Help Us Pack for Israel/Greece this Summer!


In a couple weeks, we will be heading off for training camp (we’ll be there a month), and then on to Israel and Greece. There are a few items we still need to pack and would love your help if you are interested! Take a look at the list below and let us know if there is something you would like to pick up something from our list. (We’ll cross things off as we get them).

  • REI Trekker 1.0 Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad – Kids’ Quantity needed 2
  • Philips Avent DECT Baby Monitor with Temperature Sensor
  • Case of Size 3 diapers (any brand—approx. 200 count)
  • Case of Diaper Wipes (approx. 9 individual pkgs of 100 wipes)
  • Ziplock Freezer Gallon Bags 52 count
  • Ziplock Freezer Quart Bags 40 count
  • Universal Travel Transformer (not converter)
  • Cliff Bars, Variety pack 24 count
  • Mio Liquid H2O Enhancer Quantity 8
  • Banana Boat Sport Performance Clear Ultra-Mist Sunscreen SPF 30
  • Walmart Gift Card $50 Quantity 2
  • Walmart Gift Card $25 Quantity 3 1
  • Amazon Gift Card $25 Quantity 2
  • Electric Air Pump (for air mattress)
  • Baby food pouches (variety of flavors) Quantity needed 75

Want to send us something? Shoot Stephenie an email at to let us know what you’re getting and then mail items before May 27th to: The Carrs, 203 Briarcliff Drive, Folsom, CA 95630

After May 27, mail to: The Carrs, Royal Servants — Nehemiah Team, W4797 State Road 33, Pardeeville, WI 53954


Rivers Carr


This is a video I put together for Royal Servants with big help from Marissa Jestice and Corin McHargue.  Here it is in case you haven’t seen it.

Here We Go!! You Can Help.


5 days until we leave for the summer.  5 days!

(Gulp)  This means, of course that we are in a mad race to the finish as we prepare to leave.  So much to do, so little time left.  Come next Tuesday, we will fly to Minneapolis, and then Wednesday rendezvous with the rest of the Reign Ministry staffers and head to training camp in Wisconsin.  We will spend a month at training camp, and then on July 1st, once again board a plane and head to Israel with our team.  Speaking of our team, we have 22 young people (ages 15-21) who will be joining us at training camp from all over the country on June 8th.  Because we are leading the Nehemiah (alumni) team this summer, we will have 2 more weeks of training with our students than the other teams.  This gives us more time learn and grow together before we head overseas to spread the love of Christ.

You are very important to us, your support means the world to us as we take on the challenge of picking up and leaving each summer.   To know that you are thinking and praying for us is very important to us and gives us strength.  Below are some suggestions we how you can help us and stay up to date with us this summer:


1) Pray For Us–Although it can sound cliche, it is very important and meaningful to us.

2) Points of Contact— Sometimes, believe it or not, we can get a bit lonely at training camp and miss home.  We love, I repeat love to get mail, emails and texts while at training camp.  It is like an instant shot to the arm for us!  Here is the link to send us an email (we call them Hilltop Express messages). Mailing Address: Carr Family, C/O ROyal Servants Training Camp, W4797 St Rd 33, Pardeeville, WI 53954

3) Financial Support— We have amazing financial support from our team that we have always been so grateful for.  However, getting ready to leave each year always puts a strain on us financially as their are always many expenses and purchases we have to make in our transition (supplemental snacks and vitamins for girls and prego mama, camping gear, etc).  If you would like to donate and help us out, here is the link to our donation page with the ministry.  Once there, you can find our name in the drop down menu.


1)  Check this blog.  I will be regurlarly updating this blog with pics and video.

2)  Check the website–Each team from Royal Servants posts updates twice a week throughout the summer.  You can also sign up to recieve these updates via email. When this is availible, I will send out an email with a linke

3)  Follow me on Twitter:  I know, I know, I have gone to the darkside.  I love me some twitter.  Throughout the summer and each I will be tweeting updates and pictues of all that is going on with us and our team.  If you have a twitter account, you can follow me at @carrtc  If you do not have a twitter account, I highly recommend downloading the app to your phone as it can be a great tool (and it is free of course) for communication for us throughout the summer.

Update Time!


Every year is so different, but no one year has been as starkly different from the rest as this year.  Here are some contrasts:

-Because we are leading the alumni team with Royal Servants this year, we are currently locked and loaded when it comes to team members where as in years past at this time of year we were still having students add and drop at a high clip.  Here is the make up of our team (23 students, 3 leaders, our family, and 2 nannies).

-Yes you read that right, we are so excited to have 2 nannies on board this summer, and they are amazing nannies to boot-Emily Fowler and Claire Talley!  This should allow Stephenie to up her involvement with the team and should be great for our girls to spend quality time with 2 amazing young women.

-Every other year we have scrambled to find someone to sub-let our house while we are gone.  This year-no way!  We already have one and the process to find him (Joel Lane) could not have been easier.  God really orchestrated this, and it is a perfect fit for us and Joel!

I am now done with my speaking for this recruiting year and have now turned my full attention to prep for this summer.  I traveled more and spoke at more churches/youth groups this year than ever before — it was a lot of fun, but made for a busy year!

-In case you haven’t heard yet, we found out a few months ago that we are pregnant again — a huge shock to us all, but we are getting excited about the idea and trust God with the details of how it will all work.  Due date is Sept 11.

Here is a link that to a presummer letter I wrote for Royal Servants participants this summer if you are interested in reading:

East Coast Trip days 7-9


Okay, so I am writing this from home right now, and boy is it good to be back in sunny Nor-Cal. The last three days of my trip on the East Coast were spent with fellow team leaders Job and Bethany Hammond and we stayed in Baltimore, Md while traveling to Philadelphia and NJ. Here were the highlights:

1)Philadelphia is a really cool old town. I loved the architecture and the feel. I spoke at a Christian school in the older part of the city and had a blast. Afterwards, we split up into three different classrooms and fielded questions about Royal Servants. I took the 6th grade class and it was nuts. The best question, “what do toilets look like overseas?” Afterwards, the school went out and got us legit Philly cheesesteak sammies. They were really, really good.

2)Visited Independence Hall in Philly and loved it.(pics below) The room in which they signed the Declaration of Independence was so small but so awesome in signifigance.

3)Had my first crab cake in Baltimore. It was good, but not on the upper tier of the pizza and sammies I have had on this trip.

4)My last speaking gig was on Wednesday night in Magnolia, NJ outside of Philly. Had a great time and even got to play a little indoor floor hockey with the youth group (scored 2 goals!)

Now I am back home and loving being with me girls!!!!

simple, yet elegant

that chair in the back once held the posterior of GW!

Ben Franklin's grave

Me with the Hammonds and Megan Hartmon

East Coast Trip days 3-6


Okay, so for the last 4 days Hank and I have been all over the East Coast.

But I want to focus on the last three days of our trip, to New Jersey (Hank’s homeland). Now I have heard a lot about Jersey over the years and what I have heard has cemented an idea in my brain of what that state is like. And I must say that after spending three days there everything that I have heard (people are crazy, food is great and greasy, fast pace) is absolutely true and more. But here is what I did not expect–the people are incredibly friendly. In fact, dare I say that of all the places I have been in the world, New Jersey just might be the friendliest!?!?!

