This past month has been full of amazing times as we've ventured into three new countries, and have many stories to tell. All the people we've met have made an impact on us and shown us why we continue playing music and traveling the world. The people in Europe need our encouragement and love. Here are just some of the stories of what has happened since we've been here in September.
We finished off the month of August by flying to Romania, and we spent a weekend there to bless the Fouts family and the people of Bistrita. While playing an outdoor concert at the park, we were able to interact with a group of high school kids on a trip. They danced around and found us online before we even got to talk with them! We also served at Calvary Chapel Bistrita and led worship at their Sunday morning service, and they enjoyed getting to know us. and Alissa kept the Fouts kids guessing with constant riddles over the time we were there. They wrote us all notes thanking us for being there. #sosweet
Final Greetings made our way to Budapest, Hungary to visit with our friends: Doug and Marci, and Abby and Barna. We stayed next to St. Stephen's Basilica and slowly explored the rest of the city. We climbed to the Hungarian Statue of Liberty, visited the Budapest castle, crossed the Chain Bridge, visited several coffee shops and tried gelato roses. It's a beautiful city with so much to see. #budapestbest
Next we teamed up with FEK, a youth outreach program in Hungary that meets in the basement of a local coffee shop called and teaches high school students English and coaches them on how to live a better life. We played for over 40 students and created a fun first meeting of the school year. They talked through the words of our song "Break Down" and thought about how it applies to their lives, and then we spent the rest of the night hanging out with them. #englishrocks
That Sunday we partnered with Golgota Kistarcsa and blessed their people through worship. They enjoyed hearing from James about what we do as a band, and they very kindly bought us coffee and breakfast as a thank you. We enjoyed talking to the people there after service and meeting some of the worship team. #coolpeeps
One of the worship team members invited us over for lunch with his family. They fed us wonderful food and we had so much fun hearing their stories of travels from Italy to England and then to Hungary. They gave us a relaxing afternoon, and we invited them to other events of ours as the week went on. John and Hilda were so kind, and we were able to relate with their kids Oliver and Monica through music. #relatable
After meeting a guy named Jonny who owned a bar and tattoo show, we were able to set up a rock show in their basement on a Tuesday night. We invited everyone in town we knew and played as loud as we could. Jonny was an awesome guy, and Garrett and Alissa got to spend a couple afternoons with him that week as well. He also gave Garrett a tattoo, and it was his first cross he'd ever done. We look forward to visiting him again and sharing more of our stories. #raddude
The next night we led worship at James's home church, Golgota Budapest, for their Wednesday night service. It was a great way to show them how James is doing since he's been traveling, and he enjoyed seeing a lot of his old friends from Budapest. We also joined their young adults group the next day for worship, games and small group discussions about the message. #homechurch
Final Greetings then traveled to Tatabanya, a smaller city about an hour outside of Budapest. We partnered with Matt Edwards to put on a rock show at the local skate park for the middle and high schoolers who hang out there when their school day finishes over. It was really cool to watch kids pull off flips on their scooters while we played for them. A drunk man tried to start a fight while we were there with some of the kids, but the team was able to help him relax and make him feel important. #crazytimes
We traveled Northeast to Ukraine to team up with a missionary couple in Lviv, David and Catya. They're starting a non-profit called Your Everest that puts on concerts, camps and lots of other outreach activities for the youth of their city. They showed us around their downtown for an evening and then put us to work! #justdoit
We went to three local schools and hosted games and question times so the kids cold practice their English, and then invited them to our rock concert that was happening later in the week. We also led an English club one of the evenings and got to know some of the kids a little better by asking them questions about their dreams and encouraging them on how to start achieving them today. #youcandoit
Nearly 100 people came to our rock concert in Lviv, most of them being the kids we had met at the schools. They invited their friends and brought their parents, and once we asked them to dance they never stopped. They clapped, jumped around, took pictures and videos galore, but it was amazing to watch them wave their hands as we worshipped God. They may not have known His story, but they worshipped Him with us. We shared the Gospel with them, and afterwards they all wanted pictures with us. They also had us sign notebooks, phone cases and even the smallest bill of their currency. #firsttimeforeverything
We traveled further east to the city of Ternopil to partner with two of the Markey brothers and Calvary Chapel Ternopil for an outreach concert. We played acoustic sets on the streets, in a cafeteria and at an English club to invite people. We had about 50 people cram into the church to hear us play, and it was a lot of fun. There were kids dancing like crazy, and we met a group of young women from Pakistan who had come and were wanting us to come again so they could spend more time with us. The concert was a huge win. #biggestfans
And finally, we found our way back to Bistrita, Romania to return the van we had rented to the Fouts family and lead worship at their church again. We enjoyed visiting with them some more, and their daughters had fun playing games like Toilet Tag and Ghost in the Graveyard with Garrett and some of the other team members. They desperately wish we could have stayed longer. #sosad
Thanks for keeping up with our adventures as we're on tour in Europe! We'll be returning to the states in a few weeks where we'll visit some churches, old friends, and enjoy some time with our families. All of your prayer and financial support has made this trip possible. We look forward to telling you more stories in person!