Sunday, September 30, 2007
We arrived in Munich, Germany, and I hit the sack at midnight and got just under seven hours sleep.
The next day we went to the famous “Oktoberfest.” This is a beer festival where millions of people drink beer for a two week period. They down millions of gallons of during this time.
On the way there, we stopped at a fast-moving river in the heart of the town and watched of all things, surfing. Duane and I (both ex-surfers) surmised that someone had put a huge board under the fast-moving river and this caused a 3-4 foot wave to form. We filmed them, and then laid the foundational teaching for the episode right in front of the main entrance of the Fest, with thousands of people pouring in behind us.
After that we went in and I got some good interviews, while EZ and Mark were able to get a couple of outstanding witnessing sessions on camera. We were also able to get some incredible B-roll.
We drove a few miles into the center of Munich and had a wonderful German lunch—dumplings, duck, venison, and apple strudel and custard. That gave us the energy to do something I had wanted to do for about a week. I had gathered a dozen old leather wallets, put in tracts and real money, with a cell phone number on the inside. I put on the spy-glasses (sunglasses with a tiny camera in them) and set up three hidden cameras. We then dropped wallets one at a time in a busy square and filmed people’s reactions. Most were honest and made an effort to find the owner. One man pretended to drop his cigarettes, bent down to pick them up and swooped up the wallet at the same time. He then walked away really quickly. I walked quicker, curved around, confronted him and asked him if he had found the wallet. He said that he hadn’t. So I let him keep it.
We are going to use the footage for a program in the Third season, which is on how a lie detector works. It’s not actually a “lie” detector. It’s a “conscience” detector. It measures the heart-rate, sweat on the palms of the hands, etc., looking for guilt.
One man actually fell down on top of a wallet, grabbed it, and then ran like a gazelle, weaving in and out of the crowd. I chased him for about 50 yards. So did Chris with the shoulder camera. The man suddenly stopped and burst out laughing. He had seen our cameras and was kidding. He handed the wallet back to me. It was funny.
We then preached open air. This time I held onto Mark as he stood beside me, wearing the straight jacket and the chain. I said that if we had sinned we were held in chains by death. The crowd stayed for the entire Gospel without Mark hardly doing anything. I handed over to EZ, and he preached while Mark struggled to get out of the jacket. I whispered to members of the local team that he could actually get out in about 30 seconds. It made me laugh to watch him thrash back and forth, make his face turn red and groan as though he was in pain. Mark had done this about ten times, and he was getting really good. I found out later that his arm had gone weak from doing the escape so many times, and this time he couldn’t get out of the jacket! He eventually did escape but at one point he was almost having a panic attack. He’s a real trooper.
We then started another open air and tried something different. We asked trivia questions, and when people got the answer wrong we applauded them, and gave them a Million Dollar Euro tract for at least tying. It was a great way to get tracts into people’s hands. Scotty then preached and did a great job.
On the way to the train station a very kind couple gave a large bag filled with all sorts of healthy food (they had been reading our blog and I suspect that they read that we were pigging out on chocolate). How kind people are. It’s such and encouragement to step off a train late at night and immediately be greeted by brethren who are not only kind, but who are extremely enthusiastic about our ministry.
Valentino bought another 12 cakes of chocolate at the railway station and said that it’s for the special chocolate club. EZ keeps raving about it being the best chocolate he’s ever had in his life. The couple also gave me a box of Weetabix and milk. I was particularly encouraged, because I met a New Zealand couple the previous day. They were living in Switzerland, and I asked the woman if she had had any Weetbix (a very similar cereal). She didn’t and looked disappointed, so I gave her mine (joyfully). Now I had more.
Thanks for all your prayer and support. We are heading for Prague, and we are excited to do more wallet drops. God bless, Ray
Saturday, September 29, 2007
The city of Zurich (Switzerland) is beautiful. We arrived around midnight and I literally fell onto my bed, mumbling heart-felt thanks to God for clean sheets and a comfortable bed.
The next morning (Saturday) we filmed the program’s theme on a bridge, with a beautiful backdrop, and then we did an open air. It was very difficult to draw a crowd until Mark got out the straight jacket. Then he began stretching and messing with the chain, and by the time we strapped him in, we had a good size crowd. EZ preached and then handed over to me. After that we split crews and did one-to-one interviews.
