Chi Alpha, Montana
and around the world

Monday, May 30, 2005

a whole lot of singing

hello everyone,

i can not write for very long, but hopefully i can write more later. we made it to slovakia safe and sound...and today we did a long outreach in the bus depot and then at the main market in a town called novameta..

since people were in high transit, we decided to axe our dramas and testimonies, which means it was up to me to play my guitar and sing for over two hours. as i played people from the team and local slovaks passed out flyers inviting pople to a long concert/outreach tomorrow.

i played many worship songs, and many famous pop songs, and then i even through in a few songs that i have written over the years. with a little imagination it felt like i was on a european tour and this was my slovakia concert. i even played a song for the first time that i wrote today. i took the music from a song i written with a girl 6 years ago and i combined the music with some lyrics i had written four years ago, that i stil had in my notebook. WOW!!!! really combined to make a great little song. so late in the day, i had a girl hold up the notebook so i could remember the words and "atmosphere" had it's european debut!!!!

it was quite fun and we passed out over 500 flyers; we will do more tomorrow, so hopefully we'll get a good crowd for the concert/outreach tomorrow night....


Friday, May 27, 2005

a busy few days

hello everyone,

the last three days have been quite busy and rewarding. this is our last day in krakow poland. it is such a beautiful city and the people here have been so nice and friendly...i will miss it. we are doing some last minute errands before an outreach in the park we will be doing for a local church. the outreach is at 4pm and then they have a grill party (bbq) at 6pm.

tuesday: we went back to the same group of high rise apmts as monday. it was gray and cool today, so there were not many people out. but we gave away free books, and the sound system was quite loud, so we even had people come out of the apmts to get the free books. later we went to a jr. high class where the kids were learning english. we had fun hearing the kids broken sentences. later we broke into small groups and i met with two fifteen year old girls, they did more giggling than they did speaking in english, but it was a fun way to tell them about us and why we are in poland. afterward we went to a homeless shelter where 30 guys were packed in. we did worship and our team leader curtis cole (mt. chi alpha director) preached a powerful sermon about being filled up with the power of God. then we spread out and prayed for the guys. it was very nice...but quite a long day.

wednesday: we went back to the aptments, but we just played basketball and sat and talked with people. we thot this was a good way to try to build on what we had done the previous day. i met many guys including one from moldova named sergei. i got to pray for him as well. later in the evening we met with the 2 polish christian groups. they are called "impact" and "petra" (petra is the polish version of chi alpha). we worshipped together in polish (there were about 25 poles and the fifteen of us.) then i got to share a message about imparting good spiritual gifts into each other. i used paul's words to the romans in romans chapter 1. it seemed so good since paul had not met the roman church when he wrote that letter, and we had not met many of these poles until that night. afterward we broke up and walked around and listened to each other's testimonies. i walked with a girl named eva. she has a very confident personality and really feels the call of the evangelist (desire to lead people to christ). she wanted to move more in the prophetic. i am fairly good at moving in the prophetic, but i wish i had more ability to lead people to christ. (i tend to be more of a discipler than and evangelist) at the end of the evening i prayed for her and she prayed for me. it was beautiful.

thursday: we hopped on a bus with people from one of the churches and drove for two hours. all the churches in the southwest of poland met for a one day crusade. about 600 polish christians were present. it was great to see that god was moving so strongly here. the worship was powerful. they sing many of the same songs as we do, so i just sing in english or sing in the spirit, or make up my own words...and i really get into it. then we had some polish girls come with us and they translated for me what the preacher was saying. on the bus ride home many of us got sick. we are all quite tired and the driving in poland is quite wild, so many of us went straight to bed when we got back.

my heart for eastern europe continues to grow...i love these people...and their heart for christ...and the sacrifices they make for his kingdom...

