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Courtney Watson

Update #6 – Eastern Europe B

By | Eastern Europe B

Preevyet from Eastern Europe!

Bristol, Hannah, Shaynna here with our last update! We are coming to the end of our trip here in country, however we are trusting that God’s work will still continue on long after we have left and are back in the United States. Our team time has been filled with laughter, quality conversation, and wonderful experiences with good food accompanying it!  We truly have cherished all of the amazing memories that have been made and the connections that have been formed while we’ve had the opportunity to impact the least of these on the streets of Eastern Europe, and we can’t believe the time for us to return home is very quickly approaching.  These last couple of days have been very eventful both in our ministry here as well as around the city. As we began to familiarize ourselves with the underground metro system, our big test came when our fieldworker sent us on an excursion.  This excursion consisted of teaming up in groups no larger than three and, by way of the Metro and city maps, navigating to a church and market in a specific location somewhere in the city.  This was not only a fun and (in some ways) relaxing activity but a cultural learning experience as well, because it allowed our team to immerse themselves into the daily life and culture.

Our ministry has been going strong here as well.  As stated in the previous update, our team split into two separate teams; one team works with the younger kids and one works with the teenagers and older kids.  The younger kids team has been teaching the little ones through skits while dressed up as Inside Out characters.  These skits get the kids excited and give them something to look forward to each camp day.  After the skit is finished, our team summarizes a book that was read to the little ones; subsequently, one of the team members gives a talk to the kids and they have progressively gotten deeper as camp has gone on.  Every day the team has shared stories about themselves and their life experiences, and in response the kids have been able to connect with the team on a deeper level.  This is possible by way of our amazing translators, who have done an incredible job working with us.  There have been a lot of jokes going back and forth between our team and them and it has been such a pleasure working with such sweet and compassionate people.  Recently, there was a trio talk with Devin, Bristol, and Shaynna, showing that the kids are not alone and that others have gone through tough times as well.  Their talks all pointed toward finding safety and security in our Heavenly Father.  Within the younger kids team, Ethan, Devin, and Sammy have taken on the role of working with the older of the younger kids, while Bristol, Shaynna, and our fieldworker’s daughter work with the littlest of the youngers.  Splitting the kids up has not only kept the chaos down but helps us connect with the kids on a more personal level.  During the split up time, the groups participate in various crafts and games.  Kristen holds a game room each day as well, which allows the kids to let loose a bit and get their energy out!  Though there have been long nights due to preparation for the next day, it truly is a blessing and brings joy to the team as we see the smiling faces of the lives we get to impact and spread the overwhelming love of Christ to.

The other team, as mentioned above, works with the older youth and teenagers.  This team consists of Loran, Max, Shae, Kyla, Dave, Nadia, and myself (Hannah).  Our daily ministry begins with a game or two to bring the teens into our time of connections and friendship.  Following the games, one of the members of our team will give a small talk on the subject for the day, like joy or patience.  This allows the teens to hear what these topics mean for us personally as well as how it can impact their lives as well. Following our discussion as a whole group, we decided to split the teens up into guys and girls to allow for deeper connections and meaningful conversations for both parties involved.  We found that splitting the teens up has worked tremendously.  It makes it more comfortable for the girls to share with the girls on our team how they felt about a certain topic of discussion without any sort of pressure from the guys, and vice versa.  Following our discussion topic for the day, both the teens and the older little ones have the chance to go outside and play with our entire outreach team.  Playing outside generally consists of games like Blob Tag and Link Tag, and unsurprisingly a football (soccer) game will start up within the older kids.  Members of our team have joined in the games with one of our two translators, who by the way have done an incredible job working both with us and helping us understand and begin to read into the lives of the youth we have the pleasure of working with.  It’s in games like soccer that remind us that the love of Christ is shared in every aspect of our lives, not just in a sermon or confined to church walls.  Overall, we have found that friendships have begun to forge and our ties to these teens have grown so much stronger as these two weeks have flown by before our eyes.

We are excited for our last few days here, but are also looking forward to sharing our stories, excitements, and memories with you all personally!  We want to thank everyone who has supported us on this incredible adventure and we could not have done it without you all.  By God’s grace we were brought here safely to do His work and the joy that has come from serving Him is meant to be shared.  Continued prayers for health and safe travels back home as well as God’s continuing work in the hearts of the children and teens we met would be greatly appreciated!  We love you all and can’t wait to see everyone upon our return!