Duane found about 15 German-speaking, chanting Hare Kristina’s and pushed me into the middle of them with the cameras rolling. It went well and sure will bring variety to the program.
Mark did some interviews. Trish was interviewing five girls when one began crying. That upset the others and they suddenly began cussing at Trish in English. She must have said something that touched a raw nerve.
When EZ arrived last night he put the card in his hotel room door five times. It wouldn’t open. He finally gave up and went all the way down stairs. He told the attendant, who then accompanied him upstairs. He put the card in and pulled at the door for a sixth time. The man said, in a deep Swiss accent, “Haf you tried pooshing ze door?” We are all in the same zombie state by that time of the night. We are now on our way by rail to Munich, Germany. We have a whole carriage to ourselves and loads of chocolate. Five countries to go. Thanks for your prayers.
Friday, September 28, 2007
We arrived at our hotel around midnight, and I was able to get eight hours sleep. The team gathered with the local helpers in the hotel lobby in the morning, and off we went for another day’s filming.
We laid the foundational teaching for the program (the philosophy of this world) and then got a really good interview with an Italian couple. We then went by train to “the Duomo,” a famous and huge square in the heart of Milan. When we arrived, I could hardly believe my eyes. There was a magnificent church building with amazing structures surrounding a square, with about ten thousand people milling about . . . another open air preacher’s dream.
I excitedly set up the soap-box, and announced that Trish was going to try to escape from the straight jacket. A crowd of about three hundred people packed around and I preached the gospel, using the straight jacket as an illustration of how the chains of death hold every human until they come to Christ. I thanked the crowd, and finished.
Suddenly a large unshaven man with longish gray hair approached me and started raving in Italian. For some reason he was as mad at Carol as he was at me, and pushed her arm so that she was standing next to me. Our interpreter said that he was a top police officer.
When he demanded to see my passport, I told him that I had left it at the hotel. I gave him my driver’s license and Carol gave him hers. He was still angry and marched us towards some police cars and started talking about the need to have permission to film. He turned to Carol and insisted that she had taken his picture and he threatened to confiscate her $5000 camera for 20 days. The normally quiet Carol was so upset by that she almost passed out. She gestured frantically and insisted that she didn’t take his picture. Scotty showed up, heard what was going on, clicked on the camera and showed the officer the pictures. Thankfully, there were no photos of him.
When he asked where my passport was I told him that I had left it at the hotel. When he asked which hotel, I couldn’t tell him because I had no idea as it was our seventh in seven days.
He then started talking about seizing all of our HD cameras. I was all the while using a soft answer, even though he insisted on speaking to me in Italian. It was strange because he went on and on in Italian when there was no interpreter there, knowing that I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. All I said was “Gratzi.” When he walked away for a few moments, I asked Scotty to pray. He thanked God and asked Him to touch the man’s heart. To be honest I was excited at what was happening. If there’s no Pharaoh, there’s no opening of the Red Sea. Besides, I knew it would make interesting television.
When I told him that we were Christians he started to become reasonable. By now we had been held by the police for more than an hour. Then everything changed. We were told through the interpreter that the whole thing could be solved if I would pay a 198 Euro fine.
I was quite happy to pay the fine, but after another 15 minutes they took me across to the police car, wrote out my full name, address, etc., and asked me to sign forms. I gladly signed the one where I admitted that I was a “transgressor.” I admitted that more than 35 years ago.
EZ came across and told me that Val had gone to the police a month or so earlier when he scouted the area. He had been told by the police that we could use professional cameras, without a permit. He related that fact to the officer.
Then I was told that they had waved the fine. We posed with the top police officer for photos (the same one that was insisting that Carol took his photo), gave him tracts, and left. How prayer changes things.
Later on Tony (our sound-man) told me he recorded the entire incident, because I was still wearing the tiny microphone when they took me away. The incident has made the Fourth Series so much more exciting. I can’t wait to see what God does tomorrow in Switzerland.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The theft of our sound equipment hamstrung us. It left us with only one microphone cable and a very small microphone. The only reason it wasn’t stolen was because Tony had left it taped to the flesh of my chest (something he often does). During the train trip last night, Chris called his family back in the States. One of his little daughters answered the phone and I saw his eyes tear up as he spoke to her. I must have caught the French spirit, because the sight so broke my heart I pounded my chest with emotion as I watched him. Unfortunately, I was still wearing the microphone. It not only broke my heart, but it seems that it also broke the microphone (and left an indent on my chest).
