Monday, August 21, 2006

Retreat upcoming

Only two more teams to arrive home this week, Croatia on Tuesday and Ethiopia Thursday. Then we have the Deputation Debriefing retreat on Friday and Saturday. It will be stories and pictures galore!

Sierra Leone's Home!

Team Sierra Leone arrived safe and sound on Saturday night! Next home, Croatia... Tuesday, 4:35pm, on British Air.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Malawi's Flight

Malawi arrives tomorrow morning. Pray for their safe travels. Special note: they will arrive on United 261, not 216 as previously noted in the itineraries. They are scheduled to arrive at 11:11AM from Washington Dulles.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ethiopia Update - Finishing strong!

We are now in our last week in Mekelle and completing our time at the youth center. It is a challenge to see our relationships coming to an end. We are trying to find ways to really appreciate and use the depth of the relationships we’ve formed.

Last weekend KB (another short termer), Alison, and Brenna had the older girls from the youth center over for a dance party. It was a great chance to bond with them. And we played signs. They are really good; they could give the dep-ers a run for their money. It is really exciting to see strong female leaders developing in the community. Each of them has had so many struggles that they have been able to overcome. It really challenges us to become leaders through our lives example. These last two weeks we have been invited over to more kid’s house which shows the deepening of our friendships and their willingness to share their lives with us. Brenna got to practice the coffee ceremony last week at one of the girl’s house. Starbucks watch out!

Sunday morning at 6:15am the three of us girls walked 45 minutes to go to an Ethiopian Orthodox church with a couple of other girls from the center. We went to Saint Selassie’s whose Saint’s day it was. There were hundreds of people, many were women whose heads were all covered with white scarves known as netellas. Only men are allowed inside the church, but there were so many people not even all the men could fit inside. It was wonderful to experience a different way of praising God. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is very reverent to the Lord.

Jacob is making the final push with the older boys. It has been a real challenge to get to know them on a deeper level, but through mad volleyball skills he has formed some really great bonds. Please be praying for him though as he hasn’t been feeling well again. It has been a struggle to overcome the low energy levels that come with illness. We would all love to have full energy for our last week here and really go out with a bang.

Despite initial hesitations about teaching younger kids Ren has found a nitch working with them. It is really exciting to see the ways he’s grown as a teacher.

Alison and Brenna are finishing up their anti-aids classes with the girls. Theatre has been a great way to bond with the girls and give them opportunities to be creative. Teaching and explaining to the kids how to use their own special imaginations has been a big challenge for the team this summer. It has especially been Brenna’s goal to stretch the kids in their artistic ability by exposing them to visual arts, dance, music and theatre as much possible. Art has been a terrific way to overcome the language barrier with the younger kids since the older kids usually have better English skills. An exciting program that we recently started for the 12-14 year old kids is a leadership training course. Alison has been able to use her young life training to challenge the future leaders and work with the kids she feels the most called to impact their community.

We have been so blessed by our time in Mekelle. We would appreciate prayers for our programs this week, overall health, and the lives of the children.

We are being eaten by mosquitoes. Time to go.
Team Ethiopia

Croatia Update - their last week!