–          Bristol, Hannah, Shaynna, and the team

Friends and family y’alls rock!  I miss you all and can’t wait to share this experience with everyone soon!  See you in a few days! – Hannah

If Jamie is reading this, I just want to let you know that I found my Eastern Europe Jocelyn – pouty face and all. 😉 Sam, Squid, and Momma: I love you all SO much and can’t wait to tell you all about my adventures in a few days. – Love, Shaynna

Update #2 – Chile

By | Chile

Hello, everyone!

We have time to send one more quick update as we prepare to head back home. Well, we are actually on our way home now, in a delayed kind of way. We left our host home at 2am this morning, got delayed in Santiago thanks to fog, missed our connecting flight in Panama City, and now on a late flight tonight to San Francisco. Phew! We are scheduled to land at midnight tonight, then make our way through Customs, grab an Uber to my car, and then a 2 hour drive back to Rocklin. Lord willing, we’ll be there by about 3:30-4:00 am!

Team Chile had very busy days at the end of our trip. The photos are from our trip to southern Chile and the Pawenche people. On Saturday Mario and Miranda visited and served at a hospital in Santiago. Saturday evening they were at a church youth service. Both are staying with host Chilean families and are loving time with the local people. I (David) spent the day Saturday teaching Chilean and Argentine pastors. The experience was so rich and varied for us all! Construction, pastoral care, home visitation, youth soccer, youth Bible Studies, and closing out with Youth services.

Thank you for your prayers and support as we served the people of Chile! We look forward to sharing more photos and stories in person soon!

-David, Miranda, & Mario

Update #5 – Eastern Europe B

By | Eastern Europe B

Hi, everyone!

This is Shae & Nadia updating you about our first full week in country. We have really enjoyed this week and truly treasured every second we had to spend with the kids. Every moment spent away from them is time spent planning for the next days activities or reflecting with our team on what has happened. We cannot believe it has already been a week since we’ve been here, but we are thankful for each day we’ve been given to the kids.

In the beginning, our team of 13 people split into two subgroups. One team works with children ages 2-12, and the second group works with the teenagers ages 13-17. Both Nadia and I (Shae) have been working with the teenagers. At first, we felt a little challenged and worried we may not connect with them. However, it is truly a blessing that we have managed to build such unique and strong bonds with the teen girls during our time with them. Each day after discussion, we split into separate groups. Dave & Max meet with the boys, while Loran, Kyla, Hanna, Nadia and I meet with the girls. Despite our initial worry, we’ve seen such openness with the girls. Even though there is a language barrier, on only the second day most of them opened up and shared their stories! In our time sharing our personal stories and lessons, the Lord has provided us with the perfect opportunities to share of His worth in our lives and how He has helped us through our struggles. It’s amazing to see how God used our personal stories of struggles to reach the girls. These girls have become our motivation to get out of bed each morning, and they truly brighten our days.

Besides working with the children on a daily basis, we had a chance to explore the city a bit and go sightseeing. This past Friday night a group of seven of us went out to experience the city at night and watch the bridges open up. As the city is full of rivers and beautiful bridges all over watching them rise at night for boats to pass is a big celebration for all the locals here, and it was a great opportunity for us to join them on the celebration and connect with the culture. We also had the chance to visit a famous palace which is now a museum. Filled with art, artifacts, sculptures and other amazing things, some of us got lost in the hallways of history. However, this was such an important part of connecting and better understanding the culture. We ended the night by seeing the ballet. Our favorite part about all of this was coming back to the girls and sharing with them everything we’ve seen. Their faces lit up when we share things we’ve seen in their country and how much we enjoyed it all.

As we start a new week with the children, we are trusting God to lead our conversations, discussion and the time we have with the teenagers. God has moved so much already, but we know His work isn’t finished yet. We are open to be His instruments and to be used by Him to reach every teenager.

We appreciate everyone’s support and prayers. Thank you for praying for our team and reading our blog. We feel so blessed! Our prayer request for this week is to be bold in everything we do and dive in deeper with the teenagers to accomplish God’s work.

-Shae & Nadia


Update #6 – South Asia

By | South Asia

Hey family and friends!

Mandy here bringing you our last update until we head back home late tomorrow night! Our past few days have been filled with more Gospel sharing and follow ups. It has been so wonderful to see how God is moving here in this city!

Thursday, I was blessed to be able to host an entire family at our flat! Earlier last week, Channell and I had met a woman (we’ll call her R) out on the street and began to develop a relationship with her. Last Sunday, R hosted Kayla and I at her home and fed us some amazing chicken biryani and roti (think of a more bread-like tortilla). During this time, R shared with us that she has been a believer for 2 years now and follows Jesus faithfully even though she is facing some difficult circumstances. Her husband is an alcoholic and is abusive. On top of all this, he is having an affair with a woman from his office. Even through all of this, she trusts Jesus so much and has constantly been asking us for prayers for him. It was AMAZING to host her and her 3 children in our apartment and provide them with food. We introduced them to some long-term workers here for further follow up and got to worship and pray with her. This connection has been so encouraging and life giving for me and the team.