tata, scott

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Jess on Slovakia Part III

this is an audio post - click to play
Hi guys this is Jess. I'm finally placing my first blog post from Poland. It has been incredibly difficult to use the phones here, and I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to do this, but we're having a wonderful time. We're drawing our time in Poland to a close. Tomorrow we will have an outreach and a barbeque, and then we will be in Auschwitz on Saturday, and then head to Slovakia, but we've been able to meet up with a lot of Polish Christians, and just spend time with them, and encourage them. Today we went to kind of a congress, which is where all... a bunch of Pentecostal Christians got together -- about 500 of them in a town about two hours from here, but we're just... we're doing great. It's been... there have been a lot of difficulties, but a lot of real victories, and a lot of joys. So, yeah, I miss you guys a lot. I wish you were all here with me so I could just enjoy the city with you all. I miss your silliness and I miss your humor and everything, but I'm excited to be here, and I'm so excited to go to Slovakia. Not so excited to go to Auschwitz for my third time, but it will be good. So, I will try to be better about posting these blogs. Thank you, Lance, for your help, and I don't think there is a problem with the blog system, it's just that Scott and I haven't gotten to it. So, forgive me, and I will hopefully talk to you soon. #

Back to Part II.
Go to the first of Jess' audioposts.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Audioblogger Back Up

this is an audio post - click to play
Hey, this is Lance. It looks like the audioblog is back up and running, so look forward to hearing some posts from Scott and Jess. Alright, I'm out. Bye. #

first public outreach

hello everyone,

thank you to those of you who are praying for me and this team...i could feel your prayers today and yesterday as well.

this was our first busy day...we did breakfast then we joined up in the basement room of the hotel for group devotions. this is a time of intimate worship and a devotion led by a chi alpha staff person. it is truly one of the best parts of missions trips. the holy spirit does some powerful things on our hearts and minds during these devotions. today was an incredible one. everyone was feeling a bit grouchy and tired when we assembled, but as we dove into worship, the whole mood changed and a beautful spriit of worship took hold...we sang and sang with a graet abandon...truly refreshing...

then later, the team worked on dramas and i ran around with the local missionary (curt) and tried to get some errands done. my goal was to find a music store that would have strings for my guitar and a mic stand for the outreach we were doing at 2pm.

curt's first choice of a shop was purely piano and guitar music, but it was nice because as the clerk was giving him directions to a better shop i found the sheet music to "help" by the beatles. i quickly caught all the chords used in the song. i will use it during the public outreaches to attract attention. i try to sing a few pop songs that the polish people will know before we start doing the worship songs. beatles are always a sure bet to be known. (speaking of them "let it be" just came on over the speakers here at the internet cafe...however it is version of the song done with irish whistles and an acoustic guitar...a bit odd...)

one of the local polish girls from curt's ministry met us in the square to find the elusive music store. she took us right to the place...i began to pick out the things to buy and got caught up with a few more things i thot we'd need. the girl said i was "trying to buy the whole store". i guess that's what happens when the team leader gives you 100 swortie (about $33) to spend on supplies.

we met back with the team and then took a long busride to the location. the bus was packed as it went through the center of town. the poles do not talk on the bus...they all are quiet...but not us americans. it kills us to be of course we stand out and people look at us like animals in a zoo. however other than reinforcing some negative ideas about americans, it does help us meet people. we have been able to start up conversations with many poles because they will know english and since they hear us they start talking to us.

the location for the outreach was a bunch of high rise apartments (known as flats)...that the communists built in droves throughout eastern europe. they are bleak things, most of them are gray and made with unhealthy materials...(asbestos and such). they can make for quite a depressing existence.

we set up in this park area...that had bball, ping pong, volleyball and lots of people out soaking up the sun. we had a sound system to amplify our voices.

i sang a few pop songs with "jack" a guy on the team who is great. he is a true original and he makes me laugh constantly with his personality. he played guitar (which he can't really play) and looks like a rock star, while i play guitar (which i can play) and i wish i looked like a rock start, so we make a great team.

then a girl from the team with a really soulful voice sand a few worship songs together...followed by me and a polish girl Anka (the same girl who met us in the square) singing some more worship songs...however this time Anka would sing a few of the verses and chorus in the people could start knowing what we were talking about.