ROM is going really wonderfully here in Fuzine and in Vukovar. Last week was what can be said to be the hard week. We heard some very hard truths and I honestly feel like the team struggled a little. It is hard to be continuously gracious and I think that there is a renewal of the strong relationship that needs to happen here. I am seeing the first signs of this renewing already. People were challenged this very morning by Allen’s devotional about being loving to one another. I really am very glad that he is here and that God is working through him. Jessica and I were speaking together about how at moments we felt a distinct lack of unity here and grace here, and I think that Allen is encouraging us all. It seems that God really does answer prayers.Another thing that just seems to be answer to prayer is my strengthening relationship with a woman named Neda here. She is from Serbia and she and I seem instantly to have bonded and I am just really thankful for the relationship that I have been building with her specifically as well as others. Both Jessica and I have been developing deep relationships with people here and it is hard for us to realize that we will be leaving next week.Also this weekend, we went to Vukovar which is a city bitterly divided by the war because it is essentially on the Serbian, Croatian border. We saw a documentary of what happened there. The majority of the film used original footage with news clips from both sides. Both Jessica and I were struck by how normal the town looked and how it slowly transitioned into being a war zone. It tragically concluded with a mass killing of 200 Croats and we visited both the place where this happened as well as the graveyard where the bodies were moved. It was a hard visit, but the way that it was concluded was by allowing us to help with community work… we put mosaics on the wall of a shrapnel spattered school, and we started to fill some of the holes that have been present for years with cement. Our action was largely symbolic, but we had a ton of fun doing it and it made it so that all of this paincould be transformed into a positive action headed toward long-term change. Later we also got to hear about other positive changes that were occurring.So now to prayers: We still need prayers for unity among the leadership team here, we also ask for help with our relationships which are all soon going to become long distance, we pray for protection during travel for us and others, prayer for Jessica as she doesn’t go home but instead goes on to a new and probably lonely location… may God send her a new Christian community and group of friends so that she can once again feel at home, I would also like prayer for my return back because I think it will be a bit like leaving one home for another, I would also like prayer for my friend Neda… she is figuring out what she thinks about God and I would thank God for those that he has already placed around her and that it will be his will happening with her and not me or others, finally I want to pray for the international communities leaders and just that they can find a better solution than fighting and supporting a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In Christ,

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Turkey's back, Chile's home, so is India! Malawi's next...

Turkey arrived Wednesday, just before the major security fiascos in London. Both Chile and India arrived safely this weekend. They did encounter the new security restrictions but made it home safe and sound anyways. Next, Malawi arrives - 11:11AM on United 216 from Wash. Dulles. Pray for their safe transit.

India returns Friday...

An update from Brad (8-8):
Hello all, just a quick update from team India (+ Nick). We are back from Goa and aside from a 12 hour train delay which took away one day of beach time we had a great time - swimming in the Indian Ocean, attempting bonfires, shopping, eating, sleeping and just general hanging out. This is our last week here in India as we head home late Thursday night. We have a few more ministries to see and some loose ends to tie up at the school and then this whirlwind of an adventure called Deputation will be almost over. I think we have all had an overall good time through varying degrees of struggles and emotions, but the things we have seen and experienced will always be with us. We are excited to come home and see our friends and family but are thankful for the time we have been given together in India. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for our team and thank you to the wonderful people we have had the pleasure of sharing this experience with.
Brad / Team India (+ Nick)

India will be arriving home Friday at 11:18PM on United #286 from LA. Pray

Chile gets home Saturday!

Chile arrives home Saturday at 10:23 AM on Delta #1555 from Atlanta let’s pray for their last few days!

Malawi's almost done!

No new update from team Malawi. But usually no news is good news, so let’s keep praying for them in their last week. They return next Wednesday at 11:11AM on United 216 from Wash. Dulles.

