Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bashing Fall at Grace Church

Two days after returning from Cairo we shared the UniShow with children and families for Grace Church Eden Prairie's AWANA Fall Bash.  Despite jet lag and Dustin still recovering from falling on his back off the ramps during the last show at the Cave Church in Cairo, we had a great event.  It was a treat and privilege to perform at our home church.

Dustin shared his story and the Gospel and many students responded and gave their lives to Jesus!  It was neat to see kids coming up front with their friends to help introduce them to God.  We pray that these young lives will follow God all their days and tell many others about His great love!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Territory in Egypt

Directly after our last show Sunday at the first festival we took a 10 hour bus ride to Upper Egypt with the skaters, illusionist and strong men.  It was a bonding experience as we were all exhausted yet tried to keep each other cheery as our driver constantly got lost, turning this intended 6 hour trip into a memorable 10 hours.

The Monday festival in Upper Egypt was the first ever in the area.  It was a hectic day but once things got rolling some great ministry took place.  We did 2 combined shows with the skaters, strong men and UniShow and it flowed well.  Many accepted Jesus and we had a special prayer time with individuals afterward.

After a quick dinner on the bank of the Nile, we loaded the bus again and headed back to Cairo for a much more direct and uneventful trip.

Tuesday's festival at the Cave Church hosted nearly 20,000 people in Manshiyat naser Cairo and was an unexplainable experience.  We all considered it a privilege to be the first to ever do performance outreach on the Cave Church grounds.  Each performer in our group did 3 shows throughout the day on different "stages".  Since performers have never shared in this area before, the people were very excited to have us there.  Their aggressive enthusiasm was quite overwhelming and some of us feared for our safety as crowds closed in for pictures and autographs and just to touch us.  Fortunately, our Egyptian church friends were very mindful of our well being throughout it all.  The Gospel was shared numerous times at each venue and we saw much evidence God used it to touch people's hearts amidst the chaos.

God is truly doing mighty things in Egypt.  What a privilege to be a small part of it!  Please pray for the thousands who heard about Jesus this week through these events.

Bubba performing the human helicopter. 

Andrew crushing unopended pop cans.
Residence of Manshiyat naser.

Manshiayt naser

Show at the Cave Church

People choosing to follow God.

Dustin with the Cave Church priests.

Monday, November 7, 2011

God is rocking in Egypt!

Our 4th trip to Egypt was amazing!  In 5 days we did 11 shows for 20,000 people, plus millions viewed coverage on satellite TV throughout the Middle East.

Friday through Sunday was the festival we've done previously and we saw a record attendance of 30,000 total.  Past years the head religious leader Egypt's largest Christian denomination has denounced the festival telling people if they attended they couldn't take communion.  This year no such announcement was made.  People bused in by the thousands from all over Egypt.  Tickets to the festival were such a hit that they were being resold for profit and tickets were being counterfeited.

There was lots for people to see: skateboard demos, strong men, UniShow, illusionist, bands, billiards trick shot artist, freestyle motocross, art gallery.  And lots for people to do: high and low ropes course, zip line, food court, skate park, climbing wall, kids zone, team sports.

We prayed with people throughout the day after our shows.  Each evening everyone would gather in the stadium for a rally with music and a local pastor speaking.  This evening session is broadcast live by satellite throughout the middle east.  Thousands gave their lives to Christ for the first time.  It was incredible.

Dustin Mallory tearing up the skate bowl.
Terry Russell amazes the crowd with Team Faith freestyle motocross 
Mike Massey during his interview for Sat7.  He performs brilliant billiard trick shots.
High ropes course is a popular activity at Wadi.
10,000 people gather for the evening rally in the stadium.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wrapping up the TACO 2012.

Our last shows in Kyrgyzstan were at elementary schools and a university.  Some local students joined David doing hip hop during our show at the Ak Bata School in Tokmok and shared their fancy moves.

We were warmly received by an enthusiastic and engaged audience at the International University of Central Asia.  Many students there are studying English so we had great conversations after the show.  We were gifted with IUCA hats and t-shirts and hope to keep in touch with students we met.

Our 11 shows in Kyrgyzstan all went well and much truth was shared.  We learned after our show at the Disabled Men's Home that some men who had responded to the invitation had approached believing caretakers asking what they should do now since they just gave their lives to Jesus!  We also heard that students had told believing teachers they wanted to know more about the message we had shared.  We know God is at work far beyond our hour and half show!

On our way back to Istanbul we had a 14 hour layover in Moscow and did some fun sightseeing around Red Square.  All the trouble we had getting our Russian visas were forgotten as we experienced the sights, sounds and tastes of this historical city.

We had one last show in Istanbul at Cevahir Mall before heading back to the states.  Katie was a bit sore from running the full Istanbul Intercontinental Marathon two days before but still managed to pull off a good show.  The stage was round and a bit wobbly since it had the capability of elevating at least 25 meters!  Unfortunately there was a bit of drama at the end of our show when we did a drawing with names we had collected from interested spectators and tried to hand out DVD's with a message as prizes.  The management had been informed this would take place but still got upset and caused a scene.  We know that thousands still heard a clear message of hope and we pray that God will use that truth to have an eternal impact on their lives.

