A.D. the Bible Continues


Roma Downey and Mark Burnett are bringing the Bible back to network television again with A.D. The Bible Continues on NBC. This epic story begins with the Cross, the Resurrection and the birth of the church. The story follows the lives and reactions of the Disciples, Pilate, Caiaphas, the Jewish Zealots, and the household of Herod. Roman oppression, Jewish revolts, persecution, political fallouts, amazing stories of boldness and faith.

“This Easter Sunday, April 5th, 2015, join millions of viewers for the premiere of A.D. The Bible Continues and continue on a 12-week journey through what would become the most powerful global movement in history – the rise of the Church.” – www.shareadtheseries.com

Do you have questions about the Bible, the book of Acts or this weeks episode? We invite you to continue the conversation on SAVN.tv/savn-chat for Video Chat Bible Studies based on the series.


Go to http://savn.tv/app



Behind Boundless – Dodging Devilish Donkeys


So the last week and a half was spent without internet. That’s why there wasn’t a blog last week. Also, losing internet for two eventful weeks might make for a long blog. First things first: new house. Jodi and I have moved to Norwood in South London for more space and a real kitchen. We will be here until we finish our positions at IHQ in July. We could pretty easily fit 3 of our old flats into the bottom floor alone. The commute isn’t as convenient but it’s worth the extra effort. Before we moved, we would take an Overground train to the Tube in Whitechapel, which run every 7 minutes and 3 minutes, respectively. Now we have to bus to a National Rail train which leaves every 15-30 minutes and transports Londoners at about 241% capacity. At least, the normal train does. Jodi and I have decided to not have our faces shoved into strangers armpits every morning and take the train an hour earlier, even if it means waking up at 5 am.

On Thursday we went to Trafalgar Square for the Christmas tree lighting which was, frankly, underwhelming. Maybe I’ve been to Disneyland during Christmas too many times. The tree is interesting because it’s a gift from Norway, which has been a tradition since WWII. Apparently the first tree was given to the UK as like a thank-you-for-helping-us-during-the-war-here’s-a-tree. And they keep doing it. Touching.

Saturday was easily the most interesting day of the last fourteen- we planned to do all the things in a matter of only a few hours. The first stop was Denmark Hill to meet up with Alexa. Uneventful. We came, we saw, we gathered, we moved on to Stepney City Farm. Stepney City Farm is exactly what you pictured in your head when you first read the phrase 19 words ago. 19 if “Stepney” counts as first. Literal literary humor. Wut. ANYWAY, Stepney City Farm is a farm in the city. We weren’t really sure what to expect but the Stepney Salvation Army, who was hosting the event at the farm, is known for being lively and exciting so we were optimistic. And rightly so. The people from Stepney were incredibly warm and cheerful, despite the near freezing weather and curious smells emanating from nearby pens. Our job was to lead the crowd from one area to the next and play carols with a brass band as they watched different parts of the nativity unfold right in front of them. The crowd was led by a toddler dressed as a star and carried on her dad’s shoulders. Adorable.

The first few stops were not terribly exciting but it was fun running around the pens and trying to beat the crowds to the next location. The last are was just outside a donkey pen but since we couldn’t fit with the crowd, they decided to put us IN the donkey pen. Now, I’ve never been particularly afraid of animals (much less donkeys) but just before leading us through the barrier, one of the men nearby said, “Watch out for the donkeys- they kick.” Awesome. Bucking donkeys. The last thing I need for Christmas is a brass mouthpiece being kicked through my teeth by an irate beast in a country that I’m not sure cares about my insurance coverage. We started playing “As with Gladness” and the first verse progressed without any issues. The donkeys had come over to investigate but I figured they were used to people being around so they wouldn’t pry too much. We started the second verse and I felt something touch me. I could see all of the band members in my peripheral vision and there was only one other creature in the pen. I pretended to play as I turned and sure enough, the larger of the two donkeys was uncomfortably close to us. I turned back around but before I could find my place I heard a terrible noise behind me that sounded a bit like an exasperated child that is too cranky to verbalize why he is making the excruciating sound he feels so obliged to exude. It wasn’t a tantrum. I’m sure from outside the fence it was a cute sight: Christmas carols played by a band and a donkey walking up to them so he could sing along. From my perspective, it was a battle cry. He was ready to show this braying bunch of brass players whose territory they were invading. I may have had a panic attack. I may have involuntarily cried a little. I don’t know what emotion I was feeling but I suddenly was the child incapable of understandable communication.

