Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Count It Right Festival North Africa

What a privilege to again partner with such an amazing, competent, organized, servant-hearted group in North Africa.  This was our 5th year participating in the Count It Right Festival and those we serve with have become dear friends.

We did 8 shows, 6 at a one-of-a-kind conference center in the middle of the desert.  Facilities include a high and low ropes course, swimming pool, inflatables, food court, soccer field, basketball court and numerous performance options.  Performers included: Team Faith motocross jumpers and flippers, Brock Gill Illusionist, Richard Hight chalk artist, Brazilian jujitsu team, Puerto Rican Chagy the Clown, Crossfire basketball demos, Team Xtreme strong men, skate legend Eddie Elguera with a skate and bmx demo team and unicyclist Dustin Kelm's UniShow!  It was quite an event!

Over 10,000 people attended the festival each day and thousands made decisions to give their lives to Jesus each day!  Super exciting!  The instant impact God made on people's lives, freeing them from their bondage amazed us.  After surrendering their lives to Jesus, people would empty their pockets of drugs, cigarettes, etc, demonstrating the freedom they just discovered in Christ!  Please pray with us that all these people who found Jesus continue to live in His freedom and power!

Praying with people after each show was a highlight.  So many hurts and concerns that are so real and heavy in people's lives.  As we prayed and their tears flowed we know Jesus was at work doing what only He can do!      
Our last 2 shows were at the Cave Church.  It's always a crazy time but special to bring a message of hope to this area.  Our second show was delayed due to a rare but short rain storm.  The kids went wild in the rain and took over the stage for a while running around and playing as we waited it out.  They hadn't seen rain in a while!

Thanks for traveling with us through your prayers as we proclaim Truth, Hope and Love!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Regeneration 2013 Recap

It was a great 10 days of outreach at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.  We got to perform with and meet so many people from around the world and share the hope and love of God with thousands.  We saw some choose to follow God with their lives and prayed with many others.

On the flight from Paris to Geneva we sat by and visited with a doctor who does medical missions around the world.  He came to our performance in Montreux one evening and even volunteered for Dustin to jump over.  He then returned the next day to take us out for dinner.  A neat connection along the way.

Dustin talked to one couple who were lacking in their faith and God had used his words in the show to stir them up and help get them back on track.  We bonded with a family who came regularly to our evening shows and got to pray with them for God to reveal His truth and life to them.  Katie shared Jesus with a girl from Hungary who wanted to give her life to Him.

It was amazing to see many people came back to watch our entire show night after night.  They knew the message we were sharing and kept coming back for more.  It was the light, love and fragrance of God that drew them to our area.  We pray that God waters the many seeds planted and a great harvest is reaped over time as people process what they heard.

Please pray with us for God to continue to reveal his great Love to each person who heard about Him through these outreaches!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Regeneration at the 47th Montreux Jazz Festival

We’ve been welcomed back to the YWAM base for Regeneration Outreach with wide open arms.  It’s almost like coming back to family and seems like well more than our fourth time partnering with these kindred spirits.  It is a privilege to serve with so many amazing people who know what matters in life and are passionate about sharing God’s love. 

Switzerland is an amazing place and we love it here!  The water, the air, streets, cars, vineyard covered hillsides, homes from quaint to fancy, even the sky is clean and fresh and nearly sparkles.  We know, however, that though things look spotless on the outside, there are many, many dark and broken hearts in need of Spiritual renovation. 

We are doing outreaches each evening by Lake Geneva at the Montreux Jazz Festival.  We are about 60 people from 15 countries.  There is a music/dance/drama team from South Korea, a Brazilian band including Korean and Polish musicians, Swiss dancers, and one crazy amazing unicyclist!  In between acts, games are played with audience participation like jump roping and limbo, a kids team paints faces and makes balloon animals, and iced tea and cookies are handed out to refresh weary festival goers.  Pray with us that God will use all of this to Regenerate people, show them His love and bring them into a relationship with their Creator that we were all made for!   

Thursday, February 7, 2013

This too is Africa

After a week of outreaches with Grace Church in and around Nairobi, we said goodbye to our church team and stayed for more school outreaches.  It was interesting to see a different side of Kenya this second week.

Dustin had reconnected with friends from college who are now workers at an MK school in Rift Valley Kenya, just outside Nairobi.  The Nelson's organized a full week of outreaches beginning with West Nairobi School and Rosslyn Academy international schools in Nairobi.  We then drove northwest of Nairobi to the Rift Valley area for programs at their own Rift Valley Academy, as well as a nearby Kenyan boarding school with 750 boys and at the African Inland Church in Kijabe.