Here are some highlights:
-On the way into town, Hank took me to a restaurant called Harolds that has been featured on Man vs. Food. We ordered the largest pastrami on the menu and to say that it was large is to say that the Pacific ocean is a pond. There is a picture of it below and what you see, believe it or not, is only half.
-We visited Dunkin donuts before speaking at a church our first night in town. Also there were two huge guys with thick Jersey accents. They were so loud so we heard every word of their conversation. The first thing I heard them speak about was the logistics of knocking someone out with two punches to the jaw. It was such a stereotypical Jersey thing to encounter, but hysterical! We ended up getting into a great conversation with them and they were the friendliest guys. One was Jewish and one was Native American and they were, as they say, uge!!!!
-Hank drove me around his hometown of Point Pleasant on the Jersey Shore and we toured the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy. Being from California and so far away from the damage caused, I guess I just didn’t realize how bad it was. There are entire neighborhoods destroyed, houses leveled, debris everywhere. The entire boardwalk is gone and it will take years for this area to fully recover. Reminded me a lot of what I saw in New Orleans.
-Hank and I spoke his cousin’s church, Jersey Shore Calvary Chapel on Sunday and it was great. Hank gave the message and it was fantastic. He also got a the great surprise of running into his cousin Mike, who is a missionary from Albania who he hadn’t seen in 15 years!

Overall, I have been very encouraged by the amount of interest that young people have shown in Royal Servants everywhere we have spoken on this trip. I am definitively road weary at the moment and missing my family big time. Jovie is sick back home with a fever so my my mind is not here at the moment. Please pray for her and Steph. I will be returning home Thursday night.

Next stop: Philadelphia!





East Coast Trip days 1 & 2


So I arrived into Baltimore on Tuesday evening and was hosted by an awesome family called the Hartmen’s who have had a daughter travel with Royal Servants. Wednesday morning, we got up early and got on the road to Annapolis. I had the opportunity of speaking at Annapolis Area Christian School to a few hundred high school students. Their chapel was amazingly nice and it had a balcony! I can safely say I have never spoken anywhere with a balcony. Despite the huge crowd, I felt really relaxed and really enjoyed challenging the students to engage risk in their relationship with Christ. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures, but this school was extremely nice and exactly what I pictured an East Coast private christian school to look like.

We then hit the road and traveled 4 1/2 hours into Northern Pennsylvania to speak at a youth group in New Milford. Hank Dahl, my partner in crime this week, spoke and rocked it and we had several students seemingly interested in joining one of our teams this summer. Today, we had the morning open and decided to visit Gettysburg. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love anything history so this was like crack to me. But it was also quite sobering to stand in a spot where such fierce fighting took place and where so many thousands were either injured or killed. Overall, Gettysburg exceeded my high expectations and I would love to one day come back here and spend an extended time looking and learning. Tonight (Thurs) we visited a youth group in Mt. Joy Pa where I spoke. I challenged them through the ideas presented in the movie “The Hobbit.” We are crashing in York, Pa as we speak and will be visiting a school early in the morning for chapel.

For the record, I haven’t been cold yet! So far, so good.

Hank when he drives

PA while driving

Hank speaking

Painting of Picket's charge

Hanging w/Lincoln

cannon at Gettysburg

To the East


To the East!

Tomorrow morning I board a plane in San Francisco to travel to Baltimore. Once in Baltimore, fellow Reign staff member Hank Dahl will pick me up and we, along with other staffers Job and Bethany Hammond will spend the next 9 days traveling up and down the East Coast speaking to students at churches and schools about Christ’s call to mission and the opportunities that we provide for that in Royal Servants. 

Ok, now first off, I have never been to East Coast and don’t know what to expect. Second, I am a warm blooded Californian who is not used to functioning in cold weather. In fact, I was suppose to have flown into Boston yesterday morning but the wicked snow storm caused my flight among many others to be cancelled.  All this to say—I can’t wait to go and get this adventure started!

Now, I plan on updating about my trip while I am there with video and pics so make sure to check the blog this week and next!

Nanny Search 2013!


Awesome ministry

The last month and a half has found me driving all over the bay and sacramento areas speaking to students in youth groups.  While I have had a blast doing it, I am already a bit road weary.  But this last weekend I met the type of fellow missionary that put all of my whining in perspective.  We spent the weekend participating in the global impact conference at First United Methodist Church in Yuba City.  We love this church and have developed a great relationship with them over the last few years as they have been a great support to us.  One of the other featured missionaries was a man named Dr. Hormoz Shariat.   Dr. Hormoz is an Iranian American who heads up a ministry TV station based in Texas that broadcasts via satelite to Iran the message of the gospel.  Obviously the Iranian goverment does not want this to happen, but can’t stop the message from coming in.  Dr. Hormoz and his family have seen much persecution but in spite of this they press on to spread the gospel in Iran, which is the fastest growing evangelical people group in the world at the moment.  His stories were incredible about how the people of Iran are hungry for the gospel and God is doing great things there as we speak.  Below is a video of one of the great stories he told this weekend.  Enjoy.

Please pray for:

My trip to the East, that it would go smoothly and be fruitful.  My family back home while I’m gone!

Our nanny search.

Carr Update


Merry Holidays! I though it was high time for an update as we are closing in on the end of this year and the beginning of next.

Stephenie’s Grandfather Bill Bell passed away on December 8th. It was not unexpected but he will be sorely missed. His funeral was on December 14th and it was an overwhelming outpouring of respect and love for Bill. It has been a hard time for everyone in Stephenie’s family, but because Bill was a such a special man and follower of Christ, their was also a sense of joy and happiness that kept making it’s way to the surface. Here is a video that was put together for his funeral that gives a glimpse into his life. I will always remember Bill for how funny and lovingly stubborn he was. Grandpa Bell Video

Nehemiah Team–Preparations for the Nehemiah team (which Steph and I are leading) are underway. Because students on the Nehemiah team raise more money and have a significantly longer trip, the deadline for them to sign up is in January. Currently, we have 18 signed up, 16 of who are girls. We need more guys!!!! The next two months we will be busy setting up logistics with our contacts in Israel and Slovakia and contacting students who are in the process of signing up.

Speaking 2013–My calendar is filling up with opportunities to speak to students in 2013. A big part of which will be a speaking blitz to the East coast in February with three other team leaders from Royal Servants. We will be traveling from Maine to Pennsylvania over a two week period speaking to students at churches and schools. We will be challenging them in what it means to live missionally, as well as presenting the opportunities we have for them on a 2013 Royal Servants team. Speaking of which, here is a link to our trips: In January & March, I will be traveling all over Nor-Cal visiting churches and schools.

The Family–The girls had a blast this Christmas and now are looking forward to Jovie’s 5th Birthday. Jovie is loving school and Railey loves her days with her grandparents (Tues at the Carrs and Wed at the Kents) and her Thursdays with her best friends, our neighbors, the Loorz. They also had a tremendous Christmas. One of the highlights for them was Christmas eve eve when we drank hot chocalate in front of the fire and sang, afterwards which the girls got to sleep in front of the fire. Jovie was looking forward to this weeks ahead of time.

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!

God Bless,

The Carrs




Staff Conference + Big News


Staff Conference: Six weeks ago the family and I headed back to Minnesota for staff conference with Reign Ministries. Normally, this just involves those on full time staff with Royal Servants, but every third year it involves all staff members and families from all three branches of Reign (Kairos, Reign U.K., and Royal Servants). We met for 5 days at a beautiful retreat center in central Minnesota called Camp Lebanon. Not only was it a great time to connect with everyone from the ministry that we only get to see every few years, it was a great time for us as a family to play after a hectic summer and transition home. The five days included numerous times of meeting, worship, brainstorming, and encouraging one another in our ministries. It also included time to nap, fish, play football, take boat rides on the lake, and generally spend time with one another. It was a good time for us to recharge our batteries. Plus the Reign family is tremendous. Such quality people.