Thursday evening and Friday were filled with a few more follow-ups for other team members. Many of us got to share our testimonies with non-believers, pray for them, and encourage them to read some books in the Bible. We are hoping and praying many will continue meeting with our long term fieldworkers once we are gone.  Ultimately, we are so thankful that God provided us with so many to share his truth with!

Today, we spent some time shopping and hitting up some tourist spots. Our photo-ops got ruined by some torrential downpour from the skies, but other than that it has been a fun and relaxing day.

Tomorrow we will be going to church and debriefing all we have learned and experienced on this trip. Soon after we will be packing our bags and heading to the airport to get on a flight back home to you! We are so excited to be home with you soon and share all of our individual stories.

Please continue to be praying for our follow ups and those we have shared the gospel with. Pray for R’s spirit, her children, and that her husband would come to know the lord. Pray for vulnerability and growth in our debrief time tomorrow. Lastly, pray for safe travels and sleep on our way home!

Cannot wait to see you soon!

-Mandy & the team

Update #1 – Chile

By | Chile, Uncategorized

Hey, everyone!

Team Chile is doing great and loving our time here. We had a short break, just enough time for me to send out a quick update and some photos that were taken during our ministry time this afternoon. Mario and Maranda have been hard at work laying bricks and cutting studs for a new church building in Santiago. They are natural pros! We’ve spent the last four days mostly off the grid visiting villages about 700 kms to the south of Santiago – meeting with with remote folk, doing some more construction, etc. It has been incredible to see the variety in this culture and to interact with people who have such limited access to the Gospel.

We have loved the relationship we have built with the local church here. Tonight the students participated in different youth Bible studies. I have started teaching pastors, which will continue tonight. Please pray for this aspect of our ministry, as these are the people who will be continuing on in the work long after we leave.
Miranda and Mario have been spectacular in their adjustment! They are staying with different host families and navigating the language barrier and cultural differences so well. You should all be proud of them; they’re both having a rich experience!

We are so blessed.

More later. Love to you all!

-David & the team

Update #4 – Eastern Europe B

By | Eastern Europe B

Hello friends and family!

Max & Ethan here with the latest update from our team! The past few days have been full of energy and excitement as we experience culture and show Gods love to the kids. Each day that we spend here is another of falling in love with these kids.

While spending time learning and growing, I (Max) have been able to connect with the older boys as they are a rough and tumble group with strong spirits. Each day I see them they are showing love in their own little way. It has amazed me as to how much I have learned from they and they from me. The first day we got here their response to a playful hit would have turned into hard punching quite fast, however in the past couple days I have seen the toughest of guys stand up and be the bigger man to stop the hitting. If I had to sum up the past couple days into one word it would be RESPECT. Respect for the girls has gone way up, respect for the leaders in the home, but most importantly each person that I see has gained more respect for themselves. It is really amazing to be apart of something so big and that is just working with the teenagers. However there is more that happens with the children.

The little kids group has had its ups and downs as well. We have had kids fighting but then turn around and be best friends with each other. We have some kids who don’t even speak the language because they were picked up off the street and are from totally different countries. This can be especially hard as some kids have to leave unexpectedly and we watch as friends are being separated. All in all though our time with them has been a success. These kids love all of the arts and crafts we have done, like giving them a box to paint to fill with the treasures that we are going to give them soon. I (Ethan) have been a human jungle gym for a couple of these kids, and with them jumping on by back and arms I see that they have opened up more since the beginning of our time with them. These kids sing songs and play games with all of their heart and soul, sometimes even running around the room multiple times while they sing. To sum up, we are having a blast!

Our prayer request is for health. Some of us are still very jet lagged and we are all very tired, so prayers for time adjustments and good sleep would be great!

Best wishes from the team, and thank you so much for the prayers! We feel them every moment!

-Max, Ethan and the team

P.S. – To Ethan’s sister: I have officially played volleyball in more countries/continents than you have! Love, Ethan. 🙂

Update #5 – South Asia

By | South Asia

Hello everybody! Garrett here checking in.

The last few days have been pretty crazy in the best ways imaginable. On Monday we had our Sabbath day which was supposed to be a time for rest, relaxing and rejuvenating. However, for most of us it was the opposite of that, as we went out and explored the National Park here! There was everything from caves, to ancient ruins, to small monkeys running around everywhere (as you’ll see in pictures). After our trip out there 6 of us decided to try out an Escape Room, which, if you don’t know, is basically a room with a specific preset fake task (robbing a bank, solving a murder, etc.) that you and whoever you are with are responsible to try and accomplish. You get one hour and during the time you can lose minutes if you do certain things wrong. Luckily for us, we solved the puzzle with 10 minutes to go!

