Chi Alpha, Montana
and around the world

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

don't say it...

Originally uploaded by lafalda.
hoo boy. well, although this cake came a year too early, the picture is coming in handy now. i did, indeed, three days ago say farewell to my twenties. i didn't know how i would take it, but as it turns out, i took it pretty well. i awoke to a text message (i have officially given in to calling them sms's [essemesska, to be exact:)]. no one in europe knows what a text message OR a cell phone is) at 9 am from a guy in the church named toncho. it said happy birthday and may God supply all your needs:) then "babka" gave me a fancy chocolate bar with raisins and nuts. i had a quiet morning of writing in my journal, then at 3 i had a date with my gypsy girls. they found out it was my birthday and wanted to throw me a party. so i walked to the square and met them "pri tesca" which means in front of tesco (the walmart of europe;). they held my hands and walked me to their street, singing me happy birthday, mostly in english. i was nervous to go into their apartment complex because some members of the team had had some unfavorable experiences with family members of the children. but i prayed on my walk to the square and God really provided...most of the parents were out of town at a big wedding. so the girls excitedly sat me down and made me coffee with cookies and...wait, as a precursor: everyday i walk by a house that has peonies. peonies are my favorite flowers. for the last several years my mom or cousin has bought me peonies from the farmer's market on my birthday. each day that i walked by the house i dreamed of knocking on their door, telling them this, and asking if i could have a peony for my birthday. so my day had come and i walked by the house as usual, hoping someone would be in the front yard, because the yard is fenced in and locked with a sign that says, "danger, bad dog" on it. so even if i had gotten up the courage to knock on the front door i couldn't have. but to no avail. so i walked by the house and breathed a little prayer, "God, please let me get a flower today." you know how sometimes you pray things, not really thinking they can happen? now back to my birthday party. you guessed it, the girls presented me with two...PLASTIC RED ROSES!!! it's just God's humor and blessing in one because i hate red roses:) but at the same time, to me they were the most beautiful flowers in the world. we had coffee and tea like young ladies (i was surprised by their flat. i honestly thought it would be much worse. it was tidy and they had furniture and working water and everything) we looked through photo albums and laughed at how silly they looked as little girls. they were a little embarrassed because they're at the age where they like to look sophisticated. then the girls took turns with my camera, making videos of themselves talking about how wonderful i am. i have to chuckle because i know it was because i had just bought them new outfits. then stanya came and invited me to her flat. stanya is a gypsy woman who got saved a few years ago. i work with her, doing ministry with the kids and visit her flat regularly. she made me coffee some sort of cream of wheat-type thing and stale cookies. my heart couldn't have been gladder. i played with her daughter, vaneska, who is the joy of my life. she is three and we get along because i am on her speaking level:) (that is flattering myself). so i left and stanya walked me out and gypsies called my name from all around. babies calling from dumpsters, waving from dirt heaps. i walked home. it was hot and humid out. then daska made me coffee and we had hazelnut icecream. i decided to take a walk that evening after it cooled off. i only have to walk about two blocks to find possibly the most beautiful place in the world. it's like the edge of the world. we live in blocks and blocks and blocks of communistic-style flats, then you walk and there's nothing. a huge, beautiful field with hills in the distance. it's so green because it rains regularly here. many would not agree with my calling it the most beautiful place. but to me it's more beautiful than words can express. but i know it's more than geography. i walked along the edge of the field and cried from the joy i felt in my heart at being there. it was a beautiful sorrow of missing loved ones, yet an inexpressable gladness and gratefulness to God. one, i think, that only those who know Him can understand.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Jess and Megan from Slovakia

this is an audio post - click to play
Hi guys it's Jess. Finally doing one audioblog. It's taken us a long time to get a hold of a card, and get a hold of a way to call, and a country code, and all that kind of stuff.

So Megan and I are here. We're in Koshitsa, Slovakia with our friend Katka, and just been having a wonderful time. She and Scott will leave the day after tomorrow. We leave at five a.m. tomorrow morning to take a train from Koshitsa to Bratislava. Then we hope to find a hotel, which might be difficult because Depeche Mode is in town, but we're hoping and praying that we might be able to find one. Hopefully close to the train station.

So yeah, we've just been hanging out with Katka. We went to church this morning, and it was wonderful. They had an American team there so we sang a bunch of Hillsong music and American worship songs, so that was good for us. Then, Treti Den played which is Third Day played for worship. They're a pretty famous Christian band in Slovakia.

