February Update // NEWS!!!

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     We are well into our Spring season having just completed our first two cities in the last two weeks. This is the first time since moving here we’ve done two EXIT weeks back to back. Exhausting to say the least, but seeing the way God is moving amongst the hundreds of students we encounter week after week only further fuels my passion and desire to push through all the physical and emotional challenges, and to see these students encounter a love unlike anything they have ever experienced. 

     We started out the month in Havirov, and had an incredible kick off week of our Spring tour season. The local youth group we partnered with is lead by some of our fellow colleagues and they are one of my most favorite local Czech families here. Seeing their passion for reaching the youth of their community and striving for excellence in everything that they do, it was so encouraging to see their normal Friday night program packed out with around 80 new and old returning students following our concert the night before. Last night we did a follow up workshop with a Fusion choir they host, and it was so great to see some of the students we met on EXIT Tour who have continued to stick around!

     Our second week of tour brought us into Bohumin, which literally translates to “less God”. From the moment we arrived Sunday evening for the prayer meeting, it was very evident to us this was going to be an especially powerful week. The sense of expectation was strong! The church had spent the previous 40 days fasting and praying in preparation for the six days we would be taking over this city. We were able to go into five out of the six middle / high schools in this city’s district! I’m not sure this has ever happened before where we are able to connect with literally nearly every student in the cities we go to. With Bohumin being a city known for “nothing ever happening”, the excitement the students had all week was no less than extraordinary! I want to thank all of you so much for all of the prayers! We were able to push through the physical exhaustion and illness, and give these students our absolute all! There also weren’t any fights that broke out, which is always a plus 🙂 The concert night was amazing to say the least and we were overwhelmed by the response of the students!

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     We have 4 more cities to hit between now and May, and I cannot wait to continue to share more and more cities that will becoming from each one!

Now for some very exciting news!

     I have decided to extend my time commitment here for the next couple years, and finish out my 20’s seeing some things through God has been putting on my heart for the youth in this part of the World. I will be visiting California for most of May, and all of June, and cannot wait to reconnect and personally thank all of you for the amazing ways you have helped support me the movement that is happening here! Be on the look out for more specific dates as my time draws nearer. 

So much love to you all!

Brian

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A Year In Pictures

I have been long overdue for catching all of you up on all of the goings ons over the last several months. Just a few weeks ago, I officially made it past the one year mark since having made the move to the Czech Republic! While this past year has flown by, we have just done and accomplished so so much, it really feels like much more time has passed since having first set foot here.

This past year for me has been centered around establishing roots in a new community, building deep and meaningful relationships, and learning what is arguably one of the most challenging languages the World has to offer. Really, I would say the theme of this past year has been learning to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. There have been plenty of ups and downs. Lots of victories and equally as many moments of feeling like I’m absolutely failing. Overall however, I am comfortable and confident with the progress I have made, and the foundation God has helped me build this year. Some exciting statistics I’d like to share with you include:

  • Taking EXIT Tour to 14 cities
  • 100 + Concerts / Events
  • Coming in contact with 14,000+ students
  • Seeing some 460 students give their lives to God at our concerts

To further highlight all that has happened this past year, here a few of my favorite moments:

 

 

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My apartment building
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Ikea Day

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CZ Language Intensive Class

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Full Team Arrives!
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Josiah Venture All Staff Conference

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Israel – Synagogue where Jesus taught
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Sea of Galilee
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Boat ride on the Sea Of Galilee

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Overlooking Jerusalem from The Mount of Olives
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Fusiondary Festival
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Shepherd Church Team

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Divine Attraction – Echo EP Sessions – Sono Records, Prague

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Coldplay in Berlin
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Berlin Wall
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World Youth Day – Cestochowa, Poland
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World Youth Day – Krakow, Poland
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World Youth Day – 2.5 million people gathered to worship together
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Czech Morning Television Show
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United Festival – Lighting Designer for “B” Stage
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Reconnected with friends we made on our very first EXIT Tour. They had their bibles we originally gave them and signed at our concert 4 years ago, which we were able to sign again.
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United Festival – Divine Attraction 
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Youth Group Summer Camp
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Youth Group Summer Camp – Team Brian
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Some of my closest friends

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Youth Group fire pit hang

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Prague is quickly becoming my favorite city here. This is inside the Prague Castle Cathedral
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Starbucks with a view
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My current view while writing this blog entry. One of my favorite “hidden gems” in Prague

 

We’re just a couple weeks away from kicking off our Fall EXIT Tour season. Biggest prayer request right now is just for rest for my team and I as we’re transitioning out of an insanely busy summer season, and making final preparations for the Fall.

