Lance & Megan's Blog

Short visit home

October21

In July, my grandfather passed away at the age of 97. He was always seen as solid, faithful, hardworking, and witty. His passing was peaceful and with family but no less difficult to process. Lance and I decided that it would be good for me to go home to be with family during this time. My time in the states was only for two and half weeks since Lance stayed in Ukraine.

I was honored to be at my grandpa’s memorial at the National Cemetery where he was given military honors. I enjoyed being able to see family members I hadn’t seen in a long time. I am very glad that I made the short trip home for this time.

gpa

I also got to spend some good quality time with my family doing a few hikes together, eating meals together and running errands together. Had a short trip down to Oregon also to see family there. I can never get tired of time spent with family.

mama-ali-and-me

alison-and-me

start-of-the-family-hike

backsides-of-family-hike

sisters-hiking

muff-and-i-in-or

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Targeting A Nation

September14

Over the past year and a half, you may have heard us mention things about Montenegro and use the term “target nation.” Target nation means what you think it means, a nation that we target for ministry and outreach.

map_of_montenegro

In January of 2015, we had a staff retreat at the base where we gathered all staff and kids to pray for a nation to focus on. We ended up with a big long list of countries; it felt like half the world could be a target nation! At that point we slowly kept narrowing our list down. We felt it should be in Europe, we wanted it to be a country that needed help in ministry and growing the church body, and it needed to be accessible and open to ministry. We eventually got our monstrous list down to 4 countries: Albania, Slovenia, Poland and Montenegro.

This past year, we thought we would take our DTS students on outreach to Montenegro and Albania as a way to “spy out the land.” We were able to make contacts and talk to the believers there and see first hand what was going on in the country. It was very beneficial for us to be there for an extended time.

Since not all our staff were with us when we first went to Montenegro, we wanted to take other staff to also experience and meet the believers there. We recently went back with one other family from our staff. Together we were able to pray and talk together what it would be like if Montenegro was our target nation. When we chose a nation, it was to be for all staff and for a long-term commitment. This would not just be a Megan and Lance decision.

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So the time has come, we have prayed and talked with our staff and prayed some more, we felt that we should adopt Montenegro as our target nation.

‘And now what’, you may ask. Well our goal is to come along side the existing churches and believers to encourage them and assist them in building the ministries there. Our goal would be in 3-5 years to have a YWAM base planted in Montenegro. There may be other things that come out of this partnership but we are excited for the future and look forward to what God has in store for this beautiful nation!

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A wedding in Turkey

June3

In 2014, my dear friend Joanne moved to Turkey to volunteer with a group there. We went through TESOL together in Washington, we taught English together for several years in Ternopil, we were in Romania together, we lived together and spent many late nights together watching old black and white movies.

Our TESOL graduation photo, where we first met.

Our 2010 TESOL graduation photo, where we first met.

When she asked if I would be in her wedding, I of course said “YES!” Turkey is not far from Ukraine so it really was not difficult for us to go. Joanne knew my parents and family from our trip to Romania and from my wedding so it was a fun bonus to have my parents join in the wedding festivities too. We were all able to travel together to Turkey with other friends from Ukraine.

Together again!

Together again!

We came a little early to be there for a bridal party and help with extra planning. We did get our nails done with all the bridesmaids and had extra time to fellowship.

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Another happy couple

Another happy couple

The wedding site was in an olive grove, how cool is that! Joanne had made simple decorations but the beauty was already there. Joanne met her husband in Turkey while he was also volunteering. They are both so loving and compassionate!

Giving a toast to the newlyweds

Giving a toast to the newlyweds

With the happy couple

With the happy couple

There were a few fun Turkish elements to the wedding that made it unique and memorable. One was that there was a bridal party dance, the bride and her bridesmaids are on one side of the dance floor and the groom and his groomsmen are on the other. The bride dances and her bridesmaids must copy whatever she does, then the groom dances and his groomsmen copy his moves. Let’s just say it was hilarious! Turkish men know how to dance and have fun on the dance floor.

Bridal party dance

Bridal party dance

There are also lots of sparklers and flares and sparkler fountains, anything bright and flashy. They had sparkler fountains going all around the cake when it was brought out. Sparklers when they left and flares when they were about to leave.

Don't worry, the cake was fine

Don’t worry, the cake was fine

We had so much fun celebrating Joanne and Isa. They will be a dynamic couple in Turkey.

After the wedding, we got to see more of the area and were able to take a day trip to Ephesus. We all enjoyed seeing the ancient ruins of the city that Paul writes of. There were interesting facades and motifs everywhere you turned, little passages to go through and colonnades to to stroll. It was quite a large area and of course there were mobs of people but we still enjoyed soaking in the history.

Exploring is our specialty!

Exploring is our specialty!

With my parents at the library of Celsus in Ephesus.

With my parents at the library of Celsus in Ephesus.

