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!


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!