Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mission: Accomplished

Well friends, sadly our time on the Narrow Road Tour has come to an end. But what a journey it has been!!!! 28 states and over 10,000 miles in under 2 months! That's a lot of travelling.

We left Ocean City last Saturday evening, heading for Raleigh. Our original plan was to leave in the morning, but we were invited to boat out to Assateague Island and enjoy the day in the sun with the summer missionaries. We had a great time. Ocean City was definately a highlight of the trip...so many memories from last summer!! It was great to go back and join the missionaries in all the ministries going on all week. We even got to sleep in the retreat center where we lived last summer!

We spent Sunday and Monday unpacking and cleaning Mister George. It was bittersweet. To be honest, once everything was out of Mister George and the seats were put back in...he just wasn't the same anymore. It was if Mister George went on to a better place that afternoon...but of course he is still here with us in spirit and memory!

Brett left North Carolina Monday evening to return to Mississippi. He arrived safely.

Since we've completed the tour, below are some figures you might be interested in knowing about our trip:

Total miles driven: 10, 146
Average MPG: 14. 69
Average cost of gas: $2,89/gal
Most expensive gas: $3.29 (Mission Viejo, California)
Least expensive gas: $2.49 (Gaffney, South Carolina)
Most beautiful state to drive through: Colorado (Brian's opinion)
Favorite places: Colorado, Washington, NYC, OCEAN CITY!!!

We would both like to give a huge THANK YOU to EVERYONE who has been a part of this trip, whether you have kept up with our journal, been a partner in ministry, suggested places to go, provided contact information, given financially, or most importantly PRAYED for us throughout our trip....THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! We have been truly blessed this summer, and it would not have been possible without all of you who have supported us all along the way.

God is amazing. What else can we say? This entire journey was done through Him, by Him, for Him. As the days and months pass, we will only learn more and more how much God has blessed us on this trip, and how much we have learned about Him, ourselves, our country, and this world.

This will be our last official posting on the Narrow Road Journal, but no worries, this site will remain up and active for as long as you want to continue returning and reading all the posts from this summer! Also, new pictures are finally being posted, so look at see what we did the last part of our journey!

It has been a pleasure keeping you all updated as we travelled. Thank you again for your support and prayers. We love you all!

Signing out one last time,

Peace, love, and good memories from The Narrow Road Tour

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

OCEAN CITY!

Alright so first of all we must apologize for the lack of postings this past week. We've been really busy, and internet hasn't been available. When we got to Ocean City, the internet was down, so this is the first chance we've gotten to post! Lots to fill you in on:

We left NYC Saturday morning. As we mentioned before, we did construction on a church in Brooklyn. Thursday was our last day doing that, and Friday we went to do a day camp with kids, but it got rained out! Instead, we were sent to the World Vision storehouse in the Bronx. Unfortunately, they had too many volunteers so Brett and I were told it was our day off. We returned to Brooklyn and slept through the afternoon (at least Brian did). All in all, NYC was a GREAT experience and we are so glad we were able to go and be a part of Missions Connect! Thanks to Joel and Mari for letting us join the crew for the week. We loved every bit of it.

We left Saturday morning around 10am anticipating a 4 hour drive. Of course, we were wrong. It turns out driving in the northeast is just as bad as you'd think it is, especially the NJ Turnpike. Ouch. No fun. Lots of sitting, lots of waiting. Lots of horns. No fun. We were following a youth group that was from Maryland, hauling a bunch of their luggage for them. We met them in Delaware to drop it off, and continued on our way. We arrived in Ocean City around 5:30.

WE LOVE OCEAN CITY! This place means a lot ot the both of us. It is where the Narrow Road Tour had its beginning! It is almost like we never left. The missionaries this summer are great. There are 7 girls and 2 guys..much different than last summer. They are all great people, and we have enjoyed getting to know them this week. Here's a rundown of what we've done, and what we're doing:

SUNDAY: both of us preached at campground worship, Brett at Assateague Island, Brian at Frontier Town. The services went great. Afterward we attended church at Ocean City Baptist, followed by lunch. Sunday afternoon we handed out flyers for Upward Soccer to surrounding neighborhoods. The missionaries had their "goodbye" service SUnday night, so we attended that. It was great. We had a cookout beforehand. After the service we went to Kristin's (a local) house and hung otu and played games. Much of it was like last year! Good memories.

