Dates of our trip: July 12--July 30, 2006.
The team has been assembled and preparing since January, 2006.
Departing Flight Information July 12: British Air Flight #2192, Departing DFW 4:20PM. Arriving London Gatwick 7:20AM. Connecting flight from London Heathrow, British Airways flight #434 to Amsterdam Schipol arriving 1:45PM.
Return Flight Information July 30: British Air Flight #8110, Departing Amsterdam Schipol 7:00AM, arriving London Gatwick 7:10AM. Conntecting flight from London Gatwick, British Airways flight #2193 to Dallas/Fort Worth arriving 2:30PM.
Crossroads Bible Church, Double Oak, Texas, USA
Current Weather In Alkmaar
General Information from Wikipedia
Travel Guide from Lonely Planet
Country Profile from the British Broadcasting Company
Amsterdam News in English
History of Alkmaar
Alkmaar Tour Guide
You can also use the links on each of these sights to find out even more information!
In order to prepare for the nature of direct outreach in a postmodern culture, our team read the book "How Should We Live Then" by Colson & Pearcy. It's an excellent read for an introduction to worldviews, their effects and their results.
Some of the most influential books on the subject of postmodernism would be by Francis A. Schaeffer, including "The God Who Is There," "Escape From Reason," & "How Should We Then Live" (which obviously influenced Colson). If you're interested in some basic quotes on postmodernism, you can get them here:
Francis A. Schaeffer Quotes
2003: Brent McKinney, Rob Edwards, Deb Stevenson, Jess Semmelbeck, Liz Stevenson, Alicia Garcia, Jude Miniat, Christy Thrasher, Abby Lorenc, Cristina MacGilvra, Matt Eaton, Justin Bascue, Faith Oldenburg, Kayti Edwards, Kim Church.
2006: Brent McKinney, Steve Davis, Debbie Schmidt, Michelle Davis, Thomas Egbert, Schuyler Crabtree, Kayla Russell, Alex Ehrich, Keila Lorenc, Bailey Price, Olivia Schmidt, Maria MacGilvra, Alicia Garcia
First and foremost, this trip is 17 days long and for many team members it's the longest they've been away from home. We'd love to hear from you, so feel free to check back often and comment by clicking on the spaces beneath each entry!
Secondly, pray for the team members and those they'll come in contact with. This ministry is entirely relational...and each day we'll simply be waking up and trying to find someone to share the Gospel with. We'd truly appreciate your thoughts and prayers!
Finally, when this team left, we were short of our financial goals. If you're so inclined to donate, simply go to the church website and click on "contact us," send an e-mail saying you'd like to contribute, and you'll be given the necessary instructions.
The Dallas Morning News
USA Today News
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I have mixed feelings about being back. My husband does too.
We loved our time in Holland.
I felt like I made better friends there than I have in Flower Mound.
I love the European way of life.
And, it seems that God is growing my heart to love and know these people and this country.
I don't know what it all means.
I just know I want to be a missionary wherever I may be.
I want to follow His Spirit in all my conversations and in all my actions.
Now, my heart is a bit achy about returning to my car, target, and my comfort zone.
I don't want to live there...
maybe it's not the place
maybe it's a state of the heart.
Missionary in progress,
Free and Living 7:37 PM
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Keila's Last Blog: Sometimes You Should Wait Before You Post The "Last" Blog
God is better than Good.
“How Great is our God. Sing with me how great is our God”
That’s the song that has been stuck in my head the whole trip. But tonight… God showed his serious power.
Tonight I wanted no regrets. I walked up to my friend Joelle and I told her my heart. Jesus is Lord and is calling your name to serve Him. I told her how much she meant to me and how much more she meant to our God. She cried a lot and I knew her heart was softened. She said she wasn’t ready to pray about it or accept it as truth. I told her I wouldn’t pressure her but I promised it was truth and said I was praying like crazy.
I already knew God was working like crazy. About an hour and a half later, my friend Caro came up to me and said, “Keila, I’ve never actually prayed to God and told him I know he’s real and I believe Jesus is my savior. I want to pray with you. We prayed together, first me, then her. I cried. She cried. And I knew the Holy Spirit filled her precious heart.
God is alive and this last night in Holland will be a night I never, ever forget. Praise the Lord for this wonderful country.
Brent 9:11 PM
Until We Meet Again…
17 days ago we left Dallas for a mission trip to The Netherlands.
We’d done our best to become a “team” but there were injuries, universities, busy schedules and unforeseeable emergencies that kept all of us from being in one room until we met at the airport. I was a bit concerned.
I mean, sure, we’d studied a book on post-modernism and all that. I tried my best to prepare them through e-mails and such for the realities they would face…including personal experiences from my previous trips.
But we were going to be in some VERY close quarters for over two weeks…9 girls, one bathroom. Some team members had never been this far from home. Some had never been apart from family that long. There would be bouts of homesickness. There would be laughs. There would be times when we got on each other’s nerves. It was a roll of the dice to see how they’d respond to a full-blown overseas mission trip.
In retrospect, I’m not sure why I was concerned.
It was a real live Ecclesiastes 3 team:
They planted; they shook off the dust.
They laughed; they cried.
They danced (and boy, did they dance!); and they mourned.
They tore down; they built up.
