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 3

Erik Snyder - Sunday, March 13, 2016

Day 3:

Today is Saturday the 12th and we are currently sitting in Bodenseehof, the Torchbearers school in Friedrichshafen, Germany. We took a bus from Zurich, Switzerland to another city where we boarded onto a ferry and headed over to Germany. From the fair amount of traveling we had been doing the past few days, it was nice to be able to sit and enjoy all the beauty passing by us. Once we made our way into Germany, we found ourselves at Bodenseehof meeting students, staff, and taking a tour of the property. It was wonderful! It brings me such joy to be able to go to one of our sister centers and have such a strong connection with everyone, even though our schools are completely different we still have the bond of Christ and the same experience of being a part of such a wonderful organization called Torchbearers. Meeting new friends and eating a delicious dinner (chicken wings, yum) we got the priviledge of listening to the students practice for a performance they were putting on the following day. They all gathered up on risers and sang songs of worship and praise. It was great. We then made our way to the train station where we caught multiple trains making our way to Austria! We arrived in Austria at a very cold and dark 1 am. There is something about traveling to random places all through the night that brings a team closer together. We stayed in a youth hostel that night and the following day the team woke early and we toured Salzburg (thanks to our wonderful tour guide Frank) we got to see the locations of The Sound of Music filming and so many beautiful historic buildings! After looking and exploring around Austria we made our way to Romania via train and plane where we met up with Torchbearer staff members and we were brought to the beautiful center here in Rasnov, Romania.

If you would like to pray for us the team would appreciate being lifted up in the area of energy. We have full days now and sleep seems to be at a minimum some nights. Continued team unity and growth in The Lord would be great as well. Im very thankful for each member on this trip and what they bring to the team. Our members are:  

Jason Kent- the goof and the servant

Roman Clavelli- the explorer and photographer

Bethany Lowth- the joke maker and truth speaker

Courtney Wright- protective and the peace maker

Juls Bergmann- silent servant and musical genius

Tannis Ridder- sarcastic sister and sleepy traveler

Megan Ballin- direction giver and the wise momma

Frank Cirone- tour guide, jokester, leader, coffee buyer, and dad to us all.

Each person has a different touch to the team and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be able to come alongside them as we all go through this journey together. 

Megan Ballin

Haiti 2016 - Update 3

Erik Snyder - Sunday, March 13, 2016
“Today is the day that the Lord has made”, the beautiful voices of the Haitian children sing after our morning at church. “Jesi se Limye!” (Jesus is the Light) is proclaimed at the church service by one of our team members, a disciple loved by Jesus, after a short performance in no way comparing to the entourage put on by the Haitian church, a great rejoicing coming forth from the depths of their worshipping hearts. The barrier of language is overcome by the great faith of those who are poor. Children who have little if not nothing to eat offer us food they are given and books that they have simply to show us their love. Affectionate brothers in Christ gather round us from the people to share their faith, in kindness, with love, and an everlasting hope beaming from their bright face. God is at work here in Haiti, and things may look bad to the eyes of a natural man, but to those of us in whom is the Holy Spirit we witness firsthand God’s Word in action all around us. Lift up prayers for Haiti and send help to our beloved brethren here, let their great faith be rewarded and cause great rejoicing in God.

Haiti 2016 - Update 2

Erik Snyder - Sunday, March 13, 2016

Today we woke up hearing the laughter and singing from kids, to eat pancakes with Nutella. After a time of devotion, we played with the kids and made salvation bracelets, with different colors to represent the Gospel, black as sin, red for the blood of Jesus, which made us white as snow. A green pearl is for the growth as a Christian, after it blue for Baptism and yellow/gold for the golden streets, which are waiting for us in heaven. For lunch we got homemade pizza and after a short siesta, we went to the local supermarket and we could enjoy the AC. After coming back and eating dinner we were able to play soccer with the older boys and finish the day with a team time to talk about the book of James and the day and play phase 10.

Europe 2016 - Day 2

Erik Snyder - Sunday, March 13, 2016

Day 2:

After missing our flight, we had spent the night in Chicago and had the next day to shop and relax as a team. In the morning we shared as a team and prayed together. The day was very exciting to see a new place for some of us, and also God knew our team needed a good nights rest in a hotel. In the evening we were able to get a flight to Zurich, Switzerland, and spend the night on the plane. We were all overjoyed because the adventure had become more real. This goes to show that the unexpected sometimes happens, but that it can very well be for our benefit. As I woke up that morning, I had lyrics running through my mind. "Show me how to love the unlovable, show me how to reach the unreachable…." (Forgiveness Matthew West) Those words reminded me that as a team, we are going to need to rely on God when we start our ministry officially (even though we are always on mission) We don't always know how to love or to reach out to people, and that is exactly why we need God to show us. As that day came to an end, we were able to relax on the plane and be in great expectancy for God to meet us in Europe. 


