Ahoj (Hi)! I missed last week's update and I apologize for that! Things haven't stopped since my last update. We rolled right through last weekend and today is our first day off. Soooo, here is the condensed version of the latest happenings:
We spent last week in Havirov, Czech Republic. There are about 83,000 people in that city and the kids we met were AWESOME! An interesting point about Havirov is that the Communist party still exists and thrives there, being one of the largest represented in the city. An election actually took place during our week there, and the concert hall was where the ballot counting occurred - during our concert! I picture it just like a scene from a movie...A dark, smoky, room with ballots everywhere... Czech and Russian being spoken at the same time... The Communist plans to take over the world floating in the air... and the soundtrack of Dizmas shaking the ceiling! I'm sure that's exactly how it went :) The longer version has me and the rest of the guys dressed up as secret police and kicking down the door, etc., etc.
Anyways, the response in Havirov was really great. We hung out with so many kids almost all day long. We added a few new afternoon activities to the schedule in this city. One was called The Dizmas Factor (not named after our YouTube video series), and it was a chance for kids to come sing in a choir that would perform with us during the concert at the end of the week. We had two practices with about 30 kids. It was so interesting to see who showed up to sing! Occasionally there would be some guy heckling us a bit during the morning concerts at some of the high schools. We usually took the "heckling kid" on as a mission during the day. One of those guys was named, Martin. He slowly warmed up to us as we singled him out a bit and got to know him during our lectures and time in his school. We invited him to The Dizmas Factor, not expecting a "cool guy" like him to be interested in a choir. That night, though, Martin showed up and was the life of the party! For both songs he chose to sing the female Soprano part, which was just way too ridiculously high for him. We were DYING with laughter! It was amazing. He had even brought a friend, and the next night of practice - he brought 3! Martin and his friends became some of our best friends on this trip, particularly for Joey and Larry.
The concert on that Saturday was so awesome! Over 600 kids came out. The choir sang with us during our encore on the songs, Redemption, Passion, Glory, and What I've Done (Linkin Park). Redemption was especially emotional for all of us as we worshiped with a bunch of voices ringing behind us...They sang, "What love is this, that you would die for me?" over and over and it was a sweet, sweet sound. I just can't describe how amazing that was. I'm sure I will never forget that.
We ended the weekend with a musical workshop. I taught electric guitar, Clay taught drums, Nick taught bass, and Josh taught acoustic guitar.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, we started our morning and afternoon concerts and lectures in the schools of Ostrava, Czech's 3rd largest city. On Tuesday, we left in the evening for the city of Vsetin, which is about an hour and half away. We finished this week in Vsetin and will head back to Ostrava during the upcoming week. Vsetin was a blur! The schools asked us not to lecture, so we just played our sets, promoted Exit 316, and shared about the concert. The afternoons were great, though. Nick, Clay, and I taught musical workshops on Wednesday and Thursday. Kids packed into small, sweaty rooms to learn some riffs and jam with us. Not many people spoke or understood English, so we used translators. It's really cool to see something as big as a language barrier be swept away by music. There were definite moments when we all understood each other through just a few notes on a guitar. We played, we laughed, and we became friends.
One highlight of the week that I have to mention is...Mexican Food! We've all been craving it. Some missionaries from Josiah Venture had us over to their apartment and cooked us some legendary tacos. Soul food.
So, that brings me to the concert last night - another one of my favorites! There were about 500 or 600 kids there again and pure chaos. We were able to spend a long time with them after the show. We gave away a ton of Bibles, signing them with some verses to read, and asking the receiver to really read the book. Hopefully they will! It's something we can all be praying for...
Thank you for your continual prayer and support...We are all so thankful for it.