the team did a drama and one of the girls shared her testimony. finally a group of polish girls that included Anka (the polish girl who sang in polish who is also the same girl who the same girl who met us in the square :) performed a dance that was really fun to watch and made all of us look like we had some real talent. except for jack who has an incredible talent being a rock star!!!

well we got to have several good conversations with people there. i will hear some of the reports tomorrow during our group devotion time.

we all headed to kfc afterward and fed the polish members of our team. we finished up the day by meeting some students who are studying english to converse with them and help them improve their english.

my plan now is to head back to our hotel...balance my checkbook (a task i routinely put off until i'm scared i may be bouncing some checks or worse.), do some light reading and go to sleep...long blessed sleep. singing and running around in the hot sun really wears you out. the days have been absolutely beautiful here, which is great because people are out in we can meet them and talk to them about jesus!!!


wonderful poland

hello friends,
so much has happened here in krakow i can't even begin. we spent our first few days at a christian retreat place to get a little rest and work on dramas and do some painting and grunt work. it was incredibly green and beautiful, like all of poland that i've seen. there was a weekend seminar type thing going on with many polish christians so we got to eat meals with them and interact a little between their classes etc. it is a little awkward because my polish is next to none and i'm a little shy about talking to people but there are a few on the team who are ice breakers and fearless in initiating conversation so one meal i began talking to a man named marek and we discovered that we both speak german so he warmed up to me and we talked and talked then we had an evening service, which was great to sing american/australian (krysty-wink/wink) worship songs in both polish and english. God's presence was thick that night and it was a lovely service. so i wanted to talk more to marek and his wife kristina so i got to after the service. we spoke in german and scott joined us so he spoke, um, german too:) no but it was incredibly wonderful to talk to them. they told us their stories and how they came to Christ and we shared ours and there was just such a warm, well, gemuetlichkeit, as they say in german, between us.
i have met so many warm, wonderful people. christians mostly, but my favorite part by far has not been christians that we met. we went out our first night in krakow to see what there was to see and we walked by a few young people who had a dog. scott nudged me and told me to ask the dog his name in polish. i was like "no." and one of they guys said in english, "his name's ______." i forget the name now but it's a cartoon hero's name he told us later. so we began chatting and it turns out one guy, arthur is interested in native americans so we started talking and we all were chatting so they said "we want to watch a boxing match, do you want to come to our flat?" so we went with them and listened to records and drank tea and talked until 2 in the morning. i wanted to stay longer. i think most of us did but we had church in the morning as it was. they had invited us to a bonfire tomorrow night so i'm hoping that will come to pass. it was absolutely wonderful. they all spoke good english, but somehow in passing someone told this guy, sebastian, that i spoke german and i began speaking to him and his eyes widened and warmed incredibly to me. i saw it in his eyes. he had lived a year in germany and was excited to speak it. i was excited too. we tried to meet up with them last night at a cheesy polish rock concert of a band called vu vu, but couldn't find them amongst the thousand or so people swooning to these buttrockers. it's amazing that europe is so far ahead in fashion and so many things, but in music they just seem to be stuck in the 80s or something.
we got lost yesterday after church. scott and kim and i went separately to a church and the rest of the group went to another church. i spoke russian/polish to an old man but couldn't get what he was saying so i tried english to a young man but in his frustration he asked "ach, sprichst du deutsch?" so my german is proving very useful here. this morning, too, in the cafeteria, i talked to the waitress bc she had a question about our paying. curtis just told me they got a golden mastiff named Maximus Aurelius Xerxes (the greatest golden ruler) M.A.X. quite a name, i'd say. man how long can i go on this blog? oh well. we had an outreach in the park today. scott sang and we did a drama and testimony then we met w two students from an english class tonight for icecream. things here have been great. i really, really like krakow a lot. the people are wonderful. i don't know what else to say. i'll appreciate your prayers and i love you all

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Something Funny Is Going On With Audioblogs

I think there is something temporarly wrong with our audioblog segment. The site is down right now, and when I call to post to it, I just get a busy signal. So pray that it will be up soon so we can hear Scott and Jess' voices, and keep praying for Scott and Jess.

more from poland

hello again,

i sent that last mesage as a precaution from having a really long message deleted as i try to send...which happened two years ago. it really makes you qutie angry, and very disinterested in writing for about two days.

now that you know what's happened today let me catch you up on all that has transpired since we left. i will do it in list form, which is far from detailed, but is much more fun you me and for you...