The song ended eventually. We moved on to the stable. The STABLE. That’s where it lives. It already hated me for being near the outermost sanctum of its realm and they wanted me to trespass in its domicile?! Not only that, the entire crowd came into their fenced off field so they could join in the final carols around the donkey house. I was worried. No; I was petrified. A child was going to be bitten, kicked, trampled, and there was nothing we could do. Still they marched. Still they dredged every closer to their impending death. But it didn’t come. The donkeys were fine. We played 3 songs and all the donkeys did was play with the children and shake their long devilish heads innocently. Taunters. They knew that I knew what they were thinking. “Get the baritone player”. But again, nothing really happened. We finished the last song and started dispersing and my heart started beating an its average pace again. As we were leaving the pen, however, the smaller donkey escaped. Turns out donkeys are all about companionship. I learned this quickly because as soon as the larger, eviler donkey noticed his friend was gone, he decided it was a good time to start kicking things. My favorite part, in the most sarcastic sense possible, was that Alexa and I were standing right behind him. Naturally, we screamed out of sheer panic. While my being kicked in the face by a rampant donkey makes for a good story, it didn’t happen. I saw every muscle on his back tense up as he prepared for the kick but he never followed through. He simply ran around the perimeter of the fence for a while until he was safely reunited with his counterbeast. And I was several large paces away from both of them.


The new house, complete with little English car… which isn’t ours, by the way.

 The Norwegian tree in Trafalgar Square.

 Stepney City Farm

Pulling his stupid innocent face again…

Behind Boundless – Busy Bees


This week has been absolutely crazy at work. Both of us have fast approaching deadlines for massive projects that are significant to Congress. Jodi’s main task has been organizing the volunteers we will need and constructing a program that includes roles, project planning, and recruiting. Among a million other things. My main project this week has been organizing the performers that are coming and trying to synchronize 40 schedules across 7 venues and myriad rehearsals. It’s fun. Like the stressful kind of fun. Not sarcastic.

This weekend was also packed with adventure. Or at least events. On Saturday we went to Angel with Alexa for Chipotle. Again. Burrito bowls. We then continued up the Northern Line to Camden Town, which is a lot like Pike Place or Fremont in Seattle. Or any other hipster sub-nation. I was really only looking for a new umbrella after mine was tragically retired last week but I was tempted several times by just about everything else Camden had to offer. I didn’t actually need any of it and, as John Murray would likely point out, none of it was of particularly high quality. John Murray works at IHQ. He’s the one that deemed us Ken and Barbie. Anyway, we had been planning to see Mockingjay in the week but hadn’t yet so we bussed to the nearest cinema to watch it. Being volunteers we decided grocery snackage was a necessity. This snackage, however, spoiled our dinner appetites. Nevertheless, we went to Southbank after the movie which is the literal south bank of the Thames. There is a new Christmas village that started earlier this month that Jodi tried to convince me to go to the previous night but I convinced her it would be more fun to go with another person. Southbank was a pretty typical Christmas village aside from a Christmas tree maze, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Exciting as it was, I wasn’t about to pay £4 to walk through a fake forest…