They felt like throwing stones; they slowed down and collected them.
They searched high and low; they gave up as lost.
They kept; they threw away.
They were silent; they spoke.
They loved; they hated.
I could go on, but you get the drift.
And, as head of the team, I gotta say it was beautiful to watch. The kids I’m bringing back are definitely NOT the same kids I brought over. Broader horizons and all that jazz, sure. But also in a spiritual sense as well. It’s one thing to build homes for the underprivileged in Juarez. It’s entirely another to arrive somewhere, and say, “Pray, be Spirit-led, and try to share Christ in some way today with someone who doesn’t know Him.”
And they never seemed to pick up on the reality that this should be a terrifying endeavor. They pulled it off in spades. They did the mission they were tasked with. As I sit here right now, I can’t say that anyone accepted Christ…but I know some seeds were planted. Some previously planted seeds were watered. We’ll let God worry the growth. Deal?
With that in mind, I’d like to thank the team members individually, so stick with me, okay?
To Debbie “Mrs. Deb” Schmidt: Thanks for keeping us fed and for bringing the girls some earplugs. You made our building a home and supplied the right amount of “mom” to all of us…for the girls it was hugs and compassion, and for the guys, well, it was food. But thanks for being the house mom and adding to the CBC legacy of incredible house moms. You’re always welcome to come back, okay?
To Alicia “Keep in Touch With The Dutch” Garcia: Thanks for yet another mission trip. From Juarez to two Holland junkets we’ve been there and back again. It’s been so great to see how you’ve picked up where you left off from your six months here. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at all, though. Your consistency and passion are so encouraging.
To Michelle “Mish Pish” Davis: Thanks for you missionary zeal and compassionate heart. It’s easy to overlook those things if you’re not careful, but your reminder of “child-like faith” and how you live that out is such an encouragement to all of us. Also, what would the 20 minutes before bed-time be like without you stirring everybody up with giggles and laughter? Full-time missions, anyone? Anyone?
To Kayla “Kay Kay” Russell: Thanks for using this trip to jump out of your comfort zones. I’m so thankful you’ve let us see this side of your personality on this trip and if you could only take what you’ve learned here off to college with you. SHSU will be a better place for having admitted you, and the Kingdom will be better off if you let the rest of the world what you’ve shown us on a consistent basis. I’m thrilled to see what happens, too.
To Maria “Pain Is Bad” MacGilvra: Thanks for your teachable spirit and joyful countenance…even with the difficulties of resting your knee and trying to balance out team stuff with continuing your previous ministry here and the personal family stuff going on. Your seeing the value in “pressing on” is so encouraging and inspiring. Maria, it’s nice to have spent 9 years with you…and frankly, I think the next 9 will be even more enjoyable. I value our friendship.
To Olivia “Pig Pen” Schmidt: Thanks for just jumping in and starting the work here. I’ll NEVER forget just taking time to show some others around on the first day here and turning a corner and seeing you sitting at a table, spending your “expense account” and actually doing the ministry. That kind of attitude is something I like and can’t wait to see how it manifests itself your senior year. It should be a great year, and we’ll have to grab terraces more often to check in, okay?
To Keila “Kee Keeker Deeker” Lorenc: Thanks for just being yourself. I mean, you know that I know your three older sisters and yet you’ve never tried to follow their path but rather just let me see the real you…and I don’t ever want you to forget the words I told you on the terrace at lunch in Haarlem: You are incredibly unique and gifted and it’ll be an honor to serve you as those gifts and talents become more defined your last two years of high school. You are amazing, Keeker. Wow.
To Bailey “Bitterbollen” Price: Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for the late night Pims and milk sessions…I can’t think of any one student I’ve ever laughed so much with and you know, this is really only the start of your mission trip, right? I mean, there’s Bailey and 19 reasons to be salt & light, and never ever forget the proper place of things in the big priority list. You’ll never regret it, and well, Bay…you’re the best.
To Alex “Ranch” Ehrich: Where do you get the energy? Oh, yeah…it must’ve been the liter of cola you drank before bed time each night. Thanks for ramping us up with your excitement and enthusiasm when we were tired and zapped. And, I’m glad you left all your energy not only on the dance floor but also in the work you did here, and I’m glad you’re going back with no regrets.
To Steve “What’d You Say To My Face?” Davis: Working with you is a blast, and seeing what this trip has already done in your thinking has been one of the highlights of my ministry…having known you since you were in middle school, well, there’s not a lot that hasn’t already been said. But, mi hermano, thanks for a great trip. I’m glad we did this one together.
To Thomas “Tom Tom” Egbert: Thanks for your constant seeking of the adrenaline rush and pioneering spirit (think North Sea on that one). This year’s Senior guys Bible study was a highlight and finishing it off this way…well…I can’t think of a better way. Take care of your freedom, and find ways to use your incredible gift for photography to glorify Him while you’re at Wheaton. I expect greatness from you.
To Schuyler “Scrubs” Crabtree: Thanks for thinking through so many issues and coming to sincere conclusions on your own. You’re a great thinker and can use that gift to influence many…so use your powers wisely grasshopper. I know that OU has many opportunities to minister and I hope you’ll listen as well as you debate, because the Christian community there can accelerate your growth if you’ll let them. And, I promise I’ll try my best to imitate your keen fashion sense!
