Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SMR in Berlin Day Four

Sonrise Mountain Revival Berlin Project
Day Four
By Kristin Gaffney

            I’m actually writing this on the morning of day five because we got back from day four at around one in the morning.
            But here’s day four…
            First, we basically had a free morning and were able to sleep in for awhile, and after three back-to-back-to-back concerts yesterday it was a total blessing.  Mark, Dick and Rich decided to play on a street corner and got some money as well as were able to talk to people.  And yes, when I say ‘play’ they weren’t goofing off on a tetter totter and slides (although I saw a playground and was really tempted to do that) but playing their bluegrass music.  People in Germany really love our music, it helps that we’re so different from all the music the Germans are used to hearing from America.  Since being here I’ve heard Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, and er… that rapper guy who’s really annoying and has something to do with M&M’s?  Maybe Dad will edit in his name…? (no dad won’t)
            Ashley and her dad, Jeff, went to the pharmacy.  Ashley’s neck was really hurting her and she got some heating pads for the night and Jeff has been feeling very sick.  Hopefully it’s just allergies and not a sinus infection, but they managed to get referred to an English speaking doctor who gave them prescriptions for both allergies and sinus infection for only fifteen Euros!  He has started to feel better, but keep him in your prayer.
            Lianna and I went sightseeing, bought chocolate, took a ton of pictures, and also found a really good ice cream place!  (No, Mom, I’m not just eating food in Germany, I’m also eating dessert!)
            We all came back (sporadically) at around two and then went to eat dinner together.  The food was fine, but every meal came with really good brushetta and at the end they gave us like three whole plates of it because we’d been complimenting the brushetta the whole time!  J
            We had some more free time, about an hour, and basically we all took naps or relaxed.  We’ve been walking around so much that I don’t think most of us want to walk more in our spare time, especially Rich and my dad with their knees.
            But we got to our concert with quite a lot of time to spare (a first) and managed to get all set up long before people started to come in (another first).  The instrumentalists went out onto the street about a half an hour before the concert and played, attracting a small crowd.  It was a great night even though Jeff literally became a baritone overnight with his allergies (hopefully)/sinus infection (L).  We had to cut one song and rewrite the parts for the other, but the audience really loved it and we did two encores, Cor. 1:18 and Dueling Banjos (those songs are our new favorites for the subway.  We now literally play on the trains every time we get on – sparking a lot of fruitful conversations!)
            But at the concert something totally wonderful happened!  There was a mother who had only been coming to church for a few weeks and she brought her daughter (in her early 20s) to our concert and her daughter came to Christ!  She started crying in the middle of Leanna’s testimony and afterward made her decision with the counsel of one of the workers from the Jesus House.  Praise God!
            And although there’s nothing better than that which I can write about, I do have to wrap up this day.  So, we were all really really hungry, and although it took awhile to leave with praying and talking to so many people, we managed to find an open restaurant  at a time just after eleven p.m.
            On the subway over, we played our music, because most people in this band play more often than not, and tons of people liked it!  One guy liked it so much that he offered us a free lunch, hopefully we’ll be able to take him up on the offer.
The first Mexican restaurant we went to was closed for the night, but it was a short walk to the next.  This restaurant had great food, and weird fancy water… I’d ordered what I thought was lemonade and it ended up being strange flavored water…  Anyway, what I thought was great about the menu was that it was the first menu I could read!  Thank you Mom and Dad for taking me to so many Mexican restaurants!
            At the end, Randy decided that we should play a song for the restaurant, which we did, because, again, we play all the time.  They loved it and I think invited us to play again at their restaurant sometime, which would be an awesome ministry!
            I think it was a great day for God, opening many doors, but certainly the best was our new sister in Christ!

