The Van Blog

Latest stories of God’s goodness and developments of the Mobile Media Van…

The Harvest is Plentiful | Fall 2015

Posted by on Nov 24, 2015 in Home Page Photo Bar, The Progress, The Van Blog | 0 comments

Connect

So after Labor Day weekend, the Media Van and team began to prepare for the next season, starting off with raising support and encouraging the church at Elmbrook’s “Connect” weekend. Much like the year before, we attended a large conference and gathered in the Elmbrook parking lot with lots of other ministries in the Brookfield area. The Van was set up to show examples of video content we used out on outreaches and encouraged the believers around us in the Lord. Lots of people were allowed inside as well to see the vision of the Media Van’s final product, to see the progress thus far, and to learn more about how to be involved with the unique ministry of the Media Van. We talked about the summer and our past exploits, showing how the grace of God worked behind the scenes at this project and how He was bringing more of it together all the time.

Connecting and learning about local ministries in your area is a great way to see how the Lord is still at work in our world today. Thank you Elmbrook Church for allowing us back this harvest season.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Unexpected Developments

After “Connect” came to a close and we had a moments rest, we wanted to meet together with a board of council members to discuss all that went on and how the rest of the year could proceed. While no one was available to meet that night, there was some wonderful and unexpected news – the funds for the 3rd screen’s purchase was ready! After another personal encounter with one of our wonderful donors, John was presented with the rest of the funds to purchase the last crown jewel of the Media Van project.

John’s dream of nearly thirty years is finally coming together in its entirety!

 

Grace Church

After much conversing and deliberation, the Media Van was able to make it out to Grace Church in Delafield for an outdoor service/open mic discussion on personal mission work. It was great! John was allowed some time during the service portion to have a Q&A with the congregation and share his testimony in a nutshell. There was of course music with the worship service and the weather proved to be just right to provide a nice atmosphere for the sermon topic of harvest and the seasons of the Christian life. Right out near the busy street, the Van provided its high profile performance and aimed to attract more people into the arms and wisdom of God.

Photo by John Jones

Photo by John Jones

Harvest Fest

Again, the Media headed out to Elmbrook again for the week long “Harvest Fest.” Parking the Van outside in the parking lot again, we now had installed the new FM radio transmitter for the people coming and going from the church to listen to the Media Van videos in their cars.

Over the entire week, John stood at the table with the BASICS in Milwaukee crew inside the auditorium and explained to more people in detail of the progress of the Media Van and encouraged them to take a look outside and try the radio transmitter for themselves. At the BASICS table, there were, of course, all kinds of brochures and information about the various ministries connected through BASICS and a sign-up sheet to get involved. The Mobile Media Ministry had quite the time, conversing with old friends and reconnecting over the possibility of volunteering. With some more support at our back, we were encouraged in the future possibilities of 2016 and how the Lord was bringing more and more people to our attention for help.

 

Breakdown at Atkinson Park

The Media Van crew was raring to go out on another small outreach during the Fall season.

One, “Trunk or Treat” event was the last outreach scheduled, but in the end had to be cancelled.

Out at an impromptu outreach at Atkinson Park in Milwaukee, all went very well, but in the end the Van had a mechanical malfunction with its fuel line and had to be towed back to Wiza and Co., where a new fuel pump had to be installed.

We trust in the Lord that He will continue to keep it running as long as He sees it bringing people to know Him more. Incidentally, the pastor from the church whose event was cancelled has scheduled ten Fridays out of our next summer season in 2016!

We are expecting to see Big Blue return to us very soon, and we hope to see that 3rd screen installed and a possible Christmas outreach before 2015 draws to a close.

Photo by John Jones

Photo by John Jones

Photo by John Jones

Photo by John Jones

As for Now

The Mobile Media Ministry has had a lot to do this year, and of course it’s not over yet. We are looking forward to the way the Lord will move in us in the coming months and into 2016, a new year.

Thanks again to all who showed their love and support this Fall and we hope to see you all very soon.

God bless!

Reflection of the Heart

Posted by on Sep 12, 2015 in Home Page Photo Bar, The Progress, The Van Blog | 0 comments

So after ending our time with Watertown Community Church, the next Wednesday would be our first outing with the Feed the Kids program from the Milwaukee Salvation Army of the year. All was coming together, until a last minute hiccup the morning of the event — one of the rear left tires of Blue was extremely low compared to the night before. Unable to determine for sure that the tire wasn’t popped or leaking rapidly, we sadly had to cancel our appearance at Washington Park.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Disintegrating 

A repairman came not long after this happened and deduced that the outer tire was perfectly fine, but that the inner tube of the wheel had been slowly disintegrating over the many years of neglected use. With this knowledge, it didn’t take long to get everything back to rights, naturally. But something even more worthy of note is that John had some time to converse with the repairman and even pray for his new family life and his and his wife’s uncertain pregnancy.

In the end, all was put into the hands of the Lord, and He put everything all to rights.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Unconditional means No Fine Print

Next event was our last stop at the beloved Woodlands for the summer: another kids movie night showing “Unconditional”.

There was much going on and much to do at the pavilion, with all the games and food and face-painting that was going on, even as the movie was playing. Kids stopped in to watch the Van and comment to each other on what they witnessed; people young and old gathered, disbanded,  and gathered together again as the movie continued on. When the movie was almost over, the sound unnaturally conked out and all was silent. This was because of a battery going dead in the laptop that was running the movie without a charging cable. Even though the movie ended in silence, John was able to follow up on the message of the film, explaining that God’s love for us has no limit: that means no preference, no color, no termination, and of course, no conditions. No fine print.

We are thankful for our time at the Woodlands this year and look forward to the years to come and the movement of the Lord there.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Lost in Translation?

