-term teams that have been coming and going. Our team has been realizing, what a privilege it is to be with these kids for the summer and to be involved in their daily lives. They are done with school in a week and we’re excited to be able to spend more than just afternoons with them. Next week will be really awesome because all of the kids (over a hundred) from Chiwengo (another COTN site up north) and Chitipi will go to Lake Malawi, where we will help run week-long camp. Our other ministry at Mtsileza has required some flexibility—several funerals in the past week have caused us to change our evangelism sites. Last week, we walked more than 40 minutes through the fields and plains (think Lion King-ish). Although we’ve learned some phrases in Chichewa, the language barrier has been more of a struggle at Mtsileza because very few of the kids speak English and there are more than 400 kids in the program there. Despite this barrier, the kids are always excited to see us. When we drive through the villages, kids come running from all directions, screaming “asungu!!” which is their term for white person. From inside our van, it feels like we are on a parade float, as we smile and wave to all the waving kids. Though we are the ones teaching the kids in discipleship and evangelism, we’re learning just as much, if not more from them. Aside from ministry, we have no problem entertaining ourselves…Most mornings, us girls have at least a few hours of quiet time, yes a few hours, because we get up at six every morning and sometimes five when one of our annoying cats meows at the window, or the rooster crows, or there is a gecko in your bed, or the neighborhood dogs bark…in any case we wake up early. One of the highlights of our day (Shannon and Melissa) occurs every morning without fail when walking entrepreneurs pass our house sounding much like vendors at a baseball game when they yell what sounds like “day-by-day!” and “yah-duh-lay!!’ You may not understand why this is so funny, but we laugh hysterically every morning. Us girls, frequently refer to ourselves as old ladies. We, as previously mentioned, wake up at the crack of dawn, drink several cups of tea, read and journal a ton, and we have our own grandma chair. We have been seen working on jig-saw puzzles, making friendship bracelets, and going to bed by 9pm. The guys have been enjoying daily bucket baths and true Malawian food. Kenny has been working on various repair projects at the farm such as the gate and huge bird house. Nolan, along with the New Testament reading with our team has taken up reading to Old Testament as is sure to be done by the end of our trip. As a team we are bonding over countless embarrassing moments, our ever-growing quote book, our contest over best farmer’s tan and the pursuit of a good milkshake.Tsalani bwino (Stay well)Kumbadilas (hugs)Melissa, Shannon and Team Malawi

