Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TLoEHR: Up All Night

While Friday morning saw us getting up bright and early, Friday night offered no opportunity for some early shut-eye. In fact, it offered no opportunity for any kind of sleep at all.
At some point during the week we got it into our heads to host an all-night prayer and worship gathering. (It was that crazy Tuesday and it was totally my fault for suggesting it. It just sort of popped out of my mouth...) So after finishing up at Radio 7 Bjorni and I grabbed lunch, an ice cream, and then we went to put the finishing touches on the worship space we had begun preparing in days previous. Check it.

The idea for the night was freedom. We wanted to encourage people to worship freely and move freely in their gifts, and so we had a space set up for painting, a separate space for sketching/journaling and writing prayer requests, and dancing, jumping, and just resting in God's presence was all favorably looked upon.

I didn't think I could make it through, but I did!

Here are some pics of the evening.

some art examples
all of the pieces painted were given as gifts :)

morning after

Monday, July 28, 2014

TLoEHR: Radio 7

At the time this highlight takes place, I had been in Albania for about four days. I arrived Monday night, and that same Friday morning saw Bjorni (I called him Teddy in the previous post but in retrospect I'll just call him his real name...) and I getting up early for my first international radio gig. It was so cool and so fun, and I can thank so many people for the experiences that I have had, especially throughout college, that helped prepare me for something like this.

I did the half hour morning segment with friends tuning in mostly from Albania and Italy (online), to support me. I can't tell you how incredible that felt!

Radio 7 is Tirana's (the capital of Albania) Christian radio station, which, as far as I could tell, does quite well.
I shared two songs, one in Italian, 'Salmo 36' and one in English, 'Papa', the lyrics of which I've posted here on this blog.

I was asked to talk about what I do, and so I told them about being a worship leader and a bit about the worship nights and street evangelism my buddies and I do often in Milan.
When they asked for the word of encouragement they wanted me to prepare, I shared about the father heart of God, and about how He cares about our dreams. I felt really strongly the importance of sharing that God loves us. He is bothered even with the little things that we don't want to trouble an Almighty God with. Almighty extends even to seeing a friend one last time, who just hapenned to be on the same bus you were on as you headed to Stazione Centrale for your airport transfer. It extends to a situation that makes you laugh ten minutes straight when you're having a bad day. It's the homeless man who gives you what is likely his last seven cents because you look that miserable sitting in South Station, sad you missed seeing a friend and saying one last goodbye to family. You get the point.

After the interview and song sharing, I recorded a couple of tracks. Bjorni sang harmony on one, and we even involved a girl who was hanging out in the station. Her name was Nisa (meaning 'I start/begin') and it was wonderful to bless her in this way.

Considering the fact that we had literally zero practice time, it all came out quite well.
Here are some pics.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Homeward Bound

So it's literally been about a month since I've updated my blog.
Sorry about that.

I am now homeward bound. I did decide, however, to make a quick pit-stop in Albania to visit a friend. My next few blog posts will be updates of some special moments and occasions that happened while I've been here. So much has happened that I likely will forget something, so cut me some slack if these posts don't come in chronological order.

On my first night in Tirana, the capital city, we did not have some fabulous local dish. No. We had pizza. I'm coming from Italy, folks, and you can bet I was getting my fill of pizza, brioches, and coffee before leaving the land of where all of that actually tastes good.  It was really good pizza though, so I suppose I was proven wrong rather quickly.

Then the next day I went around meeting lots of people and that's where all the fun starts happening. I suppose everything needs a little legwork.

Anyway, I met the pastor of my friend's  (We'll call my friend  'Teddy') church, and we started looking into my leading worship at one or more of the services, since Teddy assured him that I was an anointed worship leader and he wouldn't regret it. In that same day we met some of the worship team and had some friendly musical sizing each other up time. At some point in all this, there was a meeting with the radio station to plan my sharing my testimony as a worship leader, and some songs, and then that evening we met with some of Teddy's family group where we talked about the awesomeness of God, randomly decided to plan an all night prayer and worship time for the evening of the day I had the radio interview early in the morning, and then we went out to the pyramid, which is a monument in center city. Once there, though freezing my butt off, we stayed and worshipped and interceded for the nation of Albania for a good half hour.

Then, I was brought back to my hostel where I most gratefully fell into sweet repose.

This more or less gives you can accurate picture of what my first week was like. I'll spare you and go into detail only on the highlights. So without further ado, I present to you the Happy Trails Blog Series, "The Land of Eagles: Highlight Reel". (Shortened to TLoEHR, in loving memory of the ridiculous acronyms in "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs).