Crossroads Bible Church, Team Holland 2006 Official Blog Site

Crossroads Bible Church, Team Holland 2006 Official Blog Site

 

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

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    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.

    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!

    MISH AND STEVE’S BLOG OF ALL BLOGS!
    DOEI HOLLAND!


    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

    From Alicia

    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.

    Selah

    -alicia
    Psalm 139

    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,

    Mama Deb

    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...

    ...oh...

    ...say...

    ummm...

    eternity.

    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!

    love,
    mish

    "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!!!

    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!


    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!

    From Alicia: The pranks keep going on and on


    Keila's Thursday Blog

    KEILA SAYS….

    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!

    Hey Everyone!

    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

    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?

    BLOGBLOGBLOGBLOG!

    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!
    lovelovelvoe

    OH BLOGGER.
    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

    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.

    -alicia

    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.”
    Pretty cool.
    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.
    What sacrifice.

    Thanks for all your prayers,

    Steve

    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…

    --kaylah

    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.


    -sky

    -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.

    -Tom

    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

    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?

    Here's That North Sea Sunset I Promised You


    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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    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.

    Love,
    Deb (Mom, Mama D, Ms Debbie, etc…)

    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...

    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!

    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.

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    MIJN VERLOSSER LEEFT! MY REDEEMER LIVES!--blog by Mrs. Debbie

    That’s what we sang this morning at the EKV Evangelistic Church of Friendship. Brent preached out of Jeremiah 32. Even though Jeremiah was in jail, and his country was about to be taken over by an opposing army, he had hope and trusted in God. Tom and Maria shared their testimonies. Totally different ends of the spectrum, but the same in that both had to learn to dependent on God.

    At home we have so many other things that we choose to depend on. Our jobs, family, money and we put our faith in those things. But, jobs can be lost, people let us down, money does not fulfill. We too need to learn to be dependent on God.

    Here in Alkmaar, there aren’t many jobs, those we’ve met struggle with their families, and they certainly don’t have money. What keeps them from faith in a loving, almighty God who can provide for their needs, is faithful and longsuffering with His people and fills the vacuum inside the very soul…?

    The people’s hearts are hardened. They don’t smile. I have found them aggressive and pushy. God’s love works through all of that. I’ve heard Pastor Tim quote, “Preach Christ and when necessary use words.” And frankly I have always thought…That would take forever. But here in Holland, not only is it effective, but quick as well. The Dutch need love, God’s love, shown brightly through us and they respond to it! The young people are hungry for someone to smile and say, “I love you.” God’s love really changes people’s hearts. It is so cool to watch it first hand and to play some small part in it!

    Uh oh! Is this where missionaries are born…? 

    ok, so, yesterday was an amazing day. It rained so hardcore, I found some dr. pepper at last, & we played soccer. in the rain. & no worries to scott & kim in regard to my last post, we are evangelizing for real as well. Two days ago we got to talk to a friend we recently made, named mandy, about God. She believed in God, but not in the bible. She was very confused about severel parts of it. Tom, Kayla, & I explained to Mandy that all Christians are confused about SOME parts of the bible, and we did our best to explain the things she was confused about, and she commented on how different we were from other people and how much she liked us because we were so accepting of her (and we bought her ice cream.) So it was a very encouraging to have those three GREAT days in a row (the third being our trip to amsterdam.)

    Sunday in Noord Holland

    Thanks for your prayers regarding my sermon preparation & delivery! The responses I've gotten have been very encouraging (of course, they could've been being nice, but either way, I'll take it) and I had lots of help from Justin--who did an excellent job of translating--as I went through Jeremiah 32 and how he responded to discouragement. I still can't get over pictures of me teaching from God's Word in Europe:



    As part of my sermon, I used illustrations of how God uses people no matter their background and in addition to my testimony, Thomas gave his testimony!



    And Maria gave HER testimony!



    I gotta say, it was pretty nifty seeing my recent grads sharing with others what God has done and is doing in and through them. One of the perks of the job, I guess.

    And afterward, about a 20 minute bike ride away, the church held a baptism service...they don't have the privilege often, but when they do, it's a pretty big deal. It was a great setting and a nice afternoon.