DR Update

Written on the 16th:
Hello again to friends and family!Here we are again, basking in yet another one of the Carribian'sfavorite past-times...This one, Hurricane Emily passed us yesterdaywith nothing but high winds and lots of rain, nothing that we can'thandle!This week has been exhilarating, one of our busiest here, and thisSaturday finds most of us sleeping in and getting some much neededrest. We have come to the point in our trip where we are past thegetting to know you stage, settled into our homes and jobs, and thetime is beginning to fly by. It is now less than a month until you seeour bright and shiny faces again!Teaching in the Bateyes is going amazingly well, for most of usEnglish is the favorite, and seeing the kids advance from simple wordsto phrases has been such a joy. Teaching everything from "Hello howare you?" to our favorite phrases such as "Wassup" and "That's rad"has defiantly been the highlight. The other half of our morningteaching in the bateyes, tutoring has been more of a challenge. Evenfor those of us that speak Spanish, our attempts to explain math andlanguage skills has put us all to the true test of our patience andabilities. No one can quite remember the last time one of us did longdivision! Nevertheless, being in the bateyes three days a week gettingto know our kids and building relationships has been such a blessing,and it is becoming more difficult every day to think of leaving.Monday our afternoon plans were changed suddenly by our amazing interncoordinators, Drew and Dana. Instead of our normal afternoonactivities in the Bateyes, we were driven (in our favorite COTNvehicle, 'vericose van') into the amazing hills that surround Barahonafor a hike that ended at a waterfall/river. We spent the afternoonswimming, floating down the rapids on the single enertube we broughtand having time together, without having to think about work. Mondaysare our "church days", and this week we were able to sit on the banksof the river and have our time together, with an awesome word from afriend of Drew & Dana, Maile.That night a few of us were taken by our families to a concert put onby one of the local churches that included everything from mime actsto ribbon dancers, to a group of men who rapped Kirk Franklin inSpanish! Holler back.Tuesday we began yet another one of our summer projects, updating allof the information in the COTN Child Sponsorship program. With over500 kids in all three of the Bateyes, it is a huge job that includesinterviewing each child, getting their measurements and taking theirphoto. With all of us working together we were able to get the entirebatey of Algodon finished this week, which was a huge blessing.Tuesday night was also the beginning of another Pentecostal revival inBarahona (there have been 2 since our arrival) and the biggest one tocome through town in over 5 years. With a large stage and over 1000people, most of us attended with our families.Wednesday was spend tutoring and doing our usual activities in thebateyes. The sports and games team now has two solid soccer teams, onein Algodon and one in Los Robles that will hopefully face off againsteach other at the end of the summer. We also spend the day helpingDrew and Ben plan for the first ever Young Life event that will happentonight (Saturday) in Los Robles.On Thursday we had the privilege of cooking dinner for the staff ofCOTN. Well, we helped cook! San Cocho, a favorite Dominican dish (theequivalent of cooking steak for people in the states) was on the menu,along with brownies and lots of fruit and rice. We gathered at Drewand Dana's, ate, talked and danced to the music of the revival thatcould be heard from across the street. It was awesome to be able tospend time and get to know the people that make this mission run herein the DR, and hopefully we will have an opportunity to be able to doit again soon.Friday during our afternoon soccer practice in Algodon hurricane Emilyunleashed her wrath! No worries, it was nothing unusual, just bucketsof rain and wind- which cut our time there a little short, but we areall fine and well.So there you have it folks! The week in review, brought to you by yourloving COTN interns. As mentioned, tonight is the first Young Lifeevent which will bring together the youth of Los Robles and Algodon,and is the first youth ministry project that COTN has taken on. Pleasepray for wisdom for our speaker, for energy for us interns, and thatthe youth may see that life with Christ is more than just words on apaper, but that it is real and exciting. Oh yes...and for the weather:)Again, don't forget to check out our blog site will be up there soon!)Con Amor!Brent, Gib, Kelsey, Erica, Carmen and Emily

Update from Mekelle

Written n the 16th:
Selam!I hope all of you reading this newsletter are doing well, because we are doing more than well here in Mek’ele! I’m hoping that this letter gets out sometime in the near future, as the phone line has been out for a few days now…but I’ll send it off as soon as possible…Anyway, like I said, life in Mek’ele is going really well. We’ll start with a youth center update…English Clubs are absolutely amazing. Tim and I are teaching the little little kids, who speak no English, and we agree that our class is way cuter than the other two classes. The kids are slowly but surely picking up on colors, and some of them are pretty adept at the alphabet as well! Matt and Jamie’s class and Becky’s class are studying countries of the world, this week is Ireland…I think they’re doing a bunch of stuff with potatoes and then learning a jig. Reading clubs are going well too, we’ve successfully built sheep, learned rhymes, and figured out that if you do your homework, you get a bouncy ball.On Saturday we had a big AIDS awareness/peer educator graduation. The little girls started off with their interpretive dance to “Stand By Me,” followed by the circus kids. Ok, these kids were incredible. They juggled flaming batons, they built human pyramids that were more like human flying buttresses, there was a girl who could contort her body in every possible way, there were kids flying in the air, it was out of control. Then the older girls did their “Wait For Me” interpretive dance (they loved performing!), they graduated the peer educators, and then a live Tigre band played. Ethiopian dance party anyone? We were all up in front trying to do Tigre dancing, but it’s hard for us to do! The kids said, “nice try…” Comforting.Jamie and I are supposed to start a new interpretive dance with the girls this week, so we’re working more on Miracle Drug. We’re supposed to do a Shania Twain song after that, but I think we’ll search out a different artist. I don’t think I have the patience for that much Shania.Oh! The fast is over! Hallelujah! We ate at the Meat Hut twice yesterday. Big plates of Zilzil tibs…best meat in all of Africa. Think steak, cut into small pieces, fried up with onions and garlic, and you eat it with you hands/injera. Delicious. Maybe we’ll head back there today…Ok, well, I think I’ll sign off for now. If you think about it, keep our team in your prayers; we’re half way done here, which we can’t believe! Just keep praying that the relationships we’re in here would be fruitful, as they have proved to be thus far! We miss all of you a ton, you are in our thoughts and prayers daily.Ciao!Kelly