That night all 9 of us decided to go out to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner to celebrate a couple of birthdays we have coming up (Ryan and Devon). We ate good(ish) food, listened to American music, and had a good time. I think the best part of the night though is when the employees called Devon and Ryan up to the stage in the middle of the restaurant and had them do a dance for everybody before they got their cake. And then after we all ate the cake, we all joined in on dancing to a couple songs (including YMCA, obviously). It was a really good ending to an awesome day. And this is all besides the fact that our stomachs are all on the iffy side! 😂

Tuesday we were back at it out in the field, and Ryan and I went out to a lake that we have now coincidently been to four different times while on this trip. For us, Tuesday was a not so great day for sharing the Gospel, but we did end the day on a positive note when everybody from not only our team but other workers here all got together to sing worship, pray, and praise God for who He is and the work He is doing out here. I, unfortunately, was not able to stay for the whole thing because Hugo and I had a follow up meeting with a friend we had made earlier, but all is well that ends well!

Wednesday was a full day for everybody! I was with Ryan yet again and we headed down towards a lake to meet up with a friend we met here. There we talked for over 3 and a half hours about our lives, his life, and more importantly Jesus. We feel confident then he has gained huge interest in learning more and more, and we will be meeting him again on Friday. Also, Ryan and I met a famous YouTuber and took a selfie with him, which you might end up seeing! We also did not eat any food, as coffee substituted the nutrients for the day. (But not really)

Well that’s it for us, here are some pics from the last few days! Can’t wait to see you all soon!

-Garrett & the team

We are on our way!

By | South Asia, Uncategorized

Thank you for your support as our team heads to the field! We have departed for the airport and will update you when we have arrived in country (hopefully with all our luggage!). We look forward to updating you on our trip and hope you will check back soon for news from our team!

If you would like to receive text message updates every time our team posts a blog update please text the word GO to the number 51400.

Thanks, and we’ll write you soon!

Update #2 – Eastern Europe A

By | Uncategorized

Hello from Europe!!

After an entire day of travel on Tuesday we all made it safely including the 20 bags luggage, craft materials and donated clothing!  On Wednesday we spent the day resting, training, sightseeing and preparing for our first day with the kids. We saw many absolutely incredible things like incredibly old cathedrals and the merchant arches in the old section of town. Thursday we had a wonderful time meeting the children and teens for the first time, and we started the day off with a skit that was a big hit setting the tone and piquing the interest of the students about the reason for us being here.

The teens were surprisingly welcoming and not at all what we expected. They immediately wanted to know everything about us and America. They asked us many questions about American schools and our movies and music. They listen to a lot of American music but mostly rap.  We ended up playing games and sports with them for three hours straight.  We had lots of fun but Kimo, Emily, Dot and I (Farnum) suffered from some minor bumps and bruises but it was all worth it in the end. They also made Kimo and Dot sing, so they sang “How He Loves” and afterwards they asked us what the song was about which was very cool because they started to ask us the differences between Orthodox and Protestantism.

The younger kids instantly wanted to form connections with the 5 of us who were working with them, which was a blessing. Even though most of us couldn’t understand them without a translator, they were still very engaging and kept talking to us as if we could comprehend what they were communicating perfectly. Surprisingly, the girls aren’t afraid of any cooties Paul and Ben might have, and the boys are quite well-behaved.  They all said they were very excited to see the upcoming skits we have prepared, which was encouraging since we didn’t finalize it until about 30 minutes before the kids arrived!

We’re excited for tomorrow. Keep praying for us – safety, health and building relationships with the kids! Enjoy the photos and we’ll update you all again soon!

-Farnum, Dot & Ben on behalf of the team

Update #1 – Romania

By | Romania

We have arrived!

Hello from Romania, everyone! After a long day of travel (and an hour delay…) we have made it to Romania! Thank you so much for your prayers that our travels would be smooth and without any (major) issues. He is so faithful, even in the seemingly little things.

We are checked into our hotel and are getting some much needed sleep before we hit the ground running tomorrow. Our first day here will include some cultural acquisition, introduction to the ministry and hearing how we can best partner with them during our time here. Please pray for a quick adjustment to the time change so that we can get right to work, and for an openness to the Gospel when we are finally able to go connect with the people of Romania!

We will send another update in a few more days! Miss you all!

-Steph & the team