Europe 2016 - Day 1

Erik Snyder - Sunday, March 13, 2016

Day 1:

Dear friends and family of the Europe missions team. Day one of our trip was a fun but also challenging day for us as a team. We began the trip by safely arriving at the airport in Denver early enough to check in and to eventually find out that our flight from Denver to Chicago would be delayed an hour and would not leave Denver until 3:45. Once we got through security with no problems we got on the plane and were headed to Chicago. But, as you may know already, our flight was delayed and that eventually affected our connecting flight to Zurich, Switzerland. By the time we landed in Chicago, which was 6:35, we were told we would have to sit in the airport penalty box and wait 3-4 minutes until our gate was clear. After we got off the plane we had to run (literally) from one side of the airport to the other and catch a train to get to our gate. By the time we got there they had already finished boarding, which they had started at 6:30, and had closed the gate door. We missed our connecting flight to Zurich, which was a little frustrating, but we as a team kind of knew we might miss our connecting flight when our flight from Denver was delayed and we knew by then that it would be a miracle if we got on the connecting flight after our delay. Frank tried all he could to get us on a flight out to Germany that night but it just was not meant to be. The whole day was not a total loss because even though we did not make our flight last night, God did bless us with a very special gift. Since we all missed our connecting flight United Airlines blessed us by paying for us all to stay the night in the Embassy Suite Hotel and gave us each three $10.00 food vouchers that we could use at the Hotel or at any of the Airport vendors. We also were blessed with a free complimentary breakfast, courtesy of the Embassy Suite Hotel. Frank was able to eventually get us all on the same flight to Zurich today at 7:15 in the evening.

I would like to close this blog by saying thank you to all the friends and family of all the members of this team for praying for us. Also some things that you could pray for are .

1. Team unity- that we stay united and together as a team even if things don't go well. 

2. Communication between us and the kids and people of Europe and that they will be able to understand us and will be open to receiving the good news of Christ.

Thank you and God Bless

Jason Kent

Haiti 2016 - Update 1

Erik Snyder - Saturday, March 12, 2016

First full day in Haiti is coming to a close! Our team left the Denver airport at 12:00a.m. Thursday morning and after a layover in NYC, we arrived in Haiti at noon on the same day. Flying over the ocean and seeing little islands in the Caribbean made it so real that we were leaving the country. Heat and humidity greeted us as we got off the plane, weather we are not used to in CO. 

The Haitian airport was very chaotic. Not one of the eight in our group can speak Creole (the native language) so we were very happy to have the director of the orphanage help us get through the process of getting out of the crazy airport. Getting bags off the carrier belt was every man for himself. 

Walking out of the airport, we were met with crowds of people waiting for their passengers. (No guests are allowed in the airport unless they are flying.) We were greeted by staff from the orphanage who took out bags and threw them in the back of an old pick-up and we all transported to the orphanage in an old big passenger van. Driving is interesting. Basically our driver drove with his horn, honking it the entire time and weaving in and out of vehicles and people in the narrow and dirty city streets. As we began driving through Port-au-Prince to the orphanage, it was amazing to see how different our culture is. The poverty in Haiti that we constantly hear about became so real before our eyes. There was not one nice building. Their houses line the city streets crammed into little lots and are made of plywood and tin roofs, or any other scrap that can be found to make a shelter. We saw venders sit by the street and sell their produce that sit next to them in piles. Not many Haitians own vehicles so there were many people in the streets or riding in benches on the back of old pick-up trucks with makeshift roofs. 

Arriving at the orphanage was definitely the highlight for all of us, I believe. They opened the gate to a concrete wall and barb wired enclosed small area with a concrete and barred windowed house. As we rolled into to the short driveway, about 30 children were cheering and shouting, some sticking their hands through the windows to grab ours before we even got a chance to exit the vehicle. Climbing out of the van, the children surrounded us and gave us hugs with huge smiles on their faces. We could barely move, but we didn’t care because it was such a beautiful thing to see the joy on their faces as were surrounded by the children talking all at once. We couldn’t understand them, but we learned some names and began playing with them right away. They so were content just being held, hugged, and smiled at. Many of the girls loved to touch and play with our hair, and within the first hour, the four of us girls on the team had cornrows. Last night we ended with singing well-known worship songs, some they knew in English and others they would sing in their own language along with us. 

Today began at 7 and we woke up to the sun shining, children laughing and shouting, the sound of busy streets, and a very annoying rooster that began making noise before the sunrise. The children’s day begins at 5:30 because they have to get to school. Their school is just across the street and it is held in a 3-sided shed-like building divided into classrooms with plywood, next to the boys’ orphanage. We played all day with the children, which consisted of doing crafts, playing with the soccer ball, and trying to learn a little Creole. 

God is showing each one of our members so much already and we have only been here 36 hours. It has reminded us in a very real way how blessed we truly are.  The children (the count is about 200) at this orphanage receive two meals a day and they don’t have much to call their own, yet are so happy and content. They didn’t want anything from us, just our love and attention. In a sense, we can apply that to our own lives. Sometimes, I find myself wanting so much from God, when I should just be content in Him and rest in His love and joy. Because He is the only one who can supply true love and joy, it just doesn’t matter what we have. That truth has become so real here. Each one of our team members feels so thankful for this opportunity and we are looking forward to what is in store for the next 9 days.