India Update

This was written on the 13th:
A quick update from the other side of the world. We thought we should catchup on our updates. seeing as how we have now missed two mailings!First thing, everyone is well! That is a wonderful blessing.On Saturday, we had a day of R&R. We took a bus tour to Mysore. It wasbeautiful. We saw a palace, several temples, a Catholic church, RODE ANELEPHANT and took countless pictures of the monkeys running wild. The verylast stop was at the Brindivan Gardens. They were beautiful and as the sunset, we got a beautiful show from the illuminated fountains. It wasabolutely wonderfulWe spent Sunday afternoon at Asha Kiran Special Needs School for the SundayGet-Together. It is a Christian outreach that seeks to reach out to thestudents, families of the students and anyone living near the school. Thereis a bus that picks people up in Indiranagar (about twenty minutes from theschool) to allow more people to attend. Last weekend we had a decentturn-out. Mostly children have attended, but we have seen some response fromthe parents. It has been wonderful to share with all the children and beable to answer some questions.Matt and Joel are still staying at the school. The warden that was thereduring the month of June has left, so the boys have stepped in. It has beenvery beneficial to the two boys that board there. Both Matt and Joel havebeen able to form relationships with Adeep and Nandan. They have been ableto be positive role-models and also share the word of Jesus Christ. Thestronger the relationship grows, the more the boys become interested. Godworks in amazing ways.Prem and Rita continue to be great hosts. They have been great mentors androle-models for us. We learn so much from them each day. They are soinspiring and full of wisdom.We continue to ask for prayers for team unity, health, Prem and Rita, theSunday Get-Together and a warden for the hostile at Asha Kiran. We alsorequest prayers that we may be able to make a difference in these children'slives and that we may be able to reach new children.With Love,Meadow, Ashley, Joel, Matt

Message from North Africa

This was written a week ago (better late than never!):

We are now in the city where we will spend the remainder of our trip time at. We actually arrived Sunday night, but it has been very busy since then! We left our first location on Thursday night and traveled around the country. Our original plan was to leave Thursday morning, but our father had a different plan for us. Wednesday night we were playing soccer with some of the neighbor kids on a concrete field. Emily fell and fractured her wrist. She went to the emergency room that night then back to the hospital than e following morning. After quite a few hours of trying to figure insurance out she went in planning to pay it upfront with the insurance saying they would reimburse her. There were a lot more issues with trying to get into the doctor, but eventually she got there, and when she was done they told her it was free. That was a definitely a blessing. So we took a bus and arrived at our hotel late thursday night. Friday we spent some much needed time relaxing. On Saturday we got to explore the market. I think the highlight of saturday though for all of us was time we spent in the home of a family there. Bryan was giving us the tour, and he stayed with this family for two weeks while he was going to a language school. The people here are so nice! She gave us tea and bread, and they didnt have much, but it was amazing. Most of sunday we traveled, in a taxi. We had 7 of us if you include the driver in a taxi for five hours, but it wasnt too bad. We settled in, had some dinner and slept. We had to get up early to get out to the building site. Here we are helping rebuild houses from an earthquake. The girls whitewashed and the guys got to dig in rock. Us girls all got to work in skirts too, so that was interesting, but we made it work. I think the hardest part for all of us is the language barrier. Many of the women will invite us girls into their homes, so we sit with them, and smile, because we cant really talk to them. Of course today we got a little lesson, learned how to say mouth and nose and stuff like that, its hard though. Its so neat to be able to spend time with these people. Those still without houses live in tents, tarps over whatever they can find, but they make it work, its amazing, they are so creative. Its hard though, because we cant help everyone, there arent enough resources, and all the government will do is build four walls, but the walls arent really finished, and a roof over less than half of it, then they are done. The work this organization is doing here is amazing, and we are all so excited to be able to be a part of it.
Sapphire, Keli, John, Emily and Derik

