Yesterday we had an organizational meeting about our next EXIT Tour, which starts in two weeks. April 18-21st. I am so excited. This is an incredible project with teenagers. I have blogged much about EXIT since mid February, when we launched the ministry. Also in March 2016 we did something similar with a band, Crossfiya, and lectures, and 4 high schools. I blogged even more about that!
Well, tonight my countdown begins. In order to get excited and to show some live moments of EXIT Tour so people can get a better understanding of what a day looks like, let’s take a tour ourselves.
Photo credit for my dear Olya, who I have been discipling for the past 4 years. She is super talented.
I had to show Olya, but this is the very end of the Exit Tour. So back to the beginning…
A school (5-11th grade usually) being welcomed to EXIT Tour!
Lots of selfies with the band. This is the school’s AM welcome assembly.
Teens attend 3 lectures (this year’s are on bullying, personality/conflict management, and internet addictions)
Then they head to the gym for group games and small groups. It gets wild in there.
In short small groups, teens can ask band members and our youth volunteers questions about why we do what we do.
Then we end with an big assembly with more rap music and entertainment. We are all wiped, but it is only 1:30 pm. We get fed lunch in the school, clean up the gym, and head for coffee and an hour or two of down time before…
EXIT Clubs! These take place wherever and however the local youth group plans. They are from 6-8pm after each day of EXIT in a school. Usually around 70-80 people total gathered. This is Hosannah’s youth group and guests. It is a privilege to work with them. They were brave to take this project on. It shows the trust we are trying to build with our national organization.
Sometimes the local churches need help…so I suddenly had to translate Michael’s (from Faithchild (the band from London)) testimony into Ukrainian for that crowd above. I highly doubt I was the most capable dual language speaker in the room, but sometimes Ukrainians panic when having to translate formally, or for someone with a strong British accent. Even I, as a fellow English speaker, had to ask for clarification!
And then we wake up and do it ALL over again…
Another school. Another round of the same lecture 4 times! I did mine 12 times in a row, 4 per day for 3 days. Then Christy Owen, my teammate, took the last 4 so I could monkey around in the gym. (See a few photos above)
Each day did feel somewhat different. For example, on this day, the Lviv television station came to film a short segment on international projects for teenagers. Nadya is in charge of EXIT Tour for Ukraine. You can watch the clip in a previous blog if you are interested. They didn’t nearly capture the fun that we had! (Go to F B and search for Exit Tour Ukraine. You’ll see all the fun there.)
We had tons of help and helpers that week. Scott and Tim are from Orange County (EVFree); Petyo, Drahos, and Hudson are from Slovakia/Josiah Venture. The CA guys came on a survey trip; the Slovak team came to help us with pretty much everything. It is not a simple project.
We couldn’t do this project without local church volunteers. This is another church that we love and value very much. Christ Fellowship. They’ve been close partners for years. We are grateful for their love for God, youth, and JV.
We finally arrive at Friday, the big concert night. We rent out a hall. Fusion Christ Fellowship was the opening act.
We shared different parts of the Gospel message throughout the evening. Here Junior is sharing about sin and choices.
We are all here for the music, and Faithchild puts on a great show. Look them up.
Syava knows that the cross, ie. the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is worth smiling about. He boldly challenged people to consider their relationship with Christ.
We closed it out with a big thank you on stage to all the organizers of EXIT Tour, which is our local team, the JV Slovak team, and the band. What a tour! Can’t wait for the next one.