Ethiopia Update

An update from Brenna (8-7):
Last Friday the team made the journey to Lalibela to see the famous rock churches. It was hard to leave the youth center even for just two days (the trip was three but the youth center was only open for two of them), we all missed the kids. We hired a van and began the drive which we were told only took 8 hours. It did not. In fact on the way there it took 14 and on the way back it took 16 on account of a terrifying oil leak. Overall it was really fun and a great opportunity for some team bonding, but we are all relieved to get back to work. The scenery was beautiful and lush on account of the rainy season. Whenever we would stop in a village or town tons of people would crowd around the van and tap on the glass and smash their faces against the windows. Now we all have a real appreciation for the fish in Finding Nemo. In the small villages it’s possible that they had never seen white people before.
Saturday morning – our only full day in Lalibela, we got up early and rode mules up a mountain to see a rock church at the very top. Both Ren and Brenna’s mules attempted suicide by trying to go off the cliffs that we were precariously ascending. Most of the time the land was shrouded in fog, but we were still able to experience the beauty and miracle of God’s creation. The mountains were rocky and covered in grass with traditional mud huts nestled into the foothills. In the afternoon we saw the more architecturally distinct churches in town. The churches were all carved out of one piece of rock. It was pretty impressive and we got a sense of the deeply rooted culture, history, and religion of the people of Ethiopia. That night we went to a Tej bar and tried the famous honey-wine, Lalibela makes the worlds finest. We had a great time and were able to grow stronger as a group.
Then at 5:30 Sunday morning we hit the road again to head back to Mekelle. We didn’t get back until 9:30 pm. We lost the daylight at 6:30; so again, it was pretty nerve wracking driving along hairpin turns in the mountains in the dark. We did get to see our first real Ethiopian wildlife though. We saw three hyenas running along the road.
Work at the youth center has been going great. Jacob has really stepped up his time spent with the older boys who can be hard to get to know. He is doing his best to reach out to them and be a good example. The girls are finally starting to get past the point of surface level friendships to more intimate relationships and creating deeper bonds with the teenage girls. Ren has found opportunities to get to know the younger boys in the English class for 5-9 year olds as forming a friendship with the local computer technician.
Our teams’ health has greatly improved. Thank you for all the prayers! We feel ready to get back to the youth center and commit our entire being to the kids for these last two weeks. Alison is having trouble with her plane ticket though. She really feels called to stay in Mekelle longer than her previous summer schedule allowed. Unfortunately, dealing with the airline is very complicated. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as we try to work the situation out.
Peace -
Team Ethiopia ‘06

A quick note: Alison worked out her flight schedule and will be departing Addis on the 20th! The team is very excited about this.

Sierra Leone update

No update from Sierra Leone this week. But we will continue to pray for them too. They return home Saturday the 19th.

Croatia Update

An update from Rachel (8-6):
Hey Everyone,
Renewing Our Minds (ROM) has officially started and it is great. I liked EDS but I really had to stretch to find out how what was being taught related to my life. ROM just makes sense. It is all about communication and philosophy this week and introducing what we mean by the strategy of Jesus.
Personally I have been having a great time getting to know as many of these great people here as I can. There are a couple of girls that I really have clicked with, Neda and Nera. They are from Belgrade and Sarajevo respectively and they both get along with one another wonderfully despite the potential ethnic bias that they might have. Nera is having a really tough time here and she recently found out that her best friend’s dad died, so if you would pray for her that would be great.
I have also been getting to know some Albanian politicians. I don’t know if anyone has kept up on recent Albania politics, but the former prime minister attempted to punch the speaker of the house upsetting the whole parliament. That party (communist) is now going on strike from political action until corruption is ended in the majority party. And this person is the cousin of Dorian who is here at ROM. Dorian himself started a smaller third party, which is also communist. His friend, Blendi, is of a different political persuasion but they still get along. It is amazing to me that communist parties and democracy seem to mix so easily in Albania. They are both very fun and interesting and have cornered me and needled me until I told them whom I voted for in the previous election. They are a ton of fun. But the most interesting point that I have found out about Albania is that they have
monthly prayer meetings from people on all sides of the political arena, which I think is very cool.
My small group is very cool too. The people who organized the small groups wouldn’t tell me what group I was in until the very end. And luckily I got to be a part of a group that has fun leaders, Mirta and Samuil. Our group has people from all over, Armenia, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Germany, and Romania. We have been having some good conversations. Last night we had a skit night and we did blind date ROM style which was pretty hilarious, and I think that our flag was a group effort and turned out pretty awesome. I will have to get Nera to take a picture of it for me so that I can show you all it. Life is hard with out my digital camera, but I am managing. I still need to try and get it fixed, but not today.