Let's see, we're... I'm doing well, she's doing well. We've been eating way too much. Katka's mom is amazing, and won't let us stop eating for more than twenty minutes at a time, but it finally got nice out today so we're about to head to the square and take some pictures. So that's about it. I miss everybody at home, and I'm going to hand it over to Megan. Okay, bye.

Hello people that speak my language. I'm really excited to talk to you when I get home, because you will actually understand me. I don't really know what to say. I just wanted to let you know that Jess is going to be amazing here on her time when she is back in Binotsa. The Gypsy kids are amazing, and they all love her, and you guys, I wish you could all see what I saw with Jess and those Gypsy kids. All the girls just yell for her name, and I don't know... she's amazing and she doesn't even know it, but I'm telling you this because... I don't know, because you already know it.

I don't know what else to say except for I miss you always and I can't wait to talk to you. So here's Jess again to see if she wants to say anything else.

Nope, that's about it. We're going to hang up, and I think Lance has enough to transcribe with all of this. So we love you, and we'll talk to you soon. Keep listening to the blogs and reading the blogs, and I'll try to be more faithful with blogging once I settle down. Okay talk to you later, bye.#

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mail from Megan Part V

Hey guys!!
Well the team left 2 days ago. So I am still here in Slovakia with my friend Jess (many know her). We are also with a girl named Katca, and are headed to her house tomorrow. It is Two hours away. After our time there we are headed back to Poland to met up with Scott (Chi Alpha Pastor), and head to Vienna to fly "home". That's the plan so far.

We took one day to relax after the team went home. They left on the bus at 3:30am, so we all stayed up and wish them off... honestly I miss them a lot. We made some great friends on this trip, and it was hard to say good-bye. Anyway today Jess and I went into another town, by bus. A four dollar bus ticket got us a 2 hour ride! We walked around this castle and ate at a little cafe. So fun! Katca stayed at the hostel, because she is fighting a cold. We all had this awful cold at one point in the trip. I still have mine, but I am thankful it wasn't as bad!

Lets see... Oh man everyone should come here for the pastries and ice cream... okay all the food is amazing! Now I am just being random... Before the team went home we did a lot of service for the church here. We painted and cleaned and did music outreaches, helped at a childrens outreach. These kids were so cute! I tried to play soccer with these boys, but they schooled me over and over again. Then I tried to juggle the stupid ball and my toe started bleeding again. Lame! yep the toe still hurts, it's getting better though. Well I am not sure what else, just know I love you all! I will see you soon, hopefully! Megan

Monday, June 05, 2006

Scott's Euro Missions Journal #5

Hello Everyone,

We finished the last lap of the 21 day marathon today. Many of our team is glad to reach the line, as about 7 of our 20 student and staff have come down with nasty colds. Our meetings have turned into coughing/sniffling festivals, with the speaker being constantly interrupted by someone's uncontrollable outburst.

It is part of the cost of ministering at such a steady pace for three straight weeks. We sleep in different beds, eat new foods, have a different schedule every day, and share everything with 19 other people, plus all the people we invite into our life during this time.

However, it is definitely worth the cost...we have all been powerfully touched by God's Spirit on this trip, and we know God moved in the hearts of many believers, seekers, and cynics as well. Many of the "results" of this trip will not be known for quite a few years, but i believe the effects will be noticeable by the people in the churches here shortly.

The last three days we have worked in a university town here called "banska bystrica". The Evangelical Church here just started renting a new building that used to be a school. It was very dirty and had tons of junk strewn everywhere. In a few short hours our team of 20 "ants" had taken all the junk out of every room, filled about 3 dumpsters worth of garbage and completely swept the building.

We then divided into two team stayed and began prepping and painting the walls of the room that will become their new sanctuary. My team walked to a centrum near the church to do some street evangelism. We played music, invited people to an outreach Saturday night, and passed out Slovak "Books of Hope". (a compilation of all four gospels)

The first day of this centrum ministry was very gray and rainy, but the second day the sun broke out of the clouds and there were lots of people coming and going in the Centrum. We passed out about 120 copies of the Book of Hope and about 200 invitations to the outreach.

Lots and lots of children and teens showed up Saturday night, many of them hanging around all day, because they wanted to play with "the American's" so bad. For about one hour we had Football, Soccer, Basketball, Hackey Sack and Volleyball going on...with the team spread out making connections with people.

