Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Central Asia Outreach

This was TACO's first tour in this particular Central Asian country and we believe it won't be our last.  We had a full band with a German drummer, Aussie electric guitarist, and American vocalist/guitarist and bass player.  Dustin brought his world class unicycling and we had 2 dancers from England and USA.  This was a challenging tour in many ways and we know God brought this specific team together to help each other and keep united through the ups and downs.

We started the tour at a Christian camp just outside the capital.  Some Christian, but mostly Muslim high school and college age students came, not all of them knowing that the camp was evangelistic.  We did 3 shows for the students and 3 days of dance, juggling, bass and acoustic guitar and drum workshops.  The best part was watching the juggling students learn to juggle with onions and apples since other props were too expensive.  On the final evening of camp the students performed what they had learned in the workshops.  It was rewarding to hear students say, "I didn't know how to do this before and now I do!"

It was great to perform for these enthusiastic youth who genuinely appreciated anything we did for them.  One girl told us that she had never seen live dance before and was thrilled to see our show.  We have heard since that many seeds are taking root in Muslim student's lives from reading the Bible and hearing the Gospel at the camp for the very first time.  Some are now attending the English Club run by a local church.

After camp we had 3 shows, 2 at churches and 1 at a cultural center.  At the secular show many workers came to us afterwards amazed that we were so open with the Gospel, saying that what we were doing there was huge.  This country has not been free for that long and there are still many restraints on evangelism.  It was a privilege to be able to share the truth openly and even encourage believers.

Several guys came to Dustin, impacted by the fact that he has totally surrendered his giftings to God.  They wanted help understanding how they could use what they have for God.  Vernon, the Aussie, really connected with many of the locals and jammed with them at camp and helped them lead worship.  He was an example to us all with his friendly efforts.

At our last show for a children's service at a local church Aimee shared why she dances.  Afterward a mother told her about her son starting dance school.  This mother had been totally against it, thinking dancing was only worldly.  After hearing Aimee's testimony, her heart totally changed and she saw how God can use such creative giftings and pursuits for His glory.  Several other girls also shared with Aimee how her story had touched them and they now intend to use their dance for God's glory and not their own.

Unfortunately every one of our team was hit with varying degrees of sickness throughout the tour.  We were all able to perform when needed but many days were a challenge dealing with the harsh conditions.  God sustained us and taught us along the way.  We know many seeds were planted throughout this outreach.  We praise God for open doors during this tour and new contacts made future opportunities.  Thanks for praying with us for lives impacted by the truth of the Gospel in Central Asia!

Our amazing team!

Aimee dancing her heart out!

Drake in the ceiling mirrors.