As you can see, we’ve become quite the little family here. We’ve grown closer, gotten all sorts of inside jokes and shared experiences. Youth ministry books call it “group mileage.” I call it life together…and with the bikes returned and us just waiting for a 4AM pick up to go to the airport…well, I’ll just enjoy that little bit of family before we have to return if you don’t mind.
But, I realize that it’s easy to pat the team on the back and say, “Job well done, troops.” The harder task is to try to thank the others that make a trip like this possible and make sure you get everyone. I won’t. But I’ll give it a shot, okay?
First of all, thanks to Peter Hays and the entire Hays family. Working with you and your ministry over these last few years has had long-term effects within our congregation... and I only hope we’ve returned the favor in some small way. Thanks for inviting us in 2000 and thinking enough of our goofy approach to this thing to keep welcoming us back. We appreciate you guys serving our body here in Holland, and we look forward to seeing you at the conference in October.
Secondly, thanks to Merrikay Lee, keeper of the CBC worldwide vision. Doesn’t matter if we’re going to downtown Dallas or anywhere else on the globe, you’re always supportive of the student ministry…even if that means a budget line item is a bit higher than expected. Your giving opportunities like this to our students will reap long-term rewards if past performance is any indication.
Thanks to Tim Stevenson, our senior pastor, for considering the students of CBC a vital part of the body of Christ right now rather than waiting for 10 years until they “become useful.” Your support of this kind of thing is what most youth pastors can only dream about and thanks for seeing it this way for the last decade.
Thanks to Nathan, Heather and Kristy for keeping the ministry running smoothly while I’m away. When we come here, we leave you not only with your own jobs to do, but also having to cover what we leave undone. And you all do it without complaint because you see the bigger picture. I’m grateful for your professionalism above and beyond the call of duty.
Thanks to the CBC deacon board for ensuring that all the monetary hoops are jumped through, and thanks to Kim Kerr for making the vision a tangible reality…and not to mention your oversight in keeping our financial practices “above reproach.” People heard the gospel because of your work, and I only hope you see that.
Thanks to everyone who hit the blog site and wrote words of encouragement. Technology can communicate love, and it did. Our 12:31AM team sessions were a chance to experience family over an ocean away.
Thanks to Paul Edwards for doing my yard work while I’m away. In the Texas heat, that might be one of the most valuable ministries we’ve got.
Special thanks to all the team members and CBC folks who’ve been here previously. We can see your footprints all over the place.
And don’t even get me started on thanking all of you who contributed money or prayed for us. There simply aren’t enough words…and I only wish there were. It is an honor to be your hands and feet.
One final thank you to the Schmidts, the Parenteaus, the Davis’, the Ehrichs, the Prices, the Lorences, the Egberts, the Crabtrees, the MacGilvras, and the Russells. You have entrusted me with the most precious of cargo and I assure you I’ve done my very best to be worthy of that trust. I’m grateful for all of your love, support and prayers…not only for this trip but through the years as well.
And, as always, thank you to the most beautiful woman in the world, my wife Tracy. And, thank you to Kelsey and Shelby, the best daughters a guy could ask for. The sacrifices you joyfully make so I can serve others using my gifts and talents is something I never take for granted and am deeply grateful for your putting up with the unique demand of a life of ministry. I absolutely love the reality that when I say “home” it implies that you three will be in it.
If you’re reading this, we’re well within 24 hours of landing at DFW. You can get the flight information in the column at the left…we’d love to see you there at 2:30PM or thereabouts.
We’re glad we came.
We’re glad to come home to you folks.
And I think I speak for everyone on this team when I say we’d come again in a heartbeat.
If you've come this far...
...thanks for reading!
Brent 4:24 PM
MISH AND STEVE’S BLOG OF ALL BLOGS!
It’s our last day, and why does it hurt so bad?
Well, we are going to miss so many people and things in Holland.
Just to name a few…
We will miss Guito, Delia, Jonathan, Adinda, John, Elina, Roy, Michael, Maarite, Daniel, Jacob, George, and Eilene. So many fun and beautiful people!
We will miss Magnum’s (ice cream bars to die for!), good cheese, shoarma, Van Gogh’s art, downtown Alkmaar, the large church, canals, biking everywhere, the team being together, the Corrie Ten Boom museum (ten boom means tree), H&M (mish will miss this the most), Dutch chocolate, riding the train, grabbing a terrace, and seeing cute babies on the front and back of bicycles (it takes a lot of biking talent to be a mom here)! Not using a cell phone or email that much!
Steve and I are excited for…
Harley! Air conditioning! Our mommies and daddies! Our OWN bed! Real burgers! Waffles for breakfast! Fans! Anything cold! Ice! Our porch! Rummikub! I miss hugs from family! Their voices! Ok, we’re ready to get back.