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Sorry we haven't updated in such a long time! Our access to computers is limited. We successfully completed our first team/camp at Carlow (team pictured), and we had such a blast. The people, atmosphere, and overall experience was amazing. You might even say "Brilliant." We made so many great friends, we hope to meet up with some of them later in our trip. We had a couple days off after our Carlow camp, and stayed at a host family from the Lucan Presbyterian Church, Patricia and Roy. They were absolutely wonderful, they treated us very well with delicious meals and unlimited showers. Unlike Carlow. :) We took a day trip into Dublin and saw the Book of Kells which is a 1200 year old illuminated manuscript of the 4 gosples in Latin, on calfskin. Awesome. Becca was stoked. We were also able to make a trip out to see Trim Castle, which is where part of Braveheart was filmed. WICKED! Brian was stoked. We also went shopping at the nearby shopping center. Tyler was MORE than stoked, and bought more than he could ever need. On Thursday we cracked down to business, and met our new team in Lucan. We are sleeping at the local church, and the camp is held at the youth center about 10 min away, and starts this monday. The camp looks amazing, thanks to us Americans, we did a good clean up job. We've been doing a lot of prep work for the camp, and decorated the hall with the theme "It's God's World," lots of animals and a really AWESOME 3-D tree. Today was the day Harry Potter came out, so don't be worried, Becca got a copy. Phew! Prayers for our health, as hayfever/allergies seem to be on attack, as well as energy as this heat wave tends to zap energy pretty fast, and prayers also for the camp this coming week would be wonderful, as we share Christ with the kids and teens. After Lucan we have our week off, and we'll talk to you then. We miss you all, and hope the weather isn't "mingin'" at home. Irish slang, look it up. Cheers.
God Bless,
Melinda, Becca and the rest of the team.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Hello from St. Petersburg! We have now officially been gone for one week, but it feels like much longer. We all got settled into this city really quickly, and it truly feels like home. Or as close as you can get when you are in a huge city filled with people who speak a different language than you. We've been at our apartment - "home" - since Monday. It is really awesome. The hot water is turned off for the month of July, so we get to take freezing cold showers every day under a dripping faucet. And no, I don't mean that it leaks, I mean that drips are all we get out of it. But hey, at least we have running water, right? Other perks of the apartment: A stunning view from the 9th floor where we can watch gorgeous sunsets every night at about 11:30 pm, a cute little kitchen where we cook our own meals, an elevator that has worked 2 of the days we've been here so far, and a wonderful host Tatiana (aka Tanya) who is staying with us this week. Starting on Tuesday we have been taking Russian language, culture, and history classes every morning from Tanya and our other host, Misha. Then in the afternoons after lunch Tanya has been showing us all around the city. Tomorrow is our last day of class, and then we head to Moscow for the weekend! We get back from Moscow Sunday morning and then head off to a camp outside the city that afternoon, so don't expect any more posts from us for at least 2 weeks. At the camp we will be running a VBS program for orphans. So the real work is about to begin! We'll tell you more about that once we get back.
Everyone is healthy so far, praise God. Or as the Russians say, Slava Bogoo!
Hopefully next time we'll be able to post some pictures. We have some great ones already, but everyone forgot their USB cables! Whoops! Along with pictures we are also filming an Oscar-worthy video of all of our experiences. It will premier on September 9-10 at the Deputation retreat. Can't wait to see all of you there!

Carly, Breanne, Angela, and Kendra

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Brandon in North Africa

Hey all,
I just thought I would write and let everyone know I made it to North Africa. I can't get my lovely upc email account to work so I'm using the blog! I guess I'm sort of a two week long Deputees, so it counts! Well, it was a three day long adventure that's for sure. My broken leg came in both useful and annoying. There were times it got me to the front of the line and to the good seats. But I also had to endure being pushed around and stuck in the wheelchair van with those of a much more... well, "experienced", age. Moping around in crutches is a ton of work that's for sure! Well, it is night here and I am headed for the sack. I will meet up with the team in the morning. Hope you are all doing well!
In Him,

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Turkey pictures!

