Friday, November 27, 2015

Rains Came Down and Floods Came Up

On November 4th we landed in Cairo for our 8th annual Count It Right festival.  Air France did it again and had a sign waiting for us at the airport telling us 3 of our 4 equipment bags were delayed.  This could have been problematic since our bags would not arrive until after our first day of scheduled performances.  

Turns out our missing luggage wasn't the show stopper.  The night we arrived in Cairo, there was almost a foot of rain at the desert conference grounds where the festival was to be held.  This is more rain than the locals have ever seen in their lifetimes!  The unusual wind and rain did much damage to the venue, knocking down and flooding performance tents and areas. The sandy grounds became a mud pit.  The first day of the festival was canceled and the organizers were close to cancelling the entire event!  Instead of hosting 10,000 people for the festival on Friday, we joined hundreds of volunteers cleaning the grounds, asking God for 1 miracle to have the festival on Sunday and 2 miracles to have it on Saturday.

Truck loads of dry soil were brought in to cover the muddy parking lot where hundreds of buses would park with attendees coming from Cairo and Alexandria. Thousands of chairs were set out in the sun to dry before putting them back in the stadium for the evening gatherings.  Volunteers pushed 2x4's across the soggy carpets covering the sand on the stadium floor to push the water off.  With limited tools available, picnic tables were pushed across the basketball court (our performance area) to loosen the mud before scraping and shoveling it into garbage cans to dump elsewhere.  God did come through in a miraculous way and we were all amazed when at the end of Friday things were good to go for Saturday and Sunday.  

About 7,500 came on Saturday and 10,000 on Sunday.  Thousands responded to the call to give their lives to Jesus!  Our luggage finally arrived and we performed a total of 4 times, with one of those performances being broadcast live on Sat 7 throughout the Middle East.  Other amazing world-class performers included Chagy the Puerto Rican Clown, a team of Brazilian Marshal Artists, Spintacular basketball trick show by 3 of the Crevier Family, Team Xtreme Strong Guys, Peter Nestler's Jump Rope Master show, skaters and BMXers, Illusionist Harris III and Team Faith's motocross jumps including back flips!  It was obvious that God wanted this festival to happen and we praise Him for using it to reach so many people with His Truth!

A photo of our performance area from a friend the night before we arrived!
Dustin scraping mud off his performance space the day before show time.
Much work to be done on our performance surface!
One of our shows was broadcast live throughout the Middle East on satellite TV.

Thousands gathered each evening in the stadium for a service of worship and teaching.
In front of the oldest and only intact Wonder of the World.

Monday, November 9, 2015

OM Artists Unite

October 26-29, 2015 we joined fellow OM Arts International artists for a retreat near Atlanta, Georgia.  This is the 7th anniversary of OM Arts and was a good time to reflect on what God has done through our team so far and how He is leading us from here.

At this time there are 50 of us artists in 12 countries, with 11 of these countries having full time arts ministry.

Just in the last 4 years:
-Over 517 artist have been mobilized on short-term mission trips.
-95 short term mission trips have occurred in over thirty countries.
-118 artist and leaders have attended an OM Arts training event.
-109,500 people have heard the Gospel directly from an OM Arts team, plus millions more via Satellite TV.
-7 full-time arts ministry leaders have been placed on the field.

We are thankful to be part of this unique ministry sharing God's love around the world through the Creative Arts.

Amazing sculpture by Chuck Tryon.
Some of us were stretched more than others during one of our sessions where we had to both pose for and draw a partners portrait.
Posing for and drawing portraits.
At the retreat, Katie discovered she had survived a morning run with this scorpion in her shoe!