Monday, May 30, 2011

SMR in Berlin Day Three

Sonrise Mountain Revival Berlin Project
Day Three
By Kristin Gaffney

            Oh boy.  How do I begin to describe today?
            Breakfast was at the hotel and very good.  We all ate hearty because we knew we had to, we had three services to do today!  (It is Sunday)  And I loved breakfast.  I seriously am just in love with the breakfast here even though I just eat hardboiled eggs and bread.
            Anyways, we got our stuff onto another train and walked over to the first service.  It was at a German church with an international flavor and when we got there we discovered that the service was being taped to be televised on 6 regional networks, two satellites and rebroadcast in several other locations.  It was even going to play in China!  That was hectic, but the people there took care of the slides and we sounded great!  Everyone was wonderful, in that giant room with the four story high ceiling, the organ in the back, and the up-to-date sound system.  Our ministry was well received – afterwards people could not stop expressing their appreciation.  Evidently bluegrass does speak over here!  The only problem for us was that almost the entire rest of the service was in German, which we don’t understand.  Needless to say, despite that it was great to worship with God’s family in another part of the world; singing old choruses like Majesty and God is So Good and praying the Lord’s Prayer in English while everyone around us did so in German was an incredible experience.  And the service had so many other people involved in it including this incredibly gifted black gospel singer who closed our time of worship with a song in English.   The message was given by the visiting regional head of their denomination – all in German, so even though it was about Martha and Mary, it was the one part of the service difficult to follow along.  Afterwards they gave us a pretty good, but weird, lunch of bratwurst in some spicy sauce and odd potatoes.  Then we were already running late so we had to rush to get to the next church!
            Aaron, the pastor of the church we went to last night, helped us tremendously by taking a van with our heaviest equipment and Rich and my dad.  Their knees have been bothering them and we’ve done a lot of walking on the trip, so please pray for them.
            The next church, Crossway International Church, was very gracious to us.  We were basically their entire service that day.  We rushed to get everything set up with their sound system and although there were some minor glitches the entire thing was very well received.  Most of us even managed to stay awake the whole time – no minor feat with jet lag, a late night back the night before, and such a busy schedule.  The good news, it was an English church so we understood the whole thing!
            After the service we had a light snack and got to spend some time meeting and sharing with the congregation.  Then of course we had to run off to our next event.
            This place was a very small church called the Jesus House.  The worship room was the size of one of the subway cars, but the people there were very warm and receptive.  We managed to get all of our instruments in and still have room for the audience, even with our bass.  (By the way, Michael’s bass came without a bow, and his fingers are really bothering him and blistering, so please pray for his health as well.)  Jeff and I gave our testimonies, which was nerve wracking for me, but it all turned out alright. 
Dad gave the message with our music wrapped around it throughout the service.  We were again well received, even though once again we worked through a translator so that people could hear both the English and German.  Once again, afterwards there was food and a time of talking around it.  They gave us a number of different foods, including a really, really good cheesecake and some cool chocolates.  The conversations were even better.  This church works with a lot of people who have had difficult lives and many seekers or young believers.  Jeff was especially excited because his testimony opened the door for three very deep conversations.  It was exciting
            We took the train system back to the hotel – playing on the trains is becoming a regular event for us - and then got a good, big meal.  Pastor Aaron Bowes was able to eat with us and it was good to hear more about his heart for the Lord and his ministry.  He sends his greetings to all the PowerSurge family, he misses all of you but is happy to meet this new group – us!
            Tomorrow our day is not nearly as busy, the highlight being an concert sponsored by the Jesus House and another church whom they are partnering with for this outreach.   Please pray for God to use us to open more doors!
             Oh, and Leanna and I are finally going to get some Starbucks – we need it!
            With love from Germany, Sonrise Mountain Revival.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