Finally, after a week to recoup from the last fiasco with the tires, we headed out to meet with the Feed the Kids program at Reiske Park on the South side of Milwaukee. Upon arrival, we started up as soon as we saw the locals gathering for the imminent food truck. Starting with a Jesus story, we engaged the young ones both before and after the food truck’s stay. Our lovely correspondent at the Salvation Army, Ms. Debbie Thompson, was present as well, ready with a table full of childrens’ Christian books and lesson material, as well as pylons for the Van’s parking situation. Reiske Park has a very large Spanish-speaking population, so with the English audio of the film, some was unfortunately lost in translation. But once the movie and our time came to a close, John was still able to share with the crowd a message of hope and encouragement with the ones who chose to stay, and even Ms. Debbie was able to share the appropriate Bible reference in the Spanish Bibles she was giving out that day at the park.

God’s truth and love is free for all and has no language or circumstantial barriers!

Photo by John Jones

Photo by John Jones

Serve Your City

Though the engine trouble we had been experiencing reared its ugly head again on the way back from Reiske; it was a harrowing ride, but praise be to God for allowing the Van and crew to arrive safely back and even travel out to the next event more than a week later, Clarke Square Park with Faithbuilder’s “Serve your City.”

At the park, there was a clean-up effort and block party headed up by the Milwaukee Police Department and all the Faithbuilders teams.

The Media Van parked within the park grounds and provided movies, power supply, and visual aid to the various programs being presented after the clean-up. During the event, as many as six different church representatives came out to learn more about the Media Van and the mission tied to it, and many showed great interest, especially those based in the Hispanic community. Lastly and miraculously, our volunteer driver that day, Rick, was able to permanently fix the engine problem by finding a mishap with the carburetor. Smooth sailing from now on!

Praise the Lord for the work he is doing through the Faithbuilders and the MPD in these hard times, renewing our hope in the greater good and the faithfulness of the Lord!

 

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Feed the Hungry

Our next two events were with the Salvation Army and Feed the Kids out at Butterfly Park and Carver Park. At both events there was much blessing. Showing our “David and Goliath” story at both locations, many young ones and their families came and went from the movies and tables, getting food and sitting down on a blue tarp to eat. After the programs, John would come up again to all the kids and elaborate the story, that God is interested in even the little things, and the giants in our lives are no match for the God that loves and looks after them.

Afterward, many decided they wanted to know more about God and the ministry and we promptly invited them inside the Van to learn more. Young and old entered the Van and many learned more about the way God sees them and received their own Bibles. After praying with the group and sending them off in peace, many hearts were lifted and spirits commended to the Lord. At Carver Park, lots of volunteers with the Salvation Army expressed the thanks and interest in the Media Van and team, and we were so blessed to meet them.

Thanks to the Salvation Army and Ms. Debbie for allowing us again to take the Media Van along with you as you work to melt the hearts of the local people in the most dire places in Milwaukee; the Lord is with you!

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by John Jones

Photo by John Jones

 

Open Invitation

One of the last items on the summer agenda was the fabulous FEAST Gathering at Genesis in Milwaukee off of Lisbon Avenue — in one of the darkest corners of Milwaukee. The Van arrived early to pray, and parked as a barricade for the street as the tables and activities were being set up. Come 10:00AM, people were again invited out of their houses to join the many followers of Christ in engaging in fun activities, movies, hearing testimonies, and sharing a great meal. The Van, parked on the end of the street, again provided visual aid to the many demonstrations and testimonies and sermonettes being shared that day, and the event generally had a nice turn-out. Lots of people connected to the various ministries and organizations, as well as some old friends and volunteers came out to show their support and fill in the gaps.

When God feeds everyone at the same time, you can’t avoid the movement of His Spirit taking over the atmosphere. Praise God for always being good!

Photo by John Jones

Photo by John Jones

Nostalgia

Within this time and various activities, of course some things came as a surprise and other things had to be let go of: our Church on the Rocks efforts had to be put on hiatus for the next summer season, and Mr. Bob Chase finished his wonderful craftsmanship on the Van interior, creating seamless wall coverings to the screen side of the Media Van. And with that all completed, we’d thought our busy summer had finally come to a close…

But not long after FEAST, John received a call from his old friend from Phantom Ranch Bible Camp, Olen.

Olen asked if it would be possible for the Van to come out to Mukwonago for an outdoor worship service and message, where he could also share his testimony. John readily obliged and made all arrangements quickly to head out to Phantom Ranch on Sunday, September 6th.

Once parked in a large field area, the Van provided the main power supply and visual aids for the worship band as the night progressed. It was a great time of fellowship and praise to the Lord for all His goodness, and sort of a throwback to our Timber-Lee trip in 2014. Though during the last bit of the music, one of the propane tanks ran empty and all the power was lost momentarily. Regardless, the band continued to sing and praise the Lord while John installed a spare tank and booted up the Van again. The chapel time ran well into the night, and as the sun disappeared under the horizon, the Media Van’s two screens shone forth in brilliance and gave the closing of the night a feeling of hope and renewal for the times ahead.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Photo by John Jones

Photo by John Jones

Goodbye Summer

So as the Media Van third summer season has finally drawn to a close, we want to thank everyone who has made all this wonderful work possible:

Faithbuilders, the Salvation Army, the Woodlands Community, Pewaukee Chamber of Commerce, Genesis in Milwaukee, BASICS in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Police Department, Evangelical Child and Family Agency, and all the countless individuals who volunteered their time, funds, and energy to bring about some truly incredible times this year when the Lord was allowed to move.

The heart of the city reflects the heart of humanity, hungry for God but looking in all the wrong places. Thanks to all who did their part this summer in reaching out to Milwaukee and the neighboring towns to reveal that the Lord is the ultimate goal and the ultimate satisfaction to the soul.

 

Give and Take

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in MediaBar, The Van Blog | 0 comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Master Craftsmanship

As the Spring moved into Summer, many new interior renovations were underway and falling into place — thanks to the expertise of Bob Chase, master woodworker.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

He spent much of his time, energy, and resources to bring the Van’s interior vision a little closer to life. He worked on the interior screen wall furnishings and more, creating a uniform look to the whole room. John was very impressed with his work and Bob was eager and grateful to help. Come time for the third screen installation process, we are excited to welcome Mr. Chase back to complete his handiwork.