This is our arts and crafts room at the Aycov school - here we're helping with fingerprint paints. On Friday, we all had a blast teaching the kids gymnastics...they LOVED it!

This is us on one of our first days in Antalya drinking Turkish tea the "proper" way. To our suprise, a Turkish waiter informed us that this was in fact NOT the proper way to drink tea and was actually "VERY dangerous." (who in the world told us to simultaneously hold the saucer AND the cup??)

We visited the old city of Antalya, much of which is from 130 AD. Here we are peeking into the gates of the oldest structure in the area: originally a Roman temple, it was converted into a church and later a mosque. We were shown an old cross engraved in the was interesting and fun to see the evidence of Christ in this Muslim country.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Ethiopia Update

Hello All,
The third week in Mekele is finished and we are in full stride finally. In the three English clubs being taught by Jamie, Kelly, Tim and me, we have over one hundred kids and in the two reading clubs taught by Jamie, Kelly and me, we have had over 70 kids. In English club we are learning about different countries and this week is IRELAND! Mike has been teaching a group advanced martial arts, Jamie has been going to martial arts in the mornings and I have been lifting weights with Trevor (The mighty Tennesseean). I started teaching HIV/AIDS classes this week and Mike started teaching computer classes and we will be teaching for the remained of the stay as the normal teachers are leaving for vacation this week. We are also excited to announce that Tim is the first white person to win a ping pong game in Ethiopia, we are inducting him into the Mekele white peoples hall of fame. In other
news the team will be running (or attempting) a 10K a week from Sunday (the 17th). We figured that we'll run faster since we are at the height airplanes fly at and hence are lighter, or not, but either way it will be fun!
Exciting news at the guys house, we are having a grill made! It was a concerted Tim and will be made out of a Barrel. We're planning on having a BBQ in a couple weeks and anyone who would like to make the trip is welcome to attend! The power was off today for a while as was the water, but it's back now and praises the Lord the toilet flushes! Finally, we have discovered the fruit Belas. They are cactus fruits and girls here sell them on the side of the streets. They cost 10 santeen (1.2 cents) so they make a tasty snack! Other than that all is well, no one has had any huge healthy issues, just colds and upset stomachs. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers and we'll talk to everyone soon!
With Much Love,
Mike, Tim, Kelly, Jamie and Matt (The Farengies, it means white people)

Malawi Update

Greetings from Malawi!
Wow, so much has happened since our last update! While we continue to evangelize within several of the smaller villages around us, we are still seeing many different ways in which God is present in this country. Each of us has had the opportunity to give messages to the children which has been great for our public speaking and our 'God skills'. Also, we get to do a couple of personal devotions each day which is also improving the newly coined term 'God skills'. Recently, we have had the opportunity to go to a couple of pretty good restaurants and drank a whole lot of Fanta. It's only like 25 cents here for 300 mL which is a pretty good deal! While the girls get to eat many different types of dishes given to them by their on-sight cook, the young men get to eat nsima and rice for lunch and dinner every single day!!!!'s OK. Driving is pretty crazy here. Not only do they drive on the wrong side of the road, but there are like five different people hanging out of all the windows! It's really not safe. Also, there aren't any crosswalks here, so crossing the street is a chore. Last week, Carly and Melissa took several minutes crossing a street which was both time consuming and quite boring, at least for me. Something I saw yesterday that was a...culture shock. I was playing cards with some of the kids when one of the young girls walked up to me...with a rat head (it was smiling at me) in her mouth. Apparently, they had just gotten done with an exam and that was their treat!!! It was a little freaky to see it, but its common for them so I sucked it up and said "Mmmm, that looks good!" I DIDN'T SAY GROSS OR WEIRD!!! Anyway, I hope you are all doing well and we will continue to keep all of you in our prayers. We have no doubt that God is working through you in the same ways he is us six here in Malawi. May God continue to bless you all and take care!
Tionana (see you later in Chichewa),
Nolan and team Malawi