SMR in Berlin Day Two

Sonrise Mountain Revival Berlin Project
Day Two
By Kristin Gaffney

            My roommate woke me up at nine o’clock and it took me almost twenty minutes to understand what she meant.  Thankfully that was the worst point of the whole day.
            The rest was incredible!
            First, we had breakfast, with three kinds of extremely delicious bread, incredible hardboiled eggs, several things which I had no clue what they were, although I did try a German yogurt and learned that they’re super super sweet and I didn’t like it.
            Randy took us all out on a little walk, even Rich was able to go along.  We saw a beautiful German lake and learned an interesting fact.  The lake was featured in an episode of Lake Monsters!  We learned the fact too late to save half of us and the rest only escaped to be placed in a hospital… just kidding.
            Anyways, afterward we went to a German market and saw a few little boys playing by a fountain, I think that was the first time I saw children playing.  And we really got another taste of the culture as we walked around a German market, bought a few items, and had fresh strawberries which were the most delicious strawberries that ever existed!!!  Well, I was hungry.  We took another train and passed by the place where Randy and his family lived when they were in Germany and then we got lunch.
            Lunch was awesome!  (I realize that most of what I’m talking about was food, but it was memorable.)  We got these lamb meat, salad mix, GIGANTIC sandwiches and all tried to eat the whole thing.  It was great and if Mike has his way we will be eating that every day!  I wouldn’t mind…
            We walked and took a few trains back to the hotel where we’re staying.  Then it was time to put on nice shoes, pick up our instruments and away we went to the concert.  The church was gorgeous (eventually I think we’re getting pictures, my camera’s spastic but Leanna and Ashley are taking plenty to compensate) and the people were super nice.  We did sound check, which took an extremely long time, and tried to get the slides up.
            And oh… the slides didn’t come up until after three songs and then didn’t come up correctly and was missing an entire song but… well… I’m a bit sensitive about that because slides are my job, but it was a comedy of errors that weren’t all mine.
            But despite my abysmal failure, the concert was wonderful!  Everyone sang great and there were over a hundred fifty people there (we just had a game guessing, I said fifty, Leanna a hundred, someone else one fifty, and then we found out it was about one hundred fifty.  So I should never play guessing games. Yikes).  Most of the people were unchurched from the community.  All the people loved it and thirteen people asked for the sinner’s prayer pamphlet that the Pastor of the church we were working with, after he presented the Gospel, announced he was giving out for those who wanted to pray for salvation!  God was really using us to His glory!  The pastor is Aaron Bowes, and he is great.  He will be helping us all week and is sponsoring two more outreach concerts.
            However, I thought we played and sang better on the train ride back to the hotel.  We had violin, mandolin, guitar, banjo, and even bass!  The people riding the train loved it!  It was so good and even I sang along.  People asked about our group, they were smiling, some stayed on longer to hear us play, and so we all realized it was fun and decided to organize a little music stunt on the trains sometime during the week which you’ll hear about when the time comes.
            All in all, good night, guten nicht, and have a nice dinner for those of you in New Jersey who eat at 6:30.  We’ll be asleep and getting ready for three (yes, THREE) worship service/concerts tomorrow.  Wish us luck or viel gluk (I don’t think that’s right, but okay), or even better, pray that God uses us for His glory again tomorrow.  Bye.

Sonrise Mountain Revival in Berlin - Day One

PWM is happy to have the bluegrass band Sonrise Mountain Revival representing us in Berlin.  The are working with PWM friend Randy Dodd.   Here is the report from our first day in Berlin.

