Ravencrest Now

Keeping everyone up to date on what God is doing in and around Ravencrest Chalet, in lovely Estes Park CO.

Europe 2016 - Day 9

Erik Snyder - Sunday, March 20, 2016

Day 9:

Hello, greetings from our Sunday blog! Ah can you believe it? Today is our last day in Hungary! Our last day of the trip (minus the traveling day tomorrow) and boy did it ever fly by.

Today is full of adventure! We started off the day at a church here in Tatabanya where Matthew Edwards and his family attend- also the location we've been holding our English clubs in the evenings. It was great, our team joined in and helped lead worship with Matthew, Bethany shared her testimony, and Frank gave the sermon. During all of this, Courtney and Jason took over the kids service and totally rocked it. It's funny, our team enters a room and it instantly feels like we take over the space, not sure if the because there's 8 of us or if it's just that were loud Americans...probably both, either way, it was fun to lead the church into a time of studying through Romans 5. After church some of us talked for a while with a woman who attended Capernwray Hall in England (love torchbearers connections) and then we made our way to Budapest via train. Once in Budapest we met up with a man named Richie who is a Hungarian that just graduated from Calvary Chapel Seminary school in the United States. Richie was taken in by the Edwards family years ago- pink hair, no knowledge of Christ, The Lord has been faithful in showing Himself to Richie and he is now serving at a mega church here in Budapest and a wonderful friend and tour guide for missionaries like us. He took us to hero square and other places around the city and before we knew it- it was time for our evening church service. Now because this is a mega church, we didn't do worship or testimony but Frank spoke on the topic of why we pray. It was magnificent! And very encouraging- he based all he taught off of The Lords prayer in the book of Matthew. After the service and some of the most amazing dual language worship I've experienced, we took on Budapest at night!! By that I mean we had dinner and got ice cream at McDonald's. ☺️

Over all today has been a beautiful day of growing closer as a team and beginning the process of unwinding from and reflecting on all that has happened in our time here in Europe. Tomorrow we begin at 3:00am and make our way back to Colorado!!! The team I would say has excitement about going home but there is definitely a deep sadness that comes with leaving these countries that captured and broke our hearts so quickly. Please pray for our team as we begin travels- that all will go well and we will stay healthy. Also, please pray as we start to debrief and process this trip- pray that The Lord will teach us and burn all the memories we've made deep into our souls, never to be forgotten.

Thanks again everyone who has been reading and praying!! It's been a very impactful and meaningful trip and I'm so thankful I got the opportunity to lead it alongside Frank.

God is so so good.

Much love!


Europe 2016 - Day 8

Erik Snyder - Friday, March 18, 2016

Day 8:

It's been an adventure being in Europe and it's hard to believe we only have a few days left. Yesterday we went to another high school in tatabanya. We visited different English classes and talked with students about different questions they had about us, also we got  the time to ask them questions about themselves. It's crazy to think how just being in someone else's presence sharing our own stories can make such a difference. Frank shared stories that made the kids laugh then we talked about different life lessons that went with the story. It was challenging at times because it can be hard when talking to others who don't know the language very well. You have to be patient and listen attentively to what they're saying. But The Lord is faithful to bring about good and simple conversations.

The second half of our day included going to a refugee camp. This was something we weren't sure if we were going to be able to do because of the government in Hungary. The Lord opened the door for us to go, and that was definitely something new to experience. I can say for all of my team that it was out of our comfort zone. Tannis and Megan were giving out tea, hot chocolate coffee and cookies. They got rid of them quickly, and you could tell that people appreciated the snacks. The rest of us were walking around talking with people, and inviting them to the program our team was going to have at four. We sang worship songs for them, and when I was singing I felt the joy of just showing others the light and hope we have, even if they may not understand what we are singing about. Frank shared about how there are things that can weigh us down in life, and he was able to have someone translate for him. A few of us had some great conversations with the people there. Others of us were simply just playing with the kids, and experiencing all that was around. All in all it was an amazing experience that grew our team closer and stretched us individually. God is so good and I’m thankful for a team that is willing and up for the challenges and situations he throws at us.