India Update

Hello from India!
Last week was perhaps the most eventful week, thus far. I got sick. The
oh-so dreaded sickness that we have been warned about. Well, I got
dehydrated to the point that Prem and Rita had to take me to the hospital to
get an IV drip started. All is well now though. After leaving the hospital we headed for a ministry called The Potter's Wheel. There is a lady, Joanne, who is from the US, who lives in a village with about twenty or thirty people. They export handmade pottery to the US and live off of the funds from the pottery. Every morning and night they have a Bible reading and have worship on Sundays. They all have Bibles that are printed in their mother tongue. It's amazing to see what God is doing in these people's lives. On Monday, we went to an Indian wedding. It was quite the event. There were about two-thousand people there. The service lasted about an hour and a half and the reception was a good four hours. Prem did the closing prayer for the wedding service. The reception was complete with dance performances, songs and speakers. After the reception, we joined the other couple thousand people for some dinner. It was very spicy! It was wonderful to see how God
unite's people and learn about what these people are doing with different ministries. Yesterday we got the opportunity to visit a post-graduate college and other ministries. The name of the college was South Asian Institute of Advanced Christian Studies. It draws students from all over. Currently there are about 120 students. One of the ministries we visited supports children whose parents are in prison. It gives them a place to live, food to eat, a family to love them and a place to learn about God. There are over one hundred children there and they spend time each day learning the Word. The other ministry that we visited was started by a rickshaw driver. He goes around and picks up homeless ill people. He cleans them up, gives them
shelter and a place to live. What he is doing is so wonderful. These people wouldn't have a chance without him. Prem and Rita have been wonderful hosts. They treat us as though we are just some more of their own children. They are so full of wisdom and are very inspiring. We have learned so much already from them.
We continue to ask for prayers for Prem and Rita, Asha Kiran school and our team. We especially ask that you lift up those who have been affected by the tragic attack in London on Thursday. Our thoughts and prayers are with those and all of our family and friends that are accross the world.
Meadow, Ashley. Matt. Joel


Hi everyone! Team St Petersburg is in St Petersburg!
Highlights so far:
Being interviewed by channels 4 and 5 at the airport before leaving Seattle. Famous Deputees!!
An incredibly turbulent flight from Seattle to
I think we got a ride to our hotel by the Russian mafia (the men with Mercedes and snakeskin shoes and big gold jewelry). Hey, we made it safely though.
Hot weather in Russia....hanging mosquito netting in our window so we don't get eaten alive.
It's like afternoon sunny yet it's almost 9pm here.
Rearranging the furniture in our "boat like" hotel room so us and our luggage will fit in there at the same time.

That's it! We're now off to find some food. Hope everyone else is well.

~Breanne, Carly, Kendra, Angela

Friday, July 08, 2005

Turkey Update

Merhaba friends!
Our first full week is complete and it has been packed full of great adventures and hilarious mıshaps! We have come into a routine and are enjoying our days very much. We think we have conquered the bus system here in Antalya - we had 3 or 4 unsuccessful trıes - including a few hour and a half bus rides far away from our destination. But we made it this morning on time to school so we were proud! You do feel a bit like a sardine packed in the bus though - quite humorous as the bus manuevers along the bumpy streets and youre thrown from side to side. We think its funny - no one else does!
The cuisine has also taken a few days to get used to. Each morning we stick wıth watermelon and a hard boiled egg. Kım usually is adventurous and tries something new and gives us the go ahead! Otherwıse, bread, yougurt, and lots of veggies are what we mainly eat. We dıd try traditional Turkish cuisine - kebap with rıce and pıta - quite heavy but full of flavor! We have had some trouble ordering considering we dont speak Turkısh - but mainly we get something well eat.
For Amy,s birthday we went out to dınner and after
much confusion accidentally wracked up a bill of about 180 dollars - including an eighty dollar bottle of champagne and 30 dollar fish fillets! İ guess we had looked at the lunch menus earlier in the day and thought the prices were reasonable. Apparently we'd stumbled upon the Canlis of Antalya! woops!!
We swam in the Medıterranean - it was truly glorious!! Warm (as far as oceans go) and quite salty, we had lots of fun with the locals. They all jump off super hıgh rock cliffs into the water and Kim and Amy joıned in!
Working at the school has been great, and has proven the Turks laid back and flexible lifestyle. Over the last days, weve seen anywhere from 50 to about 70
kıds each day, and four to seven classes total. The kıds seem to just
trıckle ın, oddly enough, some on class schedules some not! But the
translators are fantastıc as are the teachers! The children are just adorable
and are taking quite well to our crafts. They especially liked the fingerprint painting today - though the ink ended up everywhere! Oh well!
Weve been spending more tıme at St. Pauls cultural center where the church is located - weve really enjoyed it so far. A lot of young people are doıng the same things we are so its nıce to talk with them! İts also nice to be wıth other english speaking believers in a comfortable environment.
Looking forward to hearing from you all - you are in our thoughts and prayers!