    The rest of the day has been somewhat lazy as many of the Dutch are home with their families and the team from Philadelphia is prepping for their sports camps coming up this week so the team has been bonding in the kitchen with chocolate and cheese and milk.

    There are DEFINITELY worse ways to spend a day...

    Alex and Bailey's BLOG OF ALL BLOGS!!!!

    Since me and Alex are the laziest Americans in Holland, we decided to do a joint blog today. Sound good?

    WELLL…today we went to church for the second time, watched Brent teach and tom and Maria give their testimonies, and later went to a baptism service at the lake. Brent, Tom, and Maria each spoke really well and the service at the lake was a really cool thing to be a part of.

    After all of that we came back to the scouting building and sat in the kitchen for three hours talking and eating with Brent and Schuyler. Nothing is really open on Sundays so we didn’t really have much of an opportunity to minister to anyone, although we really didn’t make much of an effort. We did however gain about ten pounds and had some pretty good conversations. Oh, bonding.

    Now we are going to list everything we miss about America:
    1. Air-conditioning
    2. Fast food
    3. Driving our cars
    4. Friends and Family
    5. DOLLARS
    6. Cell phones
    7. Our beds
    8. Closets
    9. English being the primary language
    10. Free refills

    And HERE is everything we are going to miss when we leave Holland:
    1. Our Dutch friends
    2. Seeing windmills everywhere
    3. Biking at night and in the rain
    4. CLUBBING
    5. Living with 11 other amazing people who love and serve Christ in most everything they do
    6. The Snack Shop
    7. Magnums and Pims (CHOCOLATE)
    8. The weather
    9. Meeting new people everyday
    10. European shopping


    The other day we met two girls in downtown Alkmaar at a bookstore and we had lunch and coffee with them. One girl, Elise, was a devout Christian who shared the same beliefs as we did. The other, Annette, said she didn’t really believe anything and seemed kind of uncomfortable with the conversation. We really hit it off with the girls and we have plans to go to the movies with them on Tuesday. We’re pretty excited to have the opportunity to maybe share with Annette what we believe and encourage Elise in her walk with Christ.

    Well we love everyone and we’re giving you all hugs RIGHT NOW so leave us lots of comments and keep praying for us and the whole team!

    The Crazy Life

    So....I haven't blogged in FOREVER! I know, I'm sorry. But life has been crazy~! There was a car wash yesterday that was so much fun! Even when it started raining we were still out there washing cars. But then the cars stopped coming and when we left it started POURING~! It was awesome, biking home in the rain was a blast. Alicia started singing "Grace Like Rain." It felt appropriate, hehe. Later that night we went over to one of the girls' house and watched white chicks and most of The School of Rock. I hadn't seen either movie and I think my life would have been better if I hadn't seen White Chicks but oh well. Life goes on. Then today for those of yall that hadn't heard, I had to give my testimony at church today. I was so nervous while Thomas was doing his and my hands were def. shaking a little but God was def. speaking through me, reaching out to people. The PA team came a couple days ago and I have been having so much fun with them! They are so crazy fun. Steph, Kacey, and I made chocolate chip cookies that were AWESOME~! Everyone loved them and 20 mins after they were all cooked they were gone, lol! Well, youth contact is tonight and dinner is about to come so see ya!

    Oh! Also, there was a baptism today! And I must say that it was AWESOME, I wish we could do baptisms like that! It was at a lake first off, and there were so many people there for one girl! I met her last year when I came over spring break and I was sooooo happy when I heard she was getting baptized! Not many people get baptized but when they do, gosh its awesome!

    A window of God's indescribable love

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    From Mama D.

    Good Evening to You from the Netherlands.

    Thanks to all who have left comments for the team!! Mar Par, Flower Mound Mom, and Ms. Debbie E. You rock!! Please keep it up. We can’t tell you how much it means to hear from home. Today I have felt a bit melancholy, probably the first time on the trip. I am missing my family and home. It rained today and that was a special blessing. This evening it is much cooler and we are ever so grateful. It’s 9:52pm on Saturday and it is still light outside even though it is overcast. Out the window I can see a thick pink streak across the sky. It’s beautiful.

    The team is over at the other scouting building hanging with the Philly team. Some of the kids helped out with a carwash all day and then it rained on them before they got home. They were all pretty soaked…Those that didn’t go to the carwash helped me with the groceries. Today was not my day. First I forgot the bags (You have to take your grocery bags with you or purchase them), so I had to go back for them. And then I forgot the money. Thomas and Schuylar went back for me the second time.

