- Kasey Manning – Team Leader, Bass
- Wesley Lin – Co Leader, Sound Tech
- Daniel Somerville – Drums
- Riley Merino – Guitar
- Janell Brower – Guitar
- Brendan Lane – Keys
- Nathan Wong – Vocals
- Hannah Haugen – Vocals
- Caitlyn Sheehy – Vocals
- Shailynn Miller – Vocals
Click on picture to zoom in
Just yesterday Team Colombia had a school concert; this morning they were still overseas! We’re happy to report the team has arrived safely and are on their way back to Willmar now. Tune in tomorrow for their public debriefing and final concert!
The team went to YFC Colombia’s ONE WAY Camp today! It runs through the weekend. Please pray that God speaks to the hearts of those in attendance and makes Himself known to those that don’t know him.
¡Buenas tardes a todos!
As we pass the two-week mark of our time in Colombia, it occurs to me how faithful YFC has been to use our team to our fullest capacity. As Kasey pointed out last week, despite any frustrations or perceived failures by us, God is faithful to ensure that any work we do for His Kingdom is worthwhile, whether for the benefit of those we are trying to serve or for our personal relationships with Christ. I rejoice in all discomfort we face, for I think it is indicative of God pushing us to weakness for the sake of His Gospel.
This past Saturday, our team left for a village on a mountain just outside of Bogotá. YFC owns a building there where kids gather weekly to learn about God and fellowship with other kids and the YFC staff. We were excited for this nonmusical opportunity to help out as part of the staff!
Once we arrived, we were dismayed to find that the long pathway up the hill to the building was covered in deep mud from the rain. We soon realized there was no other way but to simply walk through the mud with our nice shoes (Toms, Sperry’s, and the like). Once we actively decided to disregard the state of our shoes, navigating up the hill became an adventure that required teamwork to find walkable paths, cross trenches, and prevent one another from slipping.
After a successful trek to the YFC building, we proceeded to have some great ministry time with the village kids. In my particular small group, we practiced English using the Bible, studied from Proverbs and Job, and spent the remaining time coming up with interactive games to play together. When the students left, we helped the staff reorganize the building and carry boxes back down the hill.
It was a wonderful time. Looking back, however, had we been given a choice, the temptation of turning back from ministry would have been very strong. Perhaps we could try another day, perhaps our shoes were too heavy a price to pay to spend time with random strangers, perhaps we’ve already been pushed so hard that we no longer deserve anymore discomfort…
My mind goes to Genesis 25:29-34, the story of Esau and Jacob. After an exhausting day of hunting, Esau returns home and expects comfort and rest from Jacob, in the form of some delicious lentil stew. In exchange for the stew, Jacob demands from Esau his precious birthright, which Esau hastily gives up.
It occurs to me that our team has been given a birthright of sorts as well – as a foreign music group, we have been given the “right” to influence others towards Christ. It is easy for us to take this birthright for granted, as Esau did. Will we continue to steward our influence well, or will we trade it for something as insignificant as keeping our shoes clean? I believe this to be a relevant challenge to every believer, regardless of where we are or how little influence we think we have.
Since Kasey’s last update, we have been playing mostly in churches for various events. Due to a Colombian holiday, we have gone about two days now without performing. We are all eager to be playing concerts again, and we will get the chance to tomorrow (July 1) at a local prison.
Until next time!
Hey everyone! Team Colombia has been on the ground for over a week now. We are happy to report that we have received our last piece of missing luggage, which has made our stage setups much easier! We have been playing mostly in schools and churches so far, with opportunities to minister during and after our concerts. We are working with some wonderful translators, which makes it much easier to connect with our audience in conversation.
Tuesday afternoon, we traveled to a city called Girardot. Our first concert of the day was at a prison. When we arrived to set up, the congregation of inmates were already seated and waiting for us. They sang songs together as we quickly set up the stage. Once we were ready, we played a concert that was focused on how the Gospel sets us free from our shame of the past. As a team we were encouraged by how engaged the inmates were throughout the concert. We didn’t get a chance talk with them afterwards, but we were grateful for the opportunity to share stories of God’s redemption.
After we left the prison, we headed to a park for an acoustic concert. There is a small group of believers who meet there weekly, and anyone in the community is welcome to come and hear the Gospel preached.
At that point in the day, we were feeling pretty tired and hot. We weren’t able to set up our sound system, so that meant we needed to sing out loudly and engage the crowd as much as possible. However, we were able to set up a speaker that would allow us to perform one of our dramas called “Dare You To Move.”
After the first few songs, we started the drama music and the team began performing it. Everything was going well, when suddenly, the music stopped playing. Everyone onstage froze, unsure of what to do. After a long, painful silence, a cow mooed loudly from the field next to our stage.
It was a defeating moment.
Thankfully, Wesley was able to resume the song right from where it had stopped, and we finished the skit. Though we were discouraged, we played the rest of the acoustic concert. At the end, the pastor of the church took the microphone and started talking to the crowd. None of us felt particularly great about how the concert had progressed. It had seemed like there were a lot of factors working against us: the heat, the lack of time beforehand, and the cow that interrupted our drama, to name a few.
What happened next was a humbling experience for the team.