Before our next official event could take place and our third summer season to kick off, that second screen was in need of an status update, and by that, we mean to be installed!

Image by Sammi Funk

Image by Sammi Funk

It was a bit of a process, but over the next week after the Van arrived back from its steel frame job and with a couple of weeks in-between outreaches, John FINALLY was able to put together, piece by piece, building one on top of another, within the new framework in the left side of the vehicle, the second Media Van screen in its appropriate place.

It took a relatively short time to install the screen and get it running together with its partner compared to the near year and a half it took to prepare the equipment for the installation process. Another summer season, technical difficulties, software updates and purchases, and general upkeep had kept this screen in its temporary spot on the garage floor instead of its home in the Van where it could perform.

But praise be to God, with the third Media Van outreach season quickly coming into view, it was finally packed in and ready for the show… or so we thought.

 

Photo by Valerie Pietrowiak

Photo by Valerie Pietrowiak

Movie Night

Our first summer event was a movie night at the beloved Woodlands Community in Milwaukee off of Brown Deer Road. Before arriving though, the second screen had yet another malfunction, and we had to do the event with the one original screen running the movie while the new guy sat this one out.

It was a good night, though it got a little cold as the night grew on, but the kids had fun and some really invested their attention into the film’s message: that God can work through anyone and change anyone’s life, though it may be difficult sometimes. At the end of the night, we were immediately invited back for a couple more nights that summer to engage the kids more in dwelling on the ways of God and how He could work in their hearts. We accepted with gratitude and continued on back, for we had another event the following morning to get ready for.

Image by Sammi Funk

Image by Sammi Funk

 

Party on the Block

The next morning and afternoon, Big Blue and the team went out to a block party with the Faithbuilders teams and the Milwaukee Police Department’s District 4 off of 106th Street.

There was a lot to do and a lot going on: door prizes, food, books, and clothes were being given away; as well as visiting church booths, prayer booths, a rock climbing wall, and a bounce house! And of course, the Media Van!

Throughout the late morning and afternoon, the Media Van showed videos that spoke life and purpose onto the street, and every now and then, a performance would take place outside to engage the community and praise the Lord. It was a fun afternoon of fellowship and preaching the goodness of the Lord. Toward the end, the emcee’s power generator choked out and the Media Van team was able to assist further by hooking them up to the Van’s power supply, which got everyone through the rest of the event. At the end of the day, it was clear, ‘God is good, all the time.’

Now something that was continually on the agenda, but never got enough attention, was the impending Church on the Rocks opportunities that the Media Van team was so eager to take on. Going to the lakefront and preaching the Gospel through art and song was something that John had had in mind to do with the Van for a long time, and this summer seemed like a nice time to test that idea. But for the first time, it wasn’t going to work out with the current situation with the ministry, so we it saved for another time — there were much bigger tasks at hand.

 

Image by John Jones

Image by John Jones

4th of July

On the morning of the 4th of July, 2015, we had much in place for our next and hopefully successful 4th of July outreach event. With no church sponsor and a small team of roadies gathered to assist throughout the day, we had gathered to pray and intercede the night before and now were gathering again at the Pewaukee School District for the parade line-up. All the plans we’d had for the previous years were falling into place now, and we were able to participate in the local Independence Day festivities like the parade and show a movie in the park… though that was only half true.

We had to pull out of having the park as an option this year due to red tape and deadlines we were unable to meet, so by the grace of God, we were then allowed to park and show our film in the neighboring Droegkamp parking lot just off of Capitol Drive at the end of the parade route. Having spread the word and having faith that some would arrive at the new location, we set up some folding chairs on the lot and began to show more videos to precede the film. Some of our friends arrived shortly before the movie was to begin, as for some other people we didn’t recognize, and the movie started promptly at six o’clock.

Image by Sammi Funk

Image by Sammi Funk

While the videos and movie ran in the parking lot, many more passersby were able to catch a glimpse of what was going on. The film talked about our heritage as a free nation, and how the founding fathers valued the teachings of the Word of God to create a template of conduct for a new and free nation to be built upon. At the end, we were all challenged with the idea of how we each would personally keep this fire alive and stand for a pure and holy worldview to keep America afloat during our lifetimes.

Finishing off the second 4th of July event with the Media Van, letting ourselves be fully known to the local community of Pewaukee, and showing the love and perseverance that it takes to come and meet people where they are, we slowly dispersed that night in the hopes that God had sparked imaginations and touched hearts.

 

 

journalsentinelclip

Photo of Journal Sentinel issue taken by Sammi Funk     Image credit to Gary Porter http://www.jsonline.com/supergallery?id=313968571&ddd=y&item=197177171#

 

Police love Milwaukee

A week later, we joined Faithbuilders again off of Center Street and North Sherman for another huge block party for the locals in Milwaukee. Again, the Milwaukee Police Department had a huge hand in getting everything put together and having the activities run for everyone attending. District 7 and the corresponding Faithbuilders team headed everything up and spoke into the lives and hearts of the community, stating that the Lord has not abandoned Milwaukee and that the police department is for them and is striving to be seen as an asset to them and work on their behalf effectively.

And of course, Big Blue was there, sharing videos, live feed of the event, supplying sound and microphones for the speakers and musicians, and also acting as one of the barricades on the west border of the block. Many local churches also came out and represented the body of Christ, drawing people into learning about how God loves them and how He is available for one on one contact. And at one point that day, John Jones went up and down the block, stopping to talk and pray with individuals who were curious or in need of intercession.

Altogether, it was another gem of an experience the Media Van team was thankful to add to the treasure trove of memories… but another was soon to come.

