January 27, 2010

Great Aussie Day!

Our team was really fortunate to be in Australia's capitol city, Canberra, for Australia Day!  It reminded me of my favorite memories from Monument's 4th of July parades followed up with fireworks at Jason's house in Palmer Lake.  Classic!  

Anyways, Australian's really have some strong nationalism.  I love the way everyone takes the day off, and celebrates their country.  I'm realizing that this is a very rare thing in the world, as not many countries take a whole day off to celebrate their independence, or even their culture.  Go Australia! Go America!

I heard Jason's team went down to Sydney Harbor for fireworks and festivities, which I'm sure was epic.  Our team went downtown to a park where about five thousand people gathered for the infamous & free Great Aussie Day Breakfast--sausage, coffee and fruit! There's my buddies, Timmy and Alfredo on the right...

Later in the evening, we returned to the downtown where about ten thousand gathered for live bands (singing American classics), food and fireworks!  I live for these events!  It felt like home.  Our team has spent each day out on the streets (and grass) evangelizing.  I have some really great stories so far, but it's also been very challenging!  Please pray for our team.  This weekend, we will be going to churches promoting the Ship Tour. 

January 22, 2010

Loren and Darlene Cunningham

Jason and I had the incredible privilege of hearing from both Loren and Darlene Cunningham this week.  It's hard to describe in words the impact their lectures had on us!  If you're not familiar with them, Loren started YWAM exactly 50 years ago, and is considered a father of the faith.  He is good friends with Oral Roberts and Billy Graham and shared several stories of their time together in the past. 
Their stories of ministry over the past 50 years are simply amazing. Loren is a great story teller.  I felt like I was listening to a grandfather telling radical stories of God's work in and through their lives.  Darlene has a smile that will melt your heart.  I held back tears when she began to share stories of God's faithfulness in their family's lives over the years.  One time the Lord provided $5 for their daughter to have school supplies, and another time the Lord provided $5,200,000 for certain YWAM need.  Jason even confessed to shedding tears.  Their is such a richness to Loren and Darlene.  They have life to the full!

January 17, 2010

The Infamous Parkes Dish

Our team stumbled upon a special site of American history the other day.  Who would have thought anything significant could come out of middle-of-nowhere Parkes, Australia? 

Parkes is a farming town in southern hemisphere of the continent.  Its climate is much cooler than Townsville, and the dry air reminds me of home!  This place is also the hometown of Ken Mulligan, our base director (picture below).  For the last day and a half, our team of 43 has stayed with his family and friends in the community.  It’s the first time in over 20 years the Ken has been able to bring any DTS students or staff to his home, so we celebrated on Sunday night with a great big family style barbeque.  It was really special!

On Sunday afternoon, we drove past the farms in the area until we arrived at an enormous satellite dish.  It turns out this dish is famous for broadcasting the moment when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon on July 21st, 1969.  Apparently there were three satellite dishes that were initially picking up pictures of the moon’s broadcast, but after 8 minutes in, Houston control station switched to the Parkes dish which had the clearest shot of the moon for the two and a half hour broadcast.  Remember the famous words, “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind?” You can thank the Parkes dish in Australia for capturing that moment.  Cool eh? And random…

January 16, 2010

Thoughts on road trips...

Our team of 43 students and staff is currently driving down the Australian coast in four team vans pulling trailers. The vans were freshly detailed last week, and I even got to help with the classy, new sign job. We’re rollin’ in style
The destination for our road trip is Ywam’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee in Canberra. This distance from Townsville to Canberra is comparable to driving from the middle of North Dakota to the middle of Texas, and Jason and I are driving a significant portion of the four-day trip. Without a doubt, this is the longest road trip of my 24 years of existence. It reminds me of a few other great ones in my life! Here is a list of my top 10 all time favorite road trips: 
Delivering the PING Robot (2008). From Boulder, CO to Phoenix, AZ. After spending the entire school year construction the infamous PING golf putter pendulum, my team of five guys rented a van and trekked down to Ping’s facility in Arizona to set it up for testing. I consider that project one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. 
Black Hills Journey (2009). From Monument, CO to Deadwood, SD. Using Stefan’s Black Lightning, Stefan and I headed to South Dakota to spend a week with Jenna’s family. The whole trip could not have gone better; and we were treated like kings at the Jones’s home. Seeing Mt. Rushmore was nice. 
Moving Jimmy to California…and then back home (2008/09). From: Boulder, CO to San Jose, CA and then Monument, CO. I’m glad Jimmy and his family came to their senses and moved back home to Colorado after spending a year in California. I feel honored to have accompanied him on both trips! 
Ascent Conference with the Annex (2006). From: Boulder, CO to Seattle, WA. Major wars and epic pranks happened when we piled 66 Annex students into several 12-seater vans and traveled to Seattle. I particularly enjoyed having Bryon alongside to wreak havoc on opposing vans. 
California Spring Break Trip (2006). From: Boulder, CO to Los Angeles, CA. Stefan, Justin and I took the Black Lightning (Stefan’s Honda Civic-although it was green at the time) to California to spend a week with Jared Lincoln and friends at Azusa Pacific. 
Family Caravans to Table Rock Lake (2005/06/07). From: Monument, CO to Branson, MO. Jason joined my family three times in making this 2-day trek. We mastered making the backseat of my dad’s F-250 into a movie theater. One of my highlights is when the caravan of families stop for dinner at KC Masterpiece right outside Kansas City. It’s tradition! 
New Orleans Missions Trips (2008/09). From Monument, CO to New Orleans, LA. I have done this trip two times and now consider Zach Weingartner a modern day hero for pulling off such long days of driving with virtually no sleep. Plus, I have a new appreciation of sunflower seeds from these trips. 
Buffs Bowl Game (2008). From Denver, CO to Shreveport, LA. This has to go down as one of the most epic adventures in my life! Jason, Tom, Jon, Jeremy, Brooks, Kaylee, Tori and I drove 17 hours to Shreveport, stayed in a motel, woke up 6 hours later, spent the day in the town, watched the Buffs lose to Alabama, and then immediately got back in the cars and drove 18 hours back home. We left on a Saturday morning and returned by Monday night, spending a total of 35 hours on the road, and 23 hours on the ground. Did I mention I’m a diehard Buffs fan? 
Medieval Times Trip (2008). From Monument, CO to Dallas, TX. Bryon, Stefan, Matt Stark and I got comfy in Stefan’s Black Lightning and cruised to Dallas for the sole purpose of going to Medieval Times, a sweet renaissance dinner show! My favorite part was buying awesomely lame cowboys shirt at Wal-Mart in Pueblo, wearing them all weekend, and then returning them for a full refund on our way home. Oh, and accidentally sneaking into a catered party at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth was pretty fun too! 
The Amazing Australian Coast Tour (2010). From Townsville, AUS to Canberra, AUS. Just by the shear distance of this trip, it ranks top of my list at the moment. I’ll never forget this one. Ever.