MONDAY: Surf and Sand Clubs in the morning! We do this all week from 9-11 am. We all go to our campgroudns and play with kids and do crafts and songs and Bible story. Brett and I are both at the campgrounds we were at last year. Memories! Monday afternoon we all relaxed on thebeach until it was time to get ready for Parents Night Out at the church, which is a place for parents to drop off their kids for the evening while we watch them, play games, etc. This lasted until 10pm.

Today (Tuesday) we did surf and sand, and tonight is lifeguard ministry. This is our favorite ministry. We sit around and talk to lifeguards about God, life, Jesus, etc...basically answering any questions they have. We have great discussions, and we are really looking foward to it.

Wed-Fri will be more surf and sand. Wednesday night we do a family night at 2 of our campgrounds, which we will both help out with. Thursday night we are showing the Passion of the Christ to international students. Friday night we have a coffee house for internationals which lasts until midnight. All of these are ministries we did last year. We're so happy to be back doing it again!!!

We are leaving Saturday mid-morning probably, and that will be the end our our tour! It's hard to believe its almost over! Where did all the time go? it has been a blast, and we can't wait to get home and tell you all about it. Of course, most of you will only be hearing one side of the story since Brett flies home next Monday! This trip has been a great experience. We have learned so much, and have so many opportunities to minister to others. Thanks to everyone who has supported us along the way.

I can't promise another post this week, perhaps it wil have to wait until we return home. Still, check in and see, who knows? We're very busy and internet is not always available. At least now you have a good idea of where we around what we are doing. Wow...only a few days left. Hard to believe! Looking forward to being home and seeing all of you soon...(both of us!)

Also, we'll post pictures when we get home. No way to do it while we're here! See you soon!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

NYC: Mid-week review

We're still here! We love New York.

We are doing construction all week on a church basement in Crown Heights (Brooklyn). We are working with a guy named Adam, who works for Missions Connect, and an older guy named Jim, who just happens to be the man. We are really enjoying working together. The church is in really bad condition and we are framing some walls and putting up sheetrock. Did I mention that Jim is the man?

Story: Monday was my (Brian) 22 birthday and I got to meet with one of my best friends from growing up. He moved to New Jersey while we were in high school, and I hadn't seen him in 3 years! He called out of nowhere on Monday and it just worked out for him to come into the city and meet me. We had a great time eating dinner and catching up. Brett came and met us later and we wen't to a place called Roxy's in Times Square to get cheesecake....except it cost $8.95 a slice. So...we ended up at McDonalds. You just can't beat McDonald's sometimes. It was great. Imagine having your two best friends (who don't even know eachother) with you on you're birthday. Does it get any better? Not for me.

What else...this city is huge. And HOT, but as I understand it the entire country is hot right now, so you know what we are talking about. We're getting to be regular New Yorkers on the subway. We've only gotten lost/confused 2 times or so. Good times.

Hard to believe only a week and a half left in the Narrow Road Tour! We want to thank all of you again who have poured out your prayers and support, and continue to do so! We have been so blessed. We'll continue to keep you updated. Until then,

Peace, love, and cheesecake (NY style...mmmmm)

Monday, July 17, 2006

so long corn fields, hello skyscrapers

NEW YORK CITY!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Yep, we're here in the Big Apple. Or is it the Big Acorn? No, thats Raleigh. We're in the Big Apple. Greetings!

We arrived here (somewhat) safely on Saturday evening. {Note to Moms: when we say "somewhat" we really don't mean we weren't safe. We were safe. Driving in NYC is just....well, an experience} The plan originally was to arrive Sunday afternoon, but we made better time in our travels than expected. So we decided to come on in to the city.