Photo by Valerie Pietrowiak

Photo by Valerie Pietrowiak

We were meant to be Courageous

Once again, on the 16th of July, we headed out to the Woodlands community for our second run at a movie night with the kids: on the roster — the movie “Courageous.” It was a rainy night, the Van finally had two functioning screens that worked in tandem while the spectators sat under a pavilion. Throughout the night, lots of kids came and went from their homes to do random things and get more food, even after the popcorn provided by the Media Van team was exhausted. The movie looked great up on the two big screens, and a few young men stayed for the entire film, running close to two whole hours. Afterward, John invited these gentlemen inside the Van to elaborate and talk further about what each of them thought of the message. It was a great time and one we wouldn’t trade for anything, even being able to have our Independence Day movie in the Pewaukee park. One young man accepted the Lord into his life that night. God is awesome!

 

Photo taken from http://www.watertowncommunitychurch.com no copyright intended

Photo taken from http://www.watertowncommunitychurch.com
no copyright intended

Continual Jumpstarts

That following Sunday, the congregation at Watertown Community Church requested we join them for their annual church picnic service at Lincoln Park in Watertown. Though arriving there was a bit slow — on account of a bridge that was under construction — eventually the Van arrived as the people were coming in and set up quickly to start the service. There was a worship duo that sang and a pastor lead us in prayer, then John had the podium for a while to recount his story in full: how he was inspired and saved after a miraculous rescue in Vietnam, how he worked in the city and saw the needs on the streets, and how he came by the Media Van and slowly started bringing it back to life as an visual instrument to the Lord’s glory. The crowd was so moved by his story, and the Mobile Media Ministry was taken on again as an official sponsored mission of the church.

There was a meal and fellowship afterward, but there was something else that had to be addressed that day: the Media Van engine became overheated  upon arrival at the park and started jerking forward while parking. After the service and meal, some of the people from the church called in a mechanic friend to take a look at the engine before leaving and was able to temporarily mend the problem.

Photo by Valerie Pietrowiak

Photo by Valerie Pietrowiak

So even as we head into the second half of the summer season of 2015, we are thankful and stretched by what we have experience so far and look forward to the way the Lord with move in the following months. Thank you Lord for the many ways you meet our needs!

Manna is Falling

Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 in Home Page Photo Bar, The Progress, The Van Blog | 0 comments

A Surprise Visit

So not long after the Media Van went in for its long-awaited tune-up, the Media Van team was surprised by a unforeseen arrival of a new friend.
Very early in the morning, John received a phone call from China informing him that one of their repairmen from Shenzhen would be arriving in Chicago within a few hours; he had about a week in between the jobs he traveled around the world for and he would be stopping in to help with some software and programming trouble with our second screen. John was elated and drove the two hours to Midway Airport to receive the Chinese technician, who now wouldn’t have to spend the night at the airport.
When John arrived around 2am in Chicago, he had no idea of who to look for. So he was surprised as anything when the young man he was looking for appeared behind him, speaking fine English, and showing a youthfulness that even betrayed his tender years.

For the sake of confidentiality, we will call our new friend L.
L traveled back with John and proceeded to stay at his home, sleeping on his couch and going nearly everywhere with John for the duration of his stay. John would bring L to the garage headquarters of the ministry to work together on the second screen and talk tech. John would often run out to the hardware store and L would stay and spend hours and hours working on the Media Van screen, preparing it for final stages of installation.
Then on one occasion, while John was out, the screen accidentally fell over, crashing down on the floor into its individual pieces. Sammi and L were present for this and no one was hurt, and praise be to God, the screen was easily repairable — there were extra pieces of LED screen parts included in the kit when the screen arrived, over a year earlier! Not long after this, Wiza Truck Service called to inform the team that the Van was ready. Now L would get to see the Van in action firsthand! Once arriving to bring Blue home again, it wouldn’t start up. It was a Saturday morning and everyone was home for the weekend. Fortunately, the boss, Mr. Wiza, was present to hear how the Media Van coughed and sputtered trying to start its engine. He advised to keep the Van for a couple more days to replace some chords and pipelines to the engine. Praise be to the Lord for providing for all our needs!

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Culture Club

Since the Van was still in for further repairs, John and company decided it would be best to show our new friend from China around town. After little things like bibles studies, Sunday school, bowling, getting frozen yogurt, L’s tour de Milwaukee was topped off with a little jog around the UW Marquette area.
L seemed to so enjoy his short stay with us, that he said he looked forward to visiting again soon. It was sad to see our new friend go, but it was an invaluable blessing to have had him around, and we feel sure the feeling is mutual.

 

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

The Van returns

After L’s departure for his next job, the Van was ready to come back home. With everything under the hood finally in tip-top shape, we now had to send the Van off again to receive one last bit of renovation before all could be put to rights for the summer. But before that, we had our first and only Spring season event to do, the Bike and Hike for ECFA!

Spring Ride

The first and only event of the Spring season came as the Evangelical Child and Family Agency annual bike and hike fundraiser in Waukesha. Upon arrival, we weren’t sure how many would come or if the weather would stay nice. But the sun stayed out and made the whole event a warm, happy, and energized affair! The Media Van was able to show many clips and movies about little ones, bigger people, Jesus, and how we all relate and how our relationships to each other are very important!
The day finished off with some door prizes, food, and a well-earned respite for the cyclists. ECFA, as well as the Media Van team, was blessed by this event, with more support and general awareness for our mission to glorify the Lord in the metropolitan area.

 

Image by Sammi Funk

Image by Sammi Funk

More renovations

The very next Monday, the Media Van had another renovation to undergo, a steel framework job for the second screen in Menomonee Falls. Heading out there was no problem, and the job didn’t take up nearly any time at all. Once the Van spirited its way back home, there were not one, but two steel frames placed inside the Van, one for the second screen, and the other for the impending final screen that has still to make its way to us. With all of this now in place, the screen that has sat in the Media Van headquarters for over a year will now have nothing in its way to be finally installed into the side of Big Blue itself! Also, many new partners have voiced the desire to be roadies with us this summer, including a new driver! Summer is shaping up to be spectacular!

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Final Thoughts

So as the spring gives way to the exciting next chapter of the Media Van’s story, we have much to look forward to. Old connections as well as many new opportunities are flying in and slowly becoming a reality: movies nights, parades, block parties with the Milwaukee Police Department, much is happening this summer and God is going to do some amazing stuff! We see revival coming to Milwaukee, and it may already be happening, because it has been affecting us here from in the city, all the way to China. We can see how the Lord can move in ways we do not expect, but we can also see how He knows just how to get our attention and speak directly to our situation. He is a God who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, and He and only He is going to bring His people back to His heart.
 Thank you for all your prayers and support!

Gathering Ground

Posted by on Apr 9, 2015 in MediaBar, The Van Blog | 0 comments

Where have we been?

So, after a hiatus of long, and seemingly drawn-out nothingness happening with the Media Van and crew, here is a quick update on some of the things that have actually happened since the beginning of 2015.

 

January

The Media Ministry team had its first council meeting of the year, where many different topics and approaches to ministering to Milwaukee were brought up for the new year.

Toward the end of January, John and Sammi were asked to work as part of the technical team for the annual National Christian Foundation’s Symposium being held in Milwaukee.
The symposium was enlightening and encouraging,  with many great and wonderful experiences being shared that revealed just a fraction of the great work the Lord is doing through His servants in the Milwaukee-metropolitan area.

February

Renovations continued to plug-along. It was discovered that some certain recreational — and at this point, confidential — necessities had been overlooked in the past, and in February, those necessities began to be put into place. During February, Sammi also instigated a new offer: Vanbooking.
Vanbooking is a limited-time offer for previous outreach partners with the Media Van to reconnect and plan for summer events and outreaches ahead of time, and in affect, to fill up some of the Mobile Media Ministry’s empty outreach schedule.
The Media Van was in much-need of an overhaul and tune-up, being the old vehicle that it is. Wiza Truck Service was excited and willing to take on the project, but as the new year brought in many other commercial vehicles in need of fine-tuning for the new year, the Media Van was bumped back and waited for its impending time slot.

March

With the beginning of the official Spring season for the MMM, things began to take a turn. Vanbooking closed down with a few of the old faithful partners signing up for the summer (which will prove very exciting later on).
Also, renovations on the interior of the Van continued,  making it look amazingly clean and giving it a more complete and finished look.
Concepts for future ministry endeavors were explored and elaborated on, like the future “Mobile Sunday School (This is a continual work-in-process).”  John was able to share his testimony and vision of the Mobile Media Ministry with another church family in the month of March, with Palm Sunday, Passover, and the Easter season just around the corner. Some “hypothetical” Media Van events had to be put on hold until future notice, since the Van was and is still in renovation mode, in need of fine-tuning, and certain details are not yet in place.
Finally, at the very end of March, Wiza Truck Service had an opening, and in the first week of April, Big Blue got in for its much-needed overhaul.

Here are some pictures of the current renovation status of the Van just before being taken in for tuning up.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

 

April and Final Thoughts

Along with all of this, there have been some new developments in the Jones family, including the births of two new grandchildren for John and the unfortunate death of a beloved brother. Please remember the Jones family in your prayers.

We also feel very blessed to receive so much support and love from more wonderful church connections these past couple of months; you all are indispensable and we pray for your continued work and blessing in the Lord.

With the Van in its final stages of renovation and repair preceding this next outreach season, there is still some more work to be done by the team, which include attending events for connection and technical reasons, as well as the on-going necessity of representing Christ and His faithfulness and work in Milwaukee. God can work through anything and anybody, regardless of what or who they are in the eyes of the world. To God, His creation is precious, loved, and redeemable.
Praise God for continuing to show us grace and mercy in all situations.

End of 2014

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in The Van Blog | 0 comments

Eager to Connect

John was  recently approached by a sweet lady who is part of the Waterford Community Church family: their pastor was out of town and had wanted to ask if  John would take the sermon portion of their morning service that coming Sunday and that the Media Van would be present as well. John was able to share his testimony and story of the Media Van along with the sermon,  and to share what God has done through the ministry. Needless to say,  it was encouraging on both sides. It was a great opportunity that won’t soon be forgotten.

 

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Come All Who Are Weary

After a long while, the Media Van team was invited out to their first winter outreach event of the season: a harvest festival outreach at the little church of Liberty Church of God in Christ off of Center Street. After setting up, they immediately started sharing music videos and children’s bible stories on video. As the afternoon progressed, many shared their testimonies, musical gifts, and the invitation to get to know Jesus. Inside, old clothing, old toys, and warm food were available to those in need.

After circling the block a few times, a woman came to the outreach and shared a dire prayer request for her young daughter. She received intercession and was blessed! Praise the Lord for the way He works in the innermost part of the human heart.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

A Harmonious Gathering

Two weeks later, the Media Van was requested to attend the new Thanksgiving dinner event held at the Milwaukee Police Academy. They parked the Van outside the main entrance of the building and played new, encouraging, and glorifying videos based around the goodness of our Lord and Savior at Thanksgiving time. Inside the building, a small dinner was being served to the people who came in, as well as coverage of the football game. In the gymnasium, there was music and open floor space for games and sports. And just between the food and games, in the hallway, was a small table full of winter coats for exchange, being handed out by charitable hands. There was the local news station conducting some small interviews with some of the attendees: they were asking questions about how the community reflects as a whole on their police force and how they are a actually blessing to them. In light of today’s social contentions with the police around the nation, it was good that the Media Van was able to connect and be a part of this event. Though the Media Van didn’t personally see many people stop by them.  they were able to share more hope and happiness on the streets and direct people inside to the food. It was a wonderful night of connection for the community and their police force, as well as for the Mobile Media Ministry.