Sunday. We went to church at the usual time and did the usual things until lunch. We had lunch plans with a family from the Wood Green area that sometimes attends the corps but they weren’t able to make it that morning. They were kind enough to call a taxi service for us so we wouldn’t have to walk through the rain which was pretty torrential that day. The food was fantastic. They’re a mix of Jamaican and Trinidadian which we learned is actually a very uncommon mix for marriages. The food was fantastic. I know I already said that. We were supposed to leave by 2:30 to go to a divisional event in Hoxton but the conversation (and dessert) were too good to leave on time. We still wanted to go to the event so we left after dessert. It took us considerably longer to get to Hoxton than we had anticipated and we ended up arriving about 20 minutes late but it was a relaxed event so it didn’t seem like anyone cared. They were just happy we were there. Dinner was provided at the event but we had eaten just a couple hours earlier so we didn’t actually eat anything.

Oh yeah. And we’re moving to South London on Saturday. While it’s nice to basically live in a hotel, it’s not suitable for an extended period of time and we would like to have a proper kitchen where there’s more than a microwave.



Us in Camden.

Not Camden. As in Southbank.

Behind Boundless – An Abbey in Autumn


Autumn has been slowly but surely leaving its mark on London. The trees are turning, the temperature is decreasing, and the rain is getting more intense. I was expecting it to be colder than it is by now but we still have 4 months until Spring… The rain isn’t terrible here. After living in places like Hilo and Seattle I consider myself accustomed to rain, though, so maybe it’s just me. Never mind. Jodi just said she thought it would rain more too. I also haven’t experienced a heavy rain since my umbrella broke yesterday so maybe my opinion will change.

This week was pretty normal. Work, some O2 visits, and then the weekend. I went to worship practice at Wood Green on Thursday and played bass with them on Sunday. That was pretty fantastic because I haven’t played in months. We attempted to go shopping on Saturday but ran out of energy almost immediately and didn’t actually know what we were looking for.

On Sunday we went to church as usual. This Sunday was one of the days where we have a coffee break half way through the service, which is Jodi’s favorite variation of Sundays here. Going to Wood Green has been particularly nice for us because we have had free lunch with someone every week so far! The first two weeks were at the Smiths’ house and then this week we went to Steve Burnett’s house with Alexa. Steve is Glen’s owner- the dog we watched in September. He is actually the person that suggested we try out Wood Green in the first place. After lunch he took us to Waltham Abbey which is just a few minutes from where he lives. I’ve found that I really enjoy cathedrals, abbeys, and old churches. They’re impressively beautiful particularly because when they were built there weren’t any design programs or motorized cranes. There was barely geometry. Also, Waltham Abbey is about 1100 years older than the United States of America. That’s crazy.


 Orange trees!

 Waltham Abbey.

 A closer view of the end of the abbey.

St. Paul’s reflected in the rain. 

Behind Boundless – Christmas, Coffee, and a Concert


We learned that Oxford Street was turning on its Christmas lights last week and thought it would be fun to go. The reason we originally found out was because someone from the Rink’s Songster Brigade had posted it on Facebook so everyone knew to avoid the area and plan ahead but we turned it into a reason to visit the shopping district. Carmen, Jeremiah, Alexa, Cameron, Kersten, and Karl all went as well. While the actual lighting was underwhelming, hanging out with friends in central London is always fun. That was Thursday.

On Saturday we had a concert with the London Central Youth Chorus… also known as Central. The concert was in Hendon but we met up with friends yet again to watch the Lord Mayor’s parade in Queen Victoria Street. When we went through our initial tube station we learned that our destination station was closed because there was a person on the tracks. This meant we had to get off at Moorgate and walk the rest of the way. It wasn’t particularly far, but because the streets were closed there weren’t any cars or people roaming around which made it fell eerily empty. The parade itself was pretty similar to American parades aside from the amount of military personnel and machinery. There were a lot of guns. They handed out everything from candy to lemons to sausages to show how much they supported the new Lord Mayor. There was one band that played on horseback which was pretty much the most impressive thing ever. The parade wasn’t quite long enough to warrant going straight to Hendon for our rehearsal so we stopped at a coffee shop on the way there to kill some time. We killed a little too much, though because it started to rain torrentially and it was a 10 minute walk from there to the corps. We were prepared for rain but it was still incontrovertibly wet. After the concert we started looking for food. This always takes ages when we’re in a group of 10 because we can never decide or agree on one place. Eventually, we decided on Chipotle because it’s delicious and it was on the way to all of our stations.

