A Visit to the Old Stompin’ Grounds

Spring tour. Boy has it been a wild 3 weeks. One of our stops this tour was in good old G-Town (Gallup, NM), my home town. We got to play at my home church, and got a day off there. It was really refreshing to go home, and I got to share a little bit of my culture with my team. I don’t have much more to say, but you can thank my wonderful mother for most of the pictures.

First off, the concert.

Afterward, we had dinner with the youth group.

We had Navajo Tacos, which is a traditional meal from the Navajo Reservation, which surrounds Gallup. They are super yummy!

We hung out and socialized with members of the youth group and the church during dinner.

The next day, we had a day off, so some of us took a hike to the top of Pyramid Rock to experience God’s creativity.

Give Thanks!

We’re at the end of our Spring Tour and what a journey it’s been! This tour, we spent over 100 hours in the van and traveled up to Manitoba, Canada, all the way to California and back to Minnesota in the span of 3 weeks.

We just played our last official concert in town at Community Christian School. What a great way to end our time of touring with this team. As we played our last set, we talked how thankful we were for this year and for what God has done. Honestly, there are countless things to be thankful for. Yes, this year was full of challenges and hardships, but also lots of growth and learning. I am constantly in awe of how God gave me the opportunity to travel all across the United States, Canada and overseas doing what I love.

  • I got to see new places, admiring beautiful landscape and scenery driving across the country.
  • I got to meet so many fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who love the Lord and are SO passionate about the ministries they are involved in at their churches and in their communities.
  • I got to travel with 6 people that I never would have met if it weren’t for CTI and now we’re practically family. (I also have friends ALL over the States now!)
  • Most of all, I got to experience God’s faithfulness and how He has provided for our team this entire year. In times of worry, doubt, discouragement, God never failed us and still accomplished His work in and through us. Like it says in 1 Timothy 2 “if we are faithless; He remains faithful.”

These are just a few reasons for me to be thankful today! All of these things point me back to God’s ultimate demonstration of His love for us: through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The truest form of love was how God chose to redeem us, to save us and to continue making us and shaping us more into His likeness everyday…and for that I am TRULY thankful.

Here are a few highlights from our tour:

Mountain driving in Colorado

Beautiful sunrise pictures at the Grand Canyon in Arizona!

Our stop in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park.

What a year of learning and growth it’s been! We will be playing a few more shows here in town on the weekends and will be preparing to train the summer teams that are coming soon. Thank you all so much for your support!

Much love from CTI 14:22!

Follow My Example

About a week ago I got to talk to a CTI alum from a few years back. She asked me a question that we don’t hear very often, “What has been the single most impactful moment in your CTI career?”

I paused and thought about it for a second and something came to my mind quickly. Before I get to it, here is a little background….this is my second year of CTI, my first fulltime team was able to go to Honduras for our overseas tour, in the summer I co-led a team back to Honduras, and right before this question was posed the fulltime community, this year, had just found out our summer placements…of which, I am leading another team back to Honduras. Needless to say, Honduras and going overseas was on my mind. Anyway, back to the story. I responded to her with this, “I was able to help a flood victim family sweep mud out of their house.” It was at that moment when I realized even more fully what Christ meant when he told his disciples as he washed their feet in John 13, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”

As I was sweeping the mud out of their little house, blistered hands, dirty feet, and all, I realized that this is me sharing the gospel with them. I was living out what Christ has called us to do…to love and serve others. Sometimes loving and serving others means being out of your comfort zone, doing something that is hard or unnatural for you, or maybe even something that hurts you (my blistered hands would say so). After all, this is what Christ has done for us. He gave himself up to the point of death because he knew it needed to be done. He knew we wouldn’t be able to be made right with the Father on our own; He knew we needed a savior, a perfect sacrifice…and He knew he was the one. So Christ voluntarily gave himself simply because he loves us and wants to serve us.

I know that the love of Christ was shining through all of that mud…and it was shining through me. It is funny, yet amazing and beautiful, the things God uses to teach us more about his love for us. Look for those things today.

