29 December 2008

A Time For Reflection.

We hope that your Christmas time was relaxing! We returned home to Dayton last night after spending time with family & friends. We have been thinking and thanking God for all that He has provided for us this past year. We have been putting our trust in Him, and He has provided for us in awesome ways! At church this weekend, it was said that "when we're younger, we anticipate Christmas...but as we become older, Christmas is a time for reflection." That thought has been so true for us this year!

Oh, and if you aren't ready to put away the Christmas music & decorations....



Some friends from our house church during our Christmas party.


Tony and our nephew, Connor.


Jonelle got to take her sister to take her driver's license test - she passed! :)

21 December 2008

Merry Christmas from Keynote!

We'd love to share a short note and Christmas video from Keynote's director, Chris...


We want to take this opportunity to say thank you for your partnership with us! Whether you’ve served as a prayer supporter or a financial partner, your involvement with Keynote has blessed us and allowed us to move forward in ministry.


Here are a few highlights:


  • International outreaches: Mexico, Egypt, Israel and New Zealand (35 events, 4600 people in attendance)
  • Global training: Panama (several Central American countries represented) and our own International Leadership Summit where we hosted creative outreach leaders from 13 countries representing all six populated continents
  • Eight Summer Project Bands; our first ever film team during a summer project
  • Continued partnership with the Impact movement (reaching out to African American students) and a new partnership with Destino (Campus Crusade’s outreach to Latino students)
  • More than 400 concerts; nearly 70,000 lives touched and almost 3,000 decisions for Christ!

As we close 2008 and look to 2009, we wanted to leave you with a video greeting from our house to yours!


video


Have a very Merry Christmas! We look forward to more ministry highlights in 2009!

19 November 2008

November Update...

Here is a link to our November newsletter: click here

In the newsletter, you'll read about Keynote's annual Vision Dinner. You can read more about the evening of "igniting life change". Praise God with us that He provided almost $80,000 to be raised at the dinner! Those funds will help ensure that Keynote can continue to take the Gospel to the world!

Here is a more recent picture of our nephew, Connor:

29 October 2008

It's Been Awhile...

...since we've updated. Woah! We have been working very hard, and God has been blessing us so much! We're at 22.4% right now and still plugging away! Praise Him!

Thank you so much for praying for the missions expo that our church had a couple weekends ago. It was very fruitful and such a blessing to us. We have met many new people who are just as excited about our journey with Keynote as we are! We have been very busy following up with those people during the past two weeks. We have had an appointment almost every night for two weeks!

Some current prayer requests:

*Please be in prayer that we are continually meeting new people who are excited to hear about what God is doing through Keynote.
*Please pray for our strength & endurance. It gets tough at times when we're not
*Please pray for Tony's job situation. The project that he is working on now is coming to a close soon. They are not sure what they are going to have him work on next. It is possible that he may have to do some traveling again.
*Please pray that God is glorified each day as we continue through this ministry partner development process!

On a fun side...
Some friends had a costume party this weekend. It was great to relax and laugh with friends for the evening. Here is a glimpse into the evening:

Yabba Dubba Do!

Straight from the movie, "Juno"...

Kip & some groom...

My favorite from the night.....the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe.

03 October 2008

Noise Trade

We were introduced to a new website a few months ago, and it has been neat to see how it has grown since! The site is called Noise Trade. You can download albums from many different artists. The genres range all over the place - from folk to gospel to pop to jazz, etc... To pay for the music, you either tell five friends about the site or you pay the amount you think the album is worth. 90% of the money that you pay for the album goes directly to the artist.

Check it out! While you're there, check out the albums from Matthew Mayfield, Derek Webb, and Alli Rogers. We've enjoyed them!

02 October 2008

October Prayer Letter!

Praise God for the beautiful fall weather! :) Thank you for continuing to pray for us on this journey. God is our foundation, and we can feel Him preparing something big real soon.

We're really looking forward to an upcoming "ministry expo" at our church. Details are in this edition of the newsletter. We'd love to see you there with a friend!

Click Here for our October Prayer Letter.

In Him,
-The Utts

16 September 2008

Back Online.

Whew, Ike, what a mess! Praise God, our power came back on today! We're so blessed to have great friends - both with and without power. Last night, we went over to a friends' house who had power. We had four families there altogether. We brought the food that was still good out of our fridge and had a smorgusboard of a dinner. Chicken nuggets, tater tots, mac & cheese, turkey, popcorn, etc...

We're praising God for keeping us safe. We're praising Him for keeping our fridge & freezer cold so we didn't lose a lot of food. We're praising Him for community and friends who constantly check up and make sure we're okay.

Keep praying, though, because there are still many people and friends who are without power. The electric companies are working so very hard, but it could be the coming weekend before all the power is restored. Pray that through this whole mess Ike left us with, we can draw closer to our Protector & Provider.

15 September 2008

Powerless.

...just a quick update. Good old Ike blew threw Dayton this past Sunday afternoon. Whew - so much wind! Long story short - we're without power. About 200,000 people in Dayton don't have power and 600,000 some a bit south of us are powerless too. Luckily, there are pockets of people who have electricity, and they're taking care of us! The electric companies are saying it could be 2 more days or it could be the weekend before power gets back on. We'd love your prayers!

13 September 2008

Everything.

Last weekend I saw a drama performed at two different events. They were a tad different, but essentially the very same message. Both were so very powerful, though. It's just a great, vivid reminder of what Jesus thinks of us.

This video is actually from the original time the skit was done on a Saturday night in 2006 at Winterfest in Knoxville, TN.