    Tomorrow is church day and one of the girls is getting baptized. I met her today for the first time. Everyone is pretty excited about that. We will go to the lake after church.

    It’s so quiet here right now. The girls can reach quite a pitch at times. I have become so accustomed to their laughter that I get a bit lonely without it.:) I can’t tell you what a joy it has been to be their mom for the time that we are here. I have quite a few nicknames now. Ma Deb, Mama Deb, Mama D, Ms Debbie, etc… One of the Dutch boys, George, who does not have a relationship with his own mom just calls me Mom. I love it and it means so much. Today someone asked him what he was going to do and he said he was going to help carry groceries for Mom. I just about cried. Anyway…I miss and love you all!!!

    Pray for us whenever you think about it.
    Mish and I had a good conversation with the building manager Piet. That’s the second time I have talked to him. He is really nice but does not have a faith. He does however believe that this earth is not all there is (and amen to that).

    Love,
    Mama D

    -------------status---------

    A view of the canal through a flower.




    The canal. I love going to the canal.












    In addition to posting pictures, I decided to briefly update the masses. Yesterday [Friday], I [along with Sky and Kayla] met a girl named 'Mandy' in downtown Alkmaar. She is 18, friendly, smart, active, and not saved. Thus, we walked around the city for a while, making small talk and finding out about her life, etc: then we got down to business. The four of us grabbed a terrace, and discussed serious issues about God over some delicious ice cream. I truly feel that God was working through Kayla, Sky, and I to reveal truth to Mandy. She has read many sections of the Bible, but obviously she has many questions simply because she has no direction or religious teaching. Basically, she asked questions [hard ones too! For example, why would our creator allow bad things to happen to his own children?] and we answered them as best as possible. Mandy especially found difficulty with the Bible because of Old Testament and New Testament 'contradictions,' so we attempted to explain the different covenants and make our current covenant easier to understand. Unfortunately, we had little time, as Mandy left for a trip this morning, yet we fed her as much truth as possible, such as: Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for our sins, God's rewards/punishments in the Old Testament, etc. I am really excited that Mandy had such good questions; she was really showing interest in the Bible and Christianity. I am praying that God will work in her heart to make her really search for God. Anyway, we got her email address, and hopefully we can answer more questions that way. It is rockin' that God can work through us; I am stoked for sure.

    peace.

    -tom e.

    It really does rain in Holland…

    It’s Saturday evening.
    I’m sitting on an air mattress in the scouting building listing to Muse.
    A new cd I bought in Amsterdam.
    Pretty good stuff.
    I’m all clean now after having to take an early shower this afternoon.
    The ride across town in the pouring rain was quite the experience.
    A few of us on the team helped members of Youth Contact with a car wash today.
    We started around ten this morning and finished up around four this afternoon.
    We were scheduled to finish at four but would have liked to go longer.
    However the rain really made it difficult to dry the cars.
    Yep.
    Rain.
    We finally got rain.
    So once we cleaned up the carwash supplies we had to bike across town to get back to the scouting building.
    Everything on me was soaked.
    But the rain has definitely cooled things down.

    It’s been a busy week.
    On Thursday we took a trip to Amsterdam on our day off.
    Went to the Van Gogh museum
    Hard Rock Café for lunch.
    Cool little Italian place for dinner.
    We got to explore the city a little bit.
    Our friend George hit on a girl we all thought was a guy.
    But turns out it really was a girl.
    I almost got hit by a car.
    I forget who, but someone almost got hit by a train.
    All the girls couldn’t stay out of the H&M’s.
    I bought some cd’s.

    I got to say, getting off a train in a European city can be an amazing experience just in itself.

    The day in Amsterdam was fun but hard to really explore if you don’t have a plan of attack.
    The streets go everywhere and they all look the same.
    Also the city just seemed sort of dirty.
    I like Alkmaar a lot better.

    Last night was our late night in downtown Alkmaar.
    The team got all dressed up in their “European” attire.
    For me that was just jeans and a t-shirt.
    Kind of like my American attire.
    It felt like prom.
    But instead of a limo we rode our bikes to town to go dancing.
    Everyone had a pretty good time.
    Mish and I danced a little bit too.
    I actually really enjoyed it.