Here are some pictures:

Big News
The most suprising bit of news that we heard at staff conference is that Louie (founder of Reign Ministries) will no longer be leading the Nehemiah Team. The Nehemiah team is an alumni (invite only) team that is focused on:

A. Training in world evangelism
B. Spiritual formation and developing a deeper walk with Christ
C. Leadership development

The Nehemiah team is over two weeks longer than the other Royal Servants teams and it travels to Israel as it’s main destination. This is the team that Stephenie travelled on for so many years as a leader under Louie. It is also the team that Stephenie and I travelled on my first two years with the ministry (2006, 2007). The reason I am detailing all of this is that in light of Louie not leading the Nehemiah team, Stephenie and I have been asked to lead it! We could not be more excited about this opportunity, although we are also humbled by the responsibility it entails. This is like a homecoming of sorts for us and we are so amped to travel back to Israel! (and this time with the girls!) We will have much more on this in the near future. But now is the time for us to get excited and dream about the possibilities this summer.



So much is happening as we barrel towards the summer, but let me start with an urgent prayer request:

I am heading out to training camp next Saturday, May 19th and the girls are heading out on the 1st of June. The reason all of us staff from Reign Ministries are heading out two weeks early this year is because we are trying to finish up the work on our new training camp in Wisconsin. We still have a lot of work to do in order to pass inspection by the state and be cleared to bring students in. The problem that just arose is that we found out we need to move up the inspection date most likely to sometime very soon, much sooner than previously expected. The ministry has scrambled some work teams to head up to the land to do some last minute work to prepare for the inspection and they are working there as we write this. Here is what we need prayer for:

1. That our plumber will come through as he said and get his work done next week!

2. For wisdom to anticipate what specific parts of the code the inspector will be most interested in reviewing

3. That we will be able to complete the final prep work in time

4. That the documentation binder we sent to the state on Thursday will meet their requirements and not create more questions in the mind of our reviewer

5. For God to orchestrate the entire day of the inspection (even that the inspector would be in a good mood!)

6. We will continue to have favor in the eyes of the state and community…that we will represent the Lord well in all we do

A Subletter has been found!!!!!
We have a subletter for the summer, praise the Lord!! A big thank you goes out to my mom, my mother in law and Carolyn Holcomb for thinking up the idea to announce our need for a subletter at the Oak Hills Women’s retreat last weekend in Tahoe. It is a perfect situation for us and sounds to be as well for the couple, Theresa and George DeLeon. God is faithful.

Our Nanny needs help:
We have a wonderful nanny traveling with us this year by the name of Sierra Ashmead. She was a student on our team from 2 years ago and lives in Pollock Pines. The fun thing is that her brother in law, Zach Neider, was my first recruit for Royal Servants 6 years ago. Sierra is in the midst of support raising right now but is struggling a bit. We know how important her ministry is to our children as she looks after them this summer, but sometimes it is difficult to raise financial support in the role of a nanny as opposed to a student position on one of our teams. If you would like to support her in any way for this summer, it would be very much appreciated. If interested, click: Donate and scroll to her name, Sierra Ashmead.

Oak Hillians:
We have three female students on our team that our traveling with us this summer that we are really excited about:
If you would like to donate to them, please click: Donate and scroll to their name: Clairissa Talley, Ericka Flickner, or Jordan Aldrich.

My Marathon:
Last Sunday, May 6th I ran the Avenue of The Giants marathon up in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. I ran this marathon last year with the goal of finishing under 4 hours but my final time was 4:00:52!! So I made up my mind to return this year and do it again to finally redeem my time and complete my goal. My final time this year: 3:55:38. But here is the kicker, the entire day before the race I had pretty horific diarreah that kept me bed ridden for a good chunk of the day. I was pretty convinced I was going to be unable to race but I went to bed Saturday night praying and hoping I would somehow feel good enough the next morning. I woke up in the middle of the night and took an Immodium AD and then took another one when I woke up early in the morning. Then, just before the race, I had one more bout of diarreah and therefore decided to pop a third Immodium 3 minutes before the race. As far as the race was concerned, I thought I would give it 3 miles to test out my stomach and pull out if it went crazy. It didn’t and I was able to finish the race. I think the dehydration of my sickness caught up to me though in the final 2 1/2 miles as I cramped in both legs all the way to the finish. Overall, though, it was a great experience again and one that was well worth the months of training and the at times obnoxious time commitment it required. I feel that God has taught me a ton through running, and it is something I have grown to love. Yes, I have now made the full transition and become a runner (something I would have NEVER thought would happen).

Training Camp Update!!


I (Travis) just returned from Wisconsin where I spent a week with other Reign staff working on the new training camp. There is still much work that needs to be done before we are ready for our official inspections which will give us the approval we need to bring students their this summer. We are all in with this new training camp and there are many people putting countless hours in to make this happen. We bought this property over five years ago and it has been a long road to get where we are and we still have a bit to go. But it is exciting to see it all come together and the property itself is truly beautiful. (80 acres outside of Pardeeville)

Because of the work that needs to be done on the new training camp, I (Travis) will be heading out there two weeks earlier than normal on May 19th. The girls will follow me out there on the 2nd of June. This means I will be gone for the summer in less than a month. Wow! This means we have just a few short weeks to wrap up work (Steph at Oak Hills), get our house in order, and prepare for life away from home for two months. And we still have NOT FOUND A SUBLETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are some pics (as well as some from Railey’s 2nd Birthday Party:

Update from Steph!


India Set Up
Many, if not all of you, have heard by now that I (Stephenie) didn’t end up making it to India with the team from our church that went this past February. The day before I was supposed to leave, I realized that my visa was a 6 month visa, not the year long visa that I had had in my mind all along. And because it was a holiday weekend, all of my attempts to get a one day visa and catch up with the team were in vain. It was bitterly disappointing for all kinds of reasons – not the least of which was my humiliation at supposedly being past these “rookie” travel mistakes:). But the team had a wonderful trip. Another dimension of disappointment however, comes in that we were hoping I’d able to cement some of our plans for this coming summer while being face to face with our ministry partners – so now we are having to find creative ways to engage in the vast amounts of communication to set this kind of thing up well. Please pray for that process! Their internet connection is limited and the time difference is 12.5 hours different, so it can get complicated to say the least. We still need to nail down sleeping arrangements, food details, as well as a few more of our ministry ideas.

Nanny 2012!

Sierra Ashmead, India Team 2010

Great news!!! We locked in a nanny for the summer – Sierra Ashmead, who traveled with us as a staff discipler our first year in India! She is from our area, has tons of experience working with both little kids and teens, and will be a natural fit, being familiar with both Indian culture as well as Royal Servants culture. We have been so blessed with each one of our nanny’s in the past and this year is no exception — I couldn’t be more thrilled. It gives me the option of doubling myself both with the kids, and also with another leadership presence with the team if need be.

While we’ve got a couple little nibbles out there, nothing is holding much promise yet so if you know of anyone who is interested in a very cute, fully furnished 3 bedroom house (could be 4 bedrooms if need be) with a great back yard for the months of June and July ($900/mo), please let us know!!! (We’re trying to hide the rising desperation we are starting to feel) In the past, we’ve caught people in the middle of a move, or college students who are home for the summer, or young adults wanting to move out of mom and dads house for the summer, or even a family member who needed a place to stay during an extended visit. If you have the opportunity, pass this along to… well everyone really. Thanks!

Finding Sub Letters



It is that time of year again when we need to start looking for sub letters for our house for the months of June and July.  That is when we will be off on another adventure with Royal Servants.  So let us know if you know of any college agers that need a place for the summer?  Or maybe you have a family member who you would like to live somewhere else for awhile.  Or maybe a transition home during a move. 

It is a three bedroom house in Folsom with an awesome play room, huge backyard, and backs up to the fields adjacent to Folsom Middle School.  It is a rad house (Holcomb’s house!)  Let us know if you have any ideas, we are all ears.

To be honest, we don’t know how we are going to find a sub letter, but then again, we never do.  But God always provides, and it is always fun to see how He does.