07 September 2008

Ready. Aim. Fire.

We've had the chance to meet tons of new people while we're sharing about our ministry and developing our support base. We're so blessed to have a bunch of new friends to share life with! Our newest adventure was going to a shooting range with friends, Suzzi & Alex. Tony had a little previous experience shooting with the guard, but not with moving targets! The clay targets go fast!


So...what, uh, am I suppose to do here.


Tony did a great job!


What you don't see is me stumbling back three or so steps after each shot. Pretty powerful. I hit one target, though!

See the rest of the pictures from the afternoon: here.

05 September 2008

Back in Ohio!

Tony is back to work today in Ohio. Praise Jesus! He's at a meeting today for info and training for what he is going to be doing for the next two months. It's great to not have to dread the very early Monday mornings anymore! Pray that we come across an abundance of new supporters during this month of September.
-J

04 September 2008

Prayer Letter Update

We just finished up our latest edition of our prayer letter. To view the September update, click here.

In the newsletter, we shared about the wrap-up to summer project. We have loved hearing updates from the student bands and sharing stories with you. For you visual ones like myself, a marketing & media intern, Josh, has a clip of a student band on his website. click here to see MangoFish in action while on tour in California this summer.

Also - if you're interested in seeing the short film that the student film team created this summer, click here. The film they made is called "Wreck" and is about five minutes long. They combined their stories with this film to share the Gospel at a variety of short film outreaches this summer.

One more praise - as I type, Tony is driving home from work in Indiana! He is done with that out of town project for work and will be working in the Dayton area for the next couple months! Hurray!

-J

26 August 2008

Praising Him!

Work Update
This is the third week that Tony has been working out of town. He's been working in Brazil...well, Brazil, Indiana. It's a three hour drive from our place, due west. He'll have to go out to Brazil next week [luckily it's a short week because of Labor Day], and that is it! After next week, he'll be working back here in Dayton. We're so thankful that God has continually provided for us in this transition time. It is definitely an awkward time. We're praying for monthly supporters to jump on board quickly so we can work on Ministry Partner Development together full time and get over to Indy soon! We just hit 16.1% this weekend.

Praying Specific
This past weekend, I was looking ahead to one appointment we had set up for that evening. I prayed that these people would support us financially somehow, whether monthly or through special gifts. I prayed specifically, though, that we would walk out of that meeting with a check in our hands [being the 1st month's giving or the special gift]. Praise Jesus, we had a great meeting and at the end, we left for home with a check in our hands.

We're working on our next edition of our monthly newsletter...stay tuned!
-J

08 August 2008

Story of Stuff & Free Music

We stumbled upon a site recently called "Story of Stuff". It's about 'stuff', how we get it, and what happens to it when we're done with it. Working in the schools the past couple years, I've seen a lot of 'save the planet'/'recycle now' videos and what not. This one is pretty good. It's about 20 minutes to watch online, but I think it's worth it. Post a comment with your thoughts after you watch it. I'd love to hear what you think!

Also...you should go to philwickham.com and download Phil Wickham's new live album, "singalong". It's really great...and it's free! It's pretty much just him and his guitar....and a whole bunch of other people singing in the background.

07 August 2008

On the Road with Keynote Summer Project

In our August update letter we talked a bit about what God was doing with the students in the Keynote Summer Project.....well, is officially over now. The project celebration banquet was this past week. God did great things this summer in and through the students! If you’d like to read some of the stories that students sent in throughout their tours, click here.

06 August 2008

Growing...growing...

Connor is growing fast! Here are just a few more pictures of the little one...


Just chillin'...


Just snoozin...


Connor with Tony & Randy's Godfather, Jack.

02 August 2008

Prayer Letter Update

Hi friends! I cannot believe that August is here. The past few months have flown by so very fast!

Click here for our August update. In the letter, we shared a bit about our new little nephew, Connor Lee. Here are some bonus pictures of the little guy for checking out our website. :)


Proud Uncle Tony


...just checking to see if there's enough going on to warrant completely waking up.

27 July 2008

Final New Zealand Update!

The New Zealand team will be headed back to the states tomorrow. Here is their final update:


The Queues have rounded out the overseas ministry tour in New Zealand. Praising God for His goodness, protection and endurance. We fly out tomorrow (Mon.) evening (New Zealand time).

Here’s the recap of our last week of concerts:

Tuesday evening we played a concert at a church close to campus. The university students bugged their campus director at the Student Life Conference to have us come and play. So needless to say they were psyched! There were about 40-45 in attendance, mostly first year students. Out of the 31 comment cards filled out 4 indicated they were interested in learning more about spiritual things and 6 indicated they were interested in Bible Study.

Comment card highlights:

“I think your performance was a blast. You guys reminded me that my relationship with God is very important and you guys also blessed me so much.” –Audrey 19

“Thank you, your [Mia] story blessed me. You’ve made me realize spiritual things and Bible Study that I need to reconsider my priorities.” – Jess 22

“The Queues RULE- below God that is.” –Vanessa 21

Wed. night we played at a pub on the University of Auckland called The Shadows. Our 8pm show was part of Reorientation Week on Campus. In fact there was a sign in the bar that had us as The Keynotes (USA) and a different sign said The Queues (USA). So that night this was really a “get the word out” type of setting. From stage Mia was able to plug the weekly meetings of Student Life and how people search for happiness. We encouraged the audience to check us out as we played Thursday night.

