Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Smiles

There are few things more special than those priceless Christmas moments. How much we have to be grateful for!

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to which also you were called in one body;
and be thankful." Col 3:15

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's our Birthday...

...our blog birthday, that is! [smile]

And traditionally, this has been the occasion for all you friends and 'lurkers' out there to leave us a note! We'd love to hear how you came upon our site -- and maybe a few ideas of what you'd like to see featured on the blog in 2009. So please drop us a comment!

Also, we'd like to say another heartfelt THANK YOU for all your prayers and encouragement over this past year. We are so grateful that you'd keep visiting our site and upholding us before the Throne!

"O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You,
I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth." Isaiah 25:1

So let the *birthday* festivities begin!....

Friday, December 26, 2008

Iowa and Kansas Readers....

As we are working to get our 2009 schedule finalized and uploaded to our website, we do have two final concerts of 2008 to add to our itinerary...

Saturday, December 27
Community Presbyterian Church
106 S. Reynolds St.
Postville, IA
6:00 PM

Wednesday, December 31
Zion Lutheran Church
Hiawatha, KS
7:15 PM

We'd love to see you as we finish out the year -- and look forward to what the Lord has in 2009!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

With Branson 2008 now to a close, we've just enjoyed three days at home -- getting unpacked and full of preparations for our own family celebrations!

And our hearts continue to rejoice in thankfulness and awe as we think of the Lord's great workings over the past several months. Although I have not kept this journal very up-to-date, we have daily sensed the prayers and encouragement of you, our blog readers, as well as our church family and others who were specifically praying for our time in Branson.

It's time to say a big "THANK YOU", along with a few testimonies of how we saw the Lord working over the past weeks....

(We've been busy preparing for our own Christmas these past few days, so I'll sprinkle a few pictures amidst my jottings.....)

God's Drawing -- The whole two months we were consistently amazed by the number of people who came to our show. Even during ice storms, and with many other shows cancelling due to low numbers, people continued to come.

Overall, our average crowd size was in the fifties, with a total of over 2,000 people coming through the theater doors during the 7 weeks. And this, with no expensive advertising. Other Branson performers asked us for our *secret* -- which we know was a direct result of so many daily prayers!

Health & Strength -- Each day was certainly packed to the brim....not only the weekdays, but also the weekends as we sang for several Saturday/Sunday trips. In fact, in December we sang 23 times in 21 days, not including "teasers" for the show multiple times every day.

And yet the Lord gave strength -- and aside from a short 12-hour flu, we all stayed healthy and well! We are so grateful!

Lessons Learned -- Over the past weeks we've [once again] learned that sometimes when you're serving, you serve in faith, trusting the Lord to bring the fruit. Trusting that He will bless where He leads. Even though many times you wonder if God is really working through your efforts!? If people are really being touched!?? If you're really making a difference?!!?

But then every once in awhile the Lord will pull back the curtain to a person's heart to let you see that indeed, He is at work.
And here is just one example...

Subway --
While on a late-night run to Subway, we met and shared free passes with a family who were patiently waiting behind our order of 15 foot longs (no small test of patience!). And we were thrilled when, several days later, they indeed came to our show! By their own words, they were unchurched and by their expresssions, we didn't couldn't tell what they thought of the show at it's conclusion.

However, our friend bumped into them a few days later and visited with the father of the family for 10 minutes or so. The father shared how the show has really made him think about allot of things...especially the things Dad had said at the end (the gospel). Our friend was able to encourage him and share a few more things with him.
Except for a 'chance' meeting, we'd have never known how the Lord touched his heart.

And this is one of several such testimonies. Again -- our heartfelt gratefulness for your prayers!

And now we're home for Christmas Eve -- time for our family traditions and celebrations. Josiah and Abi will join us tonight for our traditional soup supper and we'll all gather 'round to hear Daddy read the Christmas story before beginning our gift exchange. Oh, the joy of family traditions during this special season!

Tomorrow, Christmas Day, at 12:30pm we'll be sharing in a Wisconsin prison. We'd covet your prayers as we rejoice in this great opportunity to share Jesus' love in a place that needs it so desperately during this special season!

And from our family to yours -- we wish you a most blessed, treasured, and merry Christmas season! Oh, how MUCH we have to rejoice in! Our Savior has come!

"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 15, 2008

Seward Concert

The days have simply flown by -- busy and full as our Branson days always are. I wish I had time to sit and write out some of the testimonies God has used to greatly encourage our hearts over these weeks!

For now, here's a quick picture update with some of the Psalms that have been encouraging our hearts lately...

"Oh come, let us sing to the LORD!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation."

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

For the LORD is the great God, And the great King above all gods.

In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.

The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.

Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.

For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.

Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Give to the LORD glory and strength.

Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
Verses from Psalms 95-96

Many thanks to Anna Rehm for her great photography!!!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Branson Day

The days are full -- and somewhat predictable -- here in Branson. In fact, we laugh at the fact that we've had more routine these past 6 weeks than the past several years put together! It's very different than life on the road!

And here's what a typical day looks like --

:: Morning smiles ::
(Because nobody else wanted to be photographed with the 'early look'!)

:: Time to Leave! ::
(When 7:00AM arrives, we all head for the theater)

:: First things, first ::
(Family devotions)

:: Psalms ::
(We've been greatly encouraged by the Psalms as we read and discuss a chapter each morning.)

:: Prayer Time ::

:: Sound Check ::

:: Tuning ::

:: Ticket sales ::
(I was so thrilled -- I finally figured out the ticket process, so I can run our ticket sales!)

:: Action! ::
(The show begins at 10am)

:: Patriotism ::

:: Caroling ::

:: Hillbillies!! ::

:: Little Drummer Boy ::

:: Songs of the Season ::

:: Heading Out ::
(Every day we sing at many restaurants to meet people and invite them to our show.)

:: Making a stop ::

:: Dinner music ::

:: Visiting ::

:: And finally -- LUNCH! ::
(We usually get back to the bus for lunch around 1:30PM)

:: MMmmmmm! ::

:: Activity ::
(From 2 - 4pm is usually free time -- spent with friends, visiting our ticket agents, resting.)

:: Show Samplers ::
(A couple nights a week we visit the timeshares to sing and share from 5-7pm)

:: Calling it a day! ::

"Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness."
Psalm 37:3


Life continues to be full and good here in the Ozarks. I've been working on a picture-packed post to share with you all 'a day in our lives' so you can get a glimpse into our daily life here in Branson. Hopefully I'll get that finished very soon! We continue to see the Lord's hand at work in so many ways.

I wanted to get a post up here quick to ask a specific prayer request. A friend of ours has recently offered to film our Branson Christmas show to produce as a DVD! He pulled into town last night with his film crew (i.e. - family) and will be filming today, Friday, and Saturday's show to combine them into one project.

This is a whole new experience for us, and we'd be so grateful for your prayers!!!

Thank you in advance for upholding us before the throne of Grace! We daily sense your prayers and look forward to updating you with lots of pictures soon! :)

"The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me--
A prayer to the God of my life."
Psalm 42:8