The pastor thanked us for coming and playing the concert. He asked if there was anyone in the audience who was moved by the message of the Gospel and wanted to put their faith in Christ for the first time. A man and a woman stood together and came up to the front. The pastor prayed with them, and we prayed for them as a congregation. It was clear that they had been impacted by the Gospel message.
Even though we felt that the concert went poorly, it was clear to us that God had still chosen to bear fruit with the message that we presented. It was a powerful reminder for us that God is greater than our weakness, and He so often works when we are at our weakest. We can never say that what we are doing here isn’t worth it. If even one person comes to faith, it is worth it.
We finished up the night with a concert in the front yard of someone’s house. We played for a small fellowship of believers that meet there regularly in the front yard. During the concert, there was a man who seemed to be very impacted by what we were sharing. He came up to me after the concert and handed me a plastic sack with two mangos inside. He said that the concert had been a blessing to him, and he wanted to give us something in return.
Thank you for praying for us and for following our journey in Colombia! Pray for us to continue giving everything we have for the sake of the Gospel, and that God would continue to work powerfully through us in our weakness. Pray for continued health as well.
Until next time,
Kasey & Team Colombia
Brendan: Hey everyone! Bogotá has been very kind to our team, and we’ve been extremely blessed by the hospitality shown to us and the people’s receptiveness to the Gospel. We’ve had several amazing opportunities to share this message, both from the stage and in more intimate discussions, so please pray that we might continue to be found faithful in God’s mission for us. Hope to see you all soon and share more stories! Until next time, Brendan.
Caitlyn: Hello family and friends! Caitlyn here, alive and well! Bogotá is a bustling city full of a tremendous amount of ministry opportunities. As we share God’s mercy through music, my team and I hope that many respond to the message we bring. God is looking out for us every moment as we rely on His strength and faithfulness. Along the way we have tried many delicious foods, and we have interacted with many Colombians in their native language. It has been a joy being in Bogotá through the thick and thin. Much love.
Riley: Bogotá has quickly become a second home to me. I love looking out the window of the apartment we’re staying in and seeing huge green mountains, as well as the beautiful lights of the city at night. The music finally sounds like I hoped it would now that all the equipment has come in. We’ve gotten to talk to some incredible people so far that have been all over the world in different ministries and homes. Shoutouts to ma and pa, sorry I haven’t called yet, I plan to in the next day or two.
Shai: Hey y’all! God is good! I’ve been so blessed to see the work God is doing in Colombia and in my team’s lives as well. Although there have been a few bumps along the way, God has created an amazing bond between me and my team. Miss you all! Shoutout to my fam who I miss so much and also Suburban Christian Church and G.R.I.T. Can’t wait to see more of the plans God has on this trip. Love Shai.
Janell: What’s up guys? How you been? Wait you can’t answer that… Anyway, things here have been great. The multiple adventures we experience day-to-day cause us to grow in ways that seemed unimaginable before. Grateful for each second here. And because I said that I would… Hey ma, miss you a ton. And hey dad and Jasmine. Much love to fam and friends alike.
Nathan: Hi friends! It’s been a challenging and exhausting week in Colombia but I praise God for giving me this opportunity to share His good news with His people. We’ve performed 8 concerts so far and we keep growing and getting better. Shoutout to my little sister Isabel for finishing High School, wish I could be at your graduation! Congratz! 🙂
Hannah: Friends & Family–Bogotá has gone beyond what I could have ever imagined. The people are great and have been extremely generous and the beauty of the country takes my breath away. God is already at work here and I am incredibly honored that God would include my team and me in His kingdom works. Thank you for your prayers! 🙂 In Him, Hannah. P.S. I love you mom, dad, & Simon!
Dan: I’m alive and well in Bogotá! We haven’t even been here for a week & I’m already amazed at how much God has shown himself and moved through us as a team. Colombia is truly an incredible country; we’ve met and grown close to a substantial amount of people. I’m especially softened to the younger kids who I’ve been given the opportunity to meet and/or minister to. They hold a very special place in my heart. Our host family is incredibly selfless. We’re eating well and have everything we need. I’d like to acknowledge my mother Carolyn, my best friend Stacey, my MPC family, and my family members in Chicago. I love/miss you all & can’t wait to fill you in when I get back. See you all very soon!
Wesley: Hey all! During our first week here in Bogotá, I have immensely enjoyed everything that’s happened. Even through all the struggles, challenges, and complications, God’s glory continues to shine through, especially in our weaknesses. In addition, I think our team has been particularly blessed recently by witnessing plenty of immediate fruit at our venues. I’d like to give a shoutout to Kelvin, not only for being my leader on two teams, but also for being my sound tech mentor. High-pressure troubleshooting has never been so real…
Kasey: I am so thankful that God has placed us here. Not only because the coffee here is wonderful, but more than that, I’m continually blown away by the example that our ministry partners set for us. There are three kids in our host family three (17, 19, and 24) who are joyfully and willingly serving the Lord. They remind me of my brother and sister; Sammi and Tanner, I love you and miss you! Also, I was super excited to find out that we will be helping out with a Youth For Christ camp for four days toward the end of our trip! Shoutout to my friends at TLBC! To the CTI training community, thanks for preparing us so thoroughly. Mitch and Missy, I miss you guys! Team Taiwan, we think of you often and are praying for you as a team.