Grace and peace be with you,
Mish and Stevie
Brent 4:23 PM
As you read this the time remaining in Holland is dwindling so fast for me. It’s like the other day when Guido, Marcel and George threw me into the North Sea with all my clothes on. I knew it was coming and saw it was coming yet there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. There are 31 hours left right now and I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to even discern how I am feeling right now. I saw Tim (the ASU bike guy) randomly yesterday and we exchanged info after a round of basketball. It was an answer to prayer to just be able to talk to him again. Giving George his bike was such a blessing tonight but that wasn’t even the best thing for me. I hugged and talked Dutch to so many church members tonight. I was doing so well emotionally then…even Jelmer (a member of the younger youth) showed up tonight after not coming around for months and we chatted a lot about what’s been going on. When he saw me he ran up and gave me a HUGE hug. (He’s grown so much this past year so now he is much taller than me justifying the capitol letters inserted there.)
What really killed me was Antsie Kool. She became my mom in Holland always offering me tea, a place to stay and of course numerous meals educating my ways into the world of the South Afrikaan cuisine. She hugged me tonight, prayed for my grandfather, and made me feel like a daughter of hers. My heart broke. I didn’t want to say goodbye. I had at least 6 people come up to me tonight asking me when I would move back to Holland. I wanted to tell them…I’m not really leaving, it’s all a joke and I’ll see you in church Sunday. But then at the same time I am so looking forward to ASU. My friends as well as I on the Navigator student leadership group seem to have all been challenged with evangelism and reliance on God this summer. I am excited to see what God has in store both in and through us this coming school year. It’s always harder preaching Christ on your own turf but it’s been put on my heart even this past year to do so. Who am I to live in Holland for half a year and encourage Dutch to go out in their own culture to share the good news if I am not doing it myself in America?
From hearing conversations at Ilse’s birthday party talking about her baptism with her non-Christian friends and talking with Guido about the future and growth of Youth Contact, there is nothing I can do but be encouraged. The Dutch give me a gift every time I talk to them or come here. It is more than the prayers and books and pranks. It is a gift of renewed hope. It’s a gift of renewed thought of perhaps moving here permanently one day or at least staying a significant while longer, of maybe leading a team on my own in a few years or hope that Christ will continue to open the hearts of others, and the knowledge that God really does have everything in control.
Brent 4:22 PM
Friday, July 28, 2006
Today was a great day....
Alicia Kaylah Maria and I went shopping in downtown Alkmaar to retrieve the last of the souvenirs for the family. We came home to find many conked out. Yes, we are all growing tired, but in a good way. Later we went out with Michael to have Shaorma, pronounced Shwarma. It was great! Michael is a special man and such a blessing to all of us. He was the one who brought over all of the Vla which is just like a pudding. And let me say the Dutch have the whole dairy thing down.
Tonight, the Philly team had a get together barbecue. Justin and Joren's band, Further Finish played. It was fun. Then the team allowed me to be the one to give George the key to his new/used bike. We were all so excited. I had gone up to him and asked him if he wanted to go get a Magnum with me (ice cream bar). And Alicia asked him if he wanted to borrow her bike. And then I just told him, Why don't you take your own bike and I tossed him the keys. HE was so happy. Since then we have been trying to concoct a way to sneak him into one of the suitcases. Kaylah's is the biggest....
It is so hard to leave him. He told me on the bike ride to get the ice cream that he wanted me to email him when I get home so he will have my email address and promised me that he would email me back because, "You're my mom." Ok. I am going to end with that for today before I start crying.....
Love to all.
Miss you much
See you soon,
Debbie Schmidt 7:30 PM
Shoarma...And Then Some
It all started in 2000. We met Michael. He visited our church over his Christmas holiday before we moved into the new building. We're friends.
I saw him again in 2003. He was over to the building every day. That's when Joshua Rudd introduced me to my new brother in Christ. Michael accepted Christ.
Tonight, he promised to take the group to the best Shoarma place in town. It's lamb. You get it on bread and have your choice of a variety of topics. It's an Indian food, but they do it really well in Holland. Kinda like the U.S.A. does pizza.
Anyway, on the ride there, he started telling me about how much he enjoyed the groups from Texas. He then listed off every single team member of the team in 2000. He told me that Rob (Edwards) was the coolest person he knows.
He then listed the names of every single team member in 2003. He asked which ones were still single in case he wanted to become a U.S. citizen (joking, of course). He's pretty much convinced he's like to marry Abby Lorenc (at least I think he's joking, but he mentioned how much fun it would be to have Christmas at their house with Keila, so I can't be sure) to both become a citizen and have a happy life.
Then he rattled off all our team member names this year.
I asked him why he went to all the trouble to remember everybody's names...I couldn't even remember them all.
His countenance changed.
He looked at me in disbelief that I'd even ask such a question.
His response (as best as I can remember it even though it happened about an hour ago) was, "I want to thank you and all the Texas teams. When you come every three years and I come there we care about each other. Your teams are so much fun. The Texans told me the best news I ever heard...even if it's hard to grow here in Holland in my life with Christ. When I see people who are only 16 who walk with Christ so well and are so much fun it makes me happy. My Texas friends remind me of this every time I see them, and I just want to say thank you."
I stammered some sort of embarrassed response that I'd just as soon forget. Whatever it was it didn't do justice to his words.
He then asked me if this was my job. To just tell people about Christ and how to walk with Him. I pretty much said, "Yep." I was looking straight ahead and pedalling more or less to keep from falling into the fetal position and just crying in humble gratitude.