International University of Central Asia


Istanbul Cevahir Mall

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back in Kyrgyz-Land

In Kyrgyzstan we've done 8 shows so far in Tokmok, in villages nearby
and in Bishkek.  Almost all shows have been in schools and we have
been able to share a limited message about God's love.  We only have
one translator so not many real conversations after shows; just lots
of autographs and photos.  At the encouragement of our organizer, we
have been writing Bible references and phrases like "God loves you",
"God is truth", and "God is for you" along with our autographs so
hopefully the students will find a way to translate them later.  After
each show we do a quiz with the students to see if they were paying
attention to the show and then hand out DVD's with a message to the
kids as prizes.

Today was a special show at an institution for disabled men.  There
were over 100 men and many were up front dancing around to the music
the whole time and they all seemed to be thoroughly enjoying
themselves, totally uninhibited.  It was really precious to watch,
though heartbreaking to see some of the men's conditions!  After the
show, our organizer shared and about 20 men raised their hands to
receive the Lord!  It was very exciting!

Three more shows to go…

Another good note, we all received our passports back today with
Russian visas in them!  So, we are good to go for the flight back!
Glad that ordeal is over!  Whew!

Thanks so much for praying with us for the people of Kyrgyzstan.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Mall Tour in Turkey

Our Turkey tour has come to a close and we all concur that it was very worthwhile.  We did 11 shows, 8 of which were at shopping malls.  We were well received in all of them and many graciously provided meals for us.

Dustin was able to share more deeply with a young man after a show in Gaziantep who was blown away by how open and sure Dustin was about his faith.  We also got to meet another young man who came to faith as a result of our show in his city two years ago.  After a park show, Katie had the opportunity to share the full message with a young lady who was very interested in hearing more about God.

We were both interviewed after our show at Prime Mall in Adana for a national news service.  The show received press all across Turkey. 

We believe we maximized our outreach opportunities through mass seeds sown from the stage, conversations following the events and hundreds of surveys collected at shows with people's contact info for future follow up.

Thanks for praying with us for lasting fruit from these events.  Next stop…Kyrgyzstan.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Touring in Turkey

Our 3rd country of this TACO tour is off to a great start.  After Albania we had a few days to regroup before our performances in Turkey began.   After a day of rehearsal in Istanbul and we did a dress rehearsal of sorts at a local seaside park.  This part of the tour includes a band, StoryBox, and drama elements along with unicycling and dance.

Our first stop once we hit the road was Bursa where we did two shows just outside a large mall.  We performed here last year and have always had big crowds.  Each show drew around 2,000.

This year our sharing and dramas reflect our theme of raising awareness about violence against women.  We have found many open doors for performances when we are able to address a social issue and weave in the truth of God's love.  The truth is God loves women and greatly values them!  It's been neat to share hope with so many that truly need their eyes open and tell them God sees their hurt and is there with them.

Our next stop in Turkey's capitol, Ankara, was inside a shopping mall.  Shoppers watched from all three levels overlooking our performance area.  We were able to share more in depth with people afterward.  In Gaziantep we also performed at a large shopping mall with four levels for crowds to watch.  The mall management liked our show so much they have asked us to return next week for a second show.
Thanks for praying with us!

The equipment van is packed...time to hit the road!
Bursa Shopping mall show

David the hip hop dancer.

Dustin sharing his heart.

Dustin interviewed for a news program who guaranteed we would get press all over Turkey the following day, and we did!



Similar advertisements were at most malls where we performed.

A stop at the Tuz Golu (Salt Lake) en route to Gaziantep from Ankara.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

All about Albania

We were privileged to participate in TACO's first tour in Albania with 7 events in 5 cities.  Our performance elements were unicycling, dance and fire poi.  Several of our shows were in smaller villages with great reception from the locals.  In one village we were told they had not heard our important Message in decades.

Other shows were in bigger cities with over 1,000 people in attendance.  Our last performance in the capital, Tirana, was crazy with kids running on stage playing with props during the show, fights in the crowd, police intervention and a sound system that kept coming unplugged.  In spite of it all, the message of Truth and Hope and Love was shared during and after the show and God was glorified.

We were blessed to work with a very special family the entire week who have a great heart for the youth of Albania.  We truly hope to partner with them again next year.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Kickin' it in Kosova

Our tour in Kosovo wrapped up in the beautiful mountains of Peja.  In total we had 9 events in 6 cities and shared truth with thousands.  We felt constant spiritual opposition so we ramped up our prayer support and took note that we were stirring up strongholds.  Despite major problems with our sound system, we were still able to proceed with each event and the message of God's love still challenged the hearts of our audiences.  

Katie, Michelle and Susanne were able to meet for coffee with two girls we connected with at our high school event. They shared their life stories and challenged these students with the Gospel.  It was a special time and we pray these girls continue to hear God calling them to Himself. 

Thanks for praying with us for the work God is doing in Kosovo and that seeds planted will be watered.  Stay tuned for our Albania update.