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28 July 2012

Italy: A Snapshot




Arriving on a Tuesday night and leaving on a Thursday afternoon does not provide sufficient time to obtain a complete picture of a country--unless it's Vatican City. This case does not involve Vatican City. 

William, my coworker and roommate, and I went to the boot-shaped country of Italy. Thanks to Ryanair, you can fly roundtrip to pretty much every country in Europe for less than the price it takes to fill up your car. Crazy (and wonderful).


MILAN


Here are a couple short video clips at Piazza del Duomo. Sorry they look bad. Blogspot destroys the quality of posted videos. Ha. 


video


video

We spent pretty much all day in downtown Milan, meandering through city streets and parks, taking photos and video footage, and attempting to survive the scorching heat. Here are a few photos from Milan:











Everyone was sleeping on benches and in the grass under trees during the early afternoon heat.

 Parco Sempione

There were these guys who would shove corn seeds into your hand without asking and then whistle for the pigeons to come eat them. Then they'd want you to give them money. Ha, apparently you aren't supposed to feed the pigeons at all and can get a fine for doing so. 

Here's William. They got me as well a little bit later. One second I was innocently taking in the beautiful surroundings, and the next I had three pigeons fighting for corn in my hand.


PARTNERS

TWR's Partner organization in Italy (CRC) has some pretty awesome stuff going on (huge ministry with over 150 volunteers). Their building was in the middle of being remodeled while we were there, but we got a chance to film some of their live radio show. Here's a pic of two guys in the studio. I'll be piecing some short clips together soon for a TWR Quickvid.


We stayed at the CRC director's home in Seregno. He and his wife, a couple from Germany, have been with CRC for 30 years.

FOOD

It's not a common occurrence to find yourself in Italy, but when you do, you have no choice but to partake of the food--liberally. Pizza, panini, and pasta was joyfully consumed. Also, I had the best ice cream I've ever had. It was mango-flavored. So good. 




MISC


We had a couple hours in Bergamo before flying out. It was a very wealthy city. There were lots of nice sights, but the only photo I will put in this blog is of an elderly man confidently jaywalking across four lanes of moving traffic. Sure enough, he made it safe and sound to the other side. Well played.



Thanks for reading this blog update. Ciao, amici!


16 July 2012

Summer 2012: Thus Far


Tomorrow I'll be heading to Italy for a couple days with William, so I thought it'd be a good time to post a summer update.

CROATIA

Not too long after returning from Portugal, I drove out to Croatia with a couple colleagues. We saw some different parts of the country, got to know the small staff of TWR's partner organization there, and took photos and video footage for TWR-related use. We'll soon release a short promotional video for Croatia's Project Hannah (worldwide women's ministry).

One of many war-ravaged buildings full of bullet holes in Vukovar.

Beautiful architecture in Zagreb.

Project Hannah being recorded in Croatian.


MUSIC FESTIVALS

There are music festivals going on everywhere this summer. Bratislava is covered with posters and billboards advertising different festivals all over Europe. I've gone to two thus far. One was a "Catholic" festival (though most if not all of the bands were evangelical) called Lumen. Leeland was the headliner. The other one was the largest free music festival in Europe (forget what it's called). It was held in Vienna. The night I went with some coworkers, it poured rain for about an hour. Luckily, they were throwing out thousands of ponchos for the helpless attendees.

Leeland

A Finnish band (is in this pic somewhere)


TWR EUROPE

Our website is looking really good now! I'm in charge of putting together the articles that get posted. We get a lot of cool stories and listener responses that come in from all over the world! Click the photos below to see the most recent features.

THE ONLY GRAVE WITH A CROSS

PHOTO CONTEST WINNER: RAY DETWILER

We have a contest that just started today on our Facebook page. We do simple little contests about every other week or so. This is a video link contest that anyone can join. Post a link to a video you like. Whoever posts the link with the most "Likes" gets a free book. Check it out! :)



Later this summer we'll be holding a large sweepstakes with a cool prize for anyone that "Likes" our page. 


CAR

Well, it looks like I'll officially be getting a car next month. Some money is being transferred to our account. I have a couple weeks to figure out which car to get. I have a few people helping me and have looked at an incredible amount of cars. I'm planning on getting one of the 2013 Fiats with the world's first in-car espresso maker. Ha, not really, but that sounds nice and very necessary.

UPCOMING

As referred to earlier, I'll be spending a couple days in the Milan area. In early August, I'll be going with William to a Christian music festival in Germany called Freakstock to document some stuff for TWR Europe and have a good time camping as well!

Not too long after Freakstock, an ol' Kansas farm boy I like to call "Pops" will be joining me here in Europe for two weeks! Already looking forward to this time!

"Pops" and I playing mini golf in our backyard in Brazil.


END / KONIEC / FIN

13 July 2012

WE ARE HOPELESS

While this article has a lot of questions, it has only one answer. Seriously and thoughtfully consider the questions in order to fully embrace the answer.


When was the last time you felt free? Truly free. Maybe you have never felt free. The heavy weight of relationships, financial concerns, scholastic pursuits, future plans, personal insecurities, fears, doubts, and everything else is overwhelming. Even devastating


on the verge of depression
or a mental breakdown


Have you reached a point in your life where you have felt completely and utterly hopeless? Maybe even on the verge of depression or a mental breakdown. Maybe you’re not there yet, but you can sense that you’re headed in that direction.  


The reality is that you are hopeless. I am hopeless. The only thing saving us from utter despair is one thing, and one thing only. One glorious thing! I will get to that later.


we are horribly
mistaken


Do you consider yourself a good person? “I’m not perfect, but I’m trying my hardest” is perhaps the most dangerous thing we could ever think. “Why?” you ask. Because if we think that our “best efforts” could ever come close to being “good enough,” we are horribly mistaken. The God who created you, those around you, and everything you can and cannot see demands perfection. Perfection? Yes, perfection. Then we truly are hopeless. 

your reaction
before the all-knowing God


The prophet Isaiah refers to our best efforts as “filthy rags” before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). Isaiah was a devout man of God, and yet when the Lord appeared to him in a vision, he declared, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips...” (Isaiah 6:5). What would your reaction be if you were to stand before the all-powerful, all-knowing holy God right now?


everyone will acknowledge the
supremacy of Christ


The Bible says that every single person “will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:11). Whether in this life or the next, everyone will acknowledge the supremacy of Christ!


Here is the incredible news: Jesus took our sin and imperfection on Himself! His death paid the penalty for all our sins and imperfections. We were hopeless. He gave us hope! We deserved death. He gave us life! We were enslaved. Now we are free!


it’s all
or nothing


This is the only place where true freedom lies: in Christ. He demands all of us. We will never find fulfillment in mixing God with our own desires. It’s all or nothing, and everything hinges on it. All of us will one day stand before God and give an account of our life (Romans 14:11). Will you make the decision today to give God everything and experience the freedom that only He can give you?


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This was written for a website blog with readers who hadn't necessarily ever heard the Gospel.