Overwhelmed in His Great Presence

14:22 Recently embarked on the long journey to New Mexico. During our time in Gallup not only were we excited to meet our amazing guitar player’s(Jose) family and community but also see how God was going to use us!

For me personally the people of Gallup had a long lasting effect on my heart. The team had the great privilege of playing Sunday morning and evening for The Journey Church in the downtown area and listening to two different messages from pastors in the area. Through the two men we were reminded of the importance of our calling as followers of Jesus Christ, but even more that “our calling” is not truly about us, but for Him.

Specifically we read in 2 Timothy 2, discussing how we as Christians are to run the race of life with perseverance as farmers, athletes, and soldiers would do. All these titles work towards a goal and with a victorious attitude. Unfortunately, in this life there is a battle being waged for each of our hearts. The enemy gives his all to pull us down, distract us, and make us think we are not strong enough to endure hardships and trials. And he is right. We can not endure them alone. But that is why in verses 11-13 God reminds us that He is with us through it all.

11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.

Many times in our lives when Christ allows change to come, we allow the devils lies to come. We get scared, frustrated, etc. and so focused on the future, we forget who is in control. So I ask you: when God presents you with something new, are you letting your worries distract you from your foundation? The foundation that gives us hope and a reason to lay our burdens down at His feet.

Every Sunday night a handful of the churches in the area gather. They come together as one body. I was so encouraged to see all these different followers of Jesus from all different backgrounds and even cultures, clapping with us and seeing their smiling faces. Our style of praise was very different than what they were use to but as we continued in worship that night I came to a place where I thought my face would burst because I could not stop smiling back at the huge amount of joy in front of me. They looked past the differences of music and focused on the words that lifted and praised our Jesus.  In that moment I was reminded that through all our worries and struggles, nothing can change His love for us and the power of His Holy presence. This is what life all boils down to, Jesus. Not us. Not our life, but Christ’s life through us. So, whatever you are going through in your life right now…if your stressed, scared, or even feel great where you are I encourage you to take some time and simply worship our King. Let your heart feel heavy and become overwhelmed with the joy He gives and the peaceful presence He holds in His hands. Be grateful, give thanks for all He has done, don’t forget of the battles He has won for us and is still winning, but sing of His mercies to us all. Thank Him, for it is only because of Him, that we CAN do great things and work towards a greater purpose in life: bringing Christ all the glory!!!

Proverbs20:24

A Man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can a man understand His own way?

“You don’t need a plan; you just need to be present.”
― Bob Goff

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

Hey y’all!

14:22 kicked off Spring Tour a few days ago with bookings in Duluth and Bemidji Minnesota, and now we are in Boissevain, Manitoba! I am really excited to be on the road again with my team, and excited for all that God has in store for us for our final tour.

As we kicked off this tour, Elisa challenged each of us on the team to think of one word to be our “theme word” for this tour. God put on my heart to make joy a point of emphasis for this tour.

Thinking back over this year and even over my life before CTI, I have realized that in times of hardship that I sometimes let misery overwhelm me instead of the joy of the Lord. Hardships, tribulations, and times of trouble are simply a fact of life in a broken world. But in the face of hardships, we know that the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

One of the pastors at my home church defined joy very simply as an inner optimism and excitement about the Gospel and about the great work that God is doing in our lives. He went on to say that joy is not at all about just trying to feel happy all the time, especially in times of hardship. That kind of false happiness is simply unrealistic and disingenuous. The Bible contains many passages of grief and mourning over loss and hardship, and even a whole book of Lamentations! Joy isn’t the opposite of sadness. But joy comes from knowing that God has the last word for our lives, and that he loves us so deeply that he died for us, and then conquered death with his glorious resurrection!

It isn’t wrong to feel sad or upset in the face of hard times. But it is dangerous to let misery and despair take the place of our joy in Christ.

My hope and prayer is that we would all come to deeper and deeper understanding of the Gospel, and that from that knowledge we would be fillled with uncontainable joy! And I pray that the joy of the Lord would be our strength for every part of our lives.

