Playing Bluegrass in Europe

Hey y’all-

I’m heading to Europe with The Long Run Players. We’ve posted a blog about our needs for the trip.

Read it here.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

Livin’ the dream,

Uncle Jeff

Last Day in Taiwan

Hey y’all-

It’s 7:25 a.m. in Taipei and I’m writing this while having a cup of coffee, laundry is in the dryer, crap is scattered all over the apartment, and I’m trying to decide what to pack, what to trash, and what to give away….it’s my last day in Taiwan. Five months ago, I came here as part of a team of missionaries who were to use bluegrass music as a platform for evangelism in the Taipei area, specifically Banciao. We did that. So, let’s reflect, shall we?

We landed with no Chinese, no specific plan, and no idea how our music or message would be received by the Taiwanese people. The IMB assigned us to work with career missionaries who have been in Taiwan for 15-30 years, depending on which of the three missionaries one is talking about. This was a good and bad thing….the career missionaries, that is.

One missionary has been here a long time. This missionary is alone in a lot of ways and used to it. Leading a group of five seminary students was not a good idea. It failed miserably. We parted company and moved on……

The other two missionaries (a married couple) were easy to work with, caring, and willing to allow us to try and use our gifts and talents to reach the people of Taiwan. They were not so interested in giving “directives” as they were in trying to find open doors to the hardened hearts of the Taiwanese people. This relationship was not perfect (none is except one’s relationship with Christ, but you would expect me to say that, wouldn’t you?), but it was still good. Thank you to them and their willingness to take us on unexpectedly as supervisors.

Our knowledge of Chinese grew by leaps and bounds through the use of a private tutor by the name of Sam. She (Samantha) is a native Taiwanese young woman who was willing to try and teach five foreigners at one time. Bold. It worked as well as it could and we quickly were able to feel more comfortable in our new surroundings. Paul, the banjo player in the band, and I really enjoyed learning to count in Mandarin. Then, we could walk down the street, look at bus numbers, and practice. That was a big day for us…huge. Oh, I also ordered coffee (and other food at a few places) and did well enough to carry on the entire exchange in Mandarin. It was bad Chinese, but it was Chinese.

The plan never really seemed to come together. We came as part of a program that was intended for mentoring and education. However, we were seen as more of a ministry resource to be used. So, we did a lot of pioneer evangelistic work on a school campus in Banciao. That school is Chihlee Institute of Technology. A great place with great kids….I love that school. The mentoring, education, working side-by-side with career personnel never came together. So be it. We made a ton of friends, faithfully shared the Gospel with them, learned to love them, learned from them, taught them about America, and had a great time. Again, I love that school and those kids.

How was bluegrass received? Pretty well, I think. The people don’t have a concept of bluegrass, but they were receptive to live music. They seemed to enjoy our playing and the energy of bluegrass. They loved to hear Sarah sing. She has red hair and fair skin and that enthralls many Taiwanese. They had never heard of or seen a banjo. Paul helped them with that. Cameron played a violin in a different way…and called it a fiddle. Matt’s blue eyes and mandolin seemed to be equally attractive to the young girls. Me? I’m old and ugly, but they thought my upright bass was huge…

This is it for me and Taiwan. Will I ever come back? I was asked that question a lot by our friends here in the last few days. My answer was, “I don’t know.” But, I sure would like to. Maybe to serve as a full-time missionary. Maybe on short-term trips. Maybe to just vacation and visit some friends. I surely hope this isn’t the last I see of my Taiwanese friends and family.

It’s been fun, Taiwan. Zai jian…..

Uncle Jeff

Singing gospel music in a pub

Hey y’all-

  Our band, The Long Run Players, were given an opportunity to play in a pub in St. John’s called The Ship. Here’s a pic of the event…

Long Run Players playing The Ship Pub in Newfoundland

Long Run Players playing The Ship Pub in Newfoundland

I broke a string! And then another!!!

I broke a string! And then another!!!

  At this point in our performance, I had broken the A and G strings on my guitar and was beating out the rhythm while holding the remaning four strings dead in my hand. The banjo played on, the mandolin played on, and we sang the final verse and chorus of “I Saw the Light” to enthusiastic applause. It was fun.