Thursday night was our last official evangelistic outreach concert. We played 7:30 pm at the Post-Graduate Lounge on the University of Auckland campus. It was a fantastic turnout 65 people! 48 comment cards were filled out: 9 indicated interest in learning more about Student Life ministry, 5 indicated learning more about a relationship with Jesus Christ. A unique thing about this concert was how people heard of the concert: 3 through facebook and about 17 were brought by friends. A trend we see time and time again is that students tend to come when their friends actually bring them.

Comment card highlights:

“Today was my first time coming here. I had so much fun and the stories really touched me.” -Sarah

“Had such a good time, really inspiring.” -Michael

At the close of this incredible overseas ministry opportunity we praise God for: sustained health, flexibility, restful sleep, gracious hosts (homes where we stayed)



A lawn concert outside a student flat prior to the big Rugby match between
New Zealand and South Africa. Students brought out their couches.


Click Here to view more photos from the New Zealand team.

Goin' to the Chapel...

I think that last week was one of our final weddings of the season. We were really excited to be a part of Jeff & Nikki's covenant to start their new journey. We met Jeff from being youth leaders at Apex. We've also had the chance to lead music for the youth with Jeff as well - he's a great bass player! We're happy to have Jeff & Nikki as 'married friends' now. :)

16 July 2008

Life, Love, and Why A Donut Cake.

I don't know, but it was really cool.

We have loved updating you on the Israel & New Zealand teams as they are out on tour, but we also want to make sure we update you on what's going on with our life. :) This past [extended] weekend was a big one for us:

SATURDAY - We traveled to Indianapolis to see two fellow Keynoters, Arlee & Sam, begin their life as hubby & wifee. Arlee was the first person from Keynote I met. She was the contact for Chasing Elvis, so we spent planning and chatting time on the phone each time we brought the band to BGSU. She introduced and encouraged us to joining staff with Keynote. It was so neat to be a part of this special day!

Just after they were "official" - Sam is saying: "We're married!"

Sam & Arlee Leo

Their wedding cake - Tony loved it!

MONDAY- We became an uncle & aunt [thanks to Tony's brother]! Connor Lee decided to make his debut....about 5 weeks early. Good thing, because he was just a tad over 8 lbs! He's in the nursery at the hospital still, but we can't wait until he can come out to play!


TUESDAY - We are officially debt free! Praise Jesus! We made the last payment on the Brave Saint Saturn, and the title is now in our hands. No more school loans. No more car payments. It's really a great feeling!


-J

10 July 2008

Update from New Zealand - with pictures!

We heard from our friends in New Zealand. We hope you are encouraged by what God's doing in New Zealand and continue to pray for the team!


Yesterday we flew from Wellington, NZ (north island) to Dunedin (duh-nee-din) the south island. It’s where the penguins are (as to how cold it gets). Anyways, Praise God for Gavin the guy at the airport check in counter yesterday. Let’s just say we spent about 45 min. talking through how to handle the extra weight kgs that is-with the instruments and luggage. They didn’t charge as much as they could of.

Tonight, Thurs. is our first outreach concert here in Dunedin. Well, we could definitely use prayer as we will be playing at 10:30 PM. Might I add that it is outdoors. That means in the 30s Fahrenheit! EEK. Pray that we would stay warm and that the Holy Spirit would strengthen us to persevere despite our bodily temp. This outreach is supposed to be a BIG event for Student Life (Campus Ministry) as Dunedin is a campus town. The students are typically out late at night- going from bar to bar and such. Our prayer is that hundreds of students would hear the concert as they walking around town and be drawn in to then hear the Gospel message.

The next two days we will do two more concerts here. One venue is in a Crypt and the other a parking lot of a guys flat (apt.)- where 20-30 student flats are! The staff and students here just did outreach surveys this week on campus ”Tune- in”. What is neat is we (our band “The Queues”) have the privilege to piggy back/enhance theses surveys with a visual/concrete venue to help promote their campus ministry. We continue to pray the Lord will bring those to the concert He Wills and that many will be drawn in to hear the Gospel message.

Thank you for your prayer and encouragement!

Reporting for the Queues, Live in NZ

Since their band name is "The Queues", they thought this Café sign was appropriate.


Setting up for an event in Wellington.

A concert at Victoria University, Wellington

08 July 2008

New Zealand Update!

We heard again from the New Zealand team last night! There is limited internet access, so it is taking them longer to get emails out. Read on - they have specific prayer requests at the bottom:

Sunday, we went to church at “The Street”. Quite interesting they way they sing some songs we (Americans) know. After lunch, we evaluated the equipment that they had and what we would need for our concerts while here in Wellington. Another God thing, the guy who is a volunteer there hooked us up with extra equipment that we had to rent-definite answer to prayer.

Last night, Mon., was our first outreach concert at Victoria University in Wellington. This was the first day of classes at the university since winter break started up again. (remember it is winter in NZ). The concert was held in the Union Hall. A small crowd, mostly students already involved in the Student Life ministry on campus. BUT, there were 2 people there that heard the Gospel for the first time. Students shared after the concert how they were encouraged by what we do and the message we have to share about Jesus. It was quite a sight to see the locals jamming out to “American top 40 songs.”

Tonight we will be leading praise and worship for students who are here from the US for summer project, locals who are involved in the Student Life ministry, and people from the local churches. In between sets will be prayer time. Pray that the Holy Spirit would be at work and move the students to reach out to others on their campus. This concert is also in preparation for Student Life’s outreach on the campuses Wed. am called “Tune in.”

Prayer requests:
-Pray that the Lord would protect us physically from sickness (colds, soar throats...) -who would of thought one could have sniffles in the middle of summer- hehe
-Pray that God would bring to the concerts the people who he wants and hearts would be open and receptive to the Gospel.
-We also continue to pray that the details of the equipment that God would provide in miraculous ways.

