Over the last two years I have been to a mostly unheard-of corner of the world twice. If you’ve ever asked me about myself since then, you would have heard of this place. It has changed and defined my life ever since. 10.5 million people call this place home and a little over 100 thousand (1 percent of) people there call themselves Christians. 59 percent claim no religion and 26 percent claim Roman Catholicism. It’s a place where your window is always the frame of a beautiful picture.. opposite of the spiritual grand picture. I fall in love with this place every day I’m there and distance makes my heart grow fonder every day I’m not.
The Czech Republic is where I want to be.
I returned from my second trip to Czech in mid-december of 2010 and spent a couple weeks in Kansas with my friends and family for Christmas before taking a train ride home to fresno, CA. I have spent my time since then playing drums for A Current Affair and working towards my return. It took me a few months after returning though to realize that God was truly calling me to Czech. Playing drums for a band and living in California has been a dream come true, don’t get me wrong. Something has been tugging at my heart more though and this is why i’ve chosen to follow the path I believe God is asking me to follow. He may not be showing me step by step how to make it..but that’s because i’ve learned that by taking steps of faith, each step reveals a little more.. Sometimes knowing where you need to go and walking in darkness for months, sometimes years can be confusing or even frustrating, but Gods timing is everything. It is perfect.
I got a call yesterday from a good friend of mine who I met on previous Exit Tours. He was driving through the mountains with bad reception so in a short amount of time I learned that they needed a drummer for the next fall tour. I am so excited to say that I have been invited for this next Exit Tour as the drummer again leaving october 3rd!
So this isn’t exactly as easy as getting on a plane and playing music for 3 months in a foreign country. When I tell people about these Exit Tours, they usually get the wrong idea and think that I’m going on a european music tour, making money and living like a rockstar. all of these ideas are false! Let me be the first to tell you that. It runs far deeper than that and no, I do not make money doing this. Everyone else and I raise money for this mission because that’s what it is. For three months, We travel through 5-6 major cities in Czech, Poland and Slovakia staying in a city for a week at a time. Each day of the week we wake up at 530-6 in the morning, driving in the snow, sometimes rain and on lucky days clear skies to a high school nearby. We unload nearly 3 tons of music equipment including stages and a full sound system to the gym and set up before 8 when students start filling in the rest of the room. We open up the morning with a few songs, introducing ourselves as Dizmas, an american rock band from California and after this, the students break off for lectures and “english class”. The team we spend most of our time living with stays in the gym with half the students and plays games for an hour and a half, getting to know their teammates and peers. Half an hour is spent sitting in a circle asking questions, breaking ice and really getting to know the students around us. Questions range from cheeseburgers, beer and the city all the way to what they and we believe in and where we as humans came from. This small group time is where I find our time most crucial, as we build personal relationships with the students in our group and invite them to after school activities with us all week and a free rock concert on friday or saturday. This is a normal school day and during a given week, we do 3 or 4 of these inviting students,their friends or even their grandparents to our concert on the weekend. During the afternoons we play sports, go to tea rooms, have music jam sessions and anything else that can further build relationships with students.
The weekend arrives and we set up at a venue in the city for a 2 hour rock concert with lights, smoke and Dizmas. Besides the small groups, this is where its all at..Right in the middle of our set we put aside 15-20 minutes to share the gospel of Jesus with the friends we’ve made over the week in the schools of Czech Republic. This is where some people decide to walk out not wanting to hear what we’re saying. Sometimes the students applaud, sometimes they won’t stop talking. Sometimes its dead silent. We pray before the show that no matter what it looks like to us on the outside that God would move and be a light in the darkness and that His spirit would speak in the hearts of the students before us. If we do everything we can, its comforting to know that we no longer have control over the situation and God takes hold from there. The next day is our last day in that city and we invite these czech students somewhere they probably would never go before Exit Tour, church. The vision of Exit Tour is not to reach the students with the gospel, but to connect them with the local church who will be Christ’s body and church to them when we leave at the end of the week. The Exit Tour is a bridge between my generation in the most atheistic country in the world to the local church, a small but growing light in the dark.
Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Strangers, Subscribers, Believers, Non-believers, I write this blog to ask you to pray for me or think about me as I go through the application process of this trip. That things will go through smoothly and I will be accepted for this time overseas. Pray that I connect to a church here in Fresno and involve myself and serve with my time in the states. Pray that the money needed to be raised will not discourage me but encourage me as I see God moving in me and providing for His will.
I ask that you pray for me whenever I come to mind. I would be blessed and encouraged to know Church members are speaking to God on my behalf.
Thank you for reading. I am anxious for further news and to start raising support, God-willing that I am accepted as a short-term missionary.
to be continued..