Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Here's the recap of this past week:
Lisa and I closed on the house at 4pm and we were at the house with a van full of boxes by 4:30. (We had loaded the van the previous night.) We quickly unloaded, then made our way back to the apartment, where we proceeded to fill the van one more time with items. After unloading the second time, we began to clean the kitchen. It was during this time that Lisa was shocked by something in the kitchen. I proceeded to discover that the shock was a result of touching the metal sink and the oven at the same time (Zap!). Needless to say, this was a discouraging development, but one we decided we would look at the following day.

Swung by the apartment on the way to the house and filled up the minivan with some more boxes. I went downstairs and turned off the power to the garbage disposal and then disconnected its wiring from the disposal unit. I reset the circuit breaker for the garbage disposal and, feeling confidant that I had fixed the problem, proceeded to touch the aforementioned combination (Zap!). So we decided we had better not use the stove. We called our realtor and got in contact with our home warranty company to fix the problem.
Bob, Deb and Katrina came over to help clean the house and we explained the situation to them. After the cleaning was finished Bob went downstairs to try and turn off the breaker to the oven. In doing so, he inadvertantly turned off the main breaker switch to the entire house. This is not really a big deal, except for the fact that neither he nor I could flip the switch back on. So we were stuck without power for the remainder of the evening. Thankfully, Lisa and I still had electricity back at the apartment, so we stayed the night there.

Stopped by the apartment for another load of stuff and made our way to the house. After unloading everything, I went downstairs to try one last time to wrestle the main switch free from its position in the breaker box. I figured that if we were going to have someone come out to look at it, I might as well give it a good yank. After all, if I broke it off somehow, the repair man would fix that too... So I grabbed the switch and jerk at it with as much force as I could generate. It reluctantly clicked over and, after flipping all of the other breakers back on, we had power in the house again.
I then turned the breaker to the oven hood off, thinking that I had also turned off the oven. I went upstairs and Lisa and I both thought it would be safe now to touch the oven. (Zap!) Wrong again. It's at this point that we figured out that the range top was on a different circuit than the hood. We called the home warrantee company and set up an appointment for a guy to come look at the stove on Friday afternoon.

I ran home from work to meet up with the oven repair guys. After I explained what was going on, the repair guy used his voltmeter to test the sink/oven combination. What he got in return wasa big Zap and his meter jumping quickly to the right. The two then pulled the stove out and carefully unplugged it. When the repair man tested the outlet for the stove he found that there were 220 volts running through it instead of the correct 110. Their guess was that somewhere along the elctrical work that had been done in the panel box, somewires were crossed or tied to the wrong breaker. Either way, we are fortunate our oven didn't blow up or melt. He also said that there was enough electricity flowing through the stovetop to electrocute someone. Lisa and I have both been blessed and protected when it comes to our interactions with this stove. The repair guys couldn't fix the problem because they are not electricicans, so they left.
I called the home warrantee company to let them know of the situation and to confirm that they would be sending an electrician out to fix the problem. As of 12:45pm on Friday they said they were working on doing that. The day ended without further word from either the warrantee company or an electric company.

Lisa and I got up early to move some things out of the way in the house, then made our way to the apartment by 8:30. We finished packing up stuff until 9:30 when Bob and Deb came over to help. While Bob and I carried some of the larger furniture items down to the minivan and cargo van, Lisa and Deb started cleaning the apartment. My mother showed up around 10 to help with the cleaning and Dad helped Bob and I with some boxes. We thought it would be a one trip situation, but we we wrong. After loading up both the minivan and cargo van twice, we had basically all of our stuff out of the apartment. We had a nice lunch at the house and finished unloading the vans. We ended the day very tired and sore, but glad that we were almost totally out of the apartment and that is was basically completely clean. I didn't even think of the electrical problem until later in the evening, and we hadn't heard from anyone regarding it yet.