The Carrs

Happy Friday! + Fantastic Video


Hello everyone,

I just wanted to give a quick update on what is going on with us:

Steph is going to India in two weeks.  She is traveling with a group from Oak Hills Church and they will be traveling to and working with the group we worked with last summer as well as this upcoming one, The Nehemiah Project.  She will be gone for 10 days, which means I will have the girls on my own for that time, oh boy!!  Pray for Steph’s trip that God will guide their steps and bless their time in Manipur.  

Recruiting is going well.  It has been a very busy last month as I have been gallivanting all over speaking at youth groups.  There seems to be a fair amount of interest this year among students for our Royal Servants teams.  Just this last Wednesday night I spoke at a church in Modesto that sent four students with RS last summer.  It was really encouraging listening to the impacting and life altering experiences they had in Sierra Leone and Costa Rica.  This Sunday I will be at a church in Walnut Creek.  I was day dreaming the other day as I was driving back from Modesto and it occurred to me how much I have changed when it comes to speaking in front of youth groups.  Just 2 or 3 years ago, my nerves were out of control as I would almost obsess over an upcoming talk.  But now, the nerves have all but left me and I really feel comfortable.  As a result, it is a whole heck of lot more fun and I feel my ability to communicate clearly and succinctly has vastly increased as a result.  It has been fun to see the progress.  

-We have, as of right now, 4 young people from Folsom that look like they will be joining a team for this summer.  Jordan Aldrich, Claire Talley (Oak Hills), Erika Flickner (Oak Hills) will be joining our India team, while Zach Collins (Oak Hills) will be joining the London team.  How great is this?  We are really stoked.  It is the year of FOLSOM!

Steph has begun working on a masters degree with Fuller seminary.  She is just in the midst of her second course (on the Old Testament) but she is really loving it.  I guess you could say she is a bit busy but that would just scratch the surface.  I am really proud of her.

-I am heading to Texas on Monday to visit my Grandpa!  I have not seen him in years and I really miss him.  While I am there, I am going to interview him and record his life story.  It is long overdue, and I am looking forward to it.  Next Thursday or Friday my dad and I are going to road trip back all the way from Dallas to Sactown.  Just a short little jaunt.

-Last week we were able to get away and take a short vacation to So-Cal.  While there, we were able to stay with the Holcombs.  We had a great time with them and miss them dearly.  We also got to visit Dave’s church last Sunday and I even got to pop in on their youth group to talk about Royal Servants.  Dave and Carolyn have been such important people in our lives and we feel a hole in our community through their absence.





The New Year


Now, we didn’t end up sending out a Christmas letter this year (or ever, for that matter) so in lieu of that here is a family photo we took outside of Oak Hills on Christmas Eve.

The New Year– marks the beginning of my recruiting season in earnest. The The New Year– marks the beginning of my recruiting season in earnest.Here are the speaking gigs I have upcoming in January. If you know of any young people who are interested in or that you think would be excellent as a Royal Servants, please pass on the information or encourage them to come to one of these events:

Jan 4th—Calvary Chapel Placerville
Jan 8th—Journey Church Folsom
Jan 13th–River Valley Fellowship Yuba City
Jan 15th–Big Valley Church Modesto
Jan 21st–Lakeside Church Folsom
Jan 24th–Oak Hills Folsom

Leadership for 2012– We have recently solidified our leadership for our upcoming team. Erin Bidwell will be leading with us for the 5th summer, Marissa Jestice will be traveling with us for the 2nd summer, the 1st leading with us. Shaun Mohon will be leading with us for the 1st time, he was a staff discipler with our team last summer.

Thank you all and have a wonderful New Year!

Update Yo!!!!!!!!!!!


Today we leave to head to Mendocino with the Oak Hills youth group to lead the annual Lord’s Land retreat. This has become tradition for us and something we look forward to all year. It is a great time where we and the students can unplug from our crazy lives, focus on the Lord and rest in Him. This year we are going to be speaking on the concept of flying rightside up in an upside world. And because I am a film nut, we are going to be focusing on the themes that run through three films; INCEPTION, LION KING, and THE KING’S SPEECH. We are going to look at the power of ideas and their impact on our lives, not escaping the life God has for us, and importance of friendship and fellowship in helping live in truth. I am pretty excited about the talks and can’t wait to see what God has in store for us this weekend. Please pray for our time, we will be there today through Tuesday.

The new training camp is really starting to take shape. I was out there at the end of September helping with the build and since that time much has been done by those on staff who live close to our new land. It is really cool to see the buildings take shape, and to know how many great memories will be created at this place. Check out the link below to see pictures of Reign Staff finishing buildings in the snow!

Preliminary work on my upcoming recruiting season is going well. I have about 10 speaking gigs as of now and that number will grow in the next few weeks. Let me know if you have any places or contacts that would be good to explore. Or if you can think of a young individual that you know would be perfect for Royal Servants, drop me an email and let me know. That would be much appreciated.

Thanks everyone and God Bless,


Here is a video of a music video made with only JELLY BEANS. It took TWO years to make and included 288,000 jelly beans!!!!

Staff Conference


About a week ago I returned home from Wisconsin where I spent the previous two weeks working hard with all the Royal Servants staff on our training camp. Two years ago, we bought 80 acres of farmland outside of Pardeeville, WI to serve as our new training camp. However, the amount of work required to prepare the land for training camp use has been substantial and it is only now that we can say with confidence that this upcoming summer will be our first on our new land. The two weeks was full of construction (yes, construction + me). And although it made for long days, we had a blast together as always. Just a great group of people. We can’t wait to see how God uses this land to impact students for years to come, pretty exciting!!!

We Are Home! Trip Pics + Vids


We are back home! We are in the midst of crazy jet lag fog at the moment so my brain is unable to complete the cognitive function required to give you a proper update. Plus, we have not had enough time to properly process it yet earlier. I will just say that it was perhaps our best summer yet with Royal Servants. We had a great team and great ministry partners which led to God doing some awesome things. I will send out a proper update soon, but in the meantime I thought I would post a bunch of videos and pictures. Plus, below the pictures I posted every update we sent out over the summer through the Reign website in chronological order in case you missed those. Enjoy! By the way we are attempting to take a much needed vacation next week to decompress and reconnect as a family. Do any of you have any great and CHEAP suggestions for us!? We thought we would use the power of group think!

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Travel & Delhi
Our team arrived in Delhi after our flight was delayed for a few hours in O’Hare. The 13 hour flight was not bad! And the new Delhi airport was beautiful to walk through. Not an accurate first impression of the city! That night we boarded our bus and thankfully our driver found a way to drop us off at the door to our hotel–instead of at the Bus Depot which is a 10 minute walk from the hotel–which means we didn’t have to wrangle up a crew of rickshaw drivers and taxis to get our bags to our hotel. Thanks to all of you who prayed for traveling mercies! We got settled into bed and started our battle with jet lag–some of us wide awake at 3 in the morning!

Our transition day in Delhi was a powerful one as our team experienced their first taste of the culture. We were privileged to have a Royal Servants alumni from 1985 who is a full time “worker” in Delhi, and has been for the past 10 years with her husband and son, come and share with our team. They are in the process of starting up a after care home for under-aged girls being rescued from sex trafficking in Delhi. She shared with us the heart breaking statistics and stories of some of these girls–most of them trafficked by coercion and deceit from poor families who think they are sending their daughters off to good jobs in the cities only to have them sold into the sex trade and into bondage. It was a heartbreaking, yet powerful experience for our team to learn about the issue that is ravaging lives. We then got on rickshaws and rode through GB street–the “red light district” of Delhi and prayed for the girls we could see peering out of the windows, the men walking the streets who may be headed up to “see” one of these girls, the people who held them in bondage and we prayed that God would raise up rescuers, fighters, advocates, and care takers for these precious lives. Who knows, perhaps some on our team would answer the call themselves!