The next day we couldn’t go to Monaco because we needed to find a soldering iron to fix it. We therefore did the main teaching from Cannes (which is on the border of France), and then left after lunch to catch a train to Monaco for interviews.
We had one stop-over in the city of Nice. On the first leg we interviewed two young ladies. One was Italian and the other French.
The second train was seriously delayed and we were in danger of having to abandon visiting that country, so Duane, Chris, I, and a French interpreter jumped into a taxi and drove the distance.
We went directly to the quaintest outdoor shopping center directly opposite the Prince of Monaco’s palace, where, despite the angry weather there was many tourists. We were able to get two good interviews. One was with a colorful Scottish lady and the other with five Canadian teenagers. Just as we ended the second interview there were rolls of thunder, lightning, and it poured with rain.
An hour or so later the rest of the team caught up with us. They joined us under a café’s awning which was already packed with people who were trying to get out of the rain. When Duane whispered, “Do an open air Ray” I told him that it was private property and I would never preach on private property without permission. About a minute later Valentino returned from inside the café and said, “The owner said it is okay.” Huh? That sort of thing just doesn’t happen. So I preached for about five minutes (with a French interpreter) and then interviewed the café’s owner. He wasn’t a Christian but he was open to what I had to say.
It was ironic. The Prince of Monaco flatly refused an on camera interview when I requested one a month earlier, and here I was preaching the gospel less than 100 yards from his palace doorstep, on private property, with permission of the owner. We are praying that the weather will be better in Italy. Please keep us in your prayers.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
This train is moving at over 180 MPH heading for Monaco, and thankfully the carriage we are in is clean and comfortable, and we are eating good food. I say “thankfully,” because we are all exhausted and needed to sit down. We have carried bags up and down so many steps we have lost count.
We arrived in Paris last night at around 11:00 PM. Duane and his team arrived ahead of us and shot B-roll of the Eiffel Tower and other well-known locations. We met for breakfast the next morning and I laid down the main script (about the importance of purity for the Christian). This will tie in with Todd’s script about the Puritans he was filming at the same time in Scotland. I spoke about how many within the contemporary church could never be called “puritanical,” and that the pure character of God needed to be thundered from the pulpits to awaken the false converts that sit among God’s people. That was done on a grass area with the massive Eiffel Tower behind me. As we were winding down, an over-emotional park security attendant walked towards us yelling something in French. Apparently she was telling us that we couldn’t film on the grass area. She finished with a loud “Viola!” The American equivalent is “That’s how it is buddy!” She did, however, say that we could film on the sidewalk.
Despite the theft of our sound equipment, we were able to film. I felt sorry for Tony (who is a sound perfectionist) who so wanted to do a good job, and had to use minimal equipment was very frustrating for him. Still, things seem to be working out.
After the shoot, we broke for a quick lunch at a restaurant. Scotty and a few others were eating outside when Gypsies walked passed and asked for his chicken bone. Being the kind man he is, he lifted his plate to give the poor people some French Fries he had left. One woman grabbed the plate and tried to run off with it! The owner suddenly appeared; started yelling at her, then chased them down the street. He said that they were always stealing things from his tables. We apologized and walked under the Tower, across a bridge, and Mark, EZ and I preached open air a couple of times about a mile from the Tower. The interpreter was good. One official there tried to stop us by saying that we didn’t have a permit to speak. I told her through an interpreter that we didn’t need one because we weren’t using amplification. She backed down and said something like “Be careful you don’t break the stone steps.” I guess she had to exercise some semblance of authority. It was strange because I perhaps could have done some damage if I had had a sledge hammer, and I didn’t have one.
After the sound equipment was so easily stolen I took my belt off and threaded through two loops and through my bag. That’s the way we are transporting the entire mini DV’s (21 so far) from our filming. If someone stole that bag, the entire trip would be a waste of time. So whoever steals that, takes me with it. Viola!
STOP PRESS! We have been on this train for three hours. Everyone is asleep and Duane has pulled out a bag that was given to the team. It contained twenty large cakes of deluxe chocolate . . . the good stuff. Chris, Duane and I totally lost control. I’ve never eaten so much chocolate in my life. I think I overdosed on caffeine. I can hardly type . . . but the three of us are very happy.
