La Lumiere
September, 2016

Last time we reported to you from Hungary in the middle of the Crescendo Summer Institute, Cru's ministry to musicians. At the end of the our time, kids from the youth section I was responsible for were asking people to sign their white Crescendo t-shirts. Along with my signature I wrote "Don't stay out too late," or "Be sure to get enough sleep!" That was my least favorite job. The small group discussions were my favorite, naturally. Our group had a great atmosphere, and we explored not just being musicians, but our relationship with God. The biggest bonus was that Silas and Efrem participated. The additional musical instruction was certainly great, but seeing such outstanding Christian musician role models was priceless. Brilliant artists from all over the world traveled to Tokaj to invest in the young aspiring participants. On one hand, these are celebrated award winning musicians. On the other hand, they are approachable. You could have a friendly talk with them over a tray of food from the cafeteria, then they might offer to share with you all the digital albums they brought, if you have a usb drive handy. It was refreshing to see such humility and down-to-earthiness in someone who you recently saw perform a jaw-dropping arrangement of Amazing Grace. They were there to serve. During one of the morning devotionals we were told that art is a means of expression that can give others a glimpse of God. An inspired artist can turn the gaze of others toward the Almighty. Ultimately, Jesus represented the highest level of art and communication - "He that has seen me has seen the Father." How can we better reflect the divine in our communication with others?

On the road again.
Sand dune
Bounding down the Dune of Pilat.

What started six years ago has become a family tradition. Our fourth biking-camping adventure had us pedaling 155 miles, with each of us carrying 35-60 lbs. in our saddlebags. Descending the western coast from Royan to Biscarrosse, we traveled in stages up to 47 miles. The water was cold along the coast, but warm in the Bay of Arcachon. We camped at the base of the surreal Dune of Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe. Trudging up, then practically skiing down its 60 million metric cubes of sand, which tower 360 feet above the coast. Even on vacation opportunities to talk about Jesus came up. While talking with a camping neighbor who is a surfing instructor, he was intrigued when I told him I was a "protestant chaplain" (which is more understandable than missionary). Silas and Efrem stood by as we talked about his obstacles to believing in God and why science has actually affirmed my belief. It was quite a ride. Now the question is - where to next?!

Enjoying the sun and beach.

  • for a relaxing yet challenging riding vacation.
  • that we were all so blessed at the Crescendo Summer Institute.
Please pray...
  • that we find the right rhythm and priorities for this school year.
  • for good progress on the new version of our web site and the video to introduce us to others.

Bike route
Our route this summer following the Vélodyssée.

La Lumiere
July & August, 2016

Imagine you’re in the basement of a high school, trying to stay cool. You close your eyes and absorb the flurries of notes pouring from every direction, a piano behind, a birdlike flute off to your right, a deep cello from the left. They’re all practicing different works, seemingly unrelated chaos which will meld together into beautiful concerts and recitals over a two week period. We are currently in Tokaj Hungary for the Crescendo Summer Institute, part of Cru’s ministry to musicians. This year there are participants from 43 different countries, two of which are Silas and Efrem. Crescendo is an amazing blessing to musicians, an outreach to non-Christians, with top quality music professors teaching individuals and leading orchestras. Every morning different speakers touch on a different aspect of this year’s theme, creativity. How important is creativity to a musician? What—or Who—is the source of creativity? How does fear affect creativity? In the evenings Dan is leading a small group discussion on these lessons, as a volunteer. The small group is an important place to make friends and reflect, and we’re praying that God will work powerfully in each one’s life. He has also been given responsibility for the dozen youth under 16 who are staying in the dorms. He has to make sure everyone is in by 11pm, knocking on doors and counting them, then making sure they don’t sneak out (which has happened in the past). Most of them are Hungarian which makes communication a challenge too! This two week event is a meeting point of the arts and faith. The creative, highly musical worship invites both the participants and local community to consider the author of our creativity. It’s only half way through, so we haven’t even seen the crescendo yet! One thing is certain, outstanding music and powerful times are in store.

Crescendo Youth Section
The youth section climbing the hill of Tokaj
Tokaj Hungary
Tokaj, Hungary, home of the Crescendo Summer Institute.

May just returned from the two week Programmers Summit in Orlando. Their project was to re-create an online tool that staff members across the world can use to calculate the amount of financial support they need. Imagine the complexity of this task! Every country has unique laws and financial constraints. This tool needs to be flexible enough for any country to set their own parameters, yet simple and intuitive. To be honest, the international team wrestled with how to approach it, but they did make progress and perhaps most importantly - they worked together! It was also good to reconnect with colleagues from her internship a year ago, and even meet new specialists like Brenton, a digital marketing expert with a heart for France. So there were even unexpected benefits from the programmer’s summit!

May enjoying brisket, okra and grits!

  • for the Crescendo Summer Institute, the chance to volunteer and Silas and Efrem to participate.
  • that we will be able to take another camping-biking vacation this August.
Please pray...
  • that the small group discussions encourage each participant in just the right way.
  • for good concerts for the boys and safe travels.

Discussion Group
Dan's discussion group selfie!
Tokaj Family Selfie