Next we did a program of songs, testimonies, a drama, and then I shared a short message about God. I shared about how we often have a wrong perception of who God is and the way He feels about us. I told them about how God tries to show us who he is through different pictures in Scripture. He is like a a party a lover...and like a good Father. (You will have to order the sermon tapes to hear the verses...maybe you can figure them out on your own :)))))

I really had the kid's and adult's attention, which is quite a miracle since they had been playing sports and it was such a beautiful day. During the prayer time at the end it was so quiet you could hardly hear anyone. I think many seeds were planted in the people's hearts.

An older couple even approached the pastor of the church and said they just heard about this outreach and they needed prayer, as the man was starting to suffer from Alzheimer's. They prayed for his healing...and were able to counsel the woman on some things she was wondering about. Hopefully they will start coming to the church here.

We finished today attending a regional service. It was a beautiful scene as the stage had two Slovakian pastors, next to an African man (the pastor of the church here), Curtis our American leader, and an Indian pastor who was preaching at the service. It was a great way to finish the trip getting a little taste of heaven, where "every tribe and tongue" will surround the throne worshipping!!!!!! I loved it.

Well now the team will head back to the States tomorrow. I will be staying one extra week. My plan is to head back to Krakow to spend some time with some friends that i have met up there...then i will travel on Sunday back down to Slovakia. I will connect again with Vlado a young man leading a great college group in Bratislava (slovakia's capital). We have been talking about trying to form something like Chi Alpha in Slovakia. An outreach that prioritizes reaching University students.

Then I will fly out on Tuesday of next week...and head back to a Summer of activity. We will run a huge fireworks stand...I will marry my first Chi Alpha couple...I will speak at a Summer Teen well as do some fundraising. And then of course there is another incredible year of Chi Alpha at UM to plan for. But God has some great plans for Missoula, and I think some of the things I have learned on this trip will be very useful as we try to reach more students with the good news about Jesus.

Thank you for being part of this journey with me. I hope you found it enjoyable to come along for the ride through this email journal...

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who was a financial partner with me for this trip...remember you have a stake in any of the fruit we gathered on this trip. God has good dividends!!!! Thank you for believing in me and the ministry of Chi Alpha

Thank you to everyone who prayed for me, at mealtime and devotion time, before bed and in the the Spirit and with deep intercession. You mean a great deal to me and your sacrifice of time and compassion will be rewarded!!!!

I love you...Please continue to pray for Poland and Slovakia...and especially for Anka, Tomas, Mayo and Igor. These four people have a very special place in my heart!!!!!!


Friday, June 02, 2006

Audioblogger Working Again!

Yes! This post came through. Unfortunately, we've been missing posts from the Slovakia team, but now I think we'll be able to get them. It was a username and password thing. The audioblogger site couldn't log in and post the messages once they were left, but this message is evidence that all is well now.

this is an audio post - click to play

Banska Bystrica

what is happening to all mz blogs_ that underscore will have to stand in for the elusive question mark. anzhoo this is bb and where did our audioblog go or the blog i wrote about zaczek_ well no matter. im in an apartment now with a reallz sweet girl named lubka. she teaches russian i believe. she is letting me use her computer for a long period of time while i trz to catch up. the weather here has been absolutelz lousz. we have not experienced the fountain like this at all. but its still going well here. im verz excited to travel with mz friend katka and megan the red. and then to work in banovce. work and live and enjoz. missing missoula summer, though. and all of zou.

Photo Shoot

Yesterday morning, my agent called and told me we had a photo shoot to do. You know, for brochures and stuff.

We all met on campus around 2:00 and walked around while Krysty the photographer shot us. I took some meta shots (pictures of us being photographed), and Tim took some meta meta shots. It was all fun, and I'm anxious to see what Krysty captured.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mail from Megan Part IV