    We made sure we got everyone out of the clubs before 1am.
    And everyone was right on time.
    We had a well thought out method to the madness.

    Today: carwash.
    Tomorrow: church followed by a baptism in the lake.

    Pretty sweet.

    So here’s what is going on in my head right now.
    It’s my impression that the church in Holland doesn’t have a whole lot of resources to help with discipleship.
    They have opportunities for evangelism but not much that would encourage new believers to a deeper walk with Christ.
    New believers, especially around my age, come to Christ and start going to church.
    But within weeks they are disinterested and stop going.
    Really sounds like America.

    Seeing this has really made me rethink how we do missions.
    I think our trip here has been very effective.
    But I have to ask.
    Is there something we could do that would be more effective?
    Something we’ve never done before.
    Something radical.
    I really think there is.
    But hey, I just kicking some ideas around right now.

    Thank you for your comments and encouraging words.
    It’s good to hear from everyone.
    Everyone on the team is doing well.
    We are having a blast.
    Continue to pray for strength.
    For rest.
    For our hearts and the ones we come in contact with.
    Pray that we would walk in Spirit and Truth.

    Peace out,
    Steve-o

    "knowing You Jesus, knowing You; there is no greater thing! You're my all, You're the best, You're my joy, my righteousness, and I love You Lord!"

    IT RAINED TODAY!!!!!! i am so flippin happy. for those of you who know me well...you know i refer to rainy days as the best days of my life. they just always are. oh it was just so splendid! i played in the rain a LOT. yay. OH okay so yesterday afternoon right after i blogged tom, schuyler and i met up with a girl we had met a few days ago named Mandy...we got ijs (ice cream) and talked for a while. she most def asked US questions about God and openly shared her beliefs. we got to share so much with her, and we didn't even have that long to talk. she left today to camp for two weeks cause she's a scout, but we got her email and i gave her a huge hug when we left cause i freakin LOVE that girl and can't wait to talk to her again!!! yay!!!! ooh i'm so happy. God is amazing. have i mentioned that? cause He is. oooooh today was SO great. okay yay! bye!

    if you just haven't read my last blog... read now before you continue.
    OK... now listen:
    Guess what? I wrote that blog then about 25ish minutes later, i'm walking in the mall by myself and i just kind of felt unsatisfied. I didn't want to go home but i was walking to my bike anyways. Then a 21 year old guy stopped me and offered me a newspaper in Dutch. i said, "oh i speak only enlgish... so i don't think i'll be able to use this!" immediatedly we started talking about where i was from... the difference in cultures... the difference in our faiths. We talked of what the term "God" meant to me and what it meant to him. He said he only believed in what science says and nothing more. He also had a friend with him trying to sell newspapers... she was 17. It was a long conversation and so random but all in all... GOD IS SO FAITHFUL. i prayed.... "God direct me to someone who needs you" and i walked away with 2 email addresses and names. It was so encouraging. Today we met 2 more girls, one knew the Lord and the other didn't. We treated them to lunch and it was yet another sign that the God i serve listens to my prayers. PRAISE THE LORD!



    ugh... God so knows what he's doing.

    I am almost done with my youth contact lesson.

    It rained today at the car wash.

    we raised almost €300.

    i felt at home biking back in the blinding pouring rain

    i am going to a movie at Delaja's.

    Jesus is wild...remember that

    Life Is Indeed Good: Four Lazy Saturday Haikus From Brent

    A Dutch thunderstorm
    Sunday sermon is prepared.
    Life is indeed good.

    A much needed nap
    Students doing ministry
    Life is indeed good.

    Weather cooling off.
    Mrs. Debbie’s cooking away.
    Life is indeed good.

    Thinking about home
    Led Zeppelin on iTunes
    Life is indeed good.

    Yesterday the wonderful Miss Debbie and I had a Spirit-filled conversation with the overseer of the scouting building we are living in. He asked why we were there and we shared the hope Abba has given us. What a beautiful experience, again! Living in the Spirit is so much better than the flesh, then why do I revert?? One word. Human.

