Sunday, October 19, 2014

Shining the Light in Bulgaria

It's been four years since we've been to Bulgaria and it was wonderful to be back. Not only do they have the best Shopska salads around, but the people are beautiful and welcoming.

The performances combined Dustin's world champion unicycling with Adrian Van Vactor's international award-winning illusions. It was an impressive show which audiences loved.

We partnered with friends who are specifically reaching out to the 700,000 Turkish background Bulgarians. Most mornings we did presentations in different villages on their weekly market day. In the evenings we did presentations in Turkish communities or city centers.

In Salistra we were hosted by a local church who has a very active youth group. The students added a dance to our street outreach, one of them translated for us, and others were inviting students in the audience to youth group. It's exciting to see young people using their gifts to make a difference. During our street shows Saturday, people were invited to church Sunday morning. About 20 people came to church as a result of our outreaches and 5 new students came to youth group. This was the first time this church has done open air outreaches and we thank God for the results.

One special presentation was at an orphanage. The precious children were so receptive and enthusiastic and clung to us, not wanting us to leave at the end. We were encouraged to learn that the message of hope we shared was building on ministry the locals do regularly there.

During each presentation we shared the Good News in full and invited people to respond. Surveys were handed out after each show for people to request more information. Hundreds heard the powerful message of God's love, most for the very first time. Some were deeply touched through our presentations. We noticed tears in some people's eyes; others were very interested in the message, nodding along, eagerly raising their hands, then wanting the location of the local church. Please pray with us for each of these people to grow in their faith.

A pastor in a village who organized a few events for us has planted 10 churches and is going strong. He shared with us his powerful testimony of how God dramatically changed his life. He had been the town drunk and had almost died several times both from drug and alcohol poisoning and from trying to hang himself. He lived near a church and would throw rocks at believers who were headed there. One night he was walking home drunk when a bright light dropped him to his knees, the heavens opened and he saw a hand reach down and throw a lightening bolt into his heart. He heard a voice say "I am the Way, Truth and Life." Suddenly he started saying many verses from the Bible that he hadn't know before. He was on his knees for a long time in the middle of town while God worked on him and people stared at him like he was crazy. What an amazing story of how God is still in the business of changing people's lives.

Adrian wowing people at the church in Salistra.
Dustin defying gravity at the church in Salistra.
Turkish community in Razgrad.
Adrian blew their minds!
Special children at the orphanage.
Turkish quarter in Razgrad.
Turkish quarter in Razgrad.
Happy audience enjoying Dustin's antics at a Turkish village market.
Dustin's antics at a Turkish village market.
City center in Razgrad.
Adrian about to make a coin appear out of this kids sleeve at the city center in Razgrad.
Turkish village market outreach.
Turkish village market outreach.
Such a fun crowd in Sungurlare!
Such a fun crowd in Sungurlare!
Enthusiastic fans after the show in Sungurlare.
Eager beavers wanting surveys after the show in Sungurlare.
Community outreach in Slavyantsi.
Community outreach in Slavyantsi.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

North Africa - Count It Right 2014

It never ceases to be a privilege to partner with our friends at Kasr el Dobara church for the Count It Right festival in North Africa. This was our 7th time performing at this festival with dozens of other talented artists, using what we've been given to share the Good News.

It was great to have our friend Craig Wright of CWtrials add bike trials (technical mountain biking) to the UniShow this year. Other events included:

Team Faith's motocross, tricking 70 feet in the air; Team Xtreme breaking stuff and flipping heavy things; professional clowning by Chagy and quality mimes from Puerto Rico; skate and bmx demos on the only skate park in this country; Adrian the amazing illusionist; Shawn the Chicago Chalk Champ performing chalk art; Spintacular basketball trick show by two of the 14 incredible Crevier Family; cinema showing films of lives transformed by God; workshops about domestic and child abuse and atheism, high and low ropes courses, soccer games, Better Life Team (the Arabic world's Hillsong) and other famous Arabic singers.

Before and during the festival there were church members praying 24 hours a day for God to do great things through this massive event. About 40,000 people attended this 4 day festival with thousands responding to the message. The entire festival was broadcast live throughout the Middle East via satellite television.

We did 2 shows a day under the beautiful and hot North African sun. A faithful team of volunteers assisted us the entire time, helping things run smoothly.

We prayed for people after most shows. Craig prayed for strength for a group of guys who had made a pact of purity with each other. Katie prayed with a couple giving their lives to Jesus. One volunteer asked Dustin and Craig to pray for him with his struggle with pornography and they were able to challenge and encourage him.

At each show Dustin and Craig would share the Message and give an invitation. People would respond with raised hands so the volunteer counseling team could connect with them. When crowds dispersed after shows, it was so encouraging to see clusters of new believers connecting and praying with volunteers from the church.

Please pray for the thousands of people who heard the truth, some accepting and some rejecting. Pray for seeds to take root!

Daniel of Arquemimo from Peurto Rico.
Don't try this at home kids! Kevin soaring high!
The only skate park in the country.
Bruce Crevier doing what he did to get in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Tua pulling the bus with his brute strength!
Almost 10,000 people filled the stadium each evening for the service.

Sunset and dinner on the Nile.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

UniShow Turkey tour 2014

It was great to be back in Turkey again with the UniShow! Performance content included a band, step/stomp routine, Katie dancing and, of course, Dustin’s crowd drawing unicycle riding.

We did 14 performances in 7 cities, mostly around the southwest Mediterranean part of the country. Unlike any previous tour in Turkey, Dustin was able to be completely open with his message during each show, resulting in many people requesting follow-up about what he had shared and receiving DVD’s of powerful, life changing stories.

There were a few people unhappy about what we were sharing and were very vocal about it. This caused police to visit more shows than not. But our Turkish manager (Safak) handled each situation wisely and we were never prevented from presenting. Once the police saw video clips of Dustin’s performance on Yetenek Sizsiniz (Turkey’s Got Talent) and heard he was a world champion they were impressed and happy to let the show go on. Most even requested DVD’s with more information about our message because of their own interest. When a policeman asked Safak how Dustin stayed looking so young, Safak looked toward Dustin and saw a water bottle and bunch of bananas on a nearby ledge. Safak then told the policeman it was because Dustin didn't drink cola and ate bananas every 2 hours. There, now you know, too! :)

Our last outreach, at a seaside skate park in Istanbul, doubled as a send-off party for a friend about to leave Turkey after serving there 4 years. After the outreach, we circled around and prayed for him. A girl who was rollerblading at the park and had watched the show, joined our circle and asked what we were doing. Once we explained prayer, she asked us to pray for her in the same way. Afterward, she gave us all giant hugs then skated off. It was obvious that God had touched her heart.

Turkey is so beautiful! It is incredible to be sharing the same message of Hope in the same places as did so many people we read about in the Bible. Please pray for the hearts of all those who heard this message!

Our team.

Step routine.

Katie with a beautiful Syrian family living in Turkey until the war is over.

Canakkale Turkey with the horse from the movie Troy in the background.

The Band.
After a show in Antalya, this little girl asked if she could talk to "the English guy".  She gave him a little bag of nuts she had bought at a nearby stand to thank him for the great show which she really enjoyed.

Antalya port (Acts 14:25-26).