Sunday was pretty normal. We went to Wood Green and discovered that the second Sunday of each month is done almost in a Bible Study style where everyone sits around tables and works through a passage of scripture together. After church we went to Jonny and Catherine’s house again for lunch and, naturally, Monopoly. I managed to beat both Jonny and Gerard (an alleged Monopoly guru) which helped boost my Monopoly ego after painfully losing last week.

Yesterday we went grocery shopping and did laundry. In case you were wondering. Maybe we should blog biweekly.


Christmas lights in Oxford Street.

 The empty streets before the parade.

 A giant fish and a smiling European. 

The Lord Mayor. He was waving to the other side…



Behind Boundless – Bashful Birthday


This weekend was my birthday weekend. Now, if you don’t already know, I’m not a big fan of making a bigger deal of things that ought not to be a big deal in the first place. Birthdays fall into this category. When you’re turning 7, 10, even 16, making it a big deal makes sense to me. Once you’ve passed 21, though, it’s just a waste of energy. Moreover, it’s downright embarrassing. The last thing I need is 10 people singing an overly repetitive song at me in public. And that happened.

On Friday, which was Halloween for those of you unAmericans, our department was planning to go to lunch on the roof of a nearby building because it was going to be a nice day. We probably won’t get very many more of those. The fact that it was Halloween isn’t really important, I just wanted to type unAmerican because it’s a real word. Look it up. Anyway, Halloween is the day before my birthday so I was expecting little more than a few costumes and a sunny picnic lunch. Wrong. This is the part where I was sang to in public. Sang at in public. I tried to sing along and make it look like it was actually Jeremiah’s birthday but you can’t throw fake extrovertism at a real extrovert. It bounces back. We ate some random candies and baked goods we had brought to the office at varying times that week and the Hobgoods gave me a gift wrapped in Harry Potter World adverts. I don’t know if that was a really well planned thematic idea or just a fluke, but I was appreciative nonetheless. The gift was a stone plaque with scripture on it and, most importantly, eagles. Birds of prey are my favorite types of animals so I thought at first that was the reason for the theme of the gift. I never actually found out otherwise so we’ll say it was true. It’s also the first grown-up thing I’ve owned. As in something that you always have and has a place in your home but it doesn’t really have a funny story from college. It’s a big step. The only problem is that our bags were already at the weight limit on or way over here.

On Saturday we made no plans. We had breakfast at the usual time, I played some video games, and we eventually settled on McDonald’s for lunch. We were going to go shopping with some of the other Boundless 8 but I couldn’t be bothered to travel AND spend money. I’m just like my dad in that aspect. I don’t like spending my money in general and now it’s amplified because I don’t actually make money anymore. When I do buy things, however, I’m a quality over quantity guy every time. End of tangent. We decided to go to as-fancy-as-we-can-reasonably-afford dinner in Oxford Street. Our plan was to simply walk from place to place until we found a restaurant that seemed to meet our needs. We got off the tube at Oxford Circus and started the walk east. And kept walking. For a while. We made several detours off of Oxford and into alleys and around various buildings but nothing had the right balance of quality, price, and available tables. We eventually made it to Covent Garden where we ate at a quaint Italian restaurant called La Ballerina. Jodi kept saying “Happy birthday” because it was funny. Ha ha.