  Here’s a video of our earlier song, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

  Hope y’all dig it.

  Uncle Jeff

Whale watching

Hey y’all-

  When we were in St. John’s Newfoundland, we took a little whale-watching tour and a friend got this awesome video. There were two whales going under the bow of our boat….a little scary and very cool.

  Here’s the band jamming on the boat while we were still in the harbor. See the girl peeking around? That’s J-Riley from Tennessee…she’s a summer missionary in Newfoundland.

Long Run Players on the Iceberg Quest Boat

Long Run Players on the Iceberg Quest Boat

  This was an awesome whale-watching trip.

  Uncle Jeff

Newfoundland is awesome…

Hey y’all-

We are having a great time in Newfoundland. Our shows have gone well and we’ve been “blue-grassing” all over the place. Our show tonight has been rained-out, so I have a few minutes on a borrowed computer to post a bit…

We played our first show at Bellevue Beach. The place was pretty full. The two-hour show was well-received and I even had some folks ask for contact information. It was a good time. Bellevue Beach is a fishing village a ways out-of-town and it was a gorgeous drive.

Friday night we jammed in the rain and drizzle and wind at Bannerman Park in St. John’s. Less people came out, but we had a good time. Afterward, I had some fish-n-chips at an Irish pub. It was goooood!

Saturday, we played Topsail Beach. Another gorgeous location, but the rain got us after about an hour of playing. I hated to leave there, but we went to a chain called Jungle Jim’s for dinner and played a few songs in the restaurant. Met some more people and had a good meal.

I think I have a few photos I can upload. Let’s see…

Bay and boat at Bellevue Beach

Bay and boat at Bellevue Beach

Here is the place we played at Bellevue Beach. It’s the meeting hall for the local Roman Catholic church.

Church and meeting hall

Church and meeting hall

This is the band onstage….

On-stage Bellevue Beach

On-stage Bellevue Beach

Here we are at Topsail Beach.

The ampitheatre at Topsail Beach

The ampitheatre at Topsail Beach

That gives y’all a little taste of where we’ve been and what we’re doing. I’ll tell about more of our trip in future posts.

Take care,

Uncle Jeff

DWYL Lesson 9 – Day 1

Hey y’all-

  I’m back in Kentucky and taking a class at SBTS this week. Paul David Tripp will be teaching Biblical Counseling and I’m excited to hear what he has to say and learn all I can to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through counseling the hurting. Should be a good week.

  Also, we are on Lesson 9 in the Don’t Waste Your Life: Study Guide which corresponds to Chapter 9 in Don’t Waste Your Life. There are only 10 lessons, so we wrap it up next week. Very exciting….

  Let’s get to it. Chapter 9 is about world missions (we all live in the world, so we should all be involved in world missions) and John Piper asks, “In the space below, describe your current involvement in world missions. This would include prayer, financial support, mission trips, and current plans for the future.”

  My Response: This chapter is close to my heart because I have a desire to serve as a foreign missionary (Lord willing) sometime in the future. Where? Not sure. When? Not sure. Right now, my focus is my ministry at Bedford Baptist Church and loving these kids enough to tell them about Jesus and His love and holding them to the highest standard possible….God’s holiness. It’s where I am and where I want to be, but missions is always on my mind and in my heart…..

  This morning, I was in the gym at SBTS trying to work-out (I’m lame…and so are my workouts) when a friend from school walked in. He and his wife are leaving in nine days to serve as career missionaries in a primarily Muslim country that is closed to evangelism and the Gospel. They will be gone for at least three years before coming back for a visit and then, Lord willing, they will return and continue with their ministry over there. This world mission stuff is very close to me.

  Now, my involvement is not very extensive. As a Southern Baptist, I give to the Lottie Moon Offering for Foreign Missions and support the missionaries through prayer. Also, I try to tell my kids about missions and the need for our involvement…not just money and prayer, but going. As a youth group, we are taking a trip to another part of Kentucky to help build an emergency shelter in a few weeks.

  Personally, I am going to Canada this summer to help with evangelism and church planting. How? I’m playing guitar and singing with The Long Run Players. We’re jamming gospel bluegrass for the glory of God. Should be a hoot.

  What do you think we should do for missions? Foreign and local?

  Uncle Jeff