Back to Paris. EZ, Scotty and I preached open air outside Notre Dame and got a large crowd. Our interpreter was wonderful—an American sister who knew how to translate with enthusiasm. On the way back in the train we had around 5,000 people in our carriage. I showed the team how to do “crush” evangelism by putting my backpack into the face of a French woman. The lady in the opposite seat began laughing which gave me a clue as to what was going on. I then turned to Mrs. Crush and offered her a million dollar tract as a consolation. Then everyone around me took tracts and watched a little slight-of-hand.
On the next train some musicians got on and started singing. I gave one of them five euros and gestured that I wanted to speak. He handed me his microphone and I gave a short gospel message to the passengers on the train.
We met with Todd Friel and team (team three) who were in Paris for a couple of days. We did an interview for Way of the Master Radio and quickly left for the train station. We were like ships passing in the night. Last night they arrived late in London to find the hotel had given away their rooms. They had to sleep on the floor. The poor guys.
Five countries down--eight to go. We arrive in Monaco tomorrow. Keep us in prayer. We are so grateful. God bless, Ray
P.S. I just interviewed an atheist on the train. He was a 56 year-old, who backslid after we started talking and said that he believed in a kind of force. He also said that there was no right or wrong. I asked him if I stole his wallet from him if it would be wrong. He said rather than it being wrong, that it would be his fault for allowing me to steal it from him. If I raped and murdered his daughter, was that wrong? He couldn’t make that judgment. Wow. Trish and I then walked through the train looking for more interviews, and were shut down by the police who were on board. They said it was “forbidden.” Surprise.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
We had a four-hour train trip to
It had been a good day of filming-colorful interviews, good crowds, and the rain held off, for which we thanked God. We then walked for about a mile to the train station and lost one cameraman on the way. Chris completely disappeared. He was behind us filming "B-roll," lost sight of us in the crowd, thought he had been left behind, so he ran ahead of us (he must have past us without knowing it). We didn't know that, and sent people back to look for him. Finally he found us in the crowd. It was a prodigal son reunion. We fell upon him, kissed his neck and killed the fatted calf. Well, not quite. We bought chicken sandwiches and chocolate milk. I sat next to a well-dressed gentleman on the train, and after some small-talk found out that he was an "adamant atheist." I pleaded for an on-camera interview but he adamantly refused. I then told him (as nicely as I could) that he was a chicken atheist, so he conceded to do an interview where we didn't show his face. EZ spoke to him after the interview, and he backslid to being an agnostic. Please pray for him. His name is Jon (pronounced Yorn). We will be in God bless,
It had been a good day of filming-colorful interviews, good crowds, and the rain held off, for which we thanked God. We then walked for about a mile to the train station and lost one cameraman on the way. Chris completely disappeared. He was behind us filming "B-roll," lost sight of us in the crowd, thought he had been left behind, so he ran ahead of us (he must have past us without knowing it). We didn't know that, and sent people back to look for him. Finally he found us in the crowd. It was a prodigal son reunion. We fell upon him, kissed his neck and killed the fatted calf. Well, not quite. We bought chicken sandwiches and chocolate milk. I sat next to a well-dressed gentleman on the train, and after some small-talk found out that he was an "adamant atheist." I pleaded for an on-camera interview but he adamantly refused. I then told him (as nicely as I could) that he was a chicken atheist, so he conceded to do an interview where we didn't show his face. EZ spoke to him after the interview, and he backslid to being an agnostic. Please pray for him. His name is Jon (pronounced Yorn). We will be in
Arrived in Paris today. It's been a wonderfully smooth trip up until I (Trish) got a call from one of the team members. Team two had trouble on the rail. Our soundman's equipment was stolen. You see Ray was preaching on the rail and the soundman must have looked back for a second and then it was gone. It is only the fifth country and we are declining a bit... but nonetheless doing surprisingly well. Please pray that the team will keep their wits about them. We really need to keep our guard up.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Here are a few pictures from Luxembourg. It wasn't quite as exciting as Brussels; but the gospel was preached, many were witnessed to, and we escaped the enemy with the footage by the grace of God.
We are in Amsterdam and it is morning and raining. All of your prayers for us are so appreciated and we have had exceptional weather so far. I am confident it is due to your prayers. Please continue to lift us up in prayer in all things - weather, travel, attitude, etc., the crew, the speakers, the hearers.
At each stop the volunteers have been wonderful and so helpful. How awesome it is to have friends of the ministry around the world who are willing to serve.
Scotty & Carol