A note about NYC drivers: they don't know how. Well, let me rephrase. They aren't better, they aren't worse, they're just "different." Different in a kind of "My horn is my best friend and get out of my way and no I don't care if I don't know how to drive within the lanes" kind of way. We drove into the city through the Holland Tunnel, and crossed the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn, where we are staying.

We are staying at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, working with an organization called Missions Connect. Brian has friends who are working for Missions Connect, so that is how we have this contact. Missions Connect serves youth groups each week who come into the city to do mission projects. Their focus is to connect people to ministries in the city. This week there are two youth groups here working at 2 different day camps. We are not doing the day camps (at least not at first). Instead, we are (attempting) to hang sheetrock and repair the basement of a church in Brooklyn. It is in bad shape. When we arrived this (Monday) morning, we were a bit surprised. We are working with a guy named Adam, who is working here with Missions Connect, and a man named Jim who is here with a youth group. There is a lot of work to be done on this church, and we aren't sure if we'll be able to do much or not. We will see!

Hmm...what else? We are staying here until Saturday morning. Then we go to OCEAN CITY!! We're excited. God is great, He is blessing us continually every day. We are looking forward to seeing what this week holds for us. Keep us in your prayers! Until then,

Peace, love, car horns, sirens, great drivers, tall buildings, and......apples? from NYC!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

ye lovely corn fields

Hello there. This post is being written as we drive through South Dakota on Wednesday afternoon. Ah, if only you could see South Dakota. Interstate 90 is just fascinating. Look! To your left….a field! And look! To your right….another field! And what’s that in the distance? Rolling hills? No, just a mirage. Wow, an overpass….haven’t seen one of those in a while!

Okay so we’re actually really enjoying our drive right now. It’s very peaceful. We just left the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, but that’s getting ahead, so we will catch you up on the latest Narrow Road News:

SUNDAY! We leave Washington. This was difficult because we had become so close to everyone there. We left around….3:30? Yep, that sounds about right. Our goal was to get as close to Yellowstone National Park as possible. And so we drove. And drove. And drove. And….drove. The drive was actually quite beautiful. And can we just say…Idaho doesn’t get enough credit. It was one of the most beautiful drives of our trip. Until it got dark, that is. Driving through unfamiliar mountains at night is not exactly at the top of our “Favorite Things to Do” list. At least not at the top of Brian’s. Anyway, we drove through Idaho into Montana. We finally arrived at Beavertail State Park close to midnight, where we found a camping spot and set up Mister George for the evening. Neither of us slept great that night, and we’re not sure why. Must be something about Montana. Beautiful state, by the way.

Alright I’m back. Ah, but I never told you I was leaving. I was leaving. Now I’m back. We stopped in the town of Wall (yep, Wall) to go to a drug store. Wall Drug to be exact. This place is advertised on billboards every 10 feet for about 100 miles…so of course you have to stop. Neat place. We bought some fudge. While in Wall, we realized something. People don’t usually credit South Dakota with having much to see or do except Mount Rushmore. This, however, is not true. There is quite a bit to do in South Dakota, just check out the brochure section of Wall Drug. But you’d never know it unless you came, so you should come. We also came to the conclusion that there is one thing South Dakota has over all other things: heat. Yes, heat. And not the kind of “Oh, my, it’s quite warm today” heat. We’re talking “Oh, my, I didn’t know my body could actually bake as if in an oven” heat. And there is wind. And not just the kind of “Oh, my, it’s quite breezy today” wind. We’re talking “Oh, my, this is the hottest wind I have ever felt in my life, I think I’m melting” wind. We like South Dakota.