Sonrise Mountain Revival Berlin Project
Day One
By Kristin Gaffney

I’m writing this as the slow snores echo softly down the hallway.  Or, very loud snores.  It’s about six thirty in Berlin and we’ve all been up most of the night, for us it’s… 12:30 p.m. or something ridiculous like that and we have been up since yesterday.  Almost everyone is asleep or pretending to read in bed and actually asleep – that is the girls are, the boys went out to find some more bratwurst before bed!.
Already we have had an impromptu concert on a balcony, stepped on the very land where Adolf Hitler died, eaten delicious bratwurst, learned many new words in German, had a curious encounter with a person dressed as a gorilla, and generally been far to sleepy to care.
We arrived at around two in the morning for us and eight in the morning in Berlin.  Randy Dodd  met in the airport, we all found our luggage (mine was dirty and slightly smushed, grr!) and exchanged our money.  I had a faint heart attack when I realized I had to cart my giant red suitcase, my duffle bag, and my sensitive camera bag on two buses and countless train rides (There are trains above the roads!  You can just get on them and go somewhere!  There are millions of them, or so it seems!).  Somehow no luggage or people were lost and we made our way to the hotel after taking great care to avoid the bike-sidewalks.  The bicyclers literally just fly by as fast as they can, which means avoid them as best as possible unless you want to be run over.
To keep us from collapsing from jet lag, Randy promised to take us on a little tour of Berlin after we got our rooms settled.  Also, no matter what Leanna says, she did try and fall asleep and I did have to drag her out of the super comfy bed.  A comfy bed which I desperately can’t wait to return to…
So, Randy talked to us, we all listened then it was off to meet up with Randy’s daughter.  Because of the amount of expected walking, Dick and Rich stayed behind to practice and then find a place to eat nearby, of which the choices were many.  The rest of the team took a train. Then another.  Then another.  And then I got very dizzy as we went on even another train.  I don’t think I’ve ever been on a train before, but I figure that by the end of the trip I’ll have suffered, I mean experienced my fair share.
We came out on this giant railstation that looked vaguely like a cross between Newark Airport, the Palisades Mall, and the Empire State Building.  I tried to take several pictures but I could barely walk in a straight line after the lurching of the train and the shock of finding myself on the top of a very tall building (I get scared just walking on the ground in New York City and imagining myself in the tall buildings, stupid fear of heights).  But we made out way to a bridge and we met Randy’s daughter Shanda and her roommate – they are missionaries in Spain who came to spend a few days with our team.  They tempted us by having coffee, and it wasn’t until much later that we were going to have some.
We walked along for a bit, talking to each other, and saw the German version of the White House and the Capital Building, both very impressive and beautiful.  Then we walked around for a long time, desperately tired and hungry, while Randy informed us of all the incredible culture, the differences of West and East Berlin, historical monuments, and don’t worry everyone we’ll eat soon.
It seemed to take forever, but Randy was true to his word and we found our way to a street restaurant and I got French fries (or pomme fritz) and currywurst (a bigger bratwurst that’s cut up and has something to do with whatever curry is).  I liked it!
The Brandenburg Gate was in view where we were, and my father told me the history of the gate while we sat facing the former resting place of the Berlin wall and no-man’s land.  There were white crosses beside us in honor of people who had died attempting to get to West Berlin from East Berlin, and it was interesting to note the many crosses that the largely atheistic population of Berlin passed by without a glance.
The square in front of the Brandenburg Gate was incredibly crowded, with horses and buggys, a graduating class from a local school complete with robes, Darth Vader and Yoda with giant fuzzy heads, a group of street dancers, and a person dressed as a gorilla.  We did learn the lesson that if you take a picture with a person dressed as a gorilla they will expect you to pay them for the privilege.  No, we didn’t pay them and yes, we deleted the picture…
Then it was on to the Holocaust Memorial, which was not what I expected in the least.  It is a collection of square slabs, varying in height, across a waved floor covering an entire city block.  Children and teenagers and even a few adults were around it, eating food, sitting on the slabs, playing games.  We walked through, some being somber but almost all of us found ourselves starting to run around, after all, we were tired, this was fun and most of the locals and tourists were doing the same.  Randy told us that the creator of the memorial wanted each individual to have a different response, ranging from the somber reality of the tragedy it represents to celebrating the life that exists today.
I somehow managed to be running around trying to scare Leanna and my dad, but then I started to think about the symbolism of the museum.  The tall squares loomed, impressive and impersonal, and the sound of laughter, joyous when close, took on a sharper and almost cruel tone the farther away we went.  As I went deeper and deeper into the museum, purposely trying to loose myself, it definitely brought a new perspective to me by actually being there.  The Germans were profoundly affected by two World Wars, arguably more then any other country as they were the instigators of both.  It was the Allied powers which broke up Germany into many parts and then broke up Berlin the same way, as Randy explained to us.
I love history and so it was surreal as we walked along after the memorial, seeing a few slabs of the foundations of Hitler’s headquarters and then the ultimate realization.  We stood in the center of the trio of trees that marks the place where Hitler and his wife killed themselves.
Needless to say, we weren’t all somber for long.  After a bit, while waiting for others to catch up, we sparked a lengthy and in depth conversation over American Idol that lasted almost the entire way to the Sony Plaza.  We petted some adorable huskies (buy me one Mom!), got on another bus, got on another and another train, but then it was only 4:30.
So we got some pastries and coffee to stay awake and then me and Shanda’s roommate saw some boys playing basketball (poorly, no offense to them, but basketball is an American sport) and we decided to join.  I admit, that was a lot of fun and it passed the time quickly until we were back at the hotel.
But it still wasn’t time to sleep!
So, Shanda and her roommate had not yet heard Sonrise Mountain Revival in action so Randy and Dad decided to get us all together and play music even though our eyes were falling off and our heads seemed permanently stuck staring at the floor.  I was vaguely certain that two or more members of the band were sleepwalking… one of those I suspected was me.
But I sat back and enjoyed the music, sang along a bit, and despite the wretched bags under our eyes it was really good.  So then Randy told us to play our last song, I’ll Fly Away, on the balcony in one of the rooms.  The instruments all managed to fit (we actually don’t have the bass yet but Mike sang the bass part rather well despite that) and then we started to sing (I joined in.  Bluegrass music is infectious.).
A few of us went down to take pictures from the street, and about halfway into the song we began to realize that a woman across the street was standing on the balcony and listening, a father and his daughters had stopped to listen, and a man was standing with his key in the doorway, a smile on his face, beating his head in time to the music.
God really has a plan for us here, I can feel it, I just can’t wait to find out what it is.  Or maybe I can.  Because I am going to bed now.  Goodnight all, and sweet dreams.