After a long string of outside festivals that were all easily over 100 degrees every single day it was now time for a favorite of mine, Lifest. I cannot lie to you, I went into this festival mostly excited for it based on the glorious fact that it was in an air conditioned building. But don’t get me wrong, Lifest is pretty stinkin’ awesome. This year marked my fifth time at this festival. Located in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin, this little treasure of a festival is exactly where you want to be if you’re in the mood for some great ministry and some radical cheese curds.
We set off from Hebron, IL on Wednesday morning and started the three hour drive to Osh Kosh. By now I’m sure you have all heard about the issues we have been having with our van. If you haven’t, let me fill you in. Our 15 passenger van has been overheating a lot lately because of all of our shirts and equipment we have to carry. It’s all just getting to be too much for the vans transmission. So we had to pull over for a while and let the van rest. This gave us the incredible opportunity to stop at an authentic Wisconsin cheese and sausage shop called, Helds. We all had such a fun time sampling all the cheeses Helds had to offer us. We goofed around a bit too and got to try on some crazy looking cheese hats. Then the van was ready to roll and we hit the road again.
We got to the venue around 2ish and started our setup right away. We have the biggest booth of any apparel company at festivals so you can image that it takes a long time to set up. At 6 o clock the doors opened and people flooded in. We were super excited to tell people all about Save the Storks and what a huge difference it’s making in Dallas. God blessed us with fantastic people whose hearts were moved after hearing what Save the Storks does and wanting to become monthly partners with us. We are so thankful for all of you wonderful people who made the decision to donate and save the lives of babies in Dallas. Hopefully in the next year or two God will bless us with many more busses across the country.
And we can’t forget to mention our new friend Katherine! We met Katherine on the first day of the festival, she is great. We all took a liking to her very quickly. She got to come help us talk to people about Save the Storks and we were very thankful for that. We had some awesome talks just getting to know her and getting to speak into her life and encourage her. And just like we motivated her, she in return also motivated us in ways she might not even know. I know at least for me it reminded me of how much the Lord really cares for his family. He desires for all of us to know him and not only to know him but he also wants to comfort us in times of trouble. Times in our lives where we are confused or frustrated or hurt are the times he wants us to feel his peace and comfort. It’s not an easy lesson to learn. Trust me, all of us even still have hard times trusting in the comfort of the Lord. Isaiah 49:13 says this, “Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.” God wants us all to rely on him in everything, not just when we can’t handle things anymore, but all the time. It’s a lesson I’m still learning to live out. I think we all are. =)
In closing, Lifest was awesome. We got to bond as a team, grow together in the Lord and his promises and take in all Wisconsin has to offer. Now the team is headed for Washington State for Creation West Festival. Please continue to pray for safety, for the van and for strength. Being on the road is a hard thing so keep the Love Offensively / Save the Stork team in your prayers often. Catch you next time and hopefully we will see you at Creation West!
It’s hard to believe our first full festival of the season has already come and gone. Ichthus, held in Wilmore, Kentucky, has brought us closer as a team and helped us to look upward towards the Father. I, Rebekah, joined and met the team for the first time Monday. The team rolled in from Pennsylvania about 4:30am so the introductions waited until after everyone got some much-needed rest. The next day I was initiated into the art of foam sword making and we did it much of the day, but while doing so we were able to get to know each other a bit more. We also found a good mechanic within walking distance to work on the van, which I had already been hearing stories about. The following day we ventured out for an afternoon of fun at the Red River Gorge. We found ourselves jumping off a 30-foot cliff into the chilly waters beneath. It was certainly something I hadn’t done before, but not an opportunity I wanted to pass up. Most of us ended up jumping twice, and that was more then some of the people there. Following our daring feats we were each able to buy tokens for a 10-minute shower and eat delicious pizza at Miguel’s, which is a climbers haven. It may have been the best pizza I have ever eaten and the most appreciated shower I have ever experienced.
Every day we had intentional spiritual conversations. The first few days we had devo’s at the church where we were staying, but the days that followed our group was split by shifts to help the team cover the 13-hour days. We found ourselves creating devo’s on the spot, reading a passage and discussing it. Also bouncing questions around that we had been faced with. Being apart of this team has already started shaping us. Much like Proverbs 27:27 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Set-up went pretty smoothly and before we were even done getting everything up people wanted to buy shirts and hear about our projects. The days of Ichthus were pretty hot and humid, but we were in good spirits. Most every time I shared with someone about Save the Storks, I would get goosebumps. I found our booth to be pretty unique in the sense that we have a prolife outreach to promote and were not there just to sell shirts. Over the weekend we started receiving people willing to be Stork partners and many others who wanted to support us through purchases. We heard countless stories of adoption, crisis pregnancies and even a few out of the blue miracle stories. Each story carried a resonating message that God is greater than any hardship and offers a way out for those who trust Him.
By Rebekah Leitner
Our summer tour has officially begun! The majority of the team began the tour in Chicago a few Mondays ago…two to be exact. We spent the first three days packing and unpacking, folding and sorting, as well as creating the infamous ‘foam swords’ for Cornerstone Festival. Let me tell you, every moment of down time is spent making foam swords. Essentially a foam sword is a piece of P.V.C pipe wrapped in foam, covered in duct tape, in the shape of a sword, made for kids to whack the daylights out of one another at a particular festival.
After leaving Joe’s parent’s house in Chicago, we headed for western Pennsylvania. Joe had a speaking engagement in Greenville, Pennsylvania. I have yet to meet a more loving, hospitable family – Lyle, Jennifer, and Melissa Peterson, and the church body at High Street Community Church. They stuffed us with food, took us ‘catfish-feeding,’ spent an afternoon with us at Lake Erie, had a bonfire in our honor, and took us to the most fun graduation party we’d ever been to (and we didn’t even know the graduate). The party was at a 700-acre soybean farm; Patty Oswald and her son Larry gave us a thorough tour on their four wheelers. It was a hoot! We were all pretty covered in mud, especially Luke. We found this ‘George of the Jungle Vine’ that swung over a giant mud puddle, and of course, it broke on him.
We were only in Greenville for three days, yet I am pretty convinced that they found every way possible to bless us, serve us, and love us. Upon leaving a man in the church named Randy noticed a problem with our van and spent probably a solid day fixing various (BUT MAJOR) problems. As we were leaving he wrote out a very generous gift to Save the Storks. We were extremely blessed by the people of Greenville, Pennsylvania.
By Sayer Baker