Love, Mary, Kim, Heather, and Amy

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Team St. Petersburg, I wish you safe travels as you leave today, and I am sorry you won't get to spend time in London, as you had planned. I think I speak for everyone when I say our thoughts and prayers are with the people of London, and those who have friends and family there. God bless,
News from Team St Pete!

We are still leaving today, on schedule, but will not be spending any time in London as originally planned. We will be flying to St Petersburg on Saturday. We're disappointed obviously, but that's the way things work sometime.

We're excited to get this show on the road!!

~Breanne, Carly, Angela, Kendra

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Dobar dan!

Hello everyone! After some technical difficulties, we have finally managed to get some more pictures posted for you to enjoy. We hope they give you a sense of what our experience in Fuzine has been like so far. We have been having a great time. See below for descriptions of each photo.

The first picture is of the lake and the town of Fuzine. It is so beautiful. On one of our walks around town, Lindsay nicknamed it "The Shire" because of all the greenery, flowers, and cute cottages!

The second picture is of Hope House, where we live. It is owned and operated by Life Center International, and is the place where the camps and conferences are held (until Friendship House, across the street, is all finished being remodeled).

The third picture is a group photo that was taken during the Advocates Europe conference (the conference for lawyers that we helped with when we first arrived). When they were were taking the picture, they said "People in front squat down." I guess lawyers don't follow instructions well, because we seem to be the only ones who did. (As Linz says, "that's why we look like gomers!").

(You can probably tell we are having a lot of fun!...)

Picture 4 is Hillary, Marin, Tea & Nikolina, making what Hillary refers to as "the monkey face." It has come in pretty handing for us non-Croation speakers! (A good way to make friends!). These kids are participants in the camp for kids who have had cancer, which is going on right now at Hope House.

Picture 5 is Lindsay, Milan & Marin hanging out outside Hope House on a sunny afternoon. These guys are great - we have grown pretty attached to them. We will be sad when the kids leave on Tuesday. :(

Pictures 6 and 7 are group photos taken during the week. Picture 6 is of us with some of the younger girls, before singing time the first night of camp. Picture 7 is us with some of the kids and our host "mom," Christine, in the woods when we hiked through a national park two days ago. (Before it started pouring rain & we had to run for cover!) At this park, the kids also got to do teambuilding games, including a high ropes course. Fun!

We hope you are all enjoying your summers as much as we are. Thank you for your continued support and prayers. We miss you and look forward to sharing these experiences with you in person when we get home. Love,