We got up and went to the "Hour of Power" at the St. Louis Avenue Nursing Home for church. We came home and changed, then went to Lowes to look at lawn mowers. Well, we didn't liek the selection there, but we did find a 15 foot weeping willow tree that we liked. It was on sale for 50% off, so we crammed it through the right rear window of the car and drove it home while Lisa held onto to the limbs out her window. Thankfully, we live less than 2 mile from Lowes. We ubloaded the tree and left immediately for Home Depot. We found a mower and purchased 8 bags of topsoil and 4 bags of mulch. We then went to the Pasta House Company, where we ate lunch using gift cards (Free meal!) and then we went to Steak 'n Shake, where we had their new Sippable Sundae shakes which we bought also with a gift card (Free!). We then made our way home where we unloaded all of our purchases and spent the rmeainder of the day unpacking and moving things around.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The weekend was very relaxing and exhausting at the same time. We left for Rolla at am on Friday, where we met at the Rechtien farm for brunch. After the meal, the men headed off to the Catholic church to load up most of the decorations we would be using for the stage. After loading up the cross, mutliple plants and vases, we made our way to the Leach theatre. We unloaded the trucks and vans and then proceeded to start setting the stage for the evening's performance. At around 2:30, we called the women to come to the theatre. After the women arrived, we all began praying over and annointing the auditorium. We then ran a set of sound checks and called our physical preparations of the stage complete.

We headed back stage, where we enjoyed a fabulous feast of meats, cheeses and other snacks. Mary Elizabeth and Tracy had taken charge of arranging our meals for this trip and they did an absolutely fabulous job. Having filled up on light items, we headed off to our respective dressing rooms (men and women separate). By 5pm I was in full costume and was ready to go. We spent the remainder of the time backstage praying and singing praise songs and encouraging one another in the Lord. This is the manner in which we do things at every performance, but this time we had more time for this portion of the preparation than we usually do.

The performance that followed was amazing. Although there were some technical issues with the microphones, the performance itself was an astounding success. Everyone that stepped up to the microphone did a fabulous job with singing their song with great emotion. The audience was very receptive and seemed to enjoy every song. It looked like there was somewhere around 550 people present for the performance, which is a great turnout. It was awesome to get the chance to perform in an actual theatre.

After the performance, we broke down the stage and change out of the costumes. Ma and Pa Rechtien (Dick and Pat) had arranged for the members of the cast to stay with host families in Rolla. Lisa and I were assigned to a couple named Ted and Nancy. We loaded our stuff into the car and followed them to their house which is on the edge of town in Rolla. We arrived at the house around 11:30. We sat in the living room and enjoyed some ice cream while talking about the "Isle of Dreams" ministry and the goodness of the Lord. It was a great conversation, but I was quite exhauste from the performance. At around 12:45am we made our way to our bedroom, where I quickly fell asleep.

Lisa was up about a half hour before I was. I took a long shower and found her and Ted on the back deck talking. Ted and Nancy have an amazing view of the wooded hills behind their house for as far as the eye can see. It was such a peaceful way to start the morning and it gave Lisa and I the opportunity to talk further with Ted, who is a retired dentist. Through our conversation, we learnedthat Ted refinishes old furniture as a hobby and has quite the collection of antique furniture in the house. It was great to hear this man talk of his knowledge of furniture and restoring it, and it gave Lisa and I further insight into his life (which is always a neat thing to experience). We made our way to lunch with the rest of the cast back at the Rechtien farm, where we enjoyed another fabulous meal and great conversation with many of the other host families.

It was a great weekend, filled with lots of hard work, lots of great conversation, losts of praising God, lots of sweat, several tears and a lot of wonderful memories.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

We arrived at Michael’s house at 5:35 this morning, in order to leave by 6am. After a brief review of the plan for the day and prayer, we were off for Rolla. I drove, Lisa rode shotgun, and Amanda (Pancake) and Lysette took their places in the back seat. For the most part, the ride down was pretty quiet, with the ladies spending a lot of the time asleep.