Israel Team - on the way home

Got this one overnight...

Thank you so much for praying for us, for the conference, and the outreaches. Your prayers sustained us throughout and broke through many barriers. Last night we had our closing ceremony/celebration on a mountain top just across from the Mount of Olives, overlooking all of Jerusalem.

Imagine if you will, a few hundred people of differing dialects all praising Jesus together...where He once walked. At one point I stood in the back and turned and saw the Dome of the Rock shining in the night. I was overcome by the thought that Jesus will one day be right there, what is represented there now will be no more. Wow!

I am rejoicing knowing that I have a relationship with the One who created us, rejoicing over the many who came to know Him through the series of outreaches, rejoicing in the life-change that has been experienced by participants in this conference, and yet my heart is grieving. As I looked out from that mountain top, the thought of all the people here who are blinded by the false religions and all the people around the world who are bound by the evil one, my heart became very heavy. I am burdened to pray for these lost souls, I am burdened to pray for the laborers who are diligently sharing the Good News, and I am burdened to pray for more laborers for the harvest.

Will you join me in these prayers?

Our time here has come to an end. We have made many new friends and we have been blessed in abundance. At 11:30 tonight we are slated to take off...please pray for our arrangements to get to the airport (traveling arrangements have been challenging to say the least), that we would get through customs quickly, for safe travels for all, that Dan and I could get on a standby flight with the rest of the team (our flight is to leave Atlanta 2 hours later than the rest), and for quick adjustments to the time change and being back in the good ole USA.

We are so looking forward to being home with our friends and families.

Thanks again for going to battle for us in prayer...much has been accomplished as a result!

07 July 2008

Israel Update - it's almost over!

Thanks so much for taking the journey along with us and the overseas summer teams! Below is an update we received this weekend from the Israel team. Today is their final day - a celebration ceremony on the Mount of Olives! The team will begin the treck home on Tuesday and will arrive in Indy at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. Continue to be in prayer for the team in New Zealand. We hope to be able to share an update from them with you soon!

It's 1:00 am here, thought I'd take a quick moment to update you on the last of our last evangelistic outreaches here in Israel. This day like many others was met with much battle and confusion, it's been obvious that the enemy has not wanted these outreaches to happen. In the midst of this battle, God is at work!

The audience tonight really enjoyed what we were doing. They engaged in conversation, seemed familiar with a few songs, and clapped along with us. Chris, as usual, gave a clear gospel presentation. When the concert was done they clapped and then came to chat with members of the band. Quite a few folks spoke english so communication was a bit easier.

We loaded up the van and were taken to "Mickey Donalds" for dinner...we all have been craving McDonalds and each time we've tried to go, it's been closed. It was there that we got a little glimpse into what God did tonight.

Nancy Wilson (staff gal whom many of you know) sat at our table and shared that she & some friends had walked thru the neighborhood prior to the concert to invite people. At one point they came across a group of guys who were hanging out drinking & smoking. Nancy wanted to approach them and someone in her group said ; "oh no, don't go to them, they are drinking & smoking"... Nancy replied with a resounding; "that's who Jesus went to, so should we!"

This group of guys came to the concert and afterwards she and a friend hunbg out talking and laughing with them. Her friend shared the Gospel with them again...and 6 of them came to Christ right there...Go God!!!!! That's all the info we have right now on this. McDonalds was good...ask Dan about his double cheeseburger...it was huge.

Tomorrow is a day off, we're going to Galilee. Please pray for continued strength, for more changed lives, for rest and refreshment, and for our celebration ceremony on Monday when all conference attendees gather to rejoice over what God has done.

We look forward to our return home...everyone is missing their family and friends...very much. Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer on our behalf...please don't stop!

06 July 2008

Another Israel Update

I know it's a little long....but it's an interesting story! Read on:

Thank you so much for going to battle for us. We need you!

After a 45 minute or so drive, we arrived at the site in Haifa. It is said that Haifa is the most beautiful area...we couldn't tell ya. Our concert site was on a tennis court in the middle of a bunch of run down buildings. We wondered if people could find it as we had difficulty getting to it. As we arrived I saw the rest of our teammates sitting on some steps looking concerned. The equipment/sound company were nowhere to be found. They were to arrive at 3pm...it is now 4pm. Boy were we praying!

So back to the tennis court...there's no electricity, and no drums...and no keyboards. One of the guys ran across the street to ask someone if we can run our equipment off their power. They stretched multiple extension cords across the road to the tennis courts with the fence holding it just above car level. We're laughing as we envision a truck flying thru the street in the middle of our concert, taking everything out.

Lights...one guy walks up with some lights in his hands that need to be attached to the fences...with what you might ask? They are all like McGyver...seriously, they are! They find some old metal strips and small pieces of rope in the street and they're hanging up lights. More extension cords are used to connect them all to each other. What a wonderful invention!

Chairs...a truck arrives and they start unloading the plastic chairs...you should see this process! One man lines his back up with a stack of 25 high, reaches his arms backwards and grabs on to the chairs while he's bending forward...and aha, he's hauling 25 chairs like it's nothing...amazing! Lots of chairs are set up, very few people are around. Finally, the sound guy arrives with all of the equipment. A couple of trips to different churches brings about keyboards and eventually a pieced together drum set.

All along we're praying..."Lord please bring people to hear your Word, protect us from the evil one, don't allow him to hold people back, protect us from the heat, sing & speak thru us, may Your name be praised."

One of the staff comes running up to us with cold bottles of water and some snacks (by the way, meal times have been...let's say...interesting). Ahhh, thank you Jesus! Some folks that we recognize from the conference show up (they were all sent in small groups to different cities). It's like a family reunion. It's fun to see some familiar faces, people from S. Africa, Russia, India, etc. We were told that they gave out flyers about the concert...today...so not much advance notice. Again, we all pray and ask God to bring the people in who need to hear.

And then it happens...a local gentleman runs in screaming at us. We can tell he wants us out (boy could you tell). He runs over to the staff who are with us and he is just incensed. It was a bit scary to see. He apparently had been scheduled to play tennis there and had not been told that it had been booked. He and one of our armed guards (we have guards at each outdoor event as they do not know how people will react...thank goodness they were there!). were going at it, yelling and pushing...emotions are running high all over. Finally, one of the staff guys steps in between the guard and the angry guy just to create space. They start calling people on their cell phones and get the guy to talk to whoever it was that they contacted. The man walks off the court flailing his arms and screaming. This whole thing was a bit unsettling. The guards were on their toes.

Again we're praying...for protection on all, for people to come, for God to be glorified. People start coming...and coming. This ended up being the largest crowd we've seen yet. They responded very well to the music and to the message. We don't have the exact details on the results yet, but we do know they were happy with how things went.

I forgot to mention that just behind the band, on a hill, stood a temple...a gorgeous gold temple. The area we were playing in, is the Baha'i capital of the world. The Baha'is believe in all religions mixed together...so basically whatever you believe to be true is true sort of thing...and we wonder why we experienced such battle??? There are a lot of strongholds in this area of the world, hatred between people groups, varying religious beliefs, oppression, etc. It is very sad...but we know that our God is at work!

03 July 2008

July Newsletter

Hello! Below you'll find a link to our latest newsletter. We hope & pray that you're blessed and encouraged by what God is doing around the world!

July Newsletter



In Him,
Tony & Jonelle

Israel Update

The Israel team hasn't had great internet connections, but we just got an update from them yesterday! Read on...

Hi friends,

We know that Jerusalem hit the news yesterday, that all happened after we left and were nearing Nazareth, we are all safe! Pray for those who were directly affected by that one man's actions...how sad.

As I said earlier, we made the trek to Nazareth yesterday. A funny thing happened. As we were nearing the city our driver asked where we were going...we had no idea! We were told the driver would come and take us where we needed to go...unfortunately, they just told him Nazareth. You should have seen the look of confusion on his face. We all burst into laughter thinking of getting dropped off "somewhere" with all of our luggage and guitars, etc. Now that would have been worth a picture! We had the cell number for one of the leaders so it got straightened out pretty quickly.

Our concert last night in Shefar'em (sp?) was the first concert I've been to with armed guards surrounding the area. They were there for our protection and will be at all of our outdoor events. There were around 100 people who attended, but as I looked around, there were plenty of people on the roof tops and cars pulled to the curb to listen to the band. The concert went well. We haven't gotten the results yet, we'll update you as we hear.

Tonight we have a concert in Nazareth. Pray for many to come and hear the Good News, that the Messiah did come, and He came for them...so that they might have life...pray for lifechange! Pray for the team (from differing countries) that's been assembled to work/minister throughout Nazareth.

Pray for physical endurance...it is extremely hot and humid here, we pulling long days, and the team is feeling it. We've had to flex quite a bit as organizationally things aren't always communicated to us in a timely fashion, pray that we continue to go with the flow. We've learned to laugh as we go and just enjoy the moment. Pray for the staff here, for their protection and for their ministry efforts to be fruitful. Pray for more laborers!

02 July 2008

New Zealand Update

We just got an update about the New Zealand team last night that we wanted to share with you. See below:


Hello from Waikanae!

That's a little town just north of the capital of Wellington. We're at a camp here for the all-NZ student conference where we're leading worship this week. So far it's been great- there are about 375 college (or 'youknee' as they say here) students here from all over NZ.

Everything here seems to be about 75% 'normal'- that is, what we're used to in the US. One big difference so far has been the lack of central heating! It gets down almost to the freezing mark at night, but the room we're staying in has a little space heater, so it isn't too bad (except for cold fingers while we play!).

After this conference we'll be hitting up the major campuses in NZ to do outreaches, and there are students from all those campuses here at the conference. Yesterday we played a 'preview' concert to show them what we'll be doing when we come to their city. It was really awesome- about 150 students came out to see us!

We're really excited because THEY got so excited about us coming to their campuses. They really caught the vision of how what we're doing is such a great way to reach their friends with the Gospel. We're trusting that they'll take that excitement back to their campuses and invite all their friends who don't know Jesus personally.

Please pray:

...that the students' excitement will carry back to their campuses!
...that we would have all the equipment we will need in all the cities we're going to
...for our drummer Jeremy as he's battling a cold/sore throat
...that God would prepare
the hearts of those we'll be playing for in the coming weeks

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support!

27 June 2008

New Zealand & Israel Tours.

As I type, two of our Keynote teams are overseas partnering with various ministries in Israel & New Zealand! You'll find a little blurb about both teams below and a link to a prayer calendar for each team. I encourage you to print those calendar's out and join us in praying for these two teams. Each day there is something specific to be praying for. We'll update you on how the teams are doing as we get email updates [depending on the internet access where they're at].

NEW ZEALAND

Last night we got an email from the team in New Zealand. After over 25 hours of travel, they made it to Wellington, New Zealand! Their trip was great overall. The only interesting thing was one of the flights was delayed because apparently one of the toilets on the plane "exploded"...so they to wait for that to be cleaned up. :) The team will be partnering with various ministries doing outreach concerts all over New Zealand. One additional prayer is for Mia [singer and bassist], as she is in her 5th month of pregnancy while on this trip!