At the amphitheater

At the amphitheater

At the Church of St. Mary

At the Church of St. Mary

At the Basilica of St. John

At the Basilica of St. John

Skipping rocks in the Aegean Sea

Skipping rocks in the Aegean Sea

 

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And they’re off!

March14

And we are off with them! Yep, outreach involves leaving your place of training and going to a new location. This year, our outreach was in Ukraine, Montenegro and Albania.

The students did a lot of work between these three countries. Montenegro and Albania were new outreach locations for us and therefore we did not know what to expect.

by the trailer

Home sweet home

In Montenegro, we were divided between two locations, some of us stayed in trailers, some of us in a church office, and some of us in a home. It got a bit chaotic sometimes for us to get together but we did! We were also in Montenegro for three holidays! Christmas on the 25th, New Year, and Orthodox Christmas. We did a lot of celebrating!

Our ministry was more spontaneous and fluid than we had hoped. We discovered that the holiday time is not the best time to come to Montenegro. It made it difficult to have events or meet with people. Our group was great at building relationships with locals and sharing the Gospel message with those they met on the street though and we did see a level of trust and understanding from those that we talked to.

Christmas in Montenegro

Merry Christmas!

New Year

Happy New Year!

Jan 7

Merry Christmas again!

kids club

Kids club

music at church in MNE

Singing Ukrainian songs in church

on the bridge

Evangelism on the streets

seed packets

Preparing tracts to give away

Albania held different activities for us. We were able to partner with the local Youth With A Mission to do some evangelism on the beach, prepare an English and craft lesson for a local public school, help with some practical needs, and share in a church. We have some gifted artists so they were able to show off their skills at church and in painting a prayer room for the YWAM base in Albania. We were able to serve the YWAM base by doing some practical work for them. They have just entered into a lease with an old hotel and there is lots of work to be done. We came at the right time to bless!

church in Albania

Sharing our talents and testimony

group crafts at school

Craft time at a local school!

digging the fence

Landscaping at the YWAM base

music on the beach 3

Evangelism on the beach

Ukrainian night 3

Making vareniki for Ukrainian culture night

Vova painting

Painting a prayer room

on the bridge in ALB

The whole team in Durres, Albania

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In Durrës

April27

At the end of March, we had the fun privilege of traveling to Durrës. We highly recommend a vacation to Durrës for anyone who may be interested. Durrës is a city on the Adriatic coast of Albania, not far from the capital of Tirana and across the water from Italy. It’s a resort town that is filled with tourists in the summer. We learned lots of great things from our trip.

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One thing Lance and I learned from our trip was that it might not be worth it to take a 12 hour bus ride to Warsaw and then fly out from Warsaw. It is always tempting that flights out of Warsaw are usually pretty cheap (I think it is one of the cheapest airports in Europe) but a 12 hour overnight bus ride is NOT an ideal method of travel… I don’t care how much you like road trips, 12 hours on a bus is terrible! 12 hours on a plane is rough but doable, not a bus. This time is was just too good of a deal to pass up but physically it wasn’t worth it. We will try it one more time when we go to the states, not looking forward to it.

Second thing we learned from our time in Albania is that all conferences should be held in resort towns during the off season!! No crowds, still pretty good weather, sweet deals, and you can still enjoy the sites! We got to stay at a nice hotel that provided a great space for our meetings as well as fed us some yummy food! The hotel was right on the beach, what more could you ask for? Lunch and dinner were three course meals, plus dessert and fruit! We were all shocked at the quality, quantity for the price we paid.

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Third lesson, I cannot encourage people enough to get out and connect with other people with in your organization. It is like a breath of fresh air, eating a slice of fresh apple pie, clean sheets, buying that pair of sneakers you’ve been looking at… it’s just great. You are reminded of the bigger picture, of why you do what you do.

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Lance and I got to meet people who are working in Discipleship Training Schools all around Europe. YWAM divides Europe into different regions; north, west, east, and central. Each region presented how they are doing, what has been happening the last few years in their regions, and what they hope to accomplish in the coming years. We were able to pray for each region and bless them in their work.

Team Eastern Europe!

Team Eastern Europe!

One fun little tid bit was that in 2011, we had a DTS training in Ternopil. At this time we had a couple from Russia come that were dating (Lance and I met each other at this training), they were engaged when we saw them again in Montana in 2012 when we did the training together (now Lance and I were dating), we saw them both in Albania. They are married and expecting their first child now! It was so fun to see them again and see the timeline of our relationships.

group shot swim

swimming

Beside our presentations, we had times of worship, prayer, teaching, discussions, and of course fun! We played games in the evenings, we walked on the beach and collected shells (that was mostly me), Lance swam in the Adriatic Sea, we also got to see an old Roman amphitheater and most importantly, renew old relationships. We are looking forward to being in Albania again.

outside amph

lance at amphi

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