Team Honduras and Team Hong Kong held their send-off concerts last night. Enjoy the included photos, but find more on the teams' respective photostreams. [Honduras’ stream] [Hong Kong’s stream] If you weren't able to attend the concert last night, it's been archived on our youtube page HERE.
Two weeks ago these teams gathered for the first time. After several full days of training, team building, and performing, both teams will head to the airport bright and early tomorrow morning and will be partnering with YFCI in their respective countries.
In terms of musical preparation, team members have had over 30 hours of rehearsal - from initial instruction in sectionals, to full-band training, to learning stage choreography, it was a joy to see the teams’ programming come together last night.
Non-musically, team members have had a lot to absorb as well. In the first evening seminar, we discussed how understanding of our need for Jesus is foundational in our ability to share the good news of Jesus to others. Beyond that, emulating Christ’s humility is key in learning to love those around us. A question that we have to ask ourselves when we’re interacting with a culture unfamiliar to us, but in which we desire to share truth is, “Is what I am doing, saying or thinking building trust or undermining trust?”
In spite of whatever identities and securities summer team members came into training holding on to, we’ve challenged them to embrace being servants first and everything else second. At the end of the day, it’s up to the team members to choose how they will respond - will they seek to serve themselves or will they seek to serve their team, their ministry partners and others they meet.
Both teams will be overseas for nearly a month! Keep them in your prayers and join us when they return for a Q&A and final concert to hear what they've learned and how they've seen God work this summer.
If you can't join us in person, both events will be live-streamed at ctimusic.org/live!
It’s a unique community in which 20 strangers can come together and not want to leave after six weeks. Last Friday was the final shoutout of Round 1 teams. As they shared stories during the Q&A and during their final concerts, the Gospel was proclaimed loudly. If you missed the event, both the Q&A and concert are archived HERE.
During the Q&A, the team leaders were each asked to give an overview of who they worked with and what a typical day was like for their teams.
Kasey, who led the team to Colombia with Wesley:
It was our first time partnering with Youth For Christ in Colombia in about 20 years, so it was exciting for us to be back with them. Fernando Traviño is the Youth For Christ national director in Colombia. He has three kids, all of whom were translators for us, so we were with them the whole time. Mostly, we were ministering in Bogotá, but we also ministered in a city called Giradot. Near the end, we spent about four days at a YFC Bible camp as well. YFC uses a lot of different music teams to reach out to the people of Colombia, specifically the young people. We played a variety of schools, prisons, churches, and public places. Our main goal was evangelizing directly through our testimonies, sharing the gospel, and through the songs on stage. But our goal was also to build relationships with the audience, talking to them after the concerts, sharing the Gospel one-on-one, and getting them connected with the Youth for Christ.
Holly, who led the team to Taiwan with Evan:
We worked with Youth With A Mission. Most of our time was spent in one particular county of Taiwan on the central-western coast. We travelled all over the county and played for different youth groups there. Most of our concerts were in churches or youth groups, but we also got to go to elementary and junior high schools. We even helped with some kids camps, playing with the kids, helping out whenever and however we could. Our main goal during our time there was to help YWAM open doors, as they’re making a big push to build partnerships with the churches in that particular region. These churches can connect with their communities on a daily basis even after we or YWAM leave.
At the end of the Q&A, the Round 1 team members each had a chance to share a challenge or encouragement for the sake of the Round 2 teams, who are about to go through a similar experience.
Kiana: Even when you guys aren’t understanding what’s going, when you’re not seeing a reaction, when you’re not seeing any results, remember that you’re being faithful to God and that’s the main thing that matters.
Daniel: Not one moment when you’re overseas do you need to question God and his ability to work and move through you. An underlying theme for me this tour was saying yes to God despite what I might be seeing with my own eyes, because he’s almighty and able to do amazing things in a manner that we’re not always aware of. So say yes to God. At all times.
Nathan: God works despite our weaknesses so don’t ever hold back, and be encouraged and encourage one another.
Shai: Don’t live by your feelings or what you feel that day. Set those down at the cross and never forget how big our God is.
Hannah: Remember that God is always faithful and that he will give you the strength you need to get through whatever lies ahead of you each day.
Chris: When your life sucks and you start to hate your rep, keep you mind set on the things above and on Jesus.
Jose: Watch and listen for why God called you here.
Caitlyn: Don’t let any circumstance diminish the passion that you have in your heart for God and his purpose in the world.
Edmund: When things don’t go according to plan, rejoice because that’s when you know that God is in control; that’s when you know that it’s God’s plan coming into play, not yours.
James: Be sure to work with your team members. That’s the biggest thing especially when you feel lost or disconnected; your team members are there for you.
Evan: When you get tired, and you will get tired, remember that the God who created the universe, the God who created the stars you see and the mountains, who was there before time began has commissioned you. So take strength in that.
Janell: Never be afraid to leave your heart vulnerable. It’s difficult for God to allow you to touch others if your heart isn’t touched as well.
Wesley: Every morning of every day, you have a choice to make. You can choose to be a slave to your own desires or you can choose to be a slave to righteousness, a slave to Christ, a living sacrifice to the Lord and creator who loves you.
Brendan: There are not always going to be ideal circumstances. You may not know why things are happening at a certain time or ever know why things happen a certain way. But know that God is still sovereign, he’s still good, he’s still accomplishing all things for his purpose even when we may never know.
Riley: Always keep a smile on your face and you can talk to just about anybody.
Kim: Be confident in what God has done for you because that is where all our strength comes from; we are nothing without God.
Kasey: There is always something to be thankful for in every circumstance, because what you guys are about to do is a trip of a lifetime; know that it’s a gift from God.
Lindsey: Whatever expectations you have - if you feel like you don’t have any at all or tons - just know that God works in really weird ways; even if we don’t always understand, he’s still working.
Holly: Remind yourself and each other every day that your identity and worth as an individual comes from nothing other than your status before God - when he looks at you, you are redeemed and he sees Christ.
Daniella: Trust God in everything, and be fully in the moment that you’re in and take advantage of that time.
After sharing a meal as the full CTI Summer 2015 community, Team Colombia and Taiwan’s final concerts commenced. The energy was high in spite of all the travel and transition the teams had been through.
All too soon the evening was over, and with that, Team Honduras and Hong Kong became the official torchbearers of the message of CTI: the message of the Gospel.
If you have a chance to catch up with a Round 1 summer team member, please do! The transition home can be difficult and they certainly have a lot to process from what they’ve just experienced.
In the meantime, continue praying for Round 2 as they prepare to head overseas themselves. Their send-off concert is this Tuesday (tomorrow!) and you’re invited to join us!
[A hi-res version of the 2015 summer picture can be found on each country's blog homepage - next to the promo photo thumbnails. More photos from the final concert can be found in Colombia and Taiwan's photo galleries as well.]