Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sitting in the Airport

We're sitting at our gate waiting for the first leg of our flight to Chicago O'Hare... Then, on to Munich, and finally Sofia tomorrow. Here's a quick pic of everybody hanging around waiting to board...

We got here this morning in time for breakfast, then off the the security checkpoint where Megan got her bag searched (tuna cans!). No real problems so far though and everybody is in good spirits. Keep praying for us and I'll try to keep everybody updated as we travel...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Last Night In America

So, I'm laying in bed about fifteen minutes ago and my wife asks me, "Are you excited?" I answered back, "No. I'm tired." Fifteen minutes later, here I sit on the computer posting one last update on the blog before we start our journey!
It's almost 11:30pm and we've got to get up at 5:30 in the morning. Then, its off to Pastor Chuck's house where we'll assemble the team, load up our luggage, and hit the road for Vegas. Excited? I wish I could fast forward the next six hours and just hit the road already!!

Today was filled with last-minute activity just knowing the whole time that I'll probably forget something of vital importance and just have to make do on the other side of the world without whatever it is... I'd probably forget my head at home if it weren't so firmly attached to my shoulders. Megan and I packed up our suitcases, along with our supply suitcases and our carry-ons. Now they're all sitting neatly by the front door waiting for us to grab them on the way out in the morning.

I think I got all the suitcases under the 50 lb. limit, but my carry-on weighs more than I do! I started with a change of clothes just in case... you never know what's gonna happen to the luggage between Munich and Sofia :-) Then, my Bulgarian/English bible went in followed by snacks. Now, my wife was incredibly generous with her snack purchases this year (probably because her daughter is going!) and I didn't know where to put them all! I ended up splitting them between the carry-on and my suitcase, so I'll be eating well on the way home too... As you can see by the picture, If anybody on the team is suffering from malnutrition, I've got it covered! Finally, I tossed a few books in to keep me company and stuffed some basic meds and such in the outer pockets. Tomorrow morning, I'll toss in my tablet PC and 3 extra batteries, which I'll be charging all night. If I get on the plane and it starts leaning toward the side I'm sitting on, you'll know why! ;-)
Hopefully, everybody else on the team is nestled snug in their beds right now dreaming of куфте (kufte... Bulgarian sausage patties). Megan went to bed an hour or two ago, but who knows if she's actually sleeping! I'm assuming everybody's packed by now, but it wouldn't surprise me if one or two people were still up trying to stuff in one more thing without going over 50 lbs. I talked to Pastor Chuck, Linzi, and Kenne today and they're all packed up and ready to go. On the other hand, Joey was going for the last minute pack like I usually do (don't know why I started yesterday... I usually wait until about an hour before leaving!). I hope Shae, Richard, and Marinna are good to go... guess we'll see in the morning.
Well, enough of my late night rant. I'll take some pics on the trip and post an update as soon as possible. If wireless internet doesn't cost too much, I may post an update from one of the airports. Otherwise, we're supposed to have internet where we're staying in Sofia, so I'll fill you all in when we get there.
I guess I'll try to get a little sleep tonight, or at least close my eyes for awhile and think about Bulgaria...
лека нощ (leka nosht... good night)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Running Out Of Time!

Wow! Time is flying by... Only two weeks until we leave and it seems like a million things still need to be done. We've planned out our VBS for the week we'll be spending with Bulgarian kids at their summer camp on the Black Sea. However, planning is only half the battle... now we have to collect and prepare everything that we need to take over with us.

We're doing a bayou, kinda "Tom Sawyer" styled, theme for the week and we'll be relating the story of how God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. Our daily topics include GOD IS WITH US, GOD IS POWERFUL, GOD DOES WHAT HE SAYS HE'LL DO, GOD GIVES US LIFE, and GOD CARES FOR US. We've got great lessons and activities planned for each day and we're even going to do an "Amazing Race" challenge based on the ten plagues!

Of course, all the activities, games, and object lessons require supplies and costumes so everybody is scrambling to collect everything they'll need. I'm going to do a monologue lesson as the Pharoah on one day, but with the bayou theme, we're going for more of a "Col. Sanders" look. I hit a thrift store in Oceanside last week and found the perfect jacket and pants for it. Throw in a white shirt and bow tie with a straw hat and some powder in my hair and beard... Good to go! Also, we're all scrounging for overalls, cut-off jeans, and straw hats to wear during our time every day.

It's a little unnerving because you can't just whip up something you forgot at the last minute... home is going to be 6500 miles away! We have to nail down every little detail before we leave. Of course, some supplies can be obtained over there, but their stores are completely different and not everybody speaks English, nor do we have a lot of free time for shopping.

The other issue is packing... we have to FIT all those supplies in our suitcases to get them there! International travel allows us two suitcases each in checked baggage, plus a carry-on. Everyone on the team has to pack for two weeks using only one suitcase so we can use our additional suitcase for supplies. Hopefully, we can pack everything we need into ten suitcases! Last year, we had a packing party where we all brought our second piece of luggage and we loaded up everything we had to take... it was tight!

Continue to pray for us as we wrap up these last weeks of preparation. Pray for peace of mind and strong organizational skills. Also, if you have any props or clothing that fit our theme and you'd like to help out, talk to one of us. Finally, take a moment to grab one of the team members when you see them at church or around town and tell them that you're praying for them and following along on the blog. It means the world to us to know that we have your support and thoughts as we go. Thanks!

14 more days!!

More Memories From Last Year

Here are some more pictures and memories from last year's trip. Hope you enjoy!

We were washing windows but i could not reach the top so we made it work. The thing that was so great was we were about 6 story's up. pastor Ludmil was saying "shut the window please please shut the window! dont lose shae" hahha it was so great.

(Linzi White)

One of my Favorite times in Bulgaria. I love worship music in any language.

(Joey Leslie)

Hank getting water for Hannah and Jordan. We were painting in the new Blagovest church in Sofia. It was hot work so cold water was nice.