He then said, "So, you get to help people you love grow in Christ. You get to be family with cool people like Rob. You get to spend all day with other people who love Jesus, too. You get to live in a place like Flower Mound where people can grow in a big church like yours. Sounds to me like you have the best job in the world."
I couldn't have said it better and can't believe I'm not attentively thankful for that reality 24/7/365 (366 in leap years).
I do indeed have the best job in the world, Michael. Thanks for reminding me.
And, Merrikay and the rest of the missions committee at CBC, I hope you can overlook the reality that I plan on picking up whatever tabs he runs up having coffee and/or dinner with him from now until...
Brent 5:53 PM
steve and i went to the north sea today.
the bike ride was beautiful.
trees made a canopy over the brick road.
a cool breeze made my hair light and free.
the company of my husband gave me joy.
sunshine on my body, toes scrunched on the beach,
i loved every minute of it.
we had shoarma for dinner with our team
and our new family members, roy and michael.
we love our dutch family!
Free and Living 5:45 PM
"Your love is amazing, steady and unchanging, Your love is a mountain firm beneath my feet; every time i see You, all Your goodness shines through; i can feel this God song rising up in me!"
i want to go home.
i DON'T want to leave the Netherlands.
i want to see my friends and family.
i never want to leave the friends i've made, and i love the little "family" we've become here.
it's all just a lovely little paradox, isn't it??? i'm too close to the end of this trip...but glad to be close to seeing my loved ones. but what i would rather focus on...
i have two days left here. i get to hang out, at least for part of it, with my new friend Jlene. i have no idea yet what God has in store in just these two days, and can't wait to see exactly what that is.
also...this mission doesn't end when we go back. the relationships continue to build. it was never just about two and a half weeks in the Netherlands. that's only where it starts. i have the emails and phone numbers of many people i will want to contact once i get home, and can get the rest before i leave. Jlene may be coming to the US next summer, and we talked about her possibly staying with one of us for a while.
this work God is doing...it's real. and it's ongoing. the first thing that hit me when i got here was just that it was finally REAL. as i am about to leave...it's come full circle. it's STILL real. even more real to me than when i got here. how amazing God is!!!
kaylah 10:13 AM
Thursday, July 27, 2006
More Photos from Alicia
Some of you have heard us mention George (especially Mrs. Debbie, who he refers to as "mom." Here he is!
Here's Alicia teaching at Youth Contact last Sunday...it's the crowd!
Here's Alicia getting dumped in the North Sea...and it was done lovingly, of course!
Brent 9:09 PM
so today was very chill but atleast we were able to go to lunch with two of our dutch friends elise and annette, their so sweet and easy to talk to because elise is a fellow believer :) we were able to encourage her which was awesome. i can tell that jesus is totally working through us so life is good!
olivia schmidt 2:32 PM
From Alicia: The pranks keep going on and on
Brent 2:15 PM
Keila's Thursday Blog
Hey friends and family!!! I’m having a beautiful time here in the Netherlands. Today I have plans to meet with 2 girls. One knows Christ and is already an encouragement to my walk with the Lord. The other believes in nothing. I’m excited to “grab a terrace” with these precious girls! Pray for the Lord to move in me and through me.
Holland teaches me love:
Loving the people in this house… our little family.
Loving people who tell me truth when I do NOT want to hear it.
Loving people who’s souls are so lost and need the Lord so badly.
Loving God more with ever move I make.
Loving America and everything I have at home… including taco bell. WE MISS IT SO BAD.
Loving my family who is such a reminder that the Lord works EVERYWHERE.
I love you guys also… a whole lot!
Brent 2:14 PM
I am at the library blogging. Schuyler and George just came to visit me. We can't believe how close it is to our return trip.
George says Hi and he wants to come home with us to America.
He wants to know is someone will adopt him :)
Pray for us to have a safe flight.
Love to all Comment, comment, comment.
Debbie Schmidt 12:59 PM
I have exactly seven minutes before I run out of time on my computer, so here it goes. I love Holland. I love the country, the people, and the history. There is so much beauty here but with the beauty lies a hopelessness. I could see so much grow here if there were a group of believers who encouraged others in faith in Christ. But it's an extremely tough culture to have faith in. The overall sense that I've discerned is that there is not much thought that goes toward God. I'm getting my 5 minute warning now! Life is self centered - how can I be happy and be satisfied. Is that what human desire boils down to? To be happy. I'm sorry life throws way too many curve balls to be happy. There's no way you can be happy when there is so much evil tearing our world apart. It's my prayer that humanity experiences the true presence of God through Christ Jesus, our Savior. Now, who wants to come to Holland and live the faith?
Free and Living 12:21 PM
here it is, i know you have all been waiting to hear from me :)
but i really do not have much time... soooo, to sum up the past like 5 days...
-met some amazing girls who we are goin to eat lunch with today :)
-spent some great time at the beach with the local dutch!
-had some great soup and talks with brent and bailey and keila in HARLEMM!
-had poftures?? and they were THE GREATEST THINGS I HAVE EVER TASTED
-i love bailey ree price
-I COME HOME IN TWO DAYS...
and i gotta go!
alex! 11:34 AM
well our trip is finally coming to an end.
Sunday is gonna be here before we know it and i haven't decided how i feel about it.
I miss my friends, family, and boyfriend more than anything in the world.