    We also went dancing with our group of crazy teenagers who I love deeply! It was fun - we grabbed a terrace, and Steve and I danced a little bit. Dancing with him is one of my favorite past times. It makes me smile and laugh!!!

    Well, the computer lab closes today so I will be blogging from other computers. Wish me luck! I miss Texas, but I love Holland too.

    Grace and peace to all!

    Love,
    Mish

    Beauty Has A Price...

    Here's the kids before their big night out dancing. To the adults at the house the night had kind of a "prom night" vibe...


    ...And They Paid It!

    But, of course, to get that great look, well, 7 girls in one bathroom...

    Do the math:


    Friday, July 21, 2006

    We've been hanging with a guy named Roy who is loyal and smart. Seven years ago he was an atheist and started arguments with prior teams about the faith, a few days ago he encouraged me in my mission here and told me "he is believing more and more".

    We've been hanging with a guy named George. He is nineteen and has been an orphan for most of his life. He went to Amsterdam with us yesterday. He walked with us, talked with us, and laughed with us. He is a part of our family, and Steve and I told him we would adopt him. I see the way he loves to be free and to be loved (like us all).

    We've been hanging out with a guy named Jacob. Steve got to see him work with his dog, Buch, who he trains for the police force. I had a beautiful convo with him the other day, definitely God-chosen.

    This Monday I call Iris the foriegn exchange student who attended my Bible Study in Irving, Texas. She lives 20 mins. from where we are. I can't help but see that the Lord determines our every step. I will hang out with Iris next week. Pray for a miracle and pray for a divine movement within her soul. The One and Only seeks her.

    I am grateful to see what God has been doing through me just being me. It is encouraging though the past couple days have been rough on me. It's by his grace that he gives me people to love and by his grace that he loves me.

    What a beautiful experience this has been! I appreciate your prayers for the Spirit to continue to move in these people's hearts for his kingdom.

    Love,
    Mish

    Hello Fellow Americans!!!

    We have had some busy days... To those of you who have kids on this trip...YOur kids are AWESOME!! I love each and everyone of them immensely. We had a wonderful day in Amsterdam and shopped and walked and walked some more. The highlight of my day was the swiss mushroom burger and diet coke with ice and the refills of diet coke with ice. No, the museum was probably the highlight. No the architecture was probably the highlight. No, not having to cook was probably the highlight. Ok so you get the picture. Lots of ups yesterday!!!

    The kids are doing awesome and are having significant conversations with the Dutch and it is amazing to watch. I have been able to have a few conversations of my own. There are quite a few of these people that I would love to take home with me. anyway love and miss you all!!!

    Time is up.

    Ms. Debbie

    holland is great.
    it's peaceful bike rides. its laughing at the dutchies. it's laughing at our team. it's experiencing an entirely new culture. it's growing in the Lord. it's meeting new friends. it's knowing old friends. it's loving summer 06.

    holland is like WHAT?
    it's confusing conversations. it's impatience on a perfect God. it's HOT... i know i know 107. ok. it's craving the Lord to work through me. It's craving a purpose... a motive... SOMETHING.


    i love it here. really i do. but i just long for a girl... around my age who i can share the incredible news i hold within my heart. i want to rely on Him. i want to rely on Him. i want to rely on Him.

    so anyways... i just really want to believe that this next week, God will blow my mind.




    prayers please!!!

    "sometimes the night was beautiful, sometimes the sky was so far away, sometimes it seemed to stoop so close you could touch it but your heart would break"

    sorry it's been a while...moving and then amsterdam...ack! lots going on over here in HOLLAND! woot. amdsterdam was wonderful of course...i loved it. i mean, it's amsterdam. and then this morning we went to the CHEEEEEESE market, and that was pretty swift, i'm not gonna lie. but the coolest thing that's happened since i last blogged was what happened once we got back from amsterdam. Liv and i were supposed to hook up with our friend Jlene...so i called her as soon as we got in from amsterdam and the three of us went to "grab a terrace," as they say. we talked for a good hour and a half about everything, about our lives and whatnot. what kind of surprised us was that she said she thought it was cool that she was hanging out with americans! lol. but no, what was awesome, was that she straight up asked us, "so you really believe God is up there?" of course we told her definitely. and, praise God, then she asked, "well, why do you believe it?" dang. God is so cool in how He works. so, dude, Liv just went for it. she took off talking about how God changed her life and the lives of those around her, and how He just made sense...it was a good convo. and the great thing is, it wasn't one of those conversations like we were trying to convert her or anything. we just talked, and built a relationship, and nothing was forced. i'm so glad of that. because we're here to LOVE people, not to convert them. and now, Jlene is going clubbing with us tonight! yay! i'm so glad...praise God that He works on His own time and in His own way! doesn't it just give you so much hope? it does for me. God is good. SO LET'S ALL GET UP AND PRAISE HIM! i feel like dancing or something. yeah.

    ooooh...bike ride? i think yes.