After an afternoon of studying Mark, re-packing our bags and fighting to stay awake until 9:00pm, we finally turned into bed so we could meet our coach at 5:00 the next morning and head back to the airport to catch our flight to Imphal, Manipur. Once we landed, we walked across the tarmac and into a one roomed arrivals hall where the customs consisted of two men sitting behind a small desk. They took our passports one by one and hand wrote all of our information, which for our group of 26 took at least an hour. Then we loaded up our bus and 1 jeep and started the 3 hour ride up long, winding one lane mountain roads to Ukhrul – our home for the next 3 weeks. We’ve been here for 2 days now and are now accustomed to the time (for the most part), the squatty potties, the 9:00am lunch time, the cold bucket showers, and the lack of electricity for the majority of the day and every other night.

Yesterday was our first day of VBS with the children of the Peniel Home–a home for AIDS orphans, 20 of them to be exact. They are precious and we are loving the chance to play with them, sing songs, learn names, tell Bible stories and have little dance parties! We look forward to the next few weeks of loving on them as we live and work with them, tutor them and share the love of our wonderful savior with them. We have found the staff (the “sisters,” “brothers,” and the “parents”) of the home to be incredible servants of our God and wonderful hosts to our team

A grand welcome
We got a wonderful message from Erin Bidwell, assistant on the India team, about their first experiences as they arrived in India.

This past week has been jam packed with many events. It has been a privilege to see our team grow through serving those around them. It has been a blessing working with our ministry partners and truly humbling to see how they serve with all that they are, and don’t regret one bit of it. Their sacrifice reaps the reward of seeing lives changed. They have been such a wonderful example for all of our students.

The day after we arrived in Urkul we began our ministry. It started with a VBS for the children at the orphanage we are staying at. However, in their home they are not called orphans but brothers and sisters or sons and daughters. As soon as they enter the home they are family. Our team split into three groups that lead different ages of children (preschool-1st grade, 2nd-5th and Youth.) With the younger students our team shared bible stories, taught them songs and games, and built relationships. It was such a joy to watch how the children warmed up to our students as the days went on. They continually got louder, laughed more and had bigger smiles on their faces as the days continued.

The students that lead the older youth were able to help in discipleship training. They taught them the Transferable Truth’s, shared their testimonies, and began to build relationships. The students came faced with powerful stories of how many of their youth struggle with the same issues that youth do in the States. Some also had the joy of seeing several students commit their lives to the Lord after sharing their testimonies and discussing freedom in Christ!

The next week we went to a local school to work with even more students. The first day was a cultural experience day, where the students at the school welcomed us in traditional dress and chanting. They then proceeded to to sing, dance, put on a fashion show displaying their traditional dances, and finally act out and tell of their great history. Honestly, I have never been a part of such a welcome on a Royal Servants trip before! It was such an honor and a humbling experience.

In the days that followed our team had to pull together as we had one evening to plan a program that lived up to the welcome that we had received. Our team were such troopers as they let their creative juices flow. We sung our national anthem, put on a skit our events in our history, and shared about the U.S. Then our student split up into three groups once again to work with 90-130 students. It was a blast to watch them lead English games, share their testimonies, teach songs and preform the skills (dance, drama, and puppets ) that they had learned at training camp. I was so proud of our team!

Yesterday was a blessing as well, we were able to hike a local mountain with some of the youth that have been working with us. Talk about a mountain top experience. It was BEAUTIFUL! We could not stop talking about the greatness of God as we took in the wonders of His creation. We were also able to share in a time of prayer on the top of this mountain as we prayed for unity in their local churches and that a youth revival would begin!

Tomorrow we will be heading to a local village to visit with locals and share in three different church services. It is exciting because this village has not seen a white person since WWII. Getting there will be a challenge so we are praying that it doesn’t rain. We look forward to sharing those adventure with you next time!

Seeking Every Opportunity
Wow! What a trip our India team is having. Each day seems like a brand new adventure where God takes us to unexpected places and shows us unexpected things! Today we had the privilege of visiting houses in small groups where families live who have been affected by AIDS. What a heartbreaking experience. In our group (which included Kayla Pilarski, Zach Cupery, Lati Schoomer, and myself), we visited a home where a family of four live. The two parents have AIDS while their two kids do not. Their house consisted of a small room with a mud floor and very little provisions. We listened to them tell us how they originally contracted the disease through the father’s drug use back in the 90′s. We listened to the them talk about how difficult their lives have been and how much prejudice they have encountered here because of this disease. We also listened to them talk about how their faith in God has grown through their painful experiences! I was so proud of our students, as we all decided to contribute enough rupees (India’s currency) in order for them to pay rent for one month. They were so grateful and we had a wonderful time of prayer as we prayed for God’s healing and blessing to come to their wonderful family. But it was also heartbreaking to think that their incredibly cute boys would soon be orphans. Many similar experiences were shared by the other members of our team as they visited with other families across Ukhrul. Many stories of incredible times of prayer and tears shed by both Royal Servants and the families they were praying with. The Holy Spirit was active as our team shared Christ and the love of God with these hurting people.

I can’t remember a summer of so much adventure and so many stories! God has blessed us in so many ways through the people here. This is a Christian area, but that is mostly a cultural distinction. Many of them struggle mightily with drugs and alcohol. Many of them also struggle with living out the faith they profess that they are culturally attached too. We have found that much of the work the Lord has for us here is to be encouraging the church to truly follow Jesus and live a life of action. There is also a youth culture here that is being sucked into the media of the west, and are becoming asleep to the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. All of this makes our presence here very important. With every school, church, and group that we visit it has been so encouraging and amazing to witness the fearless proclamation of Jesus that have come from the young people on this team. They have courageously stepped up in front of huge crowds and shared their testimonies and messages and dramas. They have sought opportunities to speak with small groups and individuals where they have shared scripture and stories of how the Lord has shaped them. For the youth and the adults of this culture to see young Americans so passionate about walking with Christ is having a major impact here. (Dynelle gave and sang a song in a church service the other day and it was powerful!)

This area is so rich in culture and so unique. They do not see themselves as Indians as they are from a race of people that migrated from China centuries ago. They look different, they have a different dialect, and they have been attempting to break off from India and form their own country for 65 years! They are the Naga people, they are hill people. We are at 7500 feet and in every direction the vistas are hard to describe they are so beautiful. Every town and village is on a hilltop. It is lush, green, and tropical, and the weather is great. It has rained a ton, but we have hardly sweated the entire time we have been here. The downside is the rain has prevented us from doing laundry and we all smell like mildew! I could speak for hours on the history of the Naga people, as they used to be head hunters! But alas, I do not have the time.

Pray for us as we will be heading to a new village in two days to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and challenge the people there to wake from spiritual sleep and follow our Savior! Everyone is in good health and we are having a great summer. What a team we have, what a wonderful group of young people, what a joy it has been to travel and serve alongside them.

Until next time!

The Call
We received this journal entry from the India team today. This was written by Patrick Teesdale on July 17, 2011 but do to internet connection it was delayed on getting to us. We also have another blog written by Patrick on July 21, 2011 so be sure to check that out!

As the month has gone on, we on team India, have had a lot of time and opportunities to think about Jesus’ call to follow Him. We’ve been diving into a manuscript study of the book of Mark, and many of Travis’ talks and sermons have been on the first chapter of Mark, in which Jesus calls the first disciples. I’d like to reflect on this theme we’ve had as a team.

It’s never easy or simple to respond when the call comes. The fact of it is that we have trouble responding to His call because we are often stuck in our situations or struggles. We may have insecurities about the past, we may have a lack of confidence in what He says we can accomplish, or we may be struggling through an ego and sense of personal entitlement. One must wonder about what was going through the minds of the disciples as Jesus called them out of their boats, their professions, and their identities. They weren’t superhuman. They were average people. Evidence even suggests that they were only teenagers.