Thanks all!


Europe 2016 - Day 7

Erik Snyder - Thursday, March 17, 2016

Day 7: Hello all!

Traveling around Romainia in places like Brasov and Bucharest has been one of the most incredible experiences I have had the pleasure of doing. I wanna thank my God because without Him this would not have happened. I never thought for once, that I would get an opportunity to travel Europe and be a witness of Jesus Christ to the youth of Romania along side with some of the coolest companions anyone could ask for and meet some of the coolest people EVER!!! Thank you Jesus!!!!! And I am now in Tatabanya, Hungary where we will be interacting with the youth and schools, showing them who Christ is through English clubs, dramas, and worship. Please pray as our team adjusts to having a new ministry here in Hungary with new people and a new culture to adjust to.


Roman Clavelli

Haiti 2016 - update 7

Erik Snyder - Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Haiti – Day 7

Bonus! God gave us another day of having the opportunity to share Jesus with the Haitian kids here in Port-au-Prince. After breakfast (with Nutella for the European people’s pleasure) we spent the morning at the boys house where we could watch them enjoy themselves at play. Aliesia taught them how to play tick-tack-toe and it was fascinating how fast most of the boys understood the game and could play with each other.

After lunch break almost all of us took time for “personal recreation” aka nap because the heat is one reason for our lack of energy. For a small refreshment we made our way to the air conditioned grocery store to satisfy our desire of something cold. We spent more time in there than we would have needed but of course we had problems with figuring out the exchange rate from Haitian Gourds to American Dollars so we “unfortunately” had to stay longer in the air conditioned store. I personally was able to spend some time talking to Mark, the man God is using to provide for the orphanage here in Haiti. Mark is a passionate runner and he told me about his successes and how he is also using his hobby to expand the kingdom of God.

When we came back to the orphanage we were able to taste the Haitian food culture another time and I love it! I think John, with his shirts, has a huge influence on the meals the women cook for us. Today he wore a shirt that said “Old Spice” and both lunch and dinner were super spicy. Last time he wore a shirt that said something with pizza and we had pizza to eat. This might be a totally wrong assumption though 

The rest of the day we spent time with the boys making paper airplanes and had a spontaneous dance party. The song “Nay Nay” is really popular here and the kids know the dance so they showed off with their dancing skills. Our swing dancing performance was just fun because Tiffany dropped Aliesia at the last pose so that was probably the laughter of the evening.

The end of the day we, as a team, spent time together for devotion and just reminding each other that we are working for God and his kingdom. This means we don’t have to work out of our own strength but we have God as our source for all we do need each day.

Europe 2016 - Day 6

Erik Snyder - Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Day 6:

Today we woke up early and, after enjoying a delicious breakfast consisting of eggs, tomatoes, bread, jam and cheese, we headed off to Transylvania. We had some free time to explore Dracula's castle and enjoy people in town. It was fun and a nice break. That afternoon we loaded back into the van and headed out into the countryside where they Gypsy villages are. These villages are very run down and not well managed. The homes and buildings use to be owned by the germans during the time before communism but once the dictator took over the Germans moved out and the poor homeless gypsies found their stay. Ever since this happened people label this area as dirty, poor, unreachable and dark. I would say that I agree with those titles completely but lucky for us, we got to go and play with the children that fill the homes of these villages. It was so wonderful!! The second we pulled up the kids were ready to play. We played games such a soccer and simon says for a while then headed inside where Bethany told the story of David and Goliath- she asked the children (ages 3-17) what "giants" they have faced in their lives and what it looks like to overcome those giants. The lesson was followed by some fun worship songs and snacks! We then headed back to the center to hang out and play games with the interns of PDF (Purtaturii De Faclie). Overall I would say today was full of laughter and love. Those kids have it tough, some put on the "tough guy" face but really, all they want is love and attention. The Lord has filled each of us with such an abundant amount of love that when we get the opportunity to pour it out onto others it really is such an amazing experience.

Prayer for the team:

Tomorrow (Wednesday the 16th) were loaded with another day of traveling- making our way to Hungary to serve along side Calvary Chapel! (whoohoo!!)