Whoa, that was a bit of a sidetrack. Where were we? I believe we’ve arrived at MONDAY:

Monday we finished our drive to Yellowstone. We arrived in the area after lunchtime. Yellowstone is huge. By far the biggest park we have been in. We decided since we were running out of afternoon, Old Faithful would be the best thing to see. We arrived just as it was finishing, so we had to wait 92 minutes until it blew again. During this time, the floodgates opened from heaven and we experienced on of our first thunderstorms of the trip. Luckily, it all cleared up in time for Old Faithful. If pictures aren’t posted at the time of your reading, check back soon. Monday evening we camped in Grand Teton National Park. The Teton range is beautiful. Very cool mountains. We went to bed with plans to go rafting on the Snake River Tuesday morning.

TUESDAY: We woke up very early and went into Jackson Hole where we were to meet our group to go rafting. We signed up for a 2-man Duckie trip. All in all, there were 12 people in our group with 2 guides. This was the first time Brett had been rafting. We had a great time. We were done by lunchtime, so we spent the afternoon in Jackson Hole searching for the perfect cowboy hat for Brett. Good news: we found one! We left Jackson Hole with plans to be out of Wyoming by bedtime.

The drive Tuesday evening/night was…long. We drove for probably the longest we have driven on this trip in search of a place to stay the night. To all of you who plan on visiting Wyoming, we will go ahead and warn you: there is no good way out of Wyoming. If you are in Jackson Hole and want to head northeast, plan on driving a while. We ended up driving to South Dakota, close to Mount Rushmore. This turned out to be a good thing.

This morning we were up early again heading for Mount Rushmore. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves there. We were kindof expecting it to just be a “Oh, well, that’s nice” kind of visit, but it was much more than that. We learned a lot about the history and all behind it. Did you know that 90% of it was done with dynamite? It’s true. We highly recommend a visit if you ever get the chance to be in that part of the country.

Wow, so this has been a long post. But if you can imagine driving through South Dakota for 350 miles, you can probably understand why writing a lengthy post is entertaining. With that said, it has been quite enjoyable writing this post. Apologies if you got bored. We are very excited about New York City. Oh…we should mention we heard back from the people in South Dakota. We explained to him our situation, and he was all for it. The guy’s name is Bruce, and he was a real encouragement to talk to. While Brett was on the phone with him, he prayed for our trip and gave us some words of encouragement. This really did a lot for us. Both of us agree that if ever given the opportunity, we would like to come back to South Dakota to do ministry.

For the rest of the week, our plans are as follows: drive, drive, drive, drive, eat, sleep, drive drive……………………………..drive. eat, sleep………………….drive, etc. We are NYC bound! Please keep us in your prayers as we make this long journey. Until we meet again,

Peace, love, and happy traveling (wherever you are!)

UPDATE SINCE WRITING THIS POST: We're in Bloomington Illinois, it is Thursday night. We've been driving all day. Doing the same tomorrow! Other than that, not much to tell. Don't expect another post until we get to NYC. But who knows?

NEW PICTURES POSTED!!! FINALLY!!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

eastward bound

It is Sunday afternoon, and we are departing Washington heading east. We have prayed about it and have decided that we are going to New York City for a week of ministry. We will not be there until next weekend, however. We will be spending this week on the road (LOTS of driving to do...) heading back across the country. We're heading to Yellowstone/Grand Teton first where we will spend a couple of days, then heading toward Mt. Rushmore before doing some long hauls eastward.

Please keep us in your prayers this week as we travel. We have a long way to go! Not sure how often we'll be able to get on the internet, so no promises about posts. There probably won't be too much to tell, so don't worry. Oh yea, Mister George is all fixed up with a new heater core and a new battery, so he should be good to go.

That's about all we have to say. Washington has been AWESOME! We hate to leave. These people are great.

Peace and love as we head east,

Thursday, July 06, 2006

youth groups and iceblocking

Well hello. Brett and Brian here. We'll just make this simple: we like Washington. Correction: we love Washington. If you have never been, might we suggest you come? And Oregon, too. Both very nice. Quite nice indeed.