But Jesus called. And the amazing thing is that these first disciples, in spite of everything they experienced or understood, left to follow immediately. It’s a lesson in itself for the rest of us. The disciples were just people until Jesus called them to a supernatural plan. People like us.

And they could somehow let go instantly of everything when Jesus called them to something bigger. It’s clear from a moderate understanding of the passage that we in this modern day and age are perfectly capable of the same thing, all of us who claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

So many of us have past issues that we try to work through on our own strength, many others just don’t feel prepared to do what Jesus commanded. And still more don’t feel worthy to take on the task, as though their sins and personal demons exclude them from God’s plan. But in delving so far into Mark, we start to understand something different.

We don’t have to have the strength to do away with our own darkness. It requires a light far greater than ours to pierce. But God provides that light as a matter of course, simply by faith in His ability to do so.

We could spend all our lives researching and preparing ourselves and never feel truly ready to go out into all the world. But Jesus didn’t call the fishermen to study and come see Him again in a decade. He called the fishermen to follow. God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.

And our sins are never a bar to His call. In the opening pages of Mark, He calls all manner of sinners and scumbags. Our value is dictated by Him, not by human standards. And God created us with value and worth.

Jesus calls us to follow, and we need do nothing more than obey.

Patrick Teesdale

We received this journal entry from the India team today. This was written by Patrick Teesdale on July 21, 2011 but do to internet connection it was delayed on getting to us. We also have another blog written by Patrick on July 17, 2011 so be sure to check that out!

The kids here are a blessing. Though orphaned or abandoned due to HIV/AIDS, there is a purity and innocence in them that remains untouched by the world they live in. In the first few days we were here, and many mornings since then, we’ve been taking the time to teach them. But I think that they have taught us just as much, though they may not realize it.

They have a song that they often sing in worship. I believe it’s called “In the Light.” It’s a very simple song, with simple lyrics about doing many things in, naturally, the light of Jesus. The wonderful thing about a simple message is that it can cover so much ground with so few words. And this song brings the message that everything we do, we can do with joy and contentment, because we do it in the light of Jesus.

Take walking, for instance. We walk everywhere here. The vast majority of it is hills. We can’t even get off the Peniel Home property without hiking up the hill they call a driveway. But there’s something beautiful about the simplicity of life here. The roads are either muddy or rocky, but you feel like you’re getting somewhere, and God has a plan there for you.

Cleaning is another one. Just today, we went off into town to pick up trash along a stretch of the main road. It was by no means a clean task. Every single piece of trash we found was buried in mud and rocks, and the plugged up storm drain soaked it all in dirty brown water. But it was an awesome experience, because we were practicing the love of Jesus not just for the town, but for the youth that we were helping in the endeavor.

And it’s not all hard work with no play. Singing is a great one. When the kids sing, they hold nothing back. They shout it out like they intend to lose their voices, and never mind little things like notes and timing. It’s one of the most blessed sounds any of us have heard, and leads many of us to stop holding ourselves back for fear. Worship is something else when you’re belting it out with no fear.

When we invite Jesus into the things we do during our day, He meets us there and blesses us with His presence. And we can do anything in the light of Jesus. Running, sleeping, eating, you name it. If it’s a verb, we can put Jesus into it.

And honestly, it’s what we should be doing. Letting Him into all aspects of our lives doesn’t just mean to open our hearts in the areas where it hurts most. It means to open our hearts in all the areas where it almost seems trivial. In the little things we do on a day to day basis.

It doesn’t matter where Jesus is in our lives, because He will bless it all.


A post from Steph!?


Hi everyone — I’ve never actually done a post by myself and I’m doing it without Travis’ help! Yay for me!

I’m doing finances for our team this summer (I know some of you from the Missional Living Team are rolling their eyes and chuckling sadistically right now — but I promise, I’ve done them before and the ministry has not gone under…). It is not the most fun role on the team, but it is important. I get to carry large quantities of USD on my person, exchange money in some pretty sketch hole in the wall kiosks in Delhi and then carry suitcases of bricks of rupies (the exchange rate is something like 44 rupies to 1 USD) to all the remote places of India we’ll be in. I get to oversee all of the student spending accounts, be their bank and teach them how to register their accounts (like a check book — and at this point my mom is rolling on the floor laughing at the absurdity of that thought) and I get to track all of our team spending, balance our team budget and pay for all of our food, lodging, transportation, supplies, and cultural experiences (Taj Mahal). Now I have heard that God doesn’t ask us to necessarily be able to do the things he has called us to, he just asks us to be available. Well, I’m available! So I have a couple toddlers in tow, that’s okay… So Travis is the world’s worst receipt keeper, no problem… So we have to travel with cash and not travelers checks because no one in India knows what a travelers check even is, no sweat… And so I haven’t been able to balance a check book since I was sixteen and even then it lasted all of a week or two when I got my first paycheck, we’re golden!

Also in the world of finances, today happens to be the day that all of our students have to have 0 balances in their accounts. They have put their time in support raising and this is it. Some happen to have met the mark exactly. Others are over funded and have to decide whether they want to reimburse some of their domestic expenses (flight to training camp, immunizations, visa cost, etc), keep it in an account for themselves or an immediate family member to use next summer, or give it to the team to help others who are still under funded. And still others are under funded and are making last minute support calls or talking to their family about how they are going to cover the remaining balance. It can be an emotional time for some of our students — some are overwhelmed by the out pouring of support they’ve received, while others are stressed that they took this step of faith to come this summer and are not sure how the money part is going to work out. Even so, it is surprisingly an exciting time. Every year we have one or two miracle stories about how God comes through right at the clincher to provide in amazing ways. I love the fact that as a ministry, we have never had to send a student home from Training camp for being underfunded. Somehow, Every year, God pulls through!

I do like this role. Thanks for letting me give you a little peak into one of the lesser known jobs that go into successfully leading a Royal Servants Team.

If you are still looking for a more specific way to donate to our ministry this summer, we’ve gathered up some of the personal costs we have going into the summer below. In order to give toward one of these, click on the link.
Diapers and Formula for 2 months: $160
Probiotics to ward against foreign bacteria: $70
Staff discipler encouragement gifts (to be given on emotionally exhausting days and including one trip to Dairy Queen while at TC): $61.06
Nanny extras (meals out with our family, other little treats here and there to thank her for her sacrifice this summer): $100
Misc Supplies (New headlamp, tot chair, tot rain boots, carabeeners, batteries, toiletries, etc): $80
Baggage (including extra baggage for Railey who doesn’t get her own bag since she is still a lap child – yet she is the one with all of the formuala, diapers, pack’n’play, etc!!!): $245

Once again, we really appreciate all of the love and support you offer us every year — this year is no exception! We’ve been so encouraged by the notes and packages you’ve sent us at training camp!

Much love to you all,

Steph (I did it! Now lets see if I can figure out how to post this thing…)


Ok, here is the update! Below are some videos and pics of our last few weeks at TC!

Start here, this is my vlog.

Railey eating a hot dog.

Lunch time.

staff disciplers getting off the bus having just arrived at the field.

students greeting the staff disclipers as they drove onto the field.

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First Week of Training Camp + Videos


Travis: Well, we are one week into training camp.

It has been a good week so far. The girls had a little bit of a rough transition as they struggled with the change to Central time and the massive amounts of bugs on the field, but are doing well now and performing like veterans. It was sad though on the second day that we were here when Railey fell head first into the trough area where we get our water. She got a nasty strawberry on her head but was in a phenomenal mood just 30 minutes later. Jovie, on the other hand, is having a ball. She loves all the attention she receives from everyone on staff here and is a constant ham. She did have a rough night however on Thursday when a big storm whipped overhead in the middle of the night. The thunder was so loud that you could feel it. Jovie instantly woke up and started to cry. So I quickly grabbed her and put her in bed with her mom who comforted her and sang her to sleep. I then went back to Railey’s crib as the worst of the storm whirrled outside and the lightning lit up our tent like a strobe light. I stood there waiting for her to wake up to one of the explosive (only way to describe it) thunderclaps. But miraculously she slept through it all, unaware it was even happening.