A Year-End Greeting

The Lord moves in ways we cannot, but He does invite us to join Him for the ride. We feel so blessed by this past year of 2014 and all that the Lord has done for us and through us in His matchless power and grace. He is worthy, He is righteous, and He is above all things and it is our greatest desire to hold Him in that highest respect coming into 2015. Please remember us in your prayers so that we can continue to work in the holiness and righteousness of God and that this ministry will be daily consecrated to Him. Thank you and have a blessed Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

~ John Jones and the Mobile Media team

 

Embracing Contrast (Part lll)

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in The Van Blog | 0 comments

Taking over the Atmosphere

For the Media Van’s last summer outreach with the Captive Project, the team was re-invited to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission for another day of both physical and spiritual food. Though John wasn’t able to personally attend this event, the rest of the team was willing and successful with the favor of the Lord, sharing many testimonies, music videos, and the Lord’s mission for salvation in the city. As before, another man came stumbling onto the scene, engaging in conversation about curious subjects and waving his arms around wildly when listening to the preacher. Though he didn’t stay as long, the Media Van team was praying for him that he would have God’s truth in his life. Throughout the day, it was clear that the Lord’s hand was over the parking lot where the outreach was held and that all the enemy’s tricks to cause chaos would not prevail. At the end of the day, the Media Van team felt almost blessed more than accomplished just from seeing the Lord take over and work. Please remember the Captive Project in your prayers.

Photo by Karl Schuldt

Photo by Karl Schuldt

A Sweet Aroma

A week or so after that, the Mobile Media Ministry had another double-header weekend, starting with a worship night out at Eagles Nest Christian Church in Brookfield. That night was filled with glory onto the name of the Lord, proclamation of His goodness and salvation, and the sweet sound and aroma of His mercy and grace wafting down the nearby streets. It was a blessing again for the Media Van team, as well as a learning curve in the technical side of things as well: the Media Van was the primary source of visual content and lyric projection for the worship music during their time that night. Long after the Media Van left, the event would continue over night and into the next day with 24 hour prayer, worship, and intercession for the Brookfield area. It was, on the whole, another event to count as a blessing.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

The Closing of a Season

The next morning, they were due out for their last official summer event, a “Back to School” food and clothing giveaway/outreach at Word is God Worship Center in Milwaukee. During this event, testimonies were shared, including that of John’s son, Andrew, and Sammi, John’s assistant.  Kids played in the bouncy house and volunteers provided hair cuts, much like at the previous FEAST outreach. Food and clothes were given away to the less-fortunate families in the neighborhood for the beginning of the new school year. At one point, a local police officer inquired about the Media Van in particular, and John was, again, able to briefly share the vision and focus of the ministry — it turns out that the Milwaukee Police Department, and even the mayor’s executive office are very excited and thankful for the presence of the Van in the inner city. The Media Van was able to show some video content focused on the goodness of the Lord and the way he worked through his people in the Bible, as well as how He works in the lives of millions today. Even as the people stood in line to see about acquiring sponsoring health insurance, the Media Van was there to encourage and bring the hope of Christ, and His ultimate insurance of love and eternal life. Looking back, the Media Van team can see that seeds were planted in the hearts of the many who came and went, not empty-handed and hopefully not empty-hearted. They continually pray for them.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Connected

Finally, as the summer season was being wrapped up, John was invited, along with the Media Van, out to Elmbrook Church’s first ever “Connect” event. The event consisted of all the different missionaries and ministries sponsored by Elmbrook or in the local Metropolitan area, showcasing their focus in one large setting to gain awareness and support. The Media Van was featured, and many of John’s old colleague from the Elmbrook video team were able to see the Van for the first time ever.
It was a fun time of meeting and sharing about life and the meaningful things in it; many old friends were given the opportunity to catch up and start new chapters, inspired by the image of God’s love for all mankind: Jesus.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Embracing Blessings

Scanning over the summer season of 2014, we can safely say that all the opportunities we had to share the Good News of the Lord were preordained to be a blessing to all who heard and received. Though some of our plans were interrupted and some doors were shut, we still look back with fondness on all who we met and worked with, knowing that the Lord brought us these people and moments in His perfect timing and circumstance; nothing was wasted.

Many things are different from the last summer season for the Media Van, yet other things have stayed the same. But one thing will never change, the Lord is the everlasting God and author and perfecter of our faith, and He has set the course before us and prepared in advance these acts of ministry for us to do. May His Name be forever praised!

 

Embracing Contrast (Part II)

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Home Page Photo Bar, The Van Blog | 0 comments

In Milwaukee

On July 25th, the Mobile Media Ministry was re-invited to join the Woodlands Apartment Community in Milwaukee for some of their summer activities. Upon arrival, it was mostly quiet and empty in the large grassy center field of the Woodlands, with only a few children running around, some guys shooting hoops on the black top a ways off, and a church crew setting up the stage for the play that night. The Media Van team quickly set-up while softly playing some music, and once they were ready, they proceeded to show the slide show of the community’s children from other summer events. This drew out more and more kids to come and see themselves appear up on the screen, teasing and calling each other out warmly. Once a rhythm was established, all fights and coarse behavior smoothly faded away. The day continued on and the team was able to engage the kids in conversation, play, and asking questions. Sammi also had the opportunity to become acquainted with many of the kids through the unexpected use of her camera — needless to say; many, many pictures were taken, all by the kids. The Gospel was shared and the children’s hearts were open, willing, and hungry for it. When it was time for the play to start and the sun had gone down, and all the kids and their parents were gathering in front of the platform to spectate, the Media Van team knew it was time to pack up. Though their time was short, only a few hours, the team felt blessed as they got ready to leave, certain that a large part of their calling was to the young people.

 

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

 

The very next day, the Mobile Media Ministry came out to another Captive Project event in another rough part of town — 39th and Center Street on the south side. As per most of the outreaches run by the Captive Project, passersby and neighbors would come out periodically for the music, food, and to hear what was being spoken. All the videos the Media Van showed were glorifying to the Lord and dealt with issues that were relatable to the viewers. As the proceedings went on and the message of the Gospel was proclaimed down 39th, all kinds of people came along who clearly showed that they were under some sort of spiritual oppression: there was a man who stumbled onto the scene and seemed to be under the influence of more than just substances. He stayed for the majority of the outreach, going around singing loudly and thanking everyone from the Media Van team and the Captive Project for their services. He sustained a rather animated persona the entire time, and whatever it stemmed from, it was apparent that there were spiritual chains involved as well as addiction. He had the chance to cause a ruse, but the man remained docile, moving along with everything else that was going on during the outreach. By the end of the event, he was praising the Lord and offering to help with packing up. In the end, many were praying with him and wanting to bless him in some way. There was also a young man who lived literally in the house closest where the Media Van was parked, who was hungry for the truth of the Lord in his life and was finally willing to let Him into his heart. He prayed with John on the front steps of his porch and accepted the Lord as his Savior and King. The Media Van team was rejoicing with him afterward and is so happy to have gained another precious brother in Christ. This situation was quite different from the previous event, but the same God got the glory and was the object of all worship.