Please pray this will be a time to refresh our minds and bodies as we prepare to go into the schools and be as lights to people who do not know of Jesus Christ.

Megan Ballin

Thanks for your prayers!

Haiti 2016 - Update 6

Erik Snyder - Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Haiti – Day 6

Woke up today in Les Cayes orphanage to the sound of rooster cock-a-doodling at 6:30 am in the morning. We had breakfast later; it was a noodle dish that was amazing. After breakfast we brought out the twine and beads for salvation bracelets. As we started to walk through what every bead meant you could see the kid’s excitement. It was cool to see Christ's love touch every one of the kids through us and through the bracelets. After the kids finished the bracelets one of the other team member from a church ask John and Anna-Lena if they wanted to help out with a puppet show . They both said sure Anna-Lena  got a purple fuzz puppet named purple murple . John Got a puppet the look like are driver Mac . We got ready and they started to play vbs songs. That's when the magic started the puppets started to dance and sing and the kids started to laugh and smile .After the puppet show we packed up to start our long journey back to Port-Au-Prince . We headed off at about 12 pm . Most of the team fell asleep. We arrived back at Port-Au-Prince  at dark to the kids jumping up and down and waiting patiently to hug us and touch us . These kids really long for physical touch from people. It shows them that the are loved. Well that is it for today - this is John Traxinger signing off, and good night.

Europe 2016 - Day 5

Erik Snyder - Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Day 5:


Today is Monday the 14th and we only have a few more days left in Romania. We were able to follow along with out ministry today as we headed out in the afternoon and evening to be with some kids. But firstly, the morning started off with us being able to help PDF with half of us working on digging and the other half gathering wood. The afternoon took place in a poor apartment building with many children and we were privileged to be able to hangout and play with them. The apartment was run down and wasn't good living conditions.  A few lights were on every once in a while down the hallways and it reaked of urine and garbage. The rooms were small and had whole families in just one room (imagine something like the size of one side of the cottage). Walls were falling apart and roofing coming down. The children were so excited and happy that we could just play games and be with them, when in all honestly, it was our privilege. The evening followed with going to a church and having a youth group for teens and other into their early twenties. We had some worship, a message given by Frank as well as having Juls and Roman sharing their testimonies. Shorty after we enjoyed games, snacks and fellowship.

Thanks for your prayers!

Tannis Ridder

Haiti 2016 - Update 5

Erik Snyder - Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Haiti – Day 5

     Knee deep in the water somewhere, got the blue-sky breeze blowing wind in my hair, only worry in the world is the tide going to reach my chair…
Today, I believe, was the most fun we have had so far.  We got up and planned on going to the beach. Unfortunately, it had started raining some but we were still going either way. We had eggs and bread with peanut butter and Nutella for breakfast.  After breakfast, we waited about an hour before we left so I got to make some paper airplanes and play soccer with the orphans. 
The drive to the beach was a little over a half hour.  All the driving here has been uncomfortable and crazy in an over-packed van, but getting to see the culture makes the travel time seem shorter than it really is.  We arrived at the coast in the later morning. Driving up to the beach, everyone was so excited; most of us had never experienced the Caribbean sea before.   What made it different was the warmth of the air and the refreshing warm light blue water as we jumped into it.  As soon as we were dropped off, the driver went back to pick up a van full of the older orphans. By the time the kids arrived we had already spent about an hour in the water. It was a lot of fun watching the children experience the ocean for the first time.  Many of them had lived less than 20 miles from the ocean and had never been in it before. Watching them experience it for the first time brought joy to us all.  Some of them jumped right in and enjoyed it, while others were very nervous and wouldn’t let go of us in the water. Later in the day the sun came out and we all ended up getting sunburns. We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, walking on the beach, and just hanging out with the kids.
Driving along the Haitian coast, you can experience seeing the ocean, the mountains and what look like the jungle all at the same time, which I thought was really cool. We got back and immediately were surrounded by orphans hanging on our sun burnt shoulders, which we quickly applied aloe to.  We ate supper, had devotions and hung out with the kids before going to bed.  I believe the highlight for everyone today was watching the kids jump in the ocean for the first time. 
Something that I have personally been learning is to love kids. Coming on this trip we didn’t know exactly what to expect or what we would be doing. I had in my mind that we would do more building projects but so far we have spent most of our time entertaining and loving on the orphans. These kids have no parents that they can go to everyday for comfort and love, and so they accept it so quickly from us. 