We stopped briefly at the Rechtien farm, then loaded back up and followed Pa Rechtien to the first church, Vineyard Christian Fellowship. The church was very welcoming and seamed very genuine in their happiness to have us there. Their praise band started the service with a song and then we shook hands with people. Their pastor introduced Pa Rechtien, who then briefly recapped what his experience and interaction with our group has been. He then promoted the Friday night performance of the "Isle of Dreams" and then we came up and sang “Listen to the Rain” and “Blood On My Hands”. The audience was very receptive and it was cool to see the large number of college age students who were there. It’s great to see dedicated Christian students attending service on Sunday morning. After singing our two songs, we left promptly for the next church.

Upon arriving at Victory Christian Center, we were led upstairs to the pastors’ conference room. We met several of the pastors and the head pastor spoke of his desires for his church and for our musical. We then prayed over the upcoming service and the performance on Friday. The service began with their Praise band and team leading several songs (about 20 minutes) and then the pastor, Mike Huff, spoke about his impending trip to Israel (he leaves Tuesday for the 9 day Holy Land trip), his vision for their church and his opinion of the musical. We then took the stage and performed for about an hour. We sang through quite a bit of the musical and everyone did a great job.

My performance was a bit different because I was dealing with a really dry throat. I had to take a couple of breaths in different places and I had to ad-lib some of the chorus the second time through. All in all, I felt like my song was good but not great. Afterwards Lisa said that she thought it was the best performance any of us had ever given and that it was the best she had ever heard us sound.

Of particular note in this performance was the impact of the dramatic acting we have recently added to certain songs. On Martha’s song (“If You Had Been Here”), you could see the audience’s physical/emotional attachment to her character. And when Jesus sang His response (“Show Me Where You Laid Him”), the audience was so eager for the end result that they were actually applauding before Lazarus had even been commanded to raise form the tomb. It was quite the thing to see from the stage, and the joy on the faces of the people was obvious and unforgettable.

After the service we headed to a restaraunt called Cookin' From Scratch, where we all had our fill of Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and other home-style meals. It was a good time of enjoying one another's company. The trip back to St. Louis was rather uneventful and we made it safely home by 5:15. It was another long, busy and great Sunday.

I’m constantly amazed that God uses our voices in the way that he does.
Friday will be exciting – I can’t wait to see how God moves in that theatre!

Monday, April 4, 2005

This Sunday proved to be another busy day for Lisa and I. We stopped by work on the way to the "Hour of Power" in order to sign and return the paperwork to our realtor which we had found out she had received late Saturday night. This was the paperwork that we have been waiting for for 15 days, so we were thrilled to finally get our hands on it and we were pleased with what had been agreed upon. So we signed what should be the last bit of paperwork prior to actually closing and hopped back into the car to head to church.

The "Hour of Power" was good, with "Mother" singing "If I Can Help Somebody" and Brother Joe singing after returning from his fall last week (he's evidently recovered from any ill effects from his falling incidents). The turnout was quite solid from the leading side and a little low from the attendee side, but it was Daylight Saving Time and I think some residents had forgotten that fact. Afterwards we drove across town to attend the morning worship service at Jubilee Worship Center in North St. Louis.

Pastor Kishna preached a wonderful sermon about praising God while you are going through and for having a "song in the night" (Psalm 42:8) as Ezekiel did when the Israelites were moaning their situation of captivity. The church was very welcoming and we sang edited versions of "Listen to the Rain" and "Blood on My Hands" as a preview of the upcoming afternoon performance. They were both very well received. After the service, the cast was treated to a lunch that was prepared just for us in the basement of the church and then we went back upstairs to set up the stage and finish preparing for the performance.

The performance started out with Michael using his intro dialogue for the first time and it went very well. Everyone sang their songs with power and emotion and the energy of the songs was great. Particular high notes were reached during the dramatic presentation portions of the musical ("If You Had Been Here", "I AM the King" and "Prince of Revelation"). The crowd seemed to really respond to these portions of choreography and stage movement and I think that they have added a lot to the presentation of the Message.

All in all, the performance at Jubilee was absolutely wonderful.
It's amazing how God can turn things around so quickly.
I'm glad this time around went so well, especially when compared to the Easter performance.
God is continually Faithful and Good!