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.