  - Noel Field

Haiti 2016 - Update 4

Erik Snyder - Monday, March 14, 2016

As I sit here and wander where to begin, I am closely surrounded by at least 10 little children, each one chattering in a language I have no idea how to understand. For all I know they could be making fun of my white skin and blonde hair. But I like to pretend that maybe they are just enthralled with the computer sitting on my lap.

The moon is shining brightly, the crickets are chirping loudly in this warm air, the bugs are crawling all over us, and the Caribbean Sea is 15 minutes away. Life is good! 

Well I’m not quite sure how to do this whole blogging thing, so I will just start at the crack of dawn. Like every morning, the Haitians were up and at it before it seemed I had even closed my eyes. Eventually all of us white people rolled out of our beds and went to the breakfast table where we were served bread. Unfortunately the Nutella had been used dry so it was just peanut butter today. Joel’s day was nearly ruined because of it. We played with the kids for a little while and then around 10:30 a.m. (we think… We are a little confused with the time here) our team smashed into a small van and began our long journey to the orphanage on the other side of Haiti.

It was such a beautiful drive! We went from the busy streets and constant honking in Port-au-Prince, to the countryside in the mountains, to the sandy beaches. It was so cool how fast the scenery would change. But the things that never changed were the palm trees and the shacks. They were everywhere! It made me so sad, but yet they all seem so happy and content. Everyone is so ready to smile all the time. We drove for about 6 hours, stopping for short bathroom breaks (the boys cooled down the tires)  and a snack break. It was a very hot and long ride. I will just say that we are all very used to constantly sweating. But the good news is that none of us can tell how bad we stink, because we all smell the same! 

At about 4:30 this afternoon, we arrived at our destination with our honking horn. This orphanage is much different than the first. It is in the country with a big grassy yard and beautiful mountains in the distance. The moment we stepped out, they surrounded us with hugs and kisses and huge smiles on all of our faces. This is the most precious moment for me. They are so eager to love! They don’t care that we don’t have anything to give them, they are just happy to have us here with them. How different they are from me. We have been playing with them all evening, taking time to eat our rice and fried chicken of the day. 

The kids love playing hand games, or keep-away, or just good old soccer with the big boys. Most of our communication is by actions, but it is amazing how much fun you can have and how easily it is to love these kids without ever being able to understand what they are saying. It makes me think of how big and incredible God is. He is able to have a personal relationship with every person on the earth. No matter what language we speak, He knows and understands us perfectly!

Europe 2016 - Day 4

Erik Snyder - Monday, March 14, 2016

Day 4:


Today is Sunday the 13th and it has already been four days since we left Estes Park, Colorado! Today we were able to start our ministries too! It started off by us waking up in the Romanian center and having a delicious warm breakfast with some of the staff. We then made our way over to one of the local churches where we helped to lead the service and Tannis shared her testimony. It was amazing hearing the blend of Romanian and English, worshipping the same God. After the service, we were able to partake in a lunch that the church held. Once again, it was delicious and it provided us with an opportunity to get to know some of the locals. Afterwards, we made our way over to the center of the city of Brashov, where we were able to explore and do a little bit of shopping. Being out and seeing the history in a place like this and hearing more about it from our friend and tour guide, Florine, is eye opening. Seeing the culture and what makes it tick is definitely something, I feel as a team, we will hold onto in the years to come. Later that night, we were able to go to another local church where we put on a similar program. We were able to worship together, Jason gave his testimony, and Frank preached. We then went back to the Torchbearer center where were able to have dinner with some additional staff and interns and catch an earlier night of sleep. In the end, I feel that our first full day in Romania was a definite success and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Courtney Wright

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