But at the same time I see all these people here that don't know Christ and the amazing things he has to offer and I want to stay for years until they all know.
Our friends Melissa and Chiara finally set up a time to hang out with them two days ago and it went really well. They are obsessed with boys so I knew if we were going to be able to talk to them about God it had to be through that subject. So as Melissa told us about her last breakup and how hard it was, I explained to her the love that God has to offer and how it surpasses any love that any boy will ever offer her. She was like "he loves EVERYONE?" and we're like "yeah of course!" And she smiled and said "that sounds so good."
It was small but definently a seed was planted.
God is so incredible.
We have their emails and I can't wait to see what will unfold as we try to stay in contact after we come home.
Anyway, SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! im so excited/sad/scared/nervous/pumped to the max.
I LOVE YOU AMERICA!
bAiLeY 11:25 AM
Alicia's Blog for Thursday
The sun is hiding today,
I wonder if all is well is the US of A.
Holland is grand and so superb,
In two days we return to the flowerplex suburbs.
I don’t want to leave but know my time is near done,
My schedule is almost full of friends and fun.
Soon back to Texas this team will venture,
And then Bailey can finally get new dentures.
Our family here is closing its gate,
The Dutch must find new means of entertainment and mates.
My wish for you is to see the Son,
And to let the fears in your faith be undone.
To the glory of God we live this life,
Keep praying the prayer and fighting the fight.
Brent 11:02 AM
Steven Charles Davis' Thursday Blog
Yesterday was my beautiful wife’s birthday.
And what better way to spend it than exploring the streets of a European city.
On our day off we visited the city of Haarlem.
When I wasn’t engaged in a conversation I was humming a U2 song.
Angel of Haarlem.
Maybe you’ve heard it.
I learned that in the Dutch culture you say congratulations when it is someone’s birthday.
In fact, not only do you say that to the one whose birthday it is, but you say it to family members and friends as well.
So I would say, “My friend George’s birthday is today.”
And they would say, “Congratulations.”
Mish and I were going to go out to eat last night to celebrate but we were too tired from the Haarlem adventure so we just ordered a pizza instead.
You should see the shirt she got with the pizza.
It says “Damn Hot!” on it, which is the pizza place’s slogan.
We thought it would be funny if everyone on the team stepped off the plane wearing those shirts but we decided that I would probably lose my job and Brent would be asked to take some vacation time.
So we won’t do that.
I have to admit I’m not ready to come home.
I’m really going to miss this place.
Especially the people I am just now starting to get to know.
I’ve threatened to stay since we’ll have a little money left over in our budget.
George even said I could stay with him.
George is pretty funny.
Pray for him.
There’s not much here for him in Holland that’s good.
We went to the hiding place in Haarlem which I’m sure most of you have read about in other blogs already.
I just wanted to say that the one thing that impressed me the most was the story about the guy who built the hiding place.
As it turns out he built about 70 similar places without his wife or mother ever knowing.
Thanks for all your prayers,
Brent 11:02 AM
Kaylah's Thursday Blog
“even though there’s no way of knowin where to go I promise I’m goin”
Went to Haarlem yesterday! SOOOO GOOD!! Haha no but really it was awesome. Saw the Corrie Ten Boomhuis, and it was just flippin sweet. Standing in that small space for even just five minutes was freaky. I don’t see how those people did it for hours. Only in Christ! It’s truly an amazing story to hear, and now I most def want to read the book.
Jlene came with us to Haarlem, and I could not be more thrilled that she did. I mean, just the fact that she even wanted to come made me so excited. And she got to see the Corrie Ten Boomhuis with us, and hear the story…and the whole day she was just so happy to be there. She was genuinely thankful to have been invited. It was cool. It just astounds me to no end that this girl I met on the side of a street in Alkmaar one day WANTS to hang out with us. She even asked us afterwards if we were going to call her later, sometime before we went home, so that we could hang out again. Only Christ working through our lives and in her heart could be making all of this turn out the way it has. Praise God! It is always only His strength and not our own that is seeing us through. I wish I could recognize that more.
These past few days, I’ve really been feeling the trip start to come to a close. And as it does, I can reflect a little better on what I’ve been learning. Honestly, it’s been so much. I’ve been learning better how to encourage and serve…how to get out of my comfort zone a little bit—sometimes a lot…how to love others more completely, no matter who they are, what they’ve done, or what their feelings are towards me…how to love and trust my God better. He is so faithful, all the time.
Homesickness is on the rise over here. Pray for the team as a whole that we will persevere through these last days in faith and love, trusting only in God’s strength. Can’t wait to see what He’s got for us today! Much love to all of you…
Brent 11:01 AM
Alright, so I haven’t met many new people recently, but I have had several opportunities to help out some of the friends I’ve made thus far. Considering that this is an extremely un-Godly country and there are a lot of temptations and trials to endure here, some of our Dutch friends could use encouragement & prayers. It is so strange that this place can seem like any other place in America, but then it suddenly shows these evil sides that catch you off your guard. Just talking to some of the people I’ve met here about what they have to struggle with, is so saddening. Yes, we do have some of the same struggles in America, but it’s so much harder to chose the right choice here when the vast majority of people are choosing the wrong choices & they have no reason to choose the right choice because they don’t believe in God or morality in the slightest bit. Sometimes it is difficult to be here and see all this happening and feel like there’s no way you can stop it because it’s just so overwhelming, and we are just a small number of people here for a short time. But then I remember that even reaching one person makes it all worth it, and God is bigger than this country and all the sin in it. That God can work in these people even after we leave, because he set them up to be worked in through us during the time we did have here. So yes, it can be discouraging, but so long as we have faith and hope in the Lord, and our friends here to remind to continue to do so, we can remain positive. Just ask Keila, she knows all about it.