hey guys, thanks for all the emails...I kinda felt like I was annoying you all... but I am refreshed to know that you still love me! Things are going great!! \i will tell you a little of what we have done.... Lets see, oh we met the Pope. Haha just kidding, we saw him though. He was in a bullet-proof car thing, and people were lined up all around the square (center market). People were running and chashing him. Honestly it was madness, and you can imagine us as loud Americans in a square full of reserved Polish people. That was an event in itself. yep we were doing the wave... now this was embarrassing We just spent 3 days in Banovce, Slovakia to minister to the Jypsies. I loved this! They just wanted to be loved and kissed... oh it was amazing. Just to let you all know before he comes home....Peter Mason is now offically a Backstreet Boy!!!!!!!!! SO FUNNY! The little girls swarmed him and made him sing. He had this sign (patting his head) if he was in trouble, but I was so caught up in my girls that I missed all the signs! OOPS! He said there were a lot! Oh man leaving was hard, one little girl, who was a typical teenager (attitude attitude attitude) cried! Okay more funnies! A girl on the team and I were walking up these stairs at night and there was this stupid statue at the top. She got scared, then I followed. But I really thought something was after me, so I kicked the stairs to get away faster. This was no good! My toe hurts so bad. It won't stop bleeding, and now a bruse is forming under the nail (gross I know). NOw this was all getting better, but no Megan has to go and ruin if for herself. We were helping these Missionaries move out of their house (5 freeking flights of stairs) and I have to drop 2 HEAVY book shelves.... and a Liter of pop on my bad toe! LAME! As of now I have to limp, because it hurts and it won't stop bleeding again, but I laugh because it's so dumb! Anyway things are going so great! I have used up my 250 picture card already, and I can't delete any, so hopefully I can burn an CD soon. So much has happened, so many lives touched and changed, in and out of our group! Our devotion time has been amazing and tearfilled/rainfall for me! I miss you all though SO MUCH! The group leaves in four days, and Jess and I still have no idea what we are doing... so I will update you more later! I love you again and hope you all are doing better than well! Megan

Mail from Megan Part III

Well hello again...the keı board is a little funnı, so bare with me. We left Poland and are in Slovakia now. I loved was amaying, just too much of a big citı. We made some prettı sweet connections with the people there and I miss them a lot. So todaı was the first daı with the jıpsie people. THe kids just hung on everıone. THeı want love so bad, and it breaks mı heart... the language barrier doesn§t even matter. I love them, and i love ıou all for allowing me to come, I think about ıou everıdaı and miss ıou... I have to go, everıone is waiting on mı computer... I love ıou Megan

PS thanks christi, I love ıou, and congrats Amie go all the waı... Love ıou

Mail from Megan Part II

Hey everyone... I just have to tell you how I typed this email the other day, and it erased, so I gave up. Share in my frustration! I also wanted to say sorry if you got this twice, I sent these to different people everytime...don't be angry!

Well we are still in Krakow, and will be here until Saturday morning. THe pope will speak saturday night... we were bummed! Let's see... I have given up on the language, except for thank you and bathroom. :) Everyone speaks english well enough, and we kinda stand out as Americans.

Yesterday we painted a fence for a lady. it was sweet.... Oh yeah (sorry) the population is like a million people here, something like 90% catholic, and only 350 "christians" The few here are looked at as a cult. So our main mission is to encourage the few christians... The people are amazing. The culture is so different from ours. It is reserved and everyone keeps to themselves. When I walk down the street, no one makes eye contact... to me this is sad, but it is just how it is. YOu can imagine how we stick out!

Sweet things have been happening though. The group was sitting in a park worshiping and this lady just cam up ans sat down. She said she couldn't pass the bright circle we had formed.

Today we had an outreach at a part of the University, where I spent the entire day talking with this couple. THey were so cute. Then half of our group went to a english converstaion class. I talk to two 16 year old girls for a long time... They were amazing. Another problem over here is the way women look at themselves. Eating disorders are HUGE! When I asked what their favorite food was, one girl said she didn't like to eat becasue she wanted to keep her figure! I was broken! Honestly I haven't seen one over weight women yet, seriously!! It's sad!

I hope everyone is having a great time in the states!! For those on summer vacation, I hope you are enjoying it, and for those still in school, good luck with finals, and those who are working... um have fun? In any case i love you all!! God bless and I miss you!


Mail from Megan Part I

Hey there. I just got some forwarded messages from Megan the Red that she sent out from the Poland/Slovakia trip. I'm posting them here for you to read. Enjoy.


Hello everyone! WELCOME HOME BETHANY!!! ( I guess we switched places) Send this to anyone who might want it, if I missed them!! Sorry if that is you

Well I am here in Poland after like 30 hours straight of travel! It was sweet as you can imagine! Yep we are all tired and haven't done much yet. Yesterday was our first "day". We went to the Plaza and to a church to work on our dramas, testimonies, and worship. I wanted to do the testimony part, but somehow people pressured me into the stupid drama... no it really isn't that bad, you all know how I love acting! We have until next friday here then we move to Slovakia!