Prayer Requests: My health, I have come down with some sort of cold and I would like to be well again soon so that I have energy; For building new relationships and maintaining old relationships that I have built here; For strength for the leadership team here because we are all getting tired, and especially for Tihomir because he is carrying some big burdens; finally, I would like to pray for the participants and just that they will be inspired and encouraged by their time here. Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ethiopia update

An update from Brenna (7-31):
HI Brandon!
It’s the rainy season here so we get a lot of heavy short rain storms. Whenever it rains everyone scatters into buildings, so the youth center field is often deserted during the afternoon rains. One afternoon we were really excited about the puddles. Our team started jumping in them and before we knew it all the kids were around us and we were having a MYC wide mud fight. It was so fun, but apparently the older kids thought we were actually insane. Well we are crazy ferengies (ghost in Tigrinya) but really just trying to spread a little Northwest fun. We noticed the next day there were more children outside when it was drizzling. It was a moment when we all felt connected to the kids on a level that surpassed the language barrier.
A couple of days ago we were invited to one of the girl’s house for her birthday. We ended up walking an hour south of town, sometimes in the rain. It was really fun because we were walking with a lot of the young teenagers we have become friends with from the youth center singing and making all the locals stare. The girl whose birthday it was walks every day by herself for two hours to come to the youth center. It gave us a new perspective on the lives of the kids and how much it means to them to have a place that they can come to six days a week to play, learn, and be kids.
Right now all the members of our team in Mekelle are sick or recovering. Today we heard that many of the kids are sick and attendance has been a little low. We would really appreciate prayers for the healing of our team and the children at the youth center.
We have had wonderful opportunities to build relationships and get to know the kid’s personalities. Getting close to them has given us a chance to show God’s love through our actions. Ren has been playing ping pong everyday with the kids and taking a more active role in teaching English. Jacob is a force to be reckoned with. If he’s not acting out the story he and Alison wrote for Reading club than he’s outside building relationships with older boys through volleyball and other sports. Alison and Jacob make an amazing tag team teaching English and Reading clubs. For Reading club they have been writing a story about their adventures in Ethiopia. So far it includes a green genie named Percolator the Powerful, Crazy Old Cat Woman, and an Ogre. It’s great to see them acting it out and the kids love it. The twelve to fourteen year old girls are really special and Alison is able to strongly connect with them. I have been getting to know the five to ten year olds who are so sweet and never cease to try to teach me Tigrinya. Both Alison and I enjoy the anti-aids classes for girls that we teach together; we are using theatre games to demonstrate communication and trust. All of us have been getting to know the core group of older girls who run the Anti-Aids program for the whole youth center. They are already great leaders at the youth center and it’s exciting to see their skills nurtured and growing.
That’s the story here. We are preparing to go to Lalibela next weekend to see the rock churches. Hopefully the internet in all of Ethiopia will be up and running soon and we’ll be able to send more updates. Thank you for your prayers!
-Brenna and Team Ethiopia ’06!

Croatia Update

An update from Rachel (7-30):
Hey Brandon,
We are starting ROM officially tonight and all the preparations seem to be going well here for the conference. Unfortunately some outside forces are showing us clearly that the devil doesn't like what is going on here, there have been character attacks of Tihomir and we are praying that the person trying to hurt his reputation. We want prayers for Tihomir and that God will sustain Tihomir's will have the patience and grace to resist the temptation to return wrong for wrong. Also it is a good idea to have prayers for forgiveness and change within the person slandering him. We hope that God will work in him. We pray also for any participants that might see this article and be wary of coming and that this action will not be disruptive to ROM and the good that it is doing here in the Balkans.
Jessica and I are getting ready for the kick off of ROM. I am especially excited to meet my small group and get to know them. I have already met several people that came for the conference early and I am excited for the rest. I would also like to ask for a prayer for team unity and a reduction of team drama. not in our small team, but the team around us seems to have a handful of relational issues and I would just pray that we can finding healing and work with one another well. May God watch over all the good that is happening here and protect us from the evil that is trying to ruin it.
We also wanted to say that we heard about the shooting in Seattle and that we are praying for it over here in Croatia.
I will also try to copy and paste my blog messages on to the World Dep blog soon.
In Christ,