Thank you all so much for all of the continual love and support! Non of what we’ve been able to see accomplished would be possible without you making a way for me to be here! I’m looking forward to seeing how God will continue to exceed beyond expectation, and move in big ways now that we’ve spent this past year building such a strong foundation in our ministry, and in our personal living situations as well.

Much Love!

-Brian

Winter Wrap Up

What a journey this has been these past few months. It is hard to believe I just crossed the five month mark living here in the Czech Republic! I can confidently say I feel much more settled here – with much thanks to God for helping surround me with an incredible community of people around me. My main circle of friends here is a mash up of young adults from a couple different churches in my area. It has been such a joy getting to know them, invest into them, and learn from them.

I have to be honest, this past month has definitely been a bit of an emotional roller coaster – between recovering from an exhausting, but very successful EXIT Tour season, battling some seasonal depression, and being away from home for the first time for the holidays – it has not been an easy time for me. This was to be expected however, and I know God is with me as I do my best to fight through the harder days one moment at a time.

I’d love to share with you all a few highlights however from our Fall EXIT Tour. These are the stories that encourage me, and serve as a reminder as to why I am here:

  • 5 Cities in 3 Weeks (Tábor, Opava, Karlovy Vary, Slovakia, Orlova)
  • Met approximately 3,000 Students
  • 200+ Bibles were handed out to those who requested
  • 101 people prayed to receive Christ at our concerts

While we are stoked over these numbers, what has been even sweeter has been witnessing the beginnings of the lasting effects EXIT Tour has left on these students, and the life change that is actively taking place. We’ve received messages from students who have started going to church for the first time, and are loving it! Youth group student leaders are starting bible studies, and the church we partnered with in Karlovy Vary is launching a brand new young adult service which will start in January!

I am currently on a train en route to Prague where I will then catch a bus to hang with a couple of my supporters in Munich tonight. I’m very thankful this opportunity to see them worked out, and am very much looking forward to having a small piece of home with me. Tomorrow, I will be joining the rest of my team in Karlovy Vary, where we will kick off a week long Christmas Concert tour performing in each of the cities we visited during the Fall. This will be an opportunity for us to reconnect with the youth groups and students we met just a few weeks ago!

As we wrap up this year, and prepare to launch into next year, I am in need of some additional financial supporters. If you, or anyone you know would be interested in giving an end of the year one-time gift, or becoming a monthly supporter, I invite you to please press this Support By Giving link. Otherwise, please be sure and download your copy of our Christmas single, Let It Be Known. The download is free, and all optional donations made for the song will go to supporting our team.

Thank you all so much for everyone who has been praying for myself and my team! There is much power in prayer, and it is so crucial to my ministry here. Missing you all so so much.

Much Love, and Merry Christmas!

– Brian

 

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EXIT Tour Under Way – Fall 2015

We are currently half way through the Fall 2015 EXIT Tour season. We started out with a half week in Tábor, which is just south of Prague, and equally as beautiful. Because of the short week, we were only able to do our full program in just one school with a little over 100 students participating. However we still had a great turnout with nearly 150 people coming out to our concert at the end of the week. This past week we actually started out a day early and went down to Slovakia to help out the Slovak EXIT Tour team by filling in for their band who wasn’t able to arrive until the following day, and then left for Opava straight from there. Tuesday through Friday were full days with Schools in the mornings and EXIT Parties in the afternoons, with the exception of Friday (Concert day), where we had around 250 people come out! Here’s a rundown of a typical day on EXIT Tour:

5:00am – Shower shifts begin

6:00am – Leave for School

6:15am – Arrive, quick debrief with youth group volunteers, Load In

7:45am – Quick sound check and quick breakfast

8:00am – Students are let into the gym, and EXIT Tour begins

9:00am – 12:00pm – We rotate students through two 90 minute blocks of classes (English in the Gym with the band, and various lecturers teaching on a variety of preventative topics)

12:30pm – Load out and head to lunch

3:00pm – Head out to EXIT Party Venue

4:00pm – 6:00pm – EXIT Party (Games, Acoustic concert, “talk show” style interview with the band, hang out, lots of junk food and Kofola)

7:00pm – Dinner

8:00pm – Quick Debrief with the team

8:30pm – Chill

10:00pm – Lights out

For a visual representation of what this all looks like, please check out this video I compiled using footage collected from the past couple weeks. Enjoy 🙂

Things you can be praying for:

-Health: Several of us on the team (myself included) have been recovering from fighting colds over the past couple weeks. EXIT Tour is extremely draining, and often affords us little sleep, making getting sick sometimes inevitable, and especially now that it’s getting colder.

-Continued building of unity of our team

-Upcoming EXIT Tour Weeks:

– Karlovy Vary: Nov. 9-14

– Orlova: Nov. 18-20

– Prague – VOX Festival: Nov. 21 (We will be opening for Blue Tree! They wrote God of This City)

Thank you so much for all of your love and support!