On Sunday we went to Wood Green again. I was in a particularly good mood because my birthday was over and I didn’t have to relive the trauma of being sung at for another year. Church was different yet again than any format I’ve been in. We split into groups Bible Study style and talked about a specific passage within our group. There was a set of questions at the end that Jonny, one of the corps officers, then asked with a mic, bouncing from group to group for answers. It reminded me of BSF but in a slightly larger form. We went to the officers’ house after church for a proper English roast dinner. We have had several of these and I love them because it’s like Christmas dinner but whenever you want because Sunday. They have 2 boys, Samuel and William, who both took a liking to me because that’s what young boys do for some reason. It may or may not have been because of my Minecraft knowledge. But don’t tell anyone. Anyway, after lunch/dinner/tea/whathaveyou Catherine brought out a rolled pavlova, put a massive candle/firework in it, and everyone started singing. Again. This one wasn’t so bad because there were only a few people singing and no strange onlookers to gawk. Also, it was pavlova. With a firework in it.


 On the roof of One New Change, which I just remembered the name of. That’s St. Paul’s.

Cold dinner in Covent Garden. The food wasn’t cold… the night air was.

Birthday/Guy Fawkes pavlova.

Behind Boundless – Coffee Corner and a Cruise


This week was pretty normal. We are starting to get to know the menu here and so we know which days they serve things we don’t like. Last Tuesday was one of those days. Jodi had some leftover pizza from Sunday so we ate that and then went to a cafe off Upper Street called Coffee Corner that we hadn’t visited yet. We really only chose this place because they are known for their crepes. They also had good ratings on Yelp. True to its ratings, Coffee Corner was delightful. The coffee was surprisingly sweet, which is unusual for Europe.

Friday night was another London Central Youth Chorus rehearsal. Obligatory singing, obligatory McDonalds. The night before, Oxford Circus (the nearest tube station) was exit only and the crowds trying to get into the station anyway forced normal foot traffic off the street. That isn’t related to Central rehearsal but I just remembered and wanted to let you know.

On Saturday we slept in until 8:40 which is quite an accomplishment for both of us. Usually one of us will be up by 7-7:30 and, naturally, the other person gets up too. We had a lazily slow morning and then went to the Tower of London to see the poppies which are a “100 years since WWI” memorial. They added a few every day and now the area is full of ceramic poppies. They will be taken down on November 11 and some people asked us to send photos. When we got to Tower Hill, however, there were thousands of people that had the same idea. It was a sunny Saturday so we probably should have known that it would have been inundated with tourists and locals alike, but we were on a mission. After several London shoves, some bus dodging, and a brief climb onto a half plinth, we managed to get a few photos.

On Saturday night we went to the William Booth College to have dinner with the Boundless 8 and a few friends we’ve made here in London. We ate a lot of pasta, played some American games, and then ate some more. On the train home there were a lot of very wound up people. Maybe they were excited for the time change. Oh yeah. The UK stop saving daylight a week before the US. Fun fact.

Jodi and I have wanted to visit some other European countries while we were over here but finding a fiscally responsible way to do so has been challenging. We set some money aside before coming so we could do something but only last week decided what it would be. We had toyed with the idea of going on a cruise a few times but there were never any that fit our schedules, budget, and wants. We kept looking, albeit half-heartedly. Eventually we found one that was perfect and decided to book it. It’s a little more than we were intending to spend but when will we ever be this conveniently close to so many countries? Anyway, the cruise is one of Mediterranean nature and stops in 4 countries. After deporting from Genoa, in northern Italy, we head to Rome for a day, and then to Palermo on the island of Sicily. We then make our way to Tunis, which is the capital of Tunisia in Northern Africa. After a day at sea we head to Barcelona, Spain and then to Marseille in the South of France. On the final day we return to Genoa and fly back to London. One of our favorite parts about this timing is that we leave 3 days later for Christmas in California!


 Coffee from Coffee Corner

Tower of London. And tourists. 

Watch the video blog!

Christian Media: Who’s Doing it Right?