    "sometimes i think of Abraham, how one star he saw had been lit for me; he was a stranger in this land, and i am that no less than he!"

    Last night I was riding my bike with Alex when a bug flew in my mouth and i swallowed it.
    SICK OUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT.

    Anyway, Amsterdam was amazing. I took lots of great pictures and did lots of amazing shopping. We had tons of fun.

    Today we went downtown for a "behing the scenese" look at the cheese market. It was actually pretty interesting to learn all about the way they weigh the cheese and all the different reasons for the silly hats etc. Turns out the "cheese marketers" rules have been around since the 1700's...talk about crazy.

    Anyway, tonight we're going clubbing with some of our new dutch friends. It should be a really great time and I think we are all really looking forward to it. I'm hoping that I will soon get the chance to meet new people or at least grow some of the relationships I've made so far. I really feel like I'm not making much of a difference and it's starting to bother me. As much fun as we're having we are here for a specific reason, and I just don't feel like I'm fulfilling that.

    Oh well, there's still a little over a week left. I miss everyone at home but I'm doing pretty good all in all. The new scouting building is so nice and Alex and I finally got to do laundry! I'm pretty excited about having clean clothes!

    And as long as no more bugs fly down my throat I should be in good shape.

    Well I hope Texas is wonderful...leave me lots of comments to make me smile! :)

    Random Thoughts

    In the “it’s a small world” department: In the Rijks Museum yesterday, I noticed the familiar “AU” logo that adorns the helmets of my beloved Auburn Tigers football team on a t-shirt. Keeping with the custom of the fans of the school I said, “War Eagle!” to him. He smiled, we shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. Turns out that he went to my high school and graduated a year before I attended. I knew of his sister and brother and I thought it was odd. Not that two guys from the same hometown ran into each other in Europe, but that two guys from Alabama were in a museum (insert rim shot here).

    It’s nice working with a group of teenagers that you can trust enough to run around a city like Amsterdam on their own for a couple of hours. And if you haven’t been to Amsterdam, the reason I said a city like that is hard to describe, but you don’t really have to look for trouble. It’ll find you so you have to be strong in your walk, and frankly, I wasn’t even worried about any of them in that regard…and I know of few youth ministers who get to say that. So, I’m pretty blessed.

    Some of the bicycles we rented are in need of minor repair. Nothing too big, but think of it this way: Your car needs to stop every 10 miles to put a few pounds of air in the tire. No big deal, really…but just enough of an inconvenience to irritate you.

    I have the opportunity to teach the Word on Sunday. Maria and Thomas will take some time during it to talk about what God is doing in their lives. I’ll be speaking with a translator, too…and sermon prep without the usual study aids is always challenging. I don’t want to burden you all with it but if you have any extra room on the prayer list it’d be greatly appreciated by me and the kids. I get the same jitters here as I do when Pastor Tim asks me to do it at CBC.

    Last night, even on their “day off,” Olivia and Kayla had a significant discussion downtown with someone they just met and have plans to go out tonight with her. I’m amazed at how little the teens seem to be telling you all about the specific discussions they’re having because almost every night I’m floored by some of this stuff. I “poker face” it because I don’t think they have any idea of their boldness or courage and I don’t want to let them know how rare those things are once you get past, say, age 25.

    The Laundromat here uses washers that hold 5.5 kilos of clothes. I have no idea how to measure that…I’ve never weighed it, I just put it in the washer until it looks about full. But today, after the bike fix, I’ll see if that same method works here.

    The shower here has one knob that turns on the water pressure and another that has the desired temperature on the other. I never knew the temperature of a comfortable shower until now: For me, it’s 90F.