Malawi Update

An update from Greta (8-2):
Hello all! The Malawi team is just about finished up, and I'm sure the other teams are wrapping things up as well.... And I'm guessing the five of us in Malawi aren't the only ones going, "WEIRD, it's over already." For me personally, this summer has at times seemed to pass slowly, but other times--now especially, it's slipping from us like tightly held sand.
In the last update I'd mentioned that we were planning a trip to the Lake, which all the kids-- and us as well-- were super excited about. We found out later that day however, that COTN couldn't afford to send all of us to the lake this year. They decided to postpone the lake trip to December when it will be hotter anyway, and when more of the older kids will be able to go... This news was definitely a disappointment, initially, but it worked out well in the long run, I think. We ended up planning a "Camp" at Chiwengo, where we're staying for the week we would have been at the lake.... and that was a BLAST. We based a week-long devotion series on Colossians 3:12-14 which talks about clothing yourself in Christ-like virtues and had morning devotions with skits, in smaller groups, and evening devotions as a group. We played a lot of Capture the Flag, and had a talent show one night.... which turned out mostly dramas, these kids have turned out to be UNBELIEVABLE actors! They are so incredibly creative, they make plays about Bible stories, or will make up their own stories, and they LOVE to do them. I was teaching three boys daily skits to go along with our devotions, but they just took these ideas and ran with them. That has been super fun for me (Drama major), to see this wealth of theatrical potential and creativity.... And TALENT, the kids really are fantastic! And they love watching each other! In this last week, I'm hoping to talk with the main "actors" about incorporating skits into their village evangelism, because the kids really hold each other's attention by acting. Another night during the camp we had a bonfire.... couldn't find marshmallows in either of the main cities we're close to, so we ended up making about four hundred cookies.... Yes. Yes that is the correct number, we made four zero zero cookies, and the kids were over the moon. The five hours of baking were totally worth it. :) The other major feature of camp week was a big football (soccer)/netball tournament for the COTN kids, the Chiwengo village kids, and also the Gideon and Kapiri village kids, which are the two principle villages our COTN kids minister to. One of our visiting teams from America had brought TONS of soccer balls and beautiful jerseys, so we were able to outfit our kids like the soccer stars they are. YOU SHOULD SEE THESE KIDS KICK A SOCCER BALL. They were playing on a field full of burrs and dry straw-like grass in bare feet with no shin-guards and they are some of the best soccer players I have seen PERIOD. Chris has been our main footballer and he, along with one of our Malawian interns, Henry, pretty much coordinated the whole thing and ran the show, they did a fantastic job. Our kids played really well, and it was CLOSE for every game, but they ended up taking last place. I was so proud of them though-- all of us were-- to see what great sports they were and how graciously they cheered on the Chiwengo village kids in the final game. There has been evident tension between the COTN kids and the nearby Chiwengo kids... I think the Chiwengo kids are jealous of the COTN kids' better situations, and the COTN kids often come across as an exclusive clique. They frequently get made fun of for being orphans, which causes them to bond together and come across as this exclusive group.... but we had been disheartened to see our COTN'ers be rude or mean to the village kids at times. This tournament was really a wonderful way that everyone came together, and like I said, we were thrilled to see our kids practice the virtues we had been teaching them about all week. There were about 400 people at the final game, which is UNHEARD of, it was such a HUGELY exciting event in this village--- The kids play football every day, I think they must wait for this kind of event. :) We were able to award these beautiful jerseys to the winning team, and our COTN kids got a set as well. The winning girls' netball team got new sitenjes (wrap skirts) that we had picked out for them as well... and many kids got medals for high-scoring or great playing or whatever. The kids don't take the medals off now, they wear them every day. :) It was just fantastic, it was so much fun. And to see how it might have improved relations between COTN and Chiwengo village.... was very much worth missing out on a week at the lake.
I think we're all having a bit of a hard time wrapping up.... Erica and I have talked about how we finally feel as though we're at a point where we CAN be effective. The older girls are finally opening up to us a little, we can speak various Chichewa phrases, we know how to sing many of the songs, we know the kids, we are FAMILIAR to them and they to us, we're familiar with their darling, hilarious personalities and we finally understand how to access them.... We've each found our "niche," Erica and Chris are great at ministering to the kids through sports and general play, I've realized this fantastic wealth of dramatic ability that I'd love to stay and encourage, Ben and Errol are finding their unique grooves as well...Even the mundane chores like hand washing laundry, cooking with random ingredients, cleaning without running water, or operating without electricity are now routine. I mean this place has really begun to feel like a home, I think everyone has started to recognize us as "real-life" Chiwengo aunties and uncles. It is unfortunate that we have now run out of time to take advantage of this final familiarity.... but we are looking forward to how we can apply what we've learned back in the states. I know we're all going to immensely miss our Malawian interns, and so much the kids. I wish I could go through and describe them all... Tikambe's ginormous smile and her adorable exuberance, Doreeni's crinkled nose, Alfred's drumming, Miriam's warmth, Wyson's hilarious, rascal 3-year-old antics, baby Drew's WIDE eyes and his round Buddha belly, Sayinbeau's grace, M'phatso's regal swagger at only 11 years old, David's habit of catching our eye and covering his face in delighted bashfulness, and then immediately looking back, grinning, to see if we're still watching him... The kids are truly precious and they impacted all our hearts in major ways. Please be praying for us as we wrap up our time here, and say goodbye. It is a GOOD note to end on... to know that we'll miss this place. We have been homesick and frustrated at times-- well, I speak for myself I guess, but I think the others have had similar feelings--- we have been frustrated at times, but we are leaving this place loving this place, and I'm so happy about that. We look forward to seeing you, our friends and family soon, and of telling you each the many stories we've accumulated this summer in Malawi.
God bless, and safe travel to our other Dep teams, Greta and the Malawi crew