Article written by Phil Cooke      http://philcooke.com

From time to time I’m asked “Is anyone doing Christian media well?” It’s a good question, since so many are doing it badly. I often joke that I want to create a Museum of Bad Christian Media, but I can’t find a building big enough. But the truth is, many are doing it right. So from time to time on this blog I’m going to highlight media leaders and organizations that are making a difference. This list isn’t about theological persuasion or doctrinal differences. It’s about people who are making a significant difference through media. Here’s a handful we can start with:

Brian Houston – Pastor, Hillsong Church in Sydney. When it comes to legacy, Brian will have built a pretty serious one, and a significant part of that is media. Hillsong Church created a worship music platform before many knew what worship music was, and from Darlene Zschech to Hillsong United, they’re changing the way the church worships. He’s built a team that’s not only launched churches around the world, but used television, short films, social media, and now feature films to share a message about Jesus. Hillsong NYC’s “No Other Name” campaign in Time Square was seen throughout the world, and the feature film “Let Hope Rise” featuring Hillsong United will be released the week of April 1, 2015 by Warner Brothers Pictures.

Jack Graham / PowerPoint Ministries. As a leader, Jack has probably inspired more ministries and business launches than anyone I know. Somehow, just listening to Jack’s messages motivates people to go out and accomplish great things for God. And his TV facility is a great thing indeed. State of the art in every way, his team – led by Executive Director Scott Seal and COO Jason Graham – is effective through broadcast TV, social media, publishing, and live events. TV director Tim Kelley has built a great crew and to see a treat, watch the production of the Prestonwood Christmas program – it’s as big a production as you’ll see anywhere in Hollywood. And for the record, through it all, Jack has never comprised his message or taken a shortcut to reach an audience.

Joel Osteen Ministries. Joel Osteen’s television program is second to none in quality, production values, and reach. It may be because Joel started as a TV producer and director himself, but reaching millions through television has always been a priority. Now, Jon Swearingen, his Director of Media has pushed his team to the very limits of what TV technology can do. From purely a technical perspective, watching his team record a Sunday service is not that different from watching the Emmy or Oscar broadcasts.

Joyce Meyer Ministries. From the earliest days of her ministry, Joyce understood the power of television, and now she has a remarkable worldwide audience. Years ago, Dan Meyer, COO of the ministry took her to an early Hillsong Conference where she caught of glimpse of reaching the next generation through media, and she’s never looked back. Ginger Stache leads her media team, and today they use state of the art equipment to create a ministry that’s seen throughout the world. And it’s not just her teaching through TV that connects with people. They’ve built a remarkable creative team that’s doing amazing work through commercials, promos, short features, and documentaries.

YouVersion.com. There’s not much left to say about Bobby Gruenewald’s team at YouVersion. 155 million+ installs on mobile devices, 1037 Bible versions – and it’s only the beginning. This team is one of the most innovative and creative in the country, which is probably why he was named one of the “Top 100 Creative Leaders” by Fast Company magazine. One of the most interesting things about Bobby and digerati leader Terry Storch is that they are church leaders first. Both are also leading the digital team at LifeChurch.TV in Oklahoma.

YesHeIs.com. Created by the global team at Christian Vision, Yes He Is, is one of the most sophisticated methods for sharing short films about faith online. Early on, they understood the evangelistic power of sharing your faith through video, and designed a brilliant site that not only helps you share short films about Jesus, but helps walk that person through the salvation experience. With offices in 22 countries on 6 continents, not only producing short films in multiple languages, but they’re creating radio content, and exploring new ways to reach people in today’s digital age. That content averages more than 50,000 unique visitors a day, and delivers radio contact to 460 FM Affiliates in 25 countries. They’re also passionate about using YesHeIs.com to help the local church.