    My personal ministry here involves a combination of encouraging some of the Christians here and maintaining the relationship with various friends…I haven’t really met any new non-believers.

    In fact, I’m off to coffee with Sjaak and Vera right now. More later, and thanks for reading & making comments. Every night before bed we get a dose of encouragement and comfort…it really does mean more than you know.

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Today we went to Amsterdam, the architecture there is amazing


    This was the most intense, and biggest game of chess i've ever seen



    Just out evangelizing. The girls in holland sure are friendly....


    -Sky. Over and out.

    I AM AMSTERDAM!

    We ended the day by making the 19:32 sneltrain (express) back to Alkmaar. And now we're downtown with Arno and Joyce getting ice cream and sharing internet!


    We ended our day with a nice Italian dinner at Tivoli's...a fantastic place close to the train station.


    Here's our official photo! The one we'll put on the wall in the Dungeon!


    So...who else stood this far from a priceless Rembrandt painting today?


    Here's Alex, Bailey and Keila beside a big wooden shoe. You don't see that every day.


    Here's the guys, trying to look like a rock band, resting in front of...well...a coffee shop of some noteriety.


    Here's the girls in front of a ceremonial home...sort of a former "White House" but where they held the functions of state. Note the gorgeous & detailed architecture.


    Hey Guys. We just returned from Amsterdam ... and I have a few pictures (but not really good ones, unfortunately). Anyway, everything is going well, we are hoping to meet some local friends Friday night for some Holland-style clubing. It should be an interesting experience.

    The statues were just chillin, so I took a picture


    A stunning example of Dutch architecture. In the main square of the city.

    We went to the canal and spent some time in the Word.
    .


    I hope ya'll are enjoying life. Have a rockin' day. Peace.

    -Tom

    Here's how the day started...walking through Amsterdam!


    The new addition in the Rijks muesum from last year are absolutly amazing! Talk about bringing painting to life! The Night Watch by Rembrandt now has a light show addition. I really appriciate these artworks so uch more after my art history class. What a fun day in Amsterdam with the team. Now back to work. I am doing laundry now and watching a movie with a good friend. Back to work tomorrow!!! i cannot wait!

    Today was truely un-freakin-believable!! touring around amsterdam (with hardly any supervision let me remind you) was soo sweet! Every building there was massive and ancient looking, it was definitely a reminder of how awesome God is AND how impressively smart he's made us, I mean a man made building thats lasted hundreds of years is pretty amazing :) There was lots of sweating, and lots of walking but over all amsterdam was a pretty cool place to shop!

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Does Anybody Recognize This Happy Family?



    Sjaak, Vera and 2-year-old Kristopher...and you may have met them on their honeymoon when they visited America & CBC!

    The Old Digs, The New Digs

    Just to give you a visual of where we are living now:



    Just so you know, we moved some picnic tables and sat outside in the cool breeze to eat the incredible enchiladas (beef, chicken & cheese!) Mrs. Debbie made for us in our new kitchen. Ma Deb, this place has a microwave, a toaster oven & three refrigerators + one freezer!

    This is where we we were staying. Each has their own strengths & weaknesses. It's called the Durk Duyvel scouting building.



    Tomorrow we're off for Amsterdam on a team field trip...on the docket are a choice of going to see the Dutch Masters or Van Gogh paintings, a trip to the Hard Rock (the teens are already pretty happy about ice & free refills) and, if time, other sightseeing, including the Anne Frank house.

    Movin' On Up

    Just wanted to keep everybody from worrying...

    The other team serving alongside us in this ministry arrived today...at 10AM. This meant our team was moving out of the scouting building into another scouting building about a mile and half away.

    Might sound easy to you, but suitcases and bicycles don't necessarily mix as far as tranporting from one place to another.

    They got up, cleaned the house (once again, parents, they CAN joyfully do it), greeted the team from Davisville (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, and moved into the new house and set up camp for the next 11 days.

    You'll be happy to know that the tough day from yesterday has been erased and they're all out doing their ministry stuff today. They're out doing the work.

    So, bear with us while we find new internet arrangements. The new house is nicer but a bit more remote, so we might be hit-or-miss on the blogging for a day or two.