India Update

An update from Brad (7-30):
It has been another good week here in Bangalore and looking at the calender our time is winding down quite rapidly. Next week is our last week at school, then we are off on another weekend trip. We will get back on Tuesday and then have Wednesday and Thursday and we leave late that night. Fast forward about 35 hours and we should be getting into Seatac Friday night. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Wednesday evening we went to a wedding, or rather we went to day 1 part 2 of a wedding. The girls got all prettied up in their authentic Indian dress (saris) and the boys... well pants and a collared shirt is pretty universal, though props to Howard for tucking his shirt in! The part that we went to was very elaborate, all sorts of lights, a band, camera crew - we are talking the works. The bride's parents own a jewelry shop which I think explains where the funding came from, but either way I was not complaining. The part of the wedding we saw basically consisted of the bride and groom standing in front of everyone while people paraded themselves and their gifts up to them and wished them what I assume was good wishes and nice sentiments like that. Once Prem and Rita had gone through the line we were directed upstairs where there was almost a carnival-like set up of booths for snacks. We tried a few things and admired the elaborate fruit carvings that had been made and then were directed into the dining hall where we were served dinner. Dinner was as delicious as it was authentic, we were served on a large, green leaf, no silverware; it was great. The power outage in the middle of dinner was grand too as this building didn't have the dining hall on battery backup so cellphones and cameras came out and the eating continued. Luckily it didn't last more than a minute or two. After that Nick and I hit up the fruit line for some delicious fruits to top off our meal, and then we were all out the door, it was quite the experience!
Saturday we went to Commercial Street, which is a lot like it sounds - just a ton of shops. It was fun, we did some shopping and had the usual bombardment of people selling us maps and drums and wood snakes and all sorts of things but I think we have apretty good sense of humor about it and it is usually pretty fun. After Commercial Street we went to see the Dell building, which I thought was pretty exciting. If anyone was on the phone with Dell Support around 4:30am PST time yesterday we were standing right outside the building! From there we went to the General Electric campus where Rita's nephew, Richur, gave us a tour. It was very modern and westernized (complete with small water feature and mini-amphitheatre), it looks a lot like Microsoft's campus or something, it is hard to believe within a short walk there are people who still sell fruit on the side of the road for their living.
Other than that we are going back to the school tonight where we will stay for the rest of the week as per usual and then Friday we have what should be an exciting train adventure to Goa. We will be at Goa until Tuesday and then leave late Thursday for America. I don't know if I will be able to find the Internet in Goa or what our schedule will be like once we return but I will do my best to get one more update out before we head out. Either way, thanks for all the prayer and concern throughout this whole journey it has meant a lot to us all.
Brad / Team India (+ Nick)