 

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

 

When is the 2nd Screen going to be put in?

Of course, because of all this outreach during the summer, the 2nd screen’s installation period was bumped down yet again. With a piece of equipment as heavy and large as the next Media Van screen, making time to install it was difficult. The screen is to be installed soon after the summer season concludes.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

 

Anchored

The next Media Van event was a great experience and one of John’s favorites: the kick-off of Urban Camp at Camp Timber-Lee in East Troy. Though it was the longest one-way trip the Media Van had taken yet (even on the freeway), it was well worth it! The Media Van team had another opportunity to engage children in thinking about the greater things of God, sharing the Gospel, and letting all the viewers know that the Lord could be an “anchor” in their life. With all the turmoil in living in the city and the destruction of the family, the truth that is present there seems as unclear as a stormy sea, but the Lord is like an anchor, holding everyone fast and firm in the wake of the shifting world, and that salvation is only found in Jesus Christ alone. This was the message that the Media Van team had the privilege to share with some 200 campers and their councilors at Camp Timber-Lee. Though the time was short yet again, it was effective and a blessing to all; the Media Van team looks back on that time with fondness and gratitude. Later, the team were informed that by the end of the week, as many as 75 kids returned to their various homes in Chicago and Milwaukee, knowing the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior. Praise the Lord!

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

 

The Heart of the City

Another opportunity for the Mobile Media Ministry to help with an event for reaching children came as soon as the very next weekend, a Vacation Bible School in Hartford. With all that was going on and a scheduling conflict, this event unfortunately didn’t work out. But that very next Wednesday, the Media Van team’s event with the Milwaukee Salvation Army dawned. Alongside the “Feed the Kids” food delivery trucks, the Media Van team was able to show some quick videos and movies in some local parks on the south side as many small families lined up to receive their lunches. There were three stops: one stop showing parts of the Jesus Movie in English, the second stop in Spanish, and finally the third stop showing a short cartoon of the story of David. At the first stop, a bit of a fight broke out between two groups of adolescent girls, which had to be silenced quickly and discreetly. At the second and third stops, kids and their young parents and guardians gathered around and sat down on the grass near the Media Van as soon as the got their meals. Young children were full of questions, some not even knowing who Jesus was, and the adults simply watched along with them, taking in the true message that God cares for them. Many seeds were planted in young hearts that day! John reflects that this was another one of his favorite events of the season.

 Many things are different from the last summer season for the Media Van, yet other things have stayed the same. But one thing will never change, the Lord is the everlasting God and author and perfecter of our faith, and He has set the course before us and prepared in advance these acts of ministry for us to do. May His Name be forever praised!

 

 

 

Embracing Contrast (Part l)

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in Home Page Photo Bar, MediaBar, The Van Blog | 0 comments

Summer Kick-off

The Mobile Media Ministry began its 2nd official summer season at the Captive Project’s outreach at New Testament Central City Church in Milwaukee… the same location that hosted the Media Van’s maiden voyage in 2013. Despite their best efforts, the Media Van team couldn’t kick-start the new 22kilowatt generator that would power the whole vehicle’s internal power supply. So to keep everything rolling, two of the old, smaller generators were packed inside the Van for the outreach. Set-up was quick and easy, and the outreach started off smoothly; there was music and spoken word poetry that drew the attention of all passersby on 24th and Center Street. Naturally, the two smaller generators  flickered in and out because of the large power draw, but they managed to continue for the rest of the afternoon.
Eventually, some rain began to come down, and the locals attending had to take cover or leave. Many took shelter underneath the various tents set up by the Captive Project that housed sound systems and food, as well as some people watched the Media Van from front porches and a nearby bus top.
A few people even took momentary shelter inside the Van itself, where John was allowed to tell them the vision of the ministry. Once the rain stopped and the day grew hotter, everyone came out and gave their testimonies and witnessed in the power of the Lord. For a slightly-wet day, spirits were not dampened.

 

Cancellations and Generator Trouble

With the new generator having trouble running for more than 10 seconds and a 2nd outreach event rapidly approaching, John was hard-pressed to make some quick decisions. Repairmen and volunteer electricians were called in and all took a very serious look at the new generator and all that could be wrong with it, but at the end of the day, the problem remained unsolved.
It wasn’t until two repairmen from Genrac came to inspect. After four hours of tinkering, starting and stopping the generator, and mulling over the possibilities, it was finally concluded that the computer module that ran the generator was faulty and a new part had to be ordered. So because of all this, the Media Van team was presented with a conundrum: cancel the next event — the local parade and movie in the park on the 4th of July; or do the parade portion without sound or video. As per the policy and his emphasis on excellence in all things, John opted to cancel the event. The Media Van team does plan on officially doing this event in 2015.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

 

Special Interactions

During this time of waiting for the generator to be fixed, the MMM team was able to present the vision behind the Media Van with a few special supporters: Stuart and Jill Briscoe, who hadn’t had the chance to attend an open house event, graced the team with a special visit. Both John and Sammi were very excited and encouraged by this special meeting. Later, Sammi spent the better part of a day touring Milwaukee and talking about possible Media Van events with Debbie Thompson of the Milwaukee Salvation Army. Both meetings went off without a hitch and prayers and information was exchanged at the end of each.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Restored Relationship

As the next event for July 12th was approaching , John received a call from his old trainer/interpreter from China. The man had been moved to a different company before the 2nd screen could be purchased and John hadn’t been able to do business with him for a while because of it. He was calling from South America, where he had a job as a reference and interpreter for an outdoor screen set. He inquired as to how the ministry was going, and by the end of the conversation, he offered to help John with a software problem that he had run into while configuring the 2nd screen. Since then, the professional relationship has been restored and they are working together to reset the visual software for the Media Van.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Finally on July 11th, 2014, the new part arrived with a new repairman from Generac and within about 2 hours, the generator was reprogrammed and up and running, just in time for the next event.