Steph: Tonight was an exciting night at camp as we had our first batch of students come in — the Nehemiah team (including our nephew Zach and Marissa Jestice – as well as alumni from both last years team and our Ukraine team). Our India team leadership is all here now as both of our assistant staff have arrived. As well as our NANNY! (Steph is ecstatic). We will spend this week training as a leadership team and the various roles we will serve in (finances, food, medical, logistics). Travis will be vision casting for the summer and what he hopes we will be able to accomplish with our students and summer staff, and we will be able to spend some time preparing ourselves for how God may want to use us.

Lastly — because we have brought it up a few times already — we wanted to give you an update on how God has been providing for Emily — she is currently $4070 out of the $4400 required for the trip! That is great! Thanks to many of you who helped her out.

Please pray for us as we spend this next week building into our leadership and preparing for the craziness that awaits us this next Saturday as our first round of students arrive here at training camp. Pray also that the storms of this area swing around us and allow us sleep and Jovie peace.

Below are some videos took tonight as the Nehemiah team arrived at training camp and some pictures of the girls from earlier in the week. Enjoy!

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Eve of Departure


So I am pretty dang bone tired as I write this update. We have spent the past two weeks in a whirlwind of activity as we have A)moved out of our house of the last four years and packed all of our stuff into a POD and B)Prepared to leave for our two months with Royal Servants in Illinois and then India. For those of you wondering, the reason we have moved out of our house is that we will be moving into the Holcomb’s house upon returning from India. But we are sad to move out of our house of the last four years. It has been such a great house full of such wonderful memories of our family at it’s earliest stage. And we could not have had greater landlords. They were such a blessing and encouragement to us.

Tomorrow we get up early in the morning and head to the airport for another summer with Royal Servants. What’s funny is how melancholy I get every year at this point. It is hard to leave home, leave our family and friends and church. And it is hard to pack our lives up every year to spend our summers half way around the world. There is a part of me every year that says, “What are we doing? Are we nuts?.” In other words, we are not exactly overjoyed to leave home; we love it. And sometimes I wonder what all this transition does to or for our girls. It is easy to worry about them through the whole process.

But as hard as it is to leave home, the moment we get on the plane and finally take a deep breath and focus our attention on the summer ahead of us, we can’t help but get excited. And then, when we step off the plane and meet up with our fellow Reign Staff, it is like reuniting with this other home with our other family that we love dearly. And we think about the fellowship that we will experience and the front row seat we will have to what God wants to do in the lives of students and the ministries we partner with. So I guess all that to say, as hard as it is, it is worth it. And we feel lucky to do it.

So, here we go. Please pray for us this summer. Pray for our family that God would watch over and protect and that His grace would permeate our relationships and help strengthen us in challenging and stressful times. Pray for our team and the young people who are nervous but excited about seeking God this summer. Pray for the weather at training camp in Illinois, that the storms that have been whipping through the Midwest will avoid us. Pray for traveling mercies and smooth transitions. Pray for the continuing communication and work between us and our ministry partners in India as we continue to set up our trip and details are still to be ironed out.

You all are a great support team for us. It really means a lot that we know you are praying for us and thinking about us over the summer. So many of you have already been helping us in various ways up to get to this point. We just want you to know how thankful we are for you and how important you are to us and what an important role you play for us while we gone.

And a side note–if you happen to get the urge to send us mail while we are at training camp (June 4th to July 3rd) here is the address: 14253 E. Epworth Springs Rd. Lewistown, Ill 61542. You know, like a note of encouragement or a pepperoni pizza or a note for our girls.

Extra! Extra!


Great news on a couple fronts.

1) We have found a nanny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Her name is Emily and she is a friend of a friend from our area. We are so thankful that God has provided us with such a quality young person to serve with us this summer. Thank you for all of your support and prayers throughout this process.

2) I will not be heading to training camp until June 4th (instead of May 14th). Now, this comes on the heels of a bit of bad news as a delay in construction will not allow us to move to our new training camp this summer. This is a bummer but the upside is that I will get to stick around here longer and we will have a bit more time for our upcoming move. When we got this news on Friday, it actually was a big stress reliever for both of us.

3) I ran my first marathon Sunday up by Eureka in Northern, Northern California. It is called the Avenue of the Giants Marathon and we ran it through the redwoods! Next to Dominica, it is the most beautiful place I have ever been. My goal was to finish under four hours—I finished in 4 hours and 52 seconds. This was bitterly disappointing for me at first, but could not take away how much fun I had in the whole training process, and how much of a blast the actual race was. And yes, it was painful, very painful. In fact, right after I finished I was in such bad shape that an older gentlemen came up to me and pointed out where the first aid tent was!!! I literally could barely walk.

4) The Kings are staying in Sacramento!

Here is a video I made for the India team as kind of a stress reliever and team builder as we prepare for the summer, enjoy!!!

Nanny Update


Hey Everybody,

Just wanted to give everybody a heads up in our search for a nanny. And yes, we are still in the “search” phase and have not found anyone yet. We aren’t quite in panick mode, but we are really starting to come up against it.

However, we do have one young lady who is seriously considering it as we speak. Her and her parents are going to get back to us right after Easter. This is the most serious consideration we have had yet. Please pray for her in this decision. But pray that she decides YES!

Also, one of the obstacles for a nanny is the fact that they have to raise their own support. But we have been so encouraged by several of you who have mentioned to us that you would be willing to donate to a potential nanny. Therefore, we are going to set up a nanny fund with Reign that anyone can donate too. Thank you so much in advance! If you are interested in doing that-shoot me a quick email @ and I will give the information and link on how to do that. We have an awesome support team!

We will keep everyone posted.

Meanwhile, preperation for India has been furious as of late, and I just recently got word that I will be heading out to training camp on May 14th this year, three weeks earlier than usual. This is due to the fact that we will be working hard to get our new training camp field ready. Plus, on top of that, we have decided to move out of our house at the end of May and move into a new house when we return in the early fall. So needless to say, things are a bit crazy right now. Pray for our sanity!

God Bless,

Royal Servants Info Meeting


This Saturday at 1:30pm at Oak Hills Church in Folsom, I will be hosting an informational meeting about Royal Servants. These meetings are always a lot of fun for those who are preparing for trips this summer with Royal Servants, and for anyone who may be interested. It is a great opportunity to have all your questions answered, connect with other future Royals Servants, and see a wicked awesome packing demonstration. I highly recommend anyone who is joining a team this summer to attend, as you will leave equipped with a bunch of great info and ideas as you continue to prepare for your trip. Families are of course welcome, snacks and drinks will be provided! Here is the link to event, where you can also RSVP if you plan on attending:

India Update + Funny Vid



The last couple weeks have been interesting to say the least when it comes to the preperation for the India team. To make a long story short, we are now planning to work with The Nehemiah Project in India, the ministry run by fellow Oakhillian Tim Hooey! We are so excited for this change in plans, and really feel that this is a God directed move. Here is the link to the official announcement from our ministry website:

Also, here is a blooper reel of a video that my nephew Zach and I are putting together for the India team as they prepare for the summer. I will update you’all soon on the members of our team.

We Need Help!!!


We are in desperate need of a nanny for this upcoming summer. Do you know of anyone who would be a good candidate? If so, send us a note and let us know. We are beginning to run up against it time wise and it is starting to occupy an unhealthy amount of our brains!