New Zealand Prayer Calendar

ISRAEL

The Israel team [and their luggage] all arrive safely on Wednesday evening. From the update email that we received, they are all very tired and trying to adjust to the time change. As you can see from their prayer calendar, they have a full schedule! For the first half that the team is in Isreal, they'll be leading worship music for the Jerusalem 2008 conference. Then, for the second half, they'll be doing out reach concerts in the Galilee region.

Israel Prayer Calendar

24 June 2008

Happy Two Years!

Today, we are celebrating our two-year anniversary! It has been so neat to see God’s hand in the midst of our dating, engagement, and marriage. These past two years have gone by so fast, but they have certainly been fun and a great learning experience for both of us!








18 June 2008

A Party & A Visit.

This past weekend was my sister's high school graduation party. It was fun to see everyone come out to congratulate her!


When we were heading back to Dayton after that weekend, we had an extra passenger....Kadie! She came back with us to spend a couple more days. Her and I went to see the Bodies exhibit at the Cincy Museum on Monday. We spent the rest of the time hanging out, shopping, and playing with Moses!



Moses really loved to see his Aunt Kadie too! Now, all the parties, trips, our youth ministry commitment, and school is over. I'm sure that more things will creep up, but right now, so many things have recently been taken off our plates. We are attacking MPD [ministry partner development]! We have been steadily working on contacting people to see if they are interested in joining our ministry partner team through prayer and/or financially. God has provided us financially with 11.2% of our monthly support goal and many, many people on our team in prayer. Praise Him! We can't wait to see what He's going to do next!

-J

05 June 2008

02 June 2008

Encouragement. Take Two.

MPD During a Difficult Economic Time









Question

A staff member asks:

"Food and gas prices are up. Many homeowners are in trouble with their mortgages. The dollar is falling overseas. How would you encourage staff members who need to raise support during these troubled economic times?"

Answer

This is not the first time we have faced a challenging economy as a ministry.

During the 1970s and 80s, we lived in a period of rapid inflation, we were in a recession, mortgage rates were increasing drastically and gasoline was scarce due to the oil embargo.

Christy and I were living in New England with a 7% loan on our home. Then I transferred to California where the interest rate on our mortgage doubled to 14%.

During difficult economic times we need to keep a proper view of what is true -- that God really is in control.

I love what my friend Ellis Goldstein says, "From the beginning of eternity, God's net worth has remained constant." None of this has taken Him by surprise -- He still owns everything.

Raising support in today's economy is challenging because many ministry partners are feeling the impact as we are.

But God has blessed this ministry with incredible partners. Our donors are committed to God's work, advancing His Kingdom and the staff members they love and support. They are not rushing out to drop their giving.

In fact, giving to staff members is up about 2.3% compared to this time last year, while overall giving to the ministry has remained about the same.

That tells us that during this tough time, our ministry partners see the importance of continuing to support you, our staff members, while project giving is down slightly.

I would encourage each of you to look at I Chronicles 29 where David talks about how wealth and honor come from the Lord. Also look at II Corinthians 8 where Paul talks about the generosity of the Macedonians.

These two chapters help give a Biblical frame to this discussion and keep our perspective on God's timing, not our own.

31 May 2008

Encouragement.

We are praising God as He has blessed us with different appointments with potential ministry partners that have been really encouraging lately! It is so encouraging to share our vision and calling to a small group and have people come up afterwards as say that they were excited and want to hear more!

This encouragement is much needed because, reality is, God has called us to be raising support as a time where the economy isn't really doing that great. It's tough at time and, yes, we do ask ourselves: why now?

Sorry, we don't have the answer. One idea could be that perhaps God is pushing the world to begin to live more simplified in order to gain more glory for Himself. We don't know the big picture. We can't even begin to wrap our mind around God's plans. We just know that He has provided for us all along this journey. He is drawing us to Keynote, and He is our Ultimate Provider.

Reflecting back on just a few recent provisions:
-He provided us with a great community of believers with our church after just one week of living in Dayton after we got married.
-He provided a job for Jonelle for the last half of this school year that was contracted at the exact amount remaining on our car loan so we can be debt free.
-He provided us a place to live that will let us get out of our lease with no penalties when we need to move to Indy.
-Ultimately though, God has provided us with a way to live out our faith and allow Him to be glorified as we encourage others of what Christ's death has done for us.

Maybe it's not a big theology lesson. After all, it could be as simple as God saying something like: Hey, look at everything that I have provided for you already. Look where I have led you. Please don't doubt that I can provide for you in this stage of you lives as well. Just trust me and walk.

-J & T

15 May 2008

Sacrificing

I finally got word on what the rest of my summer is going to look like. My supervisor cleared for me to do some short term TDY in lovely Portsmouth Ohio. I will be away from Jonelle during the week and come home thursday evenings in order to spend some time with her on weekends doing some fun MPD. It is a sacrifice, but I am okay with it, I just ask that you could pray for us during these next weeks while I am away. After that I will work in Montgomery county (where we live) doing some hearings for new home values, I know sounds exciting. That starts in July. So the outlook on my position will be done near the beginning of August. It is good to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but yet, we have a long way to go with support raising. Being away sounds like a bummer, but it will free up my fridays in order to commit a whole day towards MPD, so that is a blessing for sure. Jonelle will be finished soon with school and she can commit a lot more time to MPD while I am still working. Some might ask, why keep working, the answer is so we can pay off the lovely Saturn and help our Ministry Partners feel relieved that they are not paying towards our debt. It is almost paid for, we just need to see our government surplus check!
-T

11 May 2008

Prayer Letter Update

Here is a link to our latest prayer letter for the month of May:

May Prayer Letter

Let us know if you would like to receive this monthly update via email.