    Moving Day

    We are moving today :( . We have to move into a new scouting building because the Philly team is coming today and they will be taking control of our building. So for the ones who are not usually up this early, up they come! I'm kinda glad we are moving into a new building because it will give us a change of pace which if you haven't noticed from the last couple blogs, yesterday was definitely not a walk in the park kind of day. I love the morning time, I've been sleeping a little longer the past two nights because I've actually been able to sleep but I love having time in the morning when there are just two or three people up and we are all quiet. I need time in the morning to gear up I guess. I can't jump out of bed and run around like a crazy person. I need a cup of coffee, maybe listen to music maybe read the bible, usually doing both. Its my routine.

    Last night was so funny. We were all in the girls room and if yall haven't heard about jasper yet, oh man! Jasper is this head that we found hanging on the wall when we first moved in. His eyes are like bug eyes, he has "guts"hanging out of his neck (Its just red paper but its still gross), and jasper is just misfortunate looking. Well, we lost him a couple days ago, and we had NO clue where he went. Then he flew through the window yesterday and we all cheered because jasper was back! wahoo! Then the same idea popped into all of our heads. Put jasper in Keila's bed! See, jasper LOVES keila but keila isn't too fond of jasper. At all. So Alex hides him under her pillow, and when she was moving stuff around on her bed, jasper gave her a little surprise. The look on her face was PRICELESS! It was awesome. She ran out of the room screaming. Hehe.

    Well I have to go, its cleaning time. I love you all and thank you so much for praying for my mom, it means so much.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    After six months living here I was wondering what it would be like to come back again. You see Holland is a country where new buildings are unheard of and the weather is as predictable as all the PiMs being gone around Americans. So in this country of predictability..I am never ceased in being amazed at how God functions in the heart of the Dutch.

    I didn't really think it merited blog effort the first day but as we were biking back from Broek op Langedijk a guy biked up to me and starting speaking in Dutch about Arizona State University(it is the school i go to and i was wearing my asu appearel that day.) Well, this guy named Tim..was intrigued that i was an American who could speak Dutch and he came out searching for me today. It turns out he lived in Mesa, AZ last year (like 5 min from campus) and so we had a lot to talk about. He also remembers Bascue and Rob from playing basketball 3 years ago and so that's why he came searching at the scouting building for me. It is so funny how God works...well..perhaps funny isn't the right word but you all get my drift. Anyways...he loves ultimate and is planning on hanging out with us more before we leave. He left before i could get any contact info so pray he comes back around. We talked about this church in Phoenix called Crossroads my friend Terry once led me to. I wasn't a fan of it and neither was he...it was just so cool we had something to relate to. I am never ceased to be amazed. I really hope we can finish our conversation on his feelings of religion. Pray for God to soften Tim's heart! and also for Jacob still...he is coming with us to the lake tomorrow and perhaps with youth contact to play pool. Be encouraged! Psalm 67.

    -alicia

    today was hard...
    i fell hard...
    and blacked out... hard?

    well, considering the weather is not as amazing as we all thought it would be, today started out pretty fast... we left the house at like 10:30 to start passing out flyers for the Philly team that is coming tommorw. well about 5 mins into the bike, i run into keila and superman onto the pavement... therefore scratching the crap out of my hand, toes, elbow, and knee. then i begin to black out, telling keila,"i can not see anything. i can not hear anything..." which apparently is funny?? but like 5 people stopped to ask if i was okay, all while keila was crying, and me sitting on the ground extremly disoriented... other then that the day was... getting worse

    tom and bailey came home without their bikes becasue... they, LOST them in the neighborhood, and apparently walked all around europe in about 4 hours, while alllso seeing a helicopter land?? weird iiii know... well, me alicia, tom, and schulyer all went out looking for them and finally we did!

    thennn, i talked to Cor, long friend of brent, and kind of got me in a depressed mood because he had an opinion about everything i said, and all of it was disagreeing with the Bible and i really dont know if i said anything that would change his opinions at all... and that discourages me alottt

    but then we played Ultimate with keila, olivia, caro, justin, tim, carston, alicia, tom tom, and mauy! and that made the day alot better...

    so i guess theres always gunna be bad days today was just a super bad one, and im homesick to top all of it off...

    but I GOT PIZZA YESTERDAY!
    and it was amazing
    AND IM STILL IN HOLLAND!
    love love love