  • i spent the whole night packing (except for two hours) monday night...but i got moved into my new house (many of you will now know about the guys house we now have and that i live in the basement apartment...)

  • a group of 15 chi alpha students met jess and i at a coffeshop at 6am to send us off on our missions trip. they also prayed for was quite powerful, and we went away filled up.

  • drove to salt lake city and met the rest of our team...2 other leaders and six student from the chi alpha region. it is a smaller group than in the past...we've had 28 and 26 people the past two years, but i am looking forward to the friendships we'll share as a team.

  • the flight was 4 hours from slc to jfk in new york and then almost 8 hours to paris...2 more hours to vienna...and then 8 hours in a van to poland. we started at 9:30 am on wednesday morning and finished at 10pm (polish time) thursday night.

  • the first two days we stayed at a retreat villa in southern poland. it was beautiful and the family that managed the place were incredible. they had gentle and hospitible spriits and really made our time there quite pleasent, even though we were all very jet-lagged and exhausted.

  • during our time there we helped with repairs to the place (painting fences, and decks and doors and tearing out a water damaged floor), we also practiced our skits and spent some time in devotions and worship, trying to grow together spiritually as a team.

  • our hosts during our 9 days in poland are curt and sarah hobbs (former chi alpha missionaries to the university of wyoming.) while we were there a group of 30 chiristians from various churches were also sharing the retreat villa for a bible seminar they attend once a month. we ate all our meals with them; several of them could speak english and so we got to know the heart of the polish people and get introduced to their great sense of humor and their curious personalities.

  • last night we drove up to krakow through the beautiful polish countryside. many of the houses have several that two generations for family can live there...

  • we got into krakow settled in and then about 7 of us went out on the town to meet people. it was late in the evening but it was warm and there were people everywhere. after a long walk we happened to meet some college students who knew english...we started talking to them...they then inivted us to their flat (apartment0. we took them up on their offer and spent a wonderful 3 hours hanging out in their apartment listening to music and talking about everything under the sun...including jesus. they were so friendly and hospitible. they then invited us to a bonfire on tuesday evening. many of us are excited for the oppoortunity to build a friendship with them and hopefully help some of them know christ in a real way.

  • i will share more about them later...i'm sure...please pray for artur, kasia, and sebastian...

  • we have one week here of busy activity and outreach...please pray for god's power and favor with people...

hello from poland

hello everyone,

i am writing you from an internet cafe in krakow, poland. they have a beautiful and big market square here. we have about an hour of free time so i found a small internet cafe in the upstairs room above a sunglasses shop. it is quite beautiful today and so it seems the whole population of poland is out in the square soaking up the sunshine.

we got our first taste of public transportation this morning. two staff girls and myself took a tram to a church about 10 miles from our hotel. (the main leader curtis...took the six students and went to a different church about 20 miles north.) Whle they were doing a skit and curtis preached, we hopped on a tram and took it till we got to "ronald reagan park" joke...i guess they feel he helped end communism. the church met in the second floor of a cultural building. the girls shared about why we are here and i sang a song...a guest pastor from wyoming was there, so he preached. the song i chose was "holy and annointed one". i warmed the crowd of about 70 people up by saying "good morning" and "merry christmas" in polish. the latter gave them quite a chuckle and then they joined with me as i sang the "jesus, i love you...i love you" part at the end of the was very nice.

it is a beautiful thing to be in a service with other believers from around the world...they speak in a different language, but we are worshipping the same makes God even more beautiful to me.
when we got done and finished talking to as many people as i could...we hopped on a bus for the ride back. unfortunately the route was bit different and we missed the turn off to our hotel (by the way our hotel is a student hotel near the University of we will meet many students during our time here.)