Fall 2015 Newsletter

Erik Snyder - Thursday, November 26, 2015
The newest Ravencrest newsletter for Fall 2015 has just been sent out. If you're not yet on our mailing list, haven't received it or just want to be able to view and share online what's going on here at Ravencrest, we've made it available for you as a PDF.





Some Time at Purtătorii de Făclie

Erik Snyder - Sunday, March 22, 2015

This morning we woke up to a nice breakfast with the staff of Purtătorii de Făclie. They were very friendly and we all enjoyed our breakfast of bread, meat, and cheese. The coffee was an excellent bonus before we had a time of worship in both languages, and then had an incredible devotion by Frank Cirone. After we finished the devotion we had about three hours to work outside. The work was very cold and wet, but it felt good to get out and do some manual labor. After that we prepared for our ministry that night. For our ministry, we went to a house where a youth group is held every week. There we worshipped God with the kids, then shared a testimony and had a lesson.

The time we got to spend with the kids today was one of the highlights and we hope to continue in those relationships. Every day God is showing us something new and is always teaching each one of us new things.

- Josh Miller

Our Position in Christ

Erik Snyder - Saturday, March 21, 2015

Today was a great day. Woke up to a beautiful panorama with the sun shining through the falling snow, which hazed the mountains in God’s awesomeness. We had a wonderful breakfast of pancakes with jam and syrup washed down by water, powerful coffee, or fruit tea. After breakfast we talked about what the next few days would look like. We were able to have a sweet time of fellowship and singing in group devotions. The rest of the day was spent organizing the evening kids programs, practicing music, talking, exploring the campus, and catching up on a little sleep.

We had a meeting at 4:30 to iron out the last wrinkles before we left to Codlea, a city next to the center here. The first thing we did was to invite kids from an apartment complex next to where the program was to be held. The place was dirty and ramshackle, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. They showed us their homes, told us their names, and we communicated the best we could with the little knowledge we had of each other’s language. Before the program, we played soccer in the street with a pop can. Improvising seemed to be key. The program went well with about 30 kids coming. Before we separated into a teen group and a children’s group, we performed a drama and sang a song. The feedback from both groups was great, although it is hard to tell how responsive they actually were.

Supper back at the center was comprised of bread, pickles, potato salad, and brats. Evening devotions were on Ephesians 4:17-32. During devotions we also discussed tomorrow, shared feedback, and prayed together. All of us are excited to see how else the LORD will use us here.

On the team, all is going well. Some tiredness and a little bit of sickness going around, but overall things are good. It has been wonderful to see how different team members have stepped up and taken responsibility so far, even when it has been very uncomfortable or even completely new. It is the end of day 8 and no stress between anyone. Praise the LORD. Please continue to pray for us, that our hearts would be moved with compassion as Christ’s was, and that it would be Christ in us that people see and not us. Also, pray a blessing for Rebecca, a staff member here at the Romanian Torchbearers Center, because every Thursday she leads these children programs by herself. Please pray for the children as they hear God’s Word, that the Spirit would work in them that they might be saved. And also pray that not only would God do a great work through us as we minister, but the He would do a great work in us as well. Thank you for your petitions for us, your brothers and sisters in Christ.

I was reminded in a new way today of our position in Christ: just as some of the children were orphans, so we too were orphans, yet in Christ we are now the children of God and fellow heirs with Christ in glory. Tomorrow is a new day that God has made-I can’t wait to see Him work.

- Titus Scheele

Hello Romania

Erik Snyder - Friday, March 20, 2015

Beginning the day with a special continental breakfast, the team geared up and repacked our experiences to set off on yet one more eye-opening adventure on the EuroRail. Having to get up at around 7 in the morning to catch our initial train, we scrambled to finish packing our bags and lugged our bags to the train with a few minutes to spare.

The first, quick train helped connect us in Tatabanya to our second, longer train ride, which lasted for over half the day. The second train-ride originated in Tatabanya, Hungry with the destination of Brasov, Romania and did not arrive until well after 11 p.m.
Upon the hours of seemingly endless travel, opportunities to share both English and our faith with others arose and were accepted rather widely across the rails.  Some people were more willing to listen and hear what we have to say.

Leaving Tatabanya, Hungary in the sunshine and cool brisk air, we departed from the train in Brasov, Romania in the dark as a thin layer of snow slowly fell as we quickly threw our bags into a slightly over crowded van and car, making our way through the countryside that was covered the cold flakes in the night.

Praise the Lord that all connections were made promptly and there were no issues with lost people or luggage. Even a minor setback on the first train with local officials, God remained faithful and, we pray, made Himself known through our interactions with the locals.  Our Sovereign God also provided wonderful arrangements for the team at the Torchbearer conference center here in Romania after a long day of travels at Purtatorii de Faclie. Thank you all for your prayers and support! It is not in vain and to the glory of God it has sustained us.

- Matthew Lawrence

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