 

A Change of Pace

The FEAST Gathering (meaning Feeding Everyone At The Same Time) was the next event the Media Van was invited to attend. It was an overcast, but bright day that started out with all the ministers to Milwaukee and team members gathering to pray in a grassy spot outside the Genesis in Milwaukee building. There was prayer and supplication, and the block was dedicated and welcome to the Lord. Over the course of the day, testimonies were shared, food was provided, conversations engaged, haircuts given, children cared for, and seeds planted. Two MPD cops even came inside the Van for a little while to catch the vision; they voiced their thanks for the Media Van’s presence in the city and were happy to receive informational literature. At the end of the day, John came out and talked with a small group of guys listening from a porch on the outskirts of the outreach. He shared the Lord’s love and mercy with them and they accepted his words graciously. It wasn’t until after all this was over that John was informed that the group of guys he had spoken with were part of a well-known gang in the area, where many shootings and deaths had occured on that very corner. Because of the Lord’s witness in this personal act of evangelism, John was then moved to retire permanently from his job as video team leader at Elmbrook Church and pursue street ministry full time in September 2014.

Photo by Sammi Funk

Photo by Sammi Funk

Moving Along

Many things are different from the last summer season for the Media Van, yet other things have stayed the same. New trials of faith and trust, as well as new relationships formed and old ones put temporarily aside. But one thing will never change, the Lord is the everlasting God and author and perfecter of our faith, and He has set the course before us and prepared in advance these acts of ministry for us to do. May His Name be forever praised!

And we’re back!

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 in Home Page Photo Bar, The Progress, The Schedule, The Van Blog | 0 comments

In the Spring

On April 27th 2014, the Mobile Media Ministry had its last open house event before the busy and rapidly-approaching summer season. The turnout was great, and many people came and went, some without ever making their presence known. This time around, John had a plan of segmenting the presentation process into two parts: Sammi giving the overview and vision of the interior while going through the inside of the Van, and John recounting the proud and blessed history of the Media Van outside with the screen showing videos and pictures.

 

Blessings Abound

Not long after the open house event, John received a call from an anonymous supporter who was at the event and had seen the Van for the first time. The caller asked him about certain needs and amounts to donate to, which John was reluctant to share the uncomfortable specifics. The caller said he felt led to pay for the third media van screen, which left John “speechless.” After an uplifting conversation and final agreement on the purchase of the screen, the caller thanked John for his obedience to the Lord’s call and added that he himself only wanted the Lord to get the glory. John said, reminiscing about this miracle: “I am blessed beyond imagination!”

 

Summer is Coming

With the summer schedule filling up all the time to a significant amount of opportunities, just keeping up with all of the events is a job in itself! The third and final screen is to be ordered soon and will hopefully be installed in the Lord’s timing. God is good!

photo 2

Dreogkamp employee helping with generator installation Photo by John Jones

 

Speed Bump

When the large generator was all set to be installed into the Media Van’s generator housing compartment, John decided to move “Big Blue” outside the garage to the building’s parking lot, as to make installation easier. So, John called in our trusty driver, Karl, to help move things along, and our good friend Don from the neighboring Dreogkamp Furnace Co, Inc; he would arrive with a forklift shortly after. All was set and going according to plan, when we hit an unexpected “speed bump”: Blue wouldn’t start up. After trying for a while with no success, we had to call it quits for that day and sent Don back with his forklift.
But fortunately, God wasn’t allowing a long test of faith with this one, and eventually, Blue’s engine did indeed start up again, but it was too late to install the generator.

Van at Clarke House in Pewaukee

Blue outside at event in December 2013 Photo by Sammi Funk

Blue’s Day Out

In spite of this, John and Karl decided to take Blue for a spin around downtown Pewaukee. It was her first time out again since 2013. She looked almost happy as she skirted down Capitol Drive and down to the lakefront. Upon return, spirits were lifted higher than before.

The generator was eventually installed successfully on June 4th, without having to bring Blue outside. Once placed cozily inside, John and our volunteer electricians could get to work hooking up all the connections.

photo 1

Don Dreogkamp helping with installation. Photo by John Jones

photo 4

Generator installed with the help of Dreogkamp and Co. Photo by John Jones

 

Power to See

On June 6th 2014, we got the release forms — the second screen was in Milwaukee and ready to be picked up. We’d received the call some days before, but the opportunity and funds came in just in time to pick it up on this bright and sunny morning. While waiting for the screen to be brought out in its several individual packages, John and Sammi waited for final clearance in the break room of the loading faciality, surrounded by truckers on break. While they waited, they even had the impromptu opportunity to talk with one trucker about the Lord and His work with the Media Van. After a while, the packages arrived by forklift out where John’s van was parked, and were loaded onto his trailer. The screen trailed behind the vehicle all the way back to the Media Van garage base.

 

John and workman loading 2nd screen onto trailer Photo by Sammi Funk

John and workman loading 2nd screen onto trailer
Photo by Sammi Funk

2nd screen arrives at base Photo by Sammi Funk

2nd screen arrives at base
Photo by Sammi Funk

Term of Endearment

Now with all this in hand, the Media Van team has now found a name for all the wonderful supporters, donors, and fans of Big Blue… “roadies.”

Roadie (informal noun) –
someone who follows, assists, and contributes to a traveling act; someone who helps “set the stage;” someone who “keeps us on the road.”

God is great and full of mercy. He knows our needs and sometimes fulfills our wishes in brilliant and mysterious ways. God bless all the “roadies” mentioned in these stories, and keep them and make Your face shine upon them.