Lake Bemidji, Bemidji MN

Winter Tour – WE MADE IT!

Whelp everyone we’ve done it.

Today, 14:22 played its final program of Winter Tour in Spring Green Wisconsin. These past thirteen weeks have been a real trip, we’ve been through Twenty-Two states and a Canadian province, played at numerous venues and made countless new friends. We have been super blessed by all of our ministry contacts and hosts these past weeks and though tour has been exhausting, God has totally been at work through each and every one of us throughout this tour and I can’t wait to see what He has for us next. Tomorrow we head back to good old Minnesota to debrief and then we get a much needed Easter break. Here are just a few highlights from our Winter Tour…

Tobogganing in Iowa

Rockford Rescue Mission in Illinois

Texas!

Mississippi

Soaking up the sun in Florida

Niagara Falls

A CTI Fulltime traveling music ministry team plays at March Break YFC Youth camp in Marmora, Ontario.

YFC camp in Ontario

Lake Michigan

Last venue of the tour!

 

The Best “Yes”

After spending some time at the beach and Dutch Village in Zeeland, Michigan, our team made our way to Portage to play at Berean Baptist Church. About a year ago, my previous team had the privilege of playing quite a few shows here. This church was very memorable for me, and I’m so glad I got to come back here with 14:22 this year! The youth group, hosts and church members are just as kind, welcoming and supportive as I remember!

At this time last year, I wrestled with whether or not I should come back to serve with CTI for another year. It was at this church that God spoke to me and convicted me that I loved my own comfort more than God. I knew I needed to obey God, surrender to Him and give up my own desires: so I told God, “Yes.” That was a BIG decision, because I was committing to another year of ministry on the road that I knew would be full of hardships, challenges and sacrifices. But one year later, I can say that I’m glad I made that decision.

As I look back on this year, I see glimpses of why He brought me back, even though I initially had no idea why. The people I’ve met, ministered to, the people who have blessed me, the places that I’ve been…He knew that all in advance. Now, He led me back to the same church where it all started. God calls us to obey Him and follow Him, no matter what the cost! As I shared with the youth group that night, I challenged them to do the same.

I may not always understand why God wants me to do certain things, but He always knows what He’s doing and it is ALWAYS worth it. I will never regret saying “Yes” to God and “No” to myself. If Jesus gave His life to save me when I could not save myself, how can I not offer everything to Him! My obedience is a response to the love and grace He has poured out on me. What a JOY it should be for us as believers to obey, serve and worship Him with our lives!

“So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”… For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”

1 Peter 1:14-16; 18-19 (NLT)

So I challenge you, what is God calling you to do today? Will you listen to His voice and obey? It could be as simple as choosing to get up a bit earlier to spend more time with Him. It could be responding to God’s call to begin a new ministry opportunity He has placed in front of you. Whatever it may be, no matter how big or small, every YES you say to God is always worth it. SAY YES to Him in faith today!

We love the beach! Hello, Lake Michigan!

Simple Actions

Hello from Marmora, Ontario! This week we have had the privilege of being a part of a YFC March Break youth camp, held at Marmora Pentecostal Church.  Joel, the director, has brought in middle to high school aged youth from the community to put on a day camp for elementary to middle school youth. We have been brought on to help lead the events and to lead worship and share the Gospel and our stories as a part of the morning and evening events for the older kids putting on the camp.

It’s been a blast! We have gotten to play all kinds of high-energy games with the kids from Squirt to Dutch Blitz to dodgeball to basketball and even Manhunt in the snow. And all the while we have had so many awesome opportunities to be examples of what it is like to follow Christ for the youth at the camp. Playing and serving alongside the kids has opened the door for us to share the love of Christ with them through our words and music and from Joel’s messages.

During one of the basketball games, I was cheering for one of my teammates after he scored a basket, and one of the younger kids ran up to me and gave me a huge hug. It made my day!

I can really tell that the kids are beginning to grasp more and more what it means to live in the light of the Gospel and the love of God through our time together in this camp. God can work through our simple actions to have an awesome impact for his kingdom.