Friday, August 1, 2008

Youth Conference

Just a quick post to say that the conference has been amazing so far including hearing from Shane Claiborne and Zach Hunter. I'm having trouble with internet access at the hotel at the moment, so I'm at an internet cafe at the conference with limited time. But just wanted to update you all that we're still chuggin along! I had lunch today with a columbian who is pastor of a church in the UK. They are dealing with similar challenges in our area. I also talked with a younger guy who is a youth pastor in Hamburg, and he has been describing to me what ministry is like in a post reunification world here in Germany. Good stuff to say the least.

Talk to you all soon!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Leipzig and more...

We're back on the internet (sort of :) ).

After we left Salzburg, our first stop on Monday morning was to get a Sound of Music Tour. We visited a few sites that were seen in the movie and got a little background from our tour guide on how it all came about. (Gotta watch the movie when we get home as a reminder). If you remember the movie, this picture was on the steps of where they did the Do-Re-Mi song:

After the sound of music tour, we headed to Neuswanstein castle which provided the inspiration for Disney's castle. This castle is set up in the hills above Fussen and overlooks the valley. Its incredibly Disney-esk.

Fussen is a smaller town that we stayed in (unfortunately i-net access was sparser than the first two cities). We did get a chance after dinner to walk around town and get a double shot of Gelato (an ice cream like european food that is very good.)

Tuesday morning we woke up and headed to Munich. Upon arriving in Munich, we went first to Dauchau the concentration camp. Our tour guide who is from Germany, mentioned to us that all German school children have to visit a concentration camp as a way to be sure that something like the holocaust doesn't happen again. It was pretty sobering to walk the grounds and see the buildings where many who were killed once walked. We even saw the crematorium and gas chamber onsite (although they tell us that this particular gas chamber was never used for mass killings like Auswitz).

From Dauchau, we moved on to a walking tour of the rest of Munich which is quite the bustling city even into the late hours of the night. After dinner we went back down into the central square and walked around for a bit. Then for a bit of adventure we rode the s-bahn (train) back to the hotel.

The next morning, we hopped the bus again and made our way up to Leipzig including a stop in Nurmburg for lunch.

Its about time to head to breakfast and the conference here, so I will catch up more with Leipzig tonight when we return to the hotel...

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Today we took a drive and left Vienna for Salzburg. We spent most of the afternoon touring around seeing the sights in Salzburg including Mozarts house. Dinner was at a small cafe across the river.

Our hotel in Salzburg is just a short walk from downtown, but most interestingly is through a tunnel from the downtown area. Apparently this tunnel has been around since Mozarts time.

After dinner tonight, we spent a little time walking around the city then back to the hotel for some hangout time. Since its Sunday, not many of the shops were open today.

Tomorrow we do a Sound of Music tour in the morning, then head out to Neuswanstein castle and to Fussen for our overnight.

Pics in the morning as its late... Thanks for all those that have left comments!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day 2 in Vienna

Today we spent the morning at Schrommburg Palace. Incredible location as it has 1400 rooms. (We only got to see about 22 on our tour). It also had a magnificent gardens behind that looked very much like Versailles.

Following the tour, we went to a market that was very much like a flea market, with little shops / tables for the locals. Then we jumped on the Underground and headed to St. Stephens Square where we first had lunch at Griechenbeisl which is a famous restaurant where many famous people have signed the ceiling in the signature room. We were blown away by seeing signatures including those from Beethoven, Mozart, and Strauss, to the likes of Mark Twain, and even more moderns such as Phil Collins.

After lunch, walked up an over 300 step spiral staircase to the top of the spire at St. Stephens cathedral.

From the cathedral, we split into a couple groups where there was shopping, one group went to the Art History museum. I took my group up to the Prater which was a little amusument park where we jumped on a Riesenrad or Ferris Wheel. This one was interesting as it had cars that held 16 people, and took 10-15 minutes to make 1 revolution. You could rent a car that was setup for a romantic candlelight dinner for the evening.

We ate dinner at WienerWald, a restaurant near the hotel. After dinner was a short tram ride, then ice cream back. At the moment, there are a number of our youth that are in our room playing games and hangin out together.

Tomorrow morning we're off to Salzburg for the day.

Everyone's doing great, having a great time, although we're all pretty tired at this point.

Friday, July 25, 2008

In Europe!

This morning our team landed in Vienna Austria where we will be spending our first couple of days. And WOOHOO! We have internet at the hotel. So after meeting the other churches in our tour (except one which didn't make their connection in Amsterdam), we headed off for a bus tour of Vienna. Following the bus tour, we got checked into our first hotel and headed off to lunch. Most tried Weiner Schnitzle, and a couple of us had ribs.

Following lunch we went on a walking adventure since we had some free time, and explored part of the city near our hotel. By mid-afternoon, everyone was clamoring for sleep including Ben who nodded off in Starbucks. (Yes there is a starbucks here, and its only 1 block from our hotel. WOO HOO!).

We continued walking after ingesting some caffeine to keep us moving. We are now preparing for dinner as it as 6:30pm as I'm writing this. We'll be walking a couple blocks up to our restaurant. Then after dinner, there is a video concert of an orchestra playing at the city hall on their big jumbotron, so we may try to stay awake long enough to watch part of that before heading back and crashing tonight.

Everyone's doing great, no major problems as of this point, except everyone's trying to get readjusted to our new time.

I'll post some pics after dinner tonight.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Germany, Puppies, and Stuff

Its been a couple weeks now since camp... I'm still catching up on sleep it seems. But it was an incredible experience with a few of our youth giving their lives over to Christ.

Tomorrow we take a team from our church and join 3 other churches from St. Louis and head to Germany for some touring and to attend the Baptist World Alliance Youth Conference. Our kids are in Arkansas with family, arrived last night and are incredibly excited (including getting to sit in the pilot's seat at the airport after landing).

My wife will be going with me on this trip as well which is great as the trip falls over our anniversary!

At the same time as all this, we're also looking to adopt a puppy:

We don't have a name yet, but we pick him up the week of August 10th. the kids are of course very excited... He's a yellow lab from lab-rescue. Part of a litter that is up for adoption and he is the last one to be claimed. Check out for lab adoptions.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Camp - Day 2

Woo Hoo! Day 2 of camp was also an exceptional day. BTW, when are camp days not good days?

Today was the first day our family groups experienced recreation together! Rec was filled with an adventure day for our HSers, and water day for our MSers. During water day EVERYONE got wet. Check out some pics below.

We also talked today about rebellion from The Way and what that looks like, what are the things that lead to destruction in our life.

During church group time, we shared stories from the day (and there were some funny ones too), as well as talked about ways that we rebel from God. We also had a time of prayer with our students as some shared ways that they were rebellious and wanted to turn from those ways.

Everyone's pretty tired but havin an awesome time so far. I'm actually writing this as I'm knocking on doors getting guys up :).

Alright off to breakfast, here are a couple more pics from yesterday...