Schuyler 9:58 AM
-This is starting to look mighty nice-
Brief ---------- Status -----
--I am ministering to local Christians for the rest of the trip. Christians here need encouragement due to the absence of a large church here. There is a reason they call this area "Dark North Holland." Anyway, I am confident that God put me here to minister to Christian guys that need someone to lead them in the right direction: that is my focus. I gave my testimony to the church on Sunday, so hopefully that encouraged some of the discouraged believers. For these last days, I hope that God will use me to effectively minister to some friends that I have met. You can pray for me and the rest of the team to wrap up our ministry here and leave everything out there. On the dance floor tonight, we are leavin' everything out on the dance floor. In the same way, I pray that we can leave everything in our hearts and minds out on the "dance floor" of North Holland. We are getting a little exhausted too, so pray for energy! Well, peace . . . and represent.
Thomas E. 9:08 AM
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
It's a beautiful day!
So...Life...Holland has def. Produced ups and downs but this trip has been incredible! And I must say: 1)This is the most beautiful country, ever 2) I know that I will be back next year and 3) God has blessed me so much.
I have a meeting with Jacob today which I am really excited about because hopefully he can become one step closer to accepting Jesus Christ. It's supposed to rain so I don't know if he will make it out here but we will see, so please be praying for his heart. That he will be open to whatever the Lord says through me.
Thanks for everyone who supported me coming here and we are almost done! Please pray that we wont lose sight of what we still have to do though. We still have a few days so pray that we wont ignore the people we have already met. Thanks and see yall soon!~
A window of God's indescribable love
Maria 7:14 PM
The Next Field Trip…But Not Necessarily A Day Off
Today we went to the city of Haarlem. It was supposed to be, more or less, a day off from the ups and downs of ministry (and I hope many of them blog about their experiences—hearing about them around the dinner table has been encouraging in their boldness with their faith—of which they are truly having meaningful moments).
We took the 10:17 to Haarlem and went immediately to the town square—which, in Steve’s words, “That’s the best turning of a corner I’ve ever experienced.” What he meant was that it’s truly stunningly beautiful. The highlight was the group sat Mish in a chair and sang “Happy Birthday” to her. We’ve had a day of celebrating Mish, too. I wasn't quick enough with the camera to get that, but I did get a photo of Alex & Bailey trying to kick the pigeons (not a good enough shot to get them scattering, though):
One thing to note: Various team members invited their friends to come with us…either encouraging a few of the Dutch teens in youth contact who rarely get to interact with so many Christians at once or some even invited the people they’ve been having spiritual conversations with.
Then we introduced the team to the wonder of poffertjes—kind of a cross between pancakes and doughnut holes smothered in powdered sugar/butter or with strawberries & cream added. Bailey described them as “like mixing heaven with cute boys.”
Here’s Tom, Olivia, Kayla and Bailey enjoying the Dutch version of Nirvana:
Then, after an hour of shopping, we had an appointment to tour the Corrie Ten Boom house. Maybe some of you read “The Hiding Place” for school…a story of devout Christians who led the Dutch resistance in WWII. They did so by building a false wall to hide their Jewish friends from the Nazi Gestapo. It’s incredibly moving and inspirational and I’d encourage you to read it or rent the movie of the same name…
…so we took some photos. Of course, deciding to smile or not is always tough in this situation because you feel so humbled and small during the tour. We chose the “Christian” version of the tour so our friends could hear it from that perspective and the guide was excellent with that part…one more seed planted: day off or not.
Here's Kayla, Tom & Mish in the hiding place:
Here's Steve-O and myself:
Here's Mrs. Debbie:
Finally, here's Olivia, Bailey, Alex & Keila:
In fact, many of the group is shunning their freedom for their “day off” in order to spend the last few days with their friends tonight. Pray that they’d finish strong with the “face-to-face” portion of the trip…because they realize that a lot of it will continue after we leave…
...and every little seed planted actually matters.
Not a bad lesson to learn on a "day off," eh?
Brent 4:30 PM
Here's That North Sea Sunset I Promised You
Brent 4:28 PM
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
besides Holland...going back to ASU is on my mind right now between Navigators and fututre roomies and everything. I just got word today that i have my scholarship for another year. I have to admit i was worried as housing money is due today and if i didn't get a scholarship i would've been in texas this next year. Glory to God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
spartacus21 5:39 PM
Mrs. Debbie's Tuesday Blog
Good Afternoon from North Holland!!
Hope all is well….
Yesterday was a good day! Early, I went grocery shopping with two of the missionaries from the Hays’ church and part of Greater Europe Mission, Chris and Terri Chapman. We went to two separate stores to get the cheapest items from each place. After, we went to their home here in Alkmaar to put the groceries away. It was small, (like pretty much everything in Holland), but very comfortable and homey. They brought their own furniture from the states including a grandfather clock.