~Lindsay & Hillary~

Saturday, July 02, 2005

An Update from Ethiopia

Brandon and Crew,
The second week here in Mekele is just about done and things are going well. If anything, we seem to keep getting busier. The English clubs didn't startthis week because kids had class, but well over 60 kids from ages 5 - 16 havesigned up to start next week. It's pretty exciting to see that so many kidswant to practice their English. Tons of other things have been happening at the youth center. This morningMatt, Tim, and Trevor (another guy helping out at the youth center, fromTennessee) organized a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Matt's team ended upwinning, and we gave T-shirts for sportsmanship, which was pretty cool. Jamieand Kelly have been a huge success with their dances and the other things theyhave been doing at the youth center. The girls club this morning seemed a bitcrazy, with the huge soccer ball they were playing with, but everyone washaving a great time. I have been trying to figure out what I am doing as faras picking up the computer lessons so that I can take over for the currentteacher starting next week. I have also been doing martial arts 6 days aweek, taking taekwondo MWF, and teaching a smaller group of students onTues,Thurs,Sat. Oh! Tim managed to put his engineering skills to great useand made us some bug screens for the windows at the guy's house. Timcontinues to rock, clearly. All in all, things here have been going really well. We all are adjustingpretty well and having fun building relationships with the kids at the youthcenter. We would love continued prayers for health, wisdom in teaching thesekids English and in building relationships, and for our team to continue togrow closer.
Egziabher Yimesgin,
(Praise be to God)Mike, Matt, Jamie, Tim, and Kelly

Friday, July 01, 2005

Turkey has arrived!

Turkey made it!
We finally made it to an internet cafe! The keyboard is very different here so you have to bare with my typing. We arrived safely at 5:00 yesterday evening. However, our baggage did not. Amy received both of her bags and I received my bag filled with arts and crafts. After Bens awesome help, picking us up at the airport and then checking us into our hotel room, we called the airline and found out that our baggage was in Antalya, boarding the next flight. After an amazing night spent at the pastors wedding, we went back to our rooms to sleep and at 3 in the morning, we got a call from the front desk telling us that our baggage had arrived!! Today, Ben took us on a bus ride so we could figure out our daily bus schedule to Aycov. What a beautiful place we will be working at!! We met some of the kids, which got us completely excited for our work on Monday...such awesome children fullof joy, and some are already learning English! We are super excited to see what fun plans the Lord has for us and how He is using us this summer to touch these childrens hearts! Our prayers are with everyone back at home and on the other missions!
Team Turkey

Malawi.. first contact!

A message from Rachel and the team:
Muli Bwanji! Hi to everyone from all of us here in Malawi. Well, we have been here for over two weeks now, and we are having a great time. All ready God is teaching us so much about patience, teamwork, and above all, his love for all people. After a week of training we have started up our regular routine. The majority of our time is spent at Chitipi farm, a COTN home for orphaned children. Right now, there are about 30 kids living there with their house parents and aunties. Kenny and Nolan stay with two Malawian interns out at the farm, while we girls drive in each day from a house about 10 minutes away. The kids are amazing and have been a joy to get to know on a personal level. It took a few days to master all the names, but I think we all have them down. Our mornings are spent at the farm helping to clean and do light maintenance while the kids are in school. The afternoons are spent in various places and engaged in a variety of activity. We head to the village with the farm kids for outreach programs each week, we have helped with school work, and of course, done a whole lot of playing games. The kids had a great time learning to play kickball. We have also had the chance to go to a nearby village for discipleship and outreach two days a week at a place called mtsleiza where COTN helps to operate a feeding program for the local kids. At times it has been overwhelming, but still an amazing opportunity. The people have been so hospitable; I think it is a national tradition to feed visitors as much as possible. God has granted us good health and safety for the most part, with only some minor upsets. We continue to be excited about what God is doing in Malawi, and excited to be part of it. Well, until next time....Tionana.
Nolan, Carly, Melissa, Shannon, Rachel, and Kenny

Ireland has landed

Hello you all,

We have made it safely here in Belfast, Ireland . It was a "wee" bit long plane ride, but we managed. We are all so excited to be here and we will continue to send you updates throughout the week. We had a little bit of trouble getting through customs, but it was okay and they eventually let us into the country! So we are leaving for Carlow tomorrow (which is in the Republic of Ireland) and that is about a 5-6 hour drive. Carlow is where our first camp will be and it starts Monday! We are so excited and I can't believe I am here!! Later today they are taking us on a bus tour and then we will catch up on sleep! Right now we are having tea and crumpets...yeah tea and crumpets. Totally crazy and I am loving every bit of this culture!

Love you all and God Bless, Melinda and Ireland team