October marked the end of our European tour and the beginning of our time apart. It was an amazing month where we were able to spend lots of time with others, whether it was encouraging believers or pointing people to Christ. We also experienced what it's really like to go through trials in ministry.
We spent the first two weeks of October in Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea to the left of Israel and just below Turkey. It used to be a British commonwealth but was made a part of the EU ten years ago, and it has become a travel destination for many people throughout Europe. We found ourselves surrounded by people from Greece, Russia, the UK, China and more. The island was full of beautiful views of the sea and had gorgeous sunsets. We enjoyed exploring the island the first few days we were there and seeing what the culture is like. #learning
One of the first things we did while in Paphos was join the local Calvary Chapel for their weekly fellowship time after their Bible study. Tyler, an AJM missionary serving in Cyprus, and Garrett made coffee for nearly everyone there, and we enjoyed chatting with the people there. We also got to know our host families—Tyler and Elisabeth, and Tim and Darlene—better while meeting some of the people who had moved from China and were a part of the church's weekly English lessons. #community
That weekend we traveled to the north side of Cyprus to the portion of the island that is under Turkish occupation. We partnered with a local missionary named Jon and his church to put on an outreach show at a local coffee shop and bar in Girne. This was a big deal for a couple reasons: first, it is an incredibly rare thing for someone to speak puplicly about Jesus because Turkey is a Muslim nation. Second, this was the first time that Jon's church had put on an outreach. Many people have never heard the Gospel in Northern Cyprus but we are confident that the people in the venue left hearing it that night. The next day we helped Jon's wife Katie lead worship for their church and Tyler was also able to encourage the people through a time of teaching. Very rarely do people travel to the north side of the island due to its occupation by the Turks, and in having a team of missionaries to come specifically to serve was super encouraging for Jon and Katie. This weekend was very difficult because most of the team were in the midst of sickness and exauhstion but it was so worth it! #reachingout
Final Greetings visited a local cafe called Sykaminia twice to play an acoustic concert for people and to invite them to our concerts later in the week. It was a fun time of sharing our music and getting to better know some of the church attendees and the locals. We were able to encourage a man named Michael who had recently lost his wife by conversation and one of our songs that encourages people to dwell on the good times in a relationship. #rememberthegood
That evening we put on a rock show at the church where we were able to see people from the cafe that we had invited earlier in the week and also connect with some of the Youth For Christ leaders and youth students. They had fun dancing around to our music, and we went to McDonalds with them afterwards for a late dinner. #latenights
Our last rock concert of the year was at the Paphos Harbor next to the castle and an ancient amphitheater. We had hundreds of people wander in and out of our show over the two sessions that we played where we shared our music and the Gospel. To play in such a picturesque and historical place was something we had only dreamed of doing, and we were able to connect with so many people before and after the concert. Tim, Darlene, Tyler and Elisabeth reached out to people there and invited them to church that Sunday at Calvary Chapel Paphos, which created a unique opportunity to continue our ministry as we drew in people who might not have otherwise come. #outreach
That Sunday we led worship for Calvary Chapel Paphos. We were blown away by the church's heart for worship. From the minute we started playing they began clapping and singing so that their voices more than filled the entire building. They reminded us that worshipping together with other believers is just as important as putting on outreaches, and their passion helped reignite some of our own. #worshippers
That night we joined some of the people from the church for their weekly volleyball game at a local beach. It was a sweat and sand filled time of having fun and relaxing with the people we had been working with the last two weeks. We got some great saves and scores during the games. #beachvolleyball
Our last day in Cyprus we went with our new friend James to the archeological park near Paphos harbor for a day of exploring tunnels and taking crazy pictures in centuries old outhouses and buildings. Suffice it to say it was a great last day. #archpark
After we left Cyprus, James traveled back to Hungary to spend time with his friends and partner with his old home church for worship on Sundays and at a youth retreat. He was also able to attend his friend's wedding and get some well-earned rest in his hometown. #hungarybound
Alissa and Garrett have been visiting their home churches in Oregon—Horizon in Tualatin and New Hope Eugene—along with sharing at Living Hope Church in Eugene how their support helped fund our Europe tour. They also went to Benihanas to celebrate Alissa's 25th birthday on November 1st. #birthdaygirl
Kyle and Sam are currently traveling up and down the West Coast to give missions updates to churches who had financially supported the band to get out to Europe. They have visited churches in Lathrop, CA; Ellensburg, WA; and Kelseyville, CA. The guys are headed to Rocklin, CA next!
Thank you again to all of your prayers and financial support through our travels this year. Though we may be in different places now, we will still keep you updated on what all of us will be doing over the next couple months. We look forward to sharing more of these stories as we continue traveling and preparing for next year.