SAVN.com. The first “Digital Street Corner” for the Salvation Army, the Salvation Army Vision Network is dedicated to telling the Salvation Army story online, and linking it’s 77,000 employees worldwide. It’s not just about short films, but SAVN is pioneering online recovery, Bible study, and other groups as well as offering online TV channels to outside groups as well. Plus, led by Executive Producer Guy Noland, they just completed production of a feature length documentary called “Hard Corps” which exposes the connection between pornography and global human trafficking.

IAmSecond.com. You know you’ve made an impression when hundreds of other producers copy your distinctive look. Using the iconic “white chair” they’ve done in-depth interviews with major celebrities, sports stars, and other leaders and produced national TV commercial, billboard, and online campaigns. A brilliantly creative idea, it’s all about the surprise that people who have accomplished so much, give all the credit to someone else – God.

Stay tuned and in the upcoming weeks we’ll look at others, including international producers…

Behind Boundless – Always Alliterating


Most of what I do at IHQ involves some form of video production, media management, or social media work… or some combination of them. Tomorrow the Congress Office is hosting an event we have titled “Lunch and Learn”, where you lunch, learn, and share in the love of alliteration. One particular project Jodi and I worked on was a video to help rally the employees and officers of IHQ in excitement for Boundless. We recorded three things from several people: what they were excited about, the same thing said in a particular way, and then the phrase, “I am Boundless”. Sweetly simple.  Anyway, some of the people we were eagerly excited to record were the General, Chief of the Staff, and their spouses. It isn’t every day you get one-on-one time with the first- and second-in-command of this abundant Army. While our interactions were briefly basic, it was cool to have an actual conversation with them. Each of them is a people person so it makes conversing incredibly easy.

Our pesky pests have finally finished their tormenting tantrums. Pest control has all but obliterated what was left of their repulsed residence. We definitely didn’t use the light for a few mornings but now we are pretty positive that they won’t be back.

On Saturday we went to IKEA with a few friends. While we can’t actually accumulate any more items (particularly furniture), we do enjoy Swedish meatballs and perusing the showrooms. We also learned that some bus routes in London don’t go in a straight line but rather roam in a circle around an area. This unknown fact caused us to wait wondering why we were not getting any closer to our destination. Sometimes you should really read the map.

Sunday was our last day of our “corps tour” and where we ended our search for a church family at Wood Green. Interestingly enough, Wood Green is also where we decided to keep attending for our year here in London- at least, when we aren’t out on Boundless duty. Wood Green is a contemporary corps that has integrated brass into their worship team making for a nice combination of old and new Army. There is a solid structure and core of people already but still room for us to contribute, which is one of the biggest things we looked for in a corps. Of course, we forgot to take a picture to post here.


My semi-dramatic image of our pesky pests.

Fake food… there was real lunch before.

Swedish selfie.

Watch the video blog!

Behind Boundless – The Significance of Shoes


We have reached our 2 month mark of living in London. Like all time, it somehow feels like it has been a lot of time has passed and somehow no time has passed at all. That leaves us with 9 more months until Congress and a few more weeks until we’re done here. The time passes more quickly when we have more active weekends, and this past weekend was one of those. On Friday we went to a Friendship Matinee Concert a the Royal Albert Hall performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert was a tribute to John Williams so we were, naturally, stoked. They played all of the timeless classics you would want to hear at a John Williams concert from E.T. to Jurassic Park to the Star Wars theme and Imperial March. When we were walking back to the tube station, however, I realized I had left my bag under the seat and quickly doubled back to get it. I was particularly worried about leaving in a concert hall because London venue and public areas are particularly wary of bomb threats and mysterious bags left under seats. Jodi and I made it back to our seat quickly enough to retrieve my bag and a sweater that one of our colleagues had also left behind. I may have had to push some people out of my way but hey, it’s London.