Let’s pray for India as they round of their trip also. They will be arriving home the evening of next Friday, the 11th.

France Update

An update from Riley (7-30):
Hello from Team France/Algeria!!
We're approaching our last week of Deputation and we all agree that time has flown by. Returning to Roubaix after 2 weeks in Algeria was an experience in and of itself. Apart from the beautiful hot showers and normal toilets, it was a bit of culture shock to come back to a completely different church atmosphere.
We have spent the week getting back into our normal "Roubaix Routine"... worship and Bible study each morning at 10AM followed by lunch, practical work, and then outreach for the kids in a neighborhood called Mons. We are blessed to be spending these last 2 weeks working with a team from Alongside; a group of 6 university aged students from the U.S., Estonia and Albania.
One thing we brought away from Algeria is faith in the power of prayer. We need and appreciate the support and encouragement from home... especially during this last week. We ask for prayers that we will continue to walk by strong faith that is renewed daily, and that we will find our strength in God alone. Please pray for hearts and minds that are listening to the Holy Spirit, and allowing the love of Christ to mold us and determine our words and actions. During this last week we will be focusing on street evangelism which is an area where we don't feel so confident; especially with the language barrier. But we are reminded that God's power works best in our weaknesses.
Please pray also for a good debriefing time, a fruitful last few days in Paris, and a safe trip home. We are so excited to see you all and we are always praying for our wonderful family in Christ back in Seattle.
All our love,
Riley, Kaitlyn, Mac & Alec
P.S. We arrive at SeaTac at 7:30 pm on Monday, August 7th for those who wish to greet their loved ones :)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Team Serbia is Heading Home...

Hey everyone,

Our Deputation adventures are coming to an end in Serbia...

We had an amazing time at camp in Zlatibor with university students (July 20-27), where we studied the parable of The Good Samaritan and learned about loving our neighbors. This was a great chance to reconnect with many of the students that we had met over the course of our travels throughout the country and also meet many new faces. We led an "American Evening" and our entries in the talent show and karaoke events were truly memorable! On July 27, we returned to Belgrade for a few days to say goodbye to the amazing friends that we have made during our time here. On July 29 we had a wonderful farewell party at our flat and we enjoyed an incredible evening of fellowship that lasted over seven hours! We have spent the last few days finishing up with goodbyes, debriefing as a team, and soaking in as much as we can of the cafe culture...

In a few hours we will be boarding our flight to London, so we would certainly ask for prayers for safe travels as we journey home. We will be spending the night in London and then flying out to Seattle tomorrow - we should return home around 2:30pm.

Thank you so much to everyone who has sent us words of encouragement throughout our time here and thank you to all of you who have been praying for us and reading our updates. It means so much to all of us that we can share this experience with you!

We will return home with thousands of pictures and many incredible stories about our time here - which document the wonders that God is doing here in the hearts of the people of Serbia (and Montenegro). We hope that we will have a chance to connect with as many of you as possible to share a bit about our experiences - and we would love to hear about what God is doing in your life as well, considering we know that summers are often full of adventures!

We love and miss you all very much and we are excited to return to you!

Take care and God bless you all, Team Serbia