Knowing you are all parched of our more detailed postings, we'll quench your thirst with this one:

Sunday July 2, 2006
We arrive in Kennewick, Washington around 2pm. Knowing that we will be leading a youth rally on Wednesday evening, we go to the church to practice music. Brett is on guitar, of course, and Brian is on keyboard. A girl named Rachel (an intern at the Baptist center here) was helping sing, and her brother was playing drums while his girlfriend played bass. Having never played together before, and hardly knowing one another, it took some getting used to. We decided we would need more practice time, so we set a time for the following night. We switched things up a bit and put Rachel on keyboards and Brian just on vocals. Brian on vocals? What? No way. Yes way.
Sunday night we helped out with a youth Bible study. Josh and Amy (Brett's friends from home who are also interns here) and Rachel lead these studies for about 4 youth groups. We just helped play and lead some opening songs. Good times.

Monday July 3, 2006
We do a community outreach event at a local park for youth (organized by the interns, not us). We brought pizza and games to a pavilion and invited the local youth to come and enjoy it for free. We played ultimate frisbee, and just hung out with the kids. Afterward there was another Bible study at a different church. Again we helped play some songs. After the Bible Study we went back to practice more music for the youth rally. Things went much better, but it was a late night. Lots of practicing, sound checking, organizing.

Tuesday July 4, 2006
Another Bible study for some more youth. And these youth were crazy. Good crazy. We loved it. We sung songs, played games, had a good Bible study, and really enjoyed getting to know these kids. This was all around lunchtime. That evening we went over to Garry's house for a cookout. Garry is the head guy around here, he works with the interns and all of the ministries going on around here. He's awesome. We enjoyed the evening at his house, there was a swimming pool, and lots of other college students. This is something we weren't expecting. There is a group here from Texas as part of the Impact team. This is basically a 2 week summer mission for them. The Texas people are awesome. There are also summer missionaries here who are great as well. One guy, Chris, just has to be mentioned in the blog. He's a sojourner (high school), and is just the man. This guy is hilarious, and has been a lot of fun to be around this week
Tuesday night of course we went to watch fireworks. Quite enjoyable. Relaxing, even.

Wednesday, July 5
The big day. Last minute organizing for the youth rally. Brian is to speak, Brett is to lead worship. Brian is freaking out about what he is going to say. The topic chosen was Freedom in Christ. This was chosen because it is around July 4 and we are all hearing alot about freedom, but we must keep our hearts and minds on teh ultimate freedom we have in Christ. Brian is freaking out. More practicing music, more getting things together. Brian spends the afternoon planning the message.
The youth rally went great. About 70-80 kids were there. Music was great. They seemed very receptive to the message and everything else that was done. We saw alot of familiar faces there, and had a good time talking and hanging out with the kids. Good times. Sorry we didn't get pictures, we forgot. Durnit.
Wednesday night we were introduced to one of the funnest things every invented: iceblocking. What is iceblocking, you ask? Quite simple, really. You go to the grocery store and buy a block of ice. (Never seen block ice before...) Then, you find a hill. A big hill. You put a towel over your block, sit on it, and let'er fly. Amazing fun. Indescribable even.

We are departing Washington Friday morning. The thing is, we don't know where exactly we're going. We havent' heard back from the South Dakota people, so we're not sure about that. There is a possibility we might just head on over to the east coast in the next week and go to New York City and do ministry (NEW YORK CITY!?) Yep. But we don't know yet. We'll keep you posted. Right now, we're just loving Washington. Loving the people and everything about it. God rocks.

And now, a note from Brett:

Doesn't Brian do a great job!!! We are loving it here. It is encouraging to be around and do ministry with other college students from all over the country. I am humbled from the experience we have had in WA. This week has truly been indescribable. We have formed relationships with a lot of youth. They just need someone to love them; to talk to them about God and life. There are so many ministries here. There are like a hundred different things(not quite a 100) going on and everybody means business. So I am pretty fired up. Let's change the world and love the people nobody else wants to. Something I heard at church camp when I was in highschool sums it up:
LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE
so with that said, "We love you God and we love everyone else."
holla back


(Update): We're staying in Washington until Sunday after church. Then we will begin our trek eastward. New York is looking more and more like a possibility, so we'll see what happens.