On Saturday we decided to go shopping. Being volunteers, this isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Whatever non-essentials shopping we do comes out of the savings we allotted for such expenses. And it isn’t much. Anyway, we both intended to get brown shoes (because color coordination) so we set out to find some. We knew there was a Chipotle in one of the shopping districts near Highbury so we decided that would be a good place to start. After a burrito bowl and a quick discovery that we were searching in the wrong price range, we decided to go to Stratford, which is a massive mall in East London. Stratford, if you don’t know, is always crowded. Like, can’t-walk-without-bumping-into-someone-oh-my-goodness-Disneyland-isn’t-this-bad crowded. And it’s the off-season. It’s also huge. After searching a couple dozen shoe stores (and that’s not an exaggeration), some coffee, and more London shoving, we finally each found some shoes in our price range. By then we were tired of people so we headed home for a quiet night in. But we had new work shoes!

On Sunday we actually made it to Hendon. We intended to go last week but I woke up feeling ill and preferred to miss going to a corps that wasn’t expecting us over missing work. Like many of the other “big corps” in London, the building was far smaller than I was expecting. Maybe I’m just used to American real estate where we have room to build out instead of just up. Their songsters, senior band, youth band, and singing company all participated in the service and we were probably greeted by 15-20 different people over the course of the day. We told Alexa (who, along with Cameron, also came to Hendon) about our trip to Chipotle and she told us that she had been looking for one. We were definitely down to go again because Chipotle is delicious so we did. Burrito bowls.

On Sunday night it was very cold and very rainy and very tea worthy. However, we were (much to our dismay) out of Digestives. Digestives aren’t something that helps you pass food smoothly, as I wrongly assumed. Digestives are a type of biscuit (or cookie) that pair excellently with tea and all other things British. So this was the dilemma: I wanted Digestives but the nearest shop open on a Sunday evening is a kilometer away from our flat and it was raining. Hard. After some convincing, Jodi bundled up, intentionally put on water proof shoes, and followed me to the local Waitrose. We didn’t get too wet on the way there because we managed to time our commute with the bus schedule but when we came out of the store the wait was longer than the walk so decided to tough it out. After a cold, soggy commute back to our flat we were very ready for tea and had digestives to pair with it!

This morning was interesting. I was brushing my teeth when I suddenly saw a bug flying toward me from the window. It looked like a wasp so, naturally, I ducked and spun and did a backwards summersault out of the bathroom. Maybe not quite that dramatic, but I abruptly avoided it. When I regained my bearings and looked back into the bathroom I discovered that it was indeed a wasp. I finished brushing my teeth and grabbed a shoe. I noticed it was trying to fly into the light so I turned it off. When the demon bug realized the light was gone it moved on to the next light source, which was the light over our bed in the flat. Jodi was very helpful in this ordeal. When the wasp flew into the bedroom she helpfully covered her head with the blankets screaming “Kill it! Kill it!” So I did. When I walked back into the bathroom, however, it was back. When I confusedly shouted there was another one Jodi asked if I knew for sure that the other one was dead. It was. Two wasps? What were the chances? I didn’t actually take the time to think this through because, well, there was a wasp flying around my bathroom and I wasn’t wearing very much clothing. It seemed to move every time I was within swinging distance and would have to dodge frantically, swing wildly, look for it, locate it, and then start my approach over again. After more stalking, which may or may not have been accompanied by the Jaws theme from Friday playing in my head, I finally killed it. And then two more flew in from the window. And then two more. At this point I was shaving (or at least attempting to) but wet shaving and dodging wasps at the same time is a dauntingly dangerous task. I ended up only trimming a beard-shaped stubble pattern and pursued the wasps yet again. I managed to kill 3 more (that’s Mejee 5, Wasps 0) but the last two kept hanging around the glass light fixture on the ceiling and I didn’t want to risk breaking it. We decided locking the wasps in the bathroom with the light on was the best idea for the time being. We told the manager of Highbury about the invasion and she said she would have someone look into it. I’m typing from our flat now with the bathroom door open so all is well. For now.


 Royal Albert Hall


Hendon Songsters

The aftermath

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