Much Love,

-Brian

 

EXIT Tour Team Complete!

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This picture right here – is monumental. Three years ago, a vision was cast to see an American band from Los Angeles move to the Czech Republic to serve as full time missionaries – that we would see a movement of God amongst the youth of Central and Eastern Europe that finds its home in the local church, and seeks to transform society. Yesterday, the arrival of of Alex and Lorena Becerra completed our journey of making it here together.

It is with my absolute pleasure that I introduce you to the EXIT Tour Team. From left to right, we have Cory (lead singer / guitar) and Anissa Simon, Lorena and Alex (Bass) Becerra. And in the back is Tyrel Good (Everything Media), and myself. God is so good!

A few highlights from this past month have included: Hanging out at the Ostrava Fusion Camp for a couple days, witnessing our team manager get married, getting settled into our apartment, and participating in this year’s United Festival. United Festival is the largest Christian festival / conference in the country. It was an incredible time reconnecting with students we’ve met on previous EXIT Tours, and making new relationships as well.

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On our last day of the festival, both Cory and I separately had conversations with students whom we’d met on our first EXIT Tour back in 2012. Both shared with us how it was because of EXIT Tour that they found God! It never ceases to amaze me the new stories we still continue to hear from three years ago of how God has been changing people’s lives. We have been so blessed to see so much fruit come out of our time with EXIT Tour and Josiah Venture over the past few years, and I know this is only the beginning!

Some things you can be praying for:

  • The Becerra’s transition / settling in
  • For EXIT Tour preparations. We need to solidify lectures for Fall and Spring dates, and need to find a new city (church partnerships) to replace one that dropped out from our Spring tour.
  • For me, despite what social media may hide, it has actually been a rather rough month for me. Definitely been experiencing a mix of homesickness, waves of cultural adjustments, having very limited access to a drum set to practice on, depression, and a slew of other things. A potential rehearsal space is in the works which will be huge.

Thank you so much for all of the love and support!

Much Love,

-Brian

Support By Giving

Un // Settled

Hello friends and family! Here at last, I am here at last! Between settling into my new home, attending an intensive language course, applying for my visa, and preparing for EXIT Tour, I have had an incredibly busy month. In fact, today marks exactly four weeks since I have arrived – crazy!

My first few weeks here have definitely had their fair share of ups and downs while adjusting to making Czech my new home. Everything has been very surreal, and honestly still is. I often feel like I’m just going through the motions, and am in a partial dream state. I’m so glad Josiah Venture sent me through training at MTI in Colorado prior to coming here. Even little things like recalling one session where we talked about the stages of transition, one being “Unsettled”, and now being able to put that label as to how I am feeling has been extremely helpful. I am very happy to be able to say this past week has felt like a ginormous step forward toward feeling settled. A lot of that had to do with finally constructing and sleeping in my own bed. Getting this apartment ready has been an incredible task, but seeing the progress made each day, I am left feeling more and more at home.

I was also able to hang at a Fusion Camp for a day. To clue you in, any student who wants to learn to sing or play an instrument can join a local Fusion Club. It’s basically like Glee. Over the summer, they do week long music camps. I’ve only seen small glimpses of what Fusion does while on previous EXIT Tours, but have always wanted to see what these summer camps were like. An impromptu trip on Tuesday allowed me the opportunity to do just that. I’m blown away by these students! This is an incredible ministry that JV does, and cannot wait to work with them more.

There’s been so much I’ve wanted to catch you all up on, so I will do my best to keep this short and sweet. Get ready for some pics!

Thank you so much for all of the love and support! This God inspired vision for making this move was born 3 years ago, and is now an ever unfolding reality. I would not be here if not for you!

Prayer Requests:

1: For me to continue to adjust / transition, and immerse well

2: Language acquisition

Thank You!!!

Much Love,

-Brian

ITS OFFICIAL – 7/7/15

I am beyond excited to announce I have an official departure date for July 7, 2015! This three year journey is coming to a close, and this new season will very shortly begin. I could not of made it to this point with all of your support – Thank you so much! There were so many times the support raising process appeared dauntingly impossible. But hearing my band mate, Cory, say “Support raising is like chipping away at a giant boulder, and its hard to see it growing any smaller, but just keep at it, and before long, you’ll be shocked to find you’re down to just a little pebble” was so encouraging. I have definitely found that to be true these last couple weeks.

While I technically have enough extra funds in my one time account to cover the remaining $70 I have to raise for my ongoing monthly budget, I will be arriving on a much stronger financial note if I’m able to find another $70 worth of monthly commitments, and truly be 100% funded. If its been on your heart to give, there is still room! Monthly commitments of $5, $10, $20, $30, and beyond are more than welcome. Every little bit helps! I’m down to looking at what is now just a pebble, and seeing the way God has used many of you to move mountains these past couple months, I am more than confident He will use you, and provide this last little bit of support I need.