From there we went on to the beach where we had a wonderful lunch, (the company being the best part), and a nice walk down by the shoreline. The shells are small, but colorful and plentiful. The beach was crowded for it was an extremely nice day. Terri has many one on one ministries to Dutch ladies here in Alkmaar as well as her duties with the EKV where she and Chris are “cell group” leaders.
I was grateful beyond belief for the offer to go to the beach to see the North Sea (by car!!!) I had pretty much given up on the idea because I did not think I could bike that far.
As our trip is nearing the finishing point, some of the girls are getting more homesick and anxious, but at the same time, they are saddened that some of the relationships will now have to move to a new phase, (postcards and email). I don’t think they believe they have had much of an impact. But God is Good—Those they have come in contact with were by His design. No one could deny that these kids love one another and that God’s love spreads wherever they go. The relationships between the team members has grown closer and we know much more about each other (ha ha). Seriously, I have a great deal of respect for what they have accomplished here, (and it’s not over yet!) We are missing home, but trying to stay focused until the end –
Savannah, I hope you are loving music camp!
Jeremy, I miss hearing from you, hint hint.
Wayne, Thanks for the comments! Love ya bunches.
Deb (Mom, Mama D, Ms Debbie, etc…)
Brent 4:46 PM
Terrasha Pokken (sp?) and Sunset
That first two words in the title I sounded out phonetically…that’s what it sounds like when the Dutch say it, but I can guarantee that’s not how it’s really spelled. However it’s spelled, it means “grab a terrace.” It’s what the Dutch say when they want to spend time with friends, just chatting over tea or adult beverages. Of course, they have fantastic places to grab terraces here: Picture a tableside café beside a canal shaded by a cathedral some 400 years old with a nice breeze blowing and you got it.
Yes. The Dutch take those things for granted.
Anyway, one of the things I started doing with the graduated seniors who come to Holland with me is grabbing a terrace with them, asking for their insights on what we could’ve done better in ministering to them—both as a youth staff and a church body—and giving them that last bit of insight into their strengths, gifts and chinks in the armor. I see it as a pretty meaningful time. They of course see it as me picking up the tab.
At any rate, it’s a shift in how I view my ministry to them, and I tell them that, too. That now they move from me being their “pastor” as they’ll fall under whoever God provides for their future discipleship. Frankly, they’ll grow more spiritually in the next phase of their lives than they did under my leadership—it’s the nature of the youth ministry beast. I’m cool with that. I know the realities of my role. Plant. Water. God causes the growth. I have little time for concern over who gets the earthly “credit.”
Now, we get to be friends and I can watch other gifted servants build on the foundation they got at CBC. It’s enjoyable at this stage. And I had a nice day with Kayla, Maria, Thomas and Schuyler…discussing spiritual giftedness and passions and future plans for their spiritual growth and college majors and all the stuff friends should be talking about. And all over a grilled ham & cheese (cheeee-uh-eeeeeeze!) sandwich, and ice cream for dessert.
And did I mention that you can take a 35 minute bike ride from our building to the North Sea to watch the sunset at 10:45PM? I'll be happy to post a photo of it once Blogger gets their photo loading feature up and running again...
Brent 1:04 PM
Monday, July 24, 2006
"oh Lord haste the Day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul!"
i've had a good amount of alone time the past day or two. me-and-God time. not to say that i haven't been having that time other days...but the past couple of days have contained a lot of only that. it's been really nice. still learning more about myself...about the Lord and His faithfulness and love...yeah. rock on.
went to Youth Contact last night. Alicia taught, and did wonderfully! i really did have a great time. the girls from YC are having a girls' night tonight, and some of us will go to that, so i'm pretty stoked. yeah.
it's been a great morning. gonna be a great rest of the day. can't wait to see what the Lord has in store. WOOT!
kaylah 12:59 PM
I woke up this morning later than normal since not much is open around Holland monday mornings. I head some of the gurls talking about wanting to be back 'home' so badly it just kinda made me hurt. I understand the difficulties but for me this last week just seems too short. My scheduale is almost completely filled with appointments and i am sad to have to leave again. This is one of my homes.
Leading youth contact was amazing. It was a perfect end to an amazing day. Ilse was baptised..church worship was awesome as Ariel led and i talked to the other churchmembers again. Then a few of us went out to lunch and just talked.
But youth contact. I talked about Mark 5:36 where Jesus says "wees niet bang, blift geloven" or in english..."don't be afraid, just believe." I walked around afterwards and heard a few Dutch asking questions to other believers. How cool is our God. Then a woman from the other church in the area, Diane, tlaked with me for about half an hour asking advice on how to evangelize. I showed her the bridge and told her about the Agape concert last year. We prayed and then she talked to Steve and Malachi, the Philly team leader. I've made plans to go to a girl's night tonight with a lot of the youth contact ladies. Even right now i hear Roy and Ariel talking about the lesson last night. God is so amazing. I know the experiences i went through were not easy or fun at the time but God uses all for his glory. The Philly sports camps start today so i am going to go help out before i meet guido for shoarma. Take care and remember your first love.
spartacus21 11:00 AM