This morning we prayer walked around a park right outside of our hotel (a dorm for college students). In a little over a week the Pope will be here.. Now a little history that we learned is.... The last Pope was Polish, and actually lived here in the town we are in. THe new Pope is German. Bottom line if this "meeting" doesn't go well many people will leave the Catholic church, only God knows if that is a good thing or not. So all we can do is pray.

The language is difficult! I am frustrated, but the majority of poland knows english. In our little intro paper I was reading on how not to be loud because this is like shouting "I'm an American" Well I know you are laughing, but this is hard for me too!

I can't think of anything else to share... you should all go to Nicoles concert though... pretend that I am there laughing with you! I love you all and miss you!


Scott's Euro Missions Journal #4

Hello Everybody...

THE POPE WAS ONLY 8 FEET IN FRONT OF ME...THEN HE TURNED AND LOOKED RIGHT AT ME AND GAVE ME A "THUMBS UP" SIGN. At least that is the story i will be telling my children 15 years from now. We were in Krakow last Friday when the new pope Benedict XVI (called B-16 by some polish people) came to town.

The main square was packed with travelers eager to see the Pope. There in the midst of them were us 20 Protestant believers caught up in the event. It felt more like a rock concert to us than a spiritual pilgrimage, especially when the helicopter showed up and the pope came rumbling into the square in his "pope mobile" (a special display car with bullet proof glass). The crowd began to roar and we roared along with them. We screamed and took pictures and were so excited about the opportunity to see a world famous person that the Polish believers just laughed at us.

The Pope was in town for three very important days for the spiritual future of Poland. He even led mass for an estimated 900,000 people on Sunday. For several of the days we were in Krakow, we prayer walked around the large field where this took place. Our prayer is that God would use the time that the pope was in Krakow to start a fresh move of His Holy Spirit.

The Polish people as a whole have a real precarious future. They have been predominately Catholic, especially since the last pope was Polish, but now many Poles are leaving the Catholic church and searching for other answers...materialism, buddhism, atheism...our prayer is for a new generation to radically change Poland by giving their hearts to Jesus. The Polish people are very independent and have a strong sense of confidence in themselves as a people...if that was coupled with the love and power of Christ, i truly believe they could impact much of the rest of Europe...we will see.

The first part of this week we traveled to a little town in Slovakia called Bonovce. We have been to Bonovce three times it was good to see friends and Pastor Rasto, who we had met before. While there, we mainly focused on ministry to Gypsies. They are people who have been mistreated over their history by Europeans. They have a very different culture and values than the rest of Europe and they don't integrate very well, in many ways they are a forgotten people.

A gypsy woman in Bonovce gave her life to Jesus two years ago. Now she is slowly reaching and influencing other Gypsies for Jesus. She developed a kids choir with some Gypsy kids and on Monday they gave a concert. This was great because these precious little kids were singing worship songs with all of their hearts, but also many of their fathers and mothers and uncles and aunts came out to listen. Our team also played music, shared testimonies, performed dramas and then a girl named april from our group gave a simple salvation message using her life story. It was a beautiful time to plant seeds for Jesus among the gypsies of Banovce.

Now we are in Banska Bystrica a bigger city in Slovakia. It also has a University here so there are college age people all over. Last night we spoke at the mid-week service of an Evangelical church here in town. Then today we helped a missionary couple move out of their apartment. It was a long day since they had a lot of stuff and lived on a 5th floor apartment. There are 20 of us in our team so we made a snake (or a "little house on the prairie fire line") in order to get all the stuff down the stairs. We worked for almost 9 hours. But we cleaned out their entire apartment, which was an incredible help to them. They are now headed to Greece for the next 5 years.

Tomorrow we will resume with more street ministry, playing music in the square here and trying to form relationships with the people we attract. Live music is a very big draw here, because they do not have a lot of chances to hear good music. It has been fun having some more musicians on this trip. Sylvia our violinist has added a bit of class to our jamming, that we've never had before. Last night the other guitarist Peter sang a worship song in Slovak and English. (Open the Eyes of my Heart) The Slovak people were so excited to hear him singing in Slovak they all started clapping in the middle of the song :)

Well it has been a great trip so far...God is doing some great things in every place we have been. Please pray for the young believers in Poland like: Igor, Gregori, Ewa, and Bartek...that God would continue to fill them with His Spirit...pray for the young believers in Slovakia like: Tomas, Mayo, Mario, Katka and Lubka...that God would give them His power...and pray for the Poles and Slovaks that we have been able to share Jesus with like: Maria, Barbara, Simon, Martin and Adam...that they would give their hearts to Christ.

Thank you for your prayers and support,