-The Utts

10 May 2008

Back Again.

This past month has been crazy! [in case you hadn't inferred from our lack of posts] We apologize for the lack of updates since, well, you are walking along side of us on our journey and would love to know what is going on!

Right now we're getting ready to transition out of being youth leaders at our church. We certainly love the students whom we work with, but need to transition out of these roles to focus more on ministry partner development. We'll be 'officially' done at the end of this month. Two really neat things that have happened in the last month with the youth, though, are the spring retreat and a fundraising dinner/silent auction. I'd love to highlight those quickly for you.

Spring Retreat [taken from our most recent prayer letter]:

We recently went on spring retreats with the students whom we work with at our church. The boys and the girls went two separate locations. The weekend was filled with conversation, challenges, encouragement, and little sleep! Here is a small glimpse into each of our weekends:

G.R.U.N.T.
The guys truly had an outdoor adventure – tent camping on a 10-acre lot. No showers. No bathrooms. Our theme was: R.E.A.L Manhood. We talked about what it means to Reject Passivity, Embrace Integrity, Accept Responsibility, and Lead Courageously as men in this world. We also did manly things like log throwing, cooking over a blazing fire, and hiking through a hailstorm. The boys had numerous questions about real masculinity, and the leaders were encouraged by the integrity that was expressed throughout the weekend!
-Tony


Basilieos:
The girls had their own adventure, packing into a cabin down deep in the woods of Southern Ohio – with no cell phone reception! Our theme was: Basilieos, which means “royalty” in Greek. We talked about control, identity, and worship, while focusing on 1 Peter 2:9:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
I was encouraged to see relationships being built among high school and middle school students! I pray these relationships grow back at home!
-Jonelle


Spaghetti Diner & Silent Auction Fundraiser:

This is hot off the press! The event was last night. Our middle schoolers have been planning this event since January. All the money donated from ticket sales & the silent auction is going to buy supplies and items for the Miami Valley Women's Center, a local crisis pregnancy center. We had about 25 items up for bid for the silent auction ranging from family outing baskets, date night baskets, man baskets, and more. We were so grateful for all the auction items that were donated! We still do not have an exact total, but God raised a tad over $1,000 through ticket sales and silent auction items! Praise Him! My middle school girls' small group will be taking the money soon and buying supplies [such as diapers, formula, clothing, infant care products] for the center to help women & families who find themselves in crisis pregnancy situations. After we buy those supplies, we're going over to the center to put all the supplies away.

We've had a blast through the past two years with these students through small groups, retreats, camps, and other events. We will certainly miss hanging out weekly with our students and other leaders, but we really feel that this is the right time to be transitioning out of youth ministry. God has given us a great peace about the timing. Praise Him for the neat things that He is doing in our students' lives!

-J

10 April 2008

Mouse Hunt - Part II

Just in case you were anxious and like resolution in life....

The conclusion of our friend's mouse hunt. Will Moby find the mouse?

Mouse Hunt, Part Two


To resolve another post, we will be getting back our money from the Skybus tickets that we had for next month. Praise Jesus! Tony talked to the credit card people, and things are moving along nicely.

-J

07 April 2008

Skybus' Surprise Brings Sadness.

If you haven't heard by now...Skybus is no more. I suppose, yes, it was too good to be true. It would have been nice if they would have given a tad bit more warning than....well, no warning at all.

Please pray that we can get our money back for the tickets that we bought to go see our NC & SC friends in May. Thanks.

-J

03 April 2008

How To Catch A Mouse....Maybe.

Friends, a video camera, and a cat....of course.

A post or two, I shared about a friend's quest to find the mouse that was lurking around their house. Finally we have video!

Mouse Hunt, Part One


-J

01 April 2008

God is Encouraging

Quite often the little impatient monster creeps up on us....feeding us lies that we should have more support coming in than we do. For working full-time on top of MPD, we're not at a bad place. We'd love to be working at our new Keynote jobs...well like yesterday....but God's timing and ours is just quite not the same. God has been encouraging us lately, though. Our church is really focusing heavily on missions now, and we feel that the sermons have been preparing people's hearts before we talk to them. Last night, we meet with a friend from church who knows a lot of people. He's like the person in college you'd be walking across campus with and you couldn't get to where you needed to go because you'd be stopped by all these people along the way....in a good way, though. :) Anyway, we are praising God for our friend and how God is using him. We got a lot of referrals at our meeting last night with many other people - who love missions and know other people. He's been calling them all last night and today and telling these people who we are and a bit of our vision and that we'd love to meet with them to share more. God is good! We can't wait to see what He does out of all of these referrals!

31 March 2008

Spring Break!

Finally, I am on spring break! That basically means, instead of working two full-time jobs, I get to just work one for the week. :) Unfortunately though, Tony doesn't get a spring break...which takes a little fun out of my spring break! I was able to set up some appointments during the day time this week, which is very exciting. Some of our evening appointments are mainly for brainstorming for referrals. We're pretty close to running out of friends to talk to down here, and we're beginning to use referrals. It's a little more nerve wracking, but exciting to meet new people and see how God provides for our needs.

