Time to RE-CONNECT!! KECY Camp 2013 in Slovakia!

We are "tingling with anticipation!" as we count the hours until we embark on another "ministry adventure!" Our "NEXT" adventure of faith and service will be to help 2 outreach teams in the country of Slovakia starting tomorrow!! Actually, we depart from Minneapolis, MN tomorrow afternoon and fly to Amsterdam and then on to Prague.  From Prague we will then take a 5 hour train ride to the city of Zilina, Slovakia where we will join with leaders from our Eastern European partners Josiah Venture and TCKompas (www.josiahventure.com).  Our teams will help conduct 2 Outreach English/Activity/Sports Camps for high school students in the country of Slovakia!

These kinds of camps consist of a ton of "American and Slovak" games, activities and sports ... (think water balloons, dizzy bat, football, baseball, and just about any other crazy game!!) ... along with a daily 2 hour session devoted to teaching English. Students are drawn to the camp because they can improve their English speaking skills by hearing and learning from native English speakers. Each evening will also include an evening program and "talk" ... with this year's theme being:


Our hope is to help these students see that there is a God who made them and who loves them ... and wants them to "RE-CONNECT with Him!


We will be returning on Tuesday, August 6 ... but in the meantime ... we'll try to keep you posted here and on Facebook!

Serving the Risen Lord with you!

Dave & Joyce Johnson

**NEXT International is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, so all contributions are tax deductible.


Finishing up!

The Cedarbrook Czech work team finished up their efforts to build an amphitheater platform on Friday!  We were able to finish all the framing of the large oak timbers, complete with 18 additional "scalloped lookouts" ... affectionately referred to as gargoyles!

We made an awful lot of sawdust this week, reducing a huge pile of random oak timbers to a completed oak frame!  The oak decking was delivered on Thursday, with hopes that we could install it on Friday, but in the end we decided that, due to very wet and snowy weather, it would be better to let the timbers dry out, the snow to melt and the moisture to evaporate before we put dry deck boards down.  Petr and Tomas will most likely do that sometime in late May or early June.

As far as impact, we all definitely felt that God used us to accomplish a lot, but more so, relational bridges were built and great encouragement was felt across the board.  There is not doubt that God was present in leading us through this entire experience.  For everyone, the time here was truly life-changing.

There are a few more pictures we'd like to share from our last couple days ... you can find them in this Photo Album.

Thanks again for your prayers and support ... we're very blessed!


Connections and Easter Snow!

The Cedarbrook Czech Construction Team had an Easter weekend that we'll never forget!  It snowed over 20 inches overnight and on Easter Sunday! After church in the morning, we spent nearly the entire afternoon shoveling snow! Then, on "Easter Monday" we shoveled over 20 cars out of the Hotel Malenovice parking lot so the guests could go home!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we'll continue on with our work building an amphitheater platform out of oak timbers!  We'll have to a little shoveling, but we're hoping for good progress!  Please continue to pray!

You can see some photos of our adventures here -

Cedarbrook Czech Construction Team1

Cedarbrook Czech Construction Team2


Rockin' in the Big Easy with the UW Eau Claire Intervarsity Team (and others!)

What a joy it was to serve in New Orleans last week with our partner Urban Impact!  We joined with 40 others from 2 other locations to help with renovations on a 100 year-old church that will become a new youth center and hip-hop church!

Not only did we paint, pound nails, drive screws and lay concrete, we were able to hear some great speakers talk about their lives and how they've been changed by the ministry of Urban Impact and the teams that come.

You can see some pictures of our work here: UW Eau Claire New Orleans Spring Break Trip!
Everyone left a little of their heart in New Orleans, were challenged to think, speak and act differently, and developed some deep relationships that will continue into the future!

Thanks so much to those who prayed and gave so that this group could go and serve.  We know that there were many lives impacted by this experience!

Stay tuned for another adventure coming soon!


Pressing On!

So, what's going on in the life and times of NEXT International, you ask! ... well, the next leg of our journey of faith and service begins this Friday afternoon, March 15!  We are taking a group of University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire students with us "down the Mississippi!" to New Orleans to serve during their spring break.  We will work alongside our partner there, Urban Impact (www.urbanimpact.org).  These young people are ready to serve our brothers and sisters with their whole hearts!  We're so thankful to have this great group go and experience ministry in New Orleans with us! ...  

 Last year's team heading to work!

 ... but that's not all! ...

In addition to our little group,  we've been helping to facilitate a larger group of 34 people from Cedarbrook Church Menomonie, WI to go and serve in New Orleans as well.  The group is about half high-schoolers and half adults.
  This effort continues the partnership between NEXT International and Urban Impact to help "create a neighborhood where its safe for kids to ride their bikes!"  During this ministry time we will be working on renovations of a youthcenter/hip-hop church called "The Sanctuary" in the Central City area of New Orleans!  We're anticipating a super fun and life-changing 9 days!
Please pray for us as we travel and serve in New Orleans!  Here are some specific areas you can pray for:

  • Pray for safety in travel and work
  • Pray for great connections with each other on the team
  • Pray for heart-felt engagement with our hosts and co-workers in New Orleans
  • Pray for changed lives (ours and those we meet) ... for a greater desire to invest our greatest and best resources to see "His Kingdom come and His Will be done!"
In addition to this blog, you can catch up with us and some occasional updates on our Facebook page ... just search for NEXT International.

Stay tuned! ... the adventure continues!