so after missing the hotel...we realised we were not where we should be so we got off the bus. i located that we were two miles from our jess, who is fluent in russian, german and english, attempts to talk to an old polish man to get directions. the old man was quite nice, but he just sputtered in polish, of which jess only caught about a tenth...well as that conversation bogged down, a young kid with a shirt that had some german flag patches came up and tried to help. he knew a bit of english and got us going, but then he ran out of words...the muttered, "if only you knew german..." jess said i do...and they proceeded to talk in german for the next five minutes. well we found the right bus and tram to take us back to the hotel... but it all made for quite a fun adventure.

well i'm going to send this message...and type some more.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I <3 NY

Jess says, "I heart NY."

Safe Arrival in New York

Looks like Jess and Scott made it to New York okay, and it also looks like Scott can find Ms. Pac-Man anywhere.

Scott Blogging

Scott Blogging

We just got an update from Jess that Scott is composing a blog post.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Jess on Slovakia Part II

this is an audio post - click to play
Hi guys, this is Jess. I'm calling with my first audioblog from my Slovakia trip. I'm in my hotel room in Salt Lake City. Everything went really well today. Had a really long day. Scott and I got lost in Idaho Falls, if that's possible, but we made it here safely, and just had a really good evening getting to know the team, and spending time in prayer and worship. It was great to see my friend Jack again. I just laughed at him all night, and Curtis as well as he made up a song about sugar cubes. And yeah, that's about it. We're going to leave early in the morning for the airport, and head to JFK, and then off to Paris after that. So, I will be updating you probably in New York if I have time. Okay, Bye. #

Back to Part I.
On to Part III.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Jess on Slovakia

this is an audio post - click to play
Hi this is Jess. I am just calling to leave a blog post about what I am going to be doing in six days, which is flying over to Poland, and spending about nine days there and working with some missionaries, and working with some college students, and a youth group there just doing some construction and just street ministry, and stuff like that. Then, I'll be going to Slovakia, and working with the Gypsy population, college students, and construction. We'll be going into the schools, in the English classes, and hopefully have opportunities to share with people about Jesus. And then, after I do all that, my friend Lance is going to marry a translator, a Slovak woman named Mishka, and I get to go to his wedding, and travel around with my friend Sara, hopefully go to Prague, and maybe Koshitsa in Slovakia, and help her move into her apartment, 'cause she's going to be there for two years working with missionaries in Slovakia. That's about it. I hope you weren't bored, and I will leave another entry soon. #

On to Part II

Scott on Slovakia

this is an audio post - click to play
Hi this is Scott, giving you an update on when we leave for Slovakia. We will flying out of Salt Lake City to go to Slovakia on May 18th, and we'll be flying back into Salt Lake City on June 6th. So just about three weeks... a little over three weeks that we're going to be in Slovakia. So those are the dates, please be praying for us, and I will update you more in later blogs. Bye. #

Slovakia 2004 Pictures Up!

Hey, so it's getting pretty late, and I'm supposed to meet J.J. at 6AM, but you know how it is when you start getting into something, and have to finish it. I got Dan's Slovakia photos up on flickr, and added this cool little, um what do they call it? Oh yeah, a "badge." It's the little bar of images in the top right. If you click one, it will take you to flickr's site, and if you sign in you can comment on it and stuff. Pretty neat-o, eh?

Well, good night.

Oh yeah. The idea is to have a little photo along with the blog entry for whoever posts it, like me in the cowboy hat, but it was getting creepy seeing three of my faces on the same web page. So we will pick this up in the future when other people start posting here.

Audioblog Test...

This is a test of the great idea to have Jess and Scott call back and leave us all messages via audioblog. This isn't one of them, it's just me trying it out to make sure it works. Sorry if that disappoints anyone.

this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

What Is This?

Hey! This is Lance. I run my own blog here, but I decided to set this one up for all of here at Chi Alpha to post to. It is pretty basic right now because I wanted to get it up before Scott and Jess head off to Slovakia so hopefully they will make some posts while on the road.

Let's see where this will go. Do you have any ideas? Let us know!