This past weekend we went to Columbus to visit and share more with people about what we'll be doing with Keynote. Aside from "official" ministry business, we got to catch up with friends over popcorn and the Wii, listen to a live rendition of Hannah Montana's "Best of Both Worlds" song...a few times, get schooled by a 7-year old at Blokus, and meet our friends' new baby, Mishka:


Possibly our favorite part was listening to how Ben & his roommate chased a mouse around their house until two in the morning...then decided to go get their friend's cat. Of course, it's all on video tape.

-J

19 March 2008

This one is for you, Mom.

We finally made it up to BG this past weekend. It was attempt number three. Illness nor snow stopped us this time! We had a great time and saw many people - even more people than we thought we'd see! Again Mom told that she reads the Runyon's blog every day because, well they update it ever day. We just can't compete with them. Maybe if we had iPhones, we could update on-the-go. :)

Last night, we had a very encouraging meeting with the missions director at our church. She helped us brainstorm effective ways to meet and connect with people within our church since it is so big. It was so encouraging to talk to her, because she used to be on staff with Crusade in the Columbus metro. Pray that our new pursuit of referrals would be fruitful, and we'd meet the people God has for our team.

I [Jonelle] absolutely can't wait until we can drop our jobs and pursue MPD full-time. However, I do really enjoy my job as a middle school aide [for a moderate to severe classroom]. I laugh multiple times each day, and it is great! Yesterday, we had one of our students streak through the classroom. A couple adults tried to corral him back in the bathroom while myself and some others threw ourselves over the girls' eyes so they wouldn't be scarred for life. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

-J

01 March 2008

Reunited.

Scott & his guitar were reunited at 2.30 a.m. yesterday. Praise Jesus!

-J

28 February 2008

Walk Like An Egyptian.

One of our bands, Blue Sky Nine, is now in Egypt until March 15. They'll be playing on campuses and various other locations in Cairo, Alexandria, and other places, helping the campus teams reach their audiences and presenting the Gospel. We just received word today that the team made it safely into Egypt. They are in Cairo at their host’s local offices, getting ready to head to Alexandria where they’ll stay for a bit. Then back to Cairo. Most everything made it here safely, except for Scott’s guitar. Egypt Air is looking for it and will call them if/when they find it.

*Pray for health & sleep adjustment as they acclimate to being 8 time zones away from home.
*Pray that Scott's guitar is found!

-J

p.s. Another band, Giants of Silence, is back in the states from two weeks in Mexico. We'll update later on their trip!

26 February 2008

Stress

Wow, this whole journey is so exciting. We are blessed with opportunities to hang out with friends and invest in what is going on with them personally. Although it is very fun, it does come with stress. We have been very blessed with consistent appointments, but it takes a toll on your body and mind spiritually. Long hours and pouring a whole lot more of trust into God then we seem to be typically use to puts us in a place we are actually not familiar with.

I am relearning all about what it means to follow Jesus with 100% of my life. I know consciously I am giving it all I have, but he knows there are times I just get into a rut of confusion, frustration, and doubt. I can relate to Peter when Jesus asks him three times if he Loves him. Sometimes I don't get the big idea immediately.

We are working so hard, and have been blessed with this opportunity to serve God in being part of his great commission. Please pray for strength and wisdom throughout our daily routines.

-T

15 February 2008

Praise & Prayer

Praises:

*I'm praising Jesus for the presidents and a four-day weekend from work. It is perfect timing to have these two extra days to finish unpacking and putting our place back to a more "normal" state.

*I'm praising Jesus for an bonus check that Tony got this week which can pay off half the amount we owe on the school loan! We have a goal to pay off the car & school loan by June...and didn't know how that was going to happen. Jesus is totally providing, though!

Prayer Requests:

*We have one appointment tonight, four tomorrow, and are in the midst of phone tag scheduling more for next week. Pray that we can clearly share our vision and passion with what we'll be doing with Keynote on our appointments. Pray that we can actually get a hold of people to schedule more appointments.

-J

12 February 2008

Home Sweet Winter.

We rolled in about an hour and a half ago, unloaded things, and was pleasantly happy when we saw that there's really not a whole lot to unpack. It's certainly colder here than Florida, but it's certainly more like home. Tomorrow starts craziness until June. Tony will be back at Tylerworks, and I will be starting a full-time special ed. aide position at the middle school. We'll be doing an online seminary course [New Testament Survey] 5 hours each week. Lastly, we'll be doing 20 hours of Ministry Partner Development [MPD] to build up our support team so we can get on out to Keynote in Indy! Yep, that's a minimum of 65 hours each week. Pray for sanity!


-J


Ode to Daytona Beach. Courtesy of Jen McKinney.

11 February 2008

On our way...

So, we're on our way home now. We're trying to drag the Florida sunshine and warmth with us...but it's not keeping up with us. We stopped in South Carolina last night to see Alisha and Pam. We played a sweet game of VCR Clue. Yes, VCR. If you ever are wondering what to buy me....well now you know. Today we're in North Carolina with Carl. He took us to this awesome BBQ place. Some of the seats in the place are inside a bus....so we ate in there. I wish I had my camera - it was great! We'll be heading for home bright and early tomorrow morning. Please be praying for our safety because we're suppose to be driving into some good old Ohio wintery mix of weather on the way back.

-J

02 February 2008

Lighthouses & Tree Climbing.

We made it out to the Ponce de Leon Inlet lighthouse this week in our free time. The lighthouse is over 100 years old and is the tallest in Florida and the 2nd tallest in the nation. We didn't go up inside, but had fun looking from the outside and walking around the park.

-J


The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse. It's way up there!


The trees grew in crazy ways in the park. Great for climbing!


...and hanging!



Big boat.