While I am absolutely stoked to have an official departure date, the reality of “oh shoot, this is really happening”, is starting to hit pretty hard, and it’s hard to ignore the feelings of being scared / nervous about my imminent departure. However, believe me, We Gon’ Celebrate! Dates coming soon 😉

Much Love,

Brian

9 0 2 1 0

90% // 2 weeks // 10 monthly partners

I wrapped up my training at MTI this past week. I can’t even begin to express how much of a blessing it was to be 40 min away from my family this past month! After getting to hang with them over the weekend, I landed in Ontario late last night.  The last week of training continued to prove to be emotionally draining; talking through grief, loss, and leaving well. The friendships I made this past month are going to last a lifetime I’m sure. Its amazing what can happen in just a few short weeks after living, eating, crying (yes, there were tears), and sharing in one another’s fears and emotions as we all prepare to scatter ourselves across the globe – many with no definitive end in sight. There’s already plans for a few of us to reunite in England / Germany sometime this fall 🙂

MTI Last Day

So where am I at?

I am currently at 90% of my funding, and have this last week to find 10 more monthly partners! I will need to land in the Czech no later than June 15th (less than 2 weeks away!!!). From there, I will hopefully be joining the Havirov Fusion Club on their two week tour in the UK as an extra set of hands / help chaperone. Fusion is a group geared toward giving students who want to learn to sing, or play an instrument, an opportunity to be a part of a performance group (think GLEE). A few of the youth group kids from what will be my home church will be there, so it will be an amazing opportunity to get a jump start on getting to know them. Nothing like being surrounded by young people in unexplored lands (I’ve never been to England before) that will no doubt bring out every facet of my personality. In other words, they will see who the real Brian is in no time 😉

Are you one of my 10? Select the Support by Giving tab above and sign up today! It takes just a couple minutes.

MTI Week 3

It’s an overcast Saturday morning, which has become the norm around here. It has been raining pretty much non stop since we arrived three weeks ago. Hard to believe we have just one more week left. As much as the language portion of our training was incredibly beneficial, I was hoping to catch a break from the mentally intensive phonetic studies as we transitioned to the cross cultural portion of our training. That has hardly been the case. While it is indeed much less “academic”, I am emotionally exhausted. This past week has included learning in depth about each of our conflict styles / personalities, talking through the transition process, the importance of maintaining a healthy rest schedule, and a couple of intensive real world simulations. Here’s a few highlights from the week:

WE GOT THE APARTMENT!!!

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My roommate, Tyrel, and I will share a two bed / one bath unit on the top floor of this complex. We’re up on a hill with a balcony on the back side over looking the valley in the picture on the right. There are no other complexes in front of us, so we have a unobstructed view!

Friday Night Fun:

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We were the hero’s last night and drove 45 minutes to bring back a couple dozen donuts, but before we left, we had to bounce next door and dominate this game at Chuck E. Cheese’s!

Down to just 17 monthly partner positions left to fill! I’m pushing hard to wrap these up by next week so I can purchase a plane ticket before my training at MTI is over. Would you consider partnering with me? Select the Support by Giving tab for more information.

Much Love,

-Brian

MTI Week 2 – Snow! / Single / Apartment / 23 Spots to go!

We’ve just wrapped up our second and final week of the language training at MTI. The next two weeks will be focused on the cross cultural portion of the training. I have to take a moment and brag on the incredible staff we have the privilege of being under here. Dwight and Barbara Gradin help lead the training here at MTI, and are legends in their own right. When it comes to the field of Phonetics, Dwight is THE man. Among his many accolades of having served all over the world, he was also instrumental in helping put together Rosetta Stone!

So much to catch you up on in this past week, but here are some of the highlights:

It Snowed!!!

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Divine Attraction released “Captivated” – the first single off of our latest album! The next single will be out in July, with the full album release coming in August. Be on the look out! To preview/download Captivated, click here.

Captivated (Edited)

I just spoke with Tyrel, my roommate I’ll have in Czech. He, Cory, and Anissa have been out looking for apartments the past couple days, and it sounds like Tyrel found an incredible place for the two of us. I don’t have any pictures yet, but here’s a floor plan (not to scale) he sketched out. We would be on the 4th floor (top floor). The unit sits up on a hill, and features a rear balcony overlooking the city below!

Czech Apartment

Lastly, I am down needing to find just 23 more monthly partners, or $790 worth of monthly commitments! We are so close! I need to fill these spots by the end of my training here in Colorado so that I can be on a plane the first week of June. To view what support level you would be able to fulfill, please visit the Support By Giving page.

Support Countdown

Much Love,

– Brian