We appreciate any opportunity to stir up and challenge students in Christian schools since we both had similar educations.  We know it's easy to just slide by with out living in the the reality of all God has for us.  We also know that there are many still lost in a Christian school.  Dustin had the opportunity to pray with one student after a show who came to understand the personal need for Jesus during Dustin's message.  Having turned from the family religion, this student now faces and fears rejection or worse from family if they find out.

Please pray with us for the students who were impacted with the truth of the Gospel this week and especially for the those who just found Jesus!

West Nairobi School

Kijabe Boys School

10 at one of two programs for Rosslyn Academy

African Inland Church in Kijabe

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Karibu means Welcome to Africa!

After our quick stint in Turkey for the TV talent show, we headed to Nairobi Kenya where we met up with a team of 72 from Grace Church.  We did 18 presentations in schools, prisons and slums for over 15,000 Kenyans.

We were wholeheartedly welcomed by the kids in the schools who even blessed us with their own songs, dances and verses.   The prisons were a highlight.  We met some pretty hard-core men there (murderers, Somali pirates/terrorists), but they all lit up like kids watching Dustin perform and were captivated by the message he shared.  Some men had tears in their eyes as they gave their lives to God who sets spiritual captives free.  At the women's prison, we prayed with several Muslim women who were open to the truth.

Katie was able to reconnect and pray with 2 teenage girls she had met during our visit 3 years ago.  It was exciting to see them still involved in the church and following Jesus.

Each evening we participated in community wide outreach festivals full of songs, dances, illusions, dramas and unicycling.  We presented the Gospel at each venue and saw many respond to the Good News!

"Sunday best" is no joke in Kenya!

Click picture for full sized expressions of fear from one of Dustin's fake falls.

Precious boys doing time with their mothers at a women's prison.

Katie shares with some women who were watching the prison performance from a distance.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Yetenek Sizsiniz Adventure...

It all started back in October when 4 of us were riding unicycles along a busy street in Istanbul. We had just crossed an intersection when a guy stopped his car in traffic and ran across the street to video Dustin doing tricks.  He had been out scouting for Turkey's largest TV talent show Yetenek Sizsiniz.

We thought nothing would come of it until we got a call 2 weeks later asking Dustin to perform for round one of the show in 2 days.  We happened to still be in Turkey, heading to Switzerland in a few days.  So, October 5th Dustin performed for round one, did excellent and passed to the next level with three Yeses!  It aired October 13th as one of the highest rated TV shows in Turkey and the highest rated Turkish TV show in Europe.  Click here to watch.

The show organizers told us they would fly us back to Turkey from wherever we were for the next round.  We hadn't heard a word from them until early December which led to over a month of possible filming dates and life on hold.  Finally, just 2 days after Katie was involved in an accident in Seattle which totaled our only vehicle and transportation back to MN, we got the filming date of January 17th.  We already had airfare booked from Minneapolis to Kenya that same date for an outreach with our church.  God worked in gracious ways and the TV show paid for our flights from Seattle to Minneapolis to Istanbul to Nairobi and back to Minneapolis plus covered our flight change fee.  God provides!

Our faithful friend from our partner team in Istanbul met us at the airport and made life so much easier with his competent assistance and Turkish language skills.  We bused with other competitors 2 hours northwest to a university in Edirne where the filming took place.

It was a crazy day of preparing and performing for the TV show.  The morning started with a bit of stage rehearsal time for each act.  Late afternoon they started filming the first of two episodes that day.  We were the first act to go on.  We felt very good about the performance and received good feedback from the judges.  Turns out it was a disadvantage to be first since it was up to the audience to give us a percentage score and they had nothing else to base our performance on.  We didn't realize this until after our act when the judges gave their comments then directed us to the screens to see what the audience thought.  Click here to watch our second round.

In the end we were 1 percentage point away from making it to the next round.  At the last minute they had us put costumes back on and thought we'd be going back on stage for a tie breaker vote.  But the last act, a little girl doing stand up comedy, got an unexpected high score.

We are happy with how we performed and are OK that we are not moving on.  We feel we got enough air time to be a little better know in and around Turkey which will hopefully open up more doors in the future.  It was a fun and crazy experience that we won't soon forget.

With Alp, the offstage comedy/commentator.

Alp came out for Dustin to jump him and the audience  went wild.

The most colorful costumes we may ever wear!

San Juan (game) in Istanbul on our way to Nairobi with our faithful assistant.