Below are a couple pictures we took recently as a family. And since we never take pics, I thought I would post a couple

This upcoming Saturday I will be speaking at the Men’s Breakfast at Oak Hills. Of course I will be speaking about Royal Servants among other things.

One last thing. On April 16th, we will be holding an informational meeting about Royal Servants at Oak Hills. If you are interested or know of a young person who might be interested for this summer or a future one, then visit this link: Royal Servants Meeting I would love to have a ton of people at this meeting.



I just received this email. Awesome.

PRAISE THE LORD!! The meeting went so well. They were VERY impressed with our presentation and we have been approved to go forward as an exception in relation to the regulations. This is incredible news!!

Thank you for all your prayers!

New Training Camp Land!


Important Meeting this Friday This is from an email a Reign staff member (Darla Hanson) about an important meeting that will take place today which will have a big impact on future training camps and how we do things in Royal Servants:

PRAYER NEEDED: On Friday I’ll (Darla) be helping with a crucial meeting between Reign Ministries and the WI Health Dept. This will determine what regulations we need to meet to be licensed in WI. It’s could green light our New Training Camp or send us back to the drawing board with very costly (tens of 1,000s of $ worth) delays. We want to honor the authority over us yet stay true to our program God has given us.

Tom, Margaret and I will be going and meeting in Madison at the Health Department from 1 to 2:30. (Central, 11 to 12:20 Pacific) Right now!

Basically, in a nut shell, because we are moving our training camp from IL to WI, we are dealing with county/health codes that could potentially force us to alter how we run our training camps. Everything we do at training camp has intentional purpose behind it and is important in the preparation process for our students. Please pray for the meeting this Friday, that the Lord will provide a way through the red tape and difficulties.

I am currently in the thick of recruiting for this upcoming summer (it feels funny to think about summer when it is down-pouring outside), and I will post an update on that in the next few days.

Update + Christmas Photos+Funny Vid


Hello Everybody!

Recruiting–Well, we are deep into the recruiting process for this upcoming summer as I have been zipping all over Norcal meeting with youth pastors and speaking at youth groups and students have started downloading applications for our teams in earnest. Last week I had the privilege of speaking at Oak Hills and Calvary Chapel in Placerville, and this week I will be speaking at Centenary United Methodist in Modesto and Journey Church in Folsom. This is really the front end of the speaking season, so I will keep you all up to date on when and where I will be speaking. Please pray for me tonight as i travel to Modesto, that the students who attend the youth group tonight will have open hearts to the opportunity that Royal Servants presents to them in their walks with Christ.

New Website–Reign Ministries has completed a redesigned website and it is kick butt! Check out our profiles if you have a chance and bounce around the site, lots of really cool stuff. Click on the following link and scroll down to find Steph and I:

Staff Profiles

Family Update–The girls are doing great, Railey is now 9 months old and her personality is blossoming. She loves to laugh and talk in her own language and she is starting to stand on her own for anywhere from 1 to 4 seconds. Jovie just turned 3 years old and is one spunky/creative girl. She lives a in a crazy imaginary world. My favorite is when she pretends to be a girl named Kelly Sketcher (she made it up, don’t ask me!) and I play the character Doo-dah. She can go for hours as a character and don’t dare call her Jovie when she does. Below are some pictures of them from the holiday season. And below the pics is a funny video I thought you might all enjoy of a Chinese track athlete getting a little frustrated while hurdling (so funny!!)

I love how this guy is like ‘forget it, I’m just gonna bust through these!’

Carr Update


Our Community Group is Over
We recently took part in a small group with 5 other couples where we each gave something up for three months and then had to rely on the other couples for what we gave up. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? For example, Steph and I gave up our washing machine and we not able to do our own laundry from August to November. Instead, we had to do our laundry at the houses of the other couples or drop it off for them to do. Before you applaud us for how hard core this was, more props must go to our friends the Hooeys, who gave up their cars for the three months. The group itself was a very interesting and formational group. It stretched us spiritually and made us realize just how little we rely on others to fill our needs (and are the worse for it). But I must say…it sure is good to have our washing machine and dryer back!

Lords Land 2010! A couple weeks ago Steph and I spoke at the retreat for the high school youth group at Oak Hills. We get to do this retreat every year at the awesome Lord’s Land Retreat Center in Mendocino. It happens to be where we married and is always awesome to visit. We spoke on the topic of spiritual anatomy. I (Travis) spoke on the mind and the importance of what we put into it as well as the feet and challenging the youngsters on who they follow. Steph spoke on the power of the tongue to bring life and death as well as the heart, the importance of it and how our life flows from it. All in all, it was a good trip and really fun to be around a good group of young people.

Steph The Sermonizer! This past weekend Stephenie had the opportunity of giving the message at Oak Hills. She spoke on the reckless joy of the incarnation and she was awesome! I am pretty proud of how studly she is. Funny note–In her message she included the joke “the salmon of capistrano”– which was a quote from the movie Dumb and Dumber. However, no one got the reference and the majority of the crowd was left baffled as to why the reference wasn’t the swallows of Capistrano instead. I can’t tell you how many people came up to us after the service to let us know that the reference was incorrect. Pretty funny! (I guess Steph is a regular Andy Kaufman!) Here is a link to listen to her message RECKLESS JOY

It’s A Wonderful Life Last night at Cappuccino Christmas, an annual woman’s event at Oak Hills, I got to play George Bailey in a radio version of the classic It’s A Wonderful Life. It was a ton of fun and allowed me to attempt to impersonate good ole James Stewart, one of my favorite actors of all time.

Recruiting for summer 2011 Well, I am already off and running with recruiting for this upcoming summer with Royal Servants. I am currently in the midst of setting up my speaking calendar and meeting with local youth pastors. If you have any connections to local youth groups, let me know as I am always looking to expand my recruiting base and expose as many young people as possible to the awesome opportunity that is Royal Servants. I will post my speaking schedule as soon as it is solidified.

Jovie and the Toilet! Jovie is potty trained!!!! It has been a long time coming as we have attempted every trick in the book, but Jovie has finally done it. So weird to hear her go off on her own to the bathroom and do her business.


Video This is a random video, but I thought some of you would get a kick out of it. This is a guy going up to give his offering at his church. And don’t think if he offered to teach me how to do this that I wouldn’t do it. I love this guy!!!!!!

New Elements added to this blog


Check out seveal of the new elements:

Listen to Student Testimonies Page above-I posted three stories told by Royal Servants alumni! Check it out.
The links to the right-Check em out, good stuff. Especially Travis Videos–some funny stuff in there.
Twitter feeds to the right–displaying twitter feeds from Reign Ministries and my own personal tweets.
Flickr feed from the Reign Ministries account–full of awesome pics.

Staff Conference


Hello everyone.

I just recently got back from Minnesota where we had our annual staff conference for Reign Ministries. As always it was a good time as we told stories about our summers overseas and game planned for this upcoming year. I always come home from conference fired up for the upcoming months of recruiting and preperation for next summer.

One thing we did while at conference was travel to our new training camp site just outside of Portage Wisconsin. We now own 80 acres there and are furiously in the process of preparing it to take over as the training camp site for this upcoming summer. So far that has included tons of work clearing fields and building with tons of work (and building) still to be done. Below are some pictures–exciting!!

Pics + Videos + links about INDIA!!!!


—Link to updates written over the summer:

This has a few pages of updates that I wrote while in India.

—Links to Pics of Training Camp + India:


From this video, you can link to a bunch more if you follow it to its youtube link

We are Back, Reflections on India


Hello Everyone!

It has been a long time since I was able to post anything.  My apologies to those who don’t or aren’t able to follow the blog on  India was very difficult to get internet access in, especially the place we were located.  I felt the need to update you all always weighing on me in the back of my brain, but it just wasn’t possible.  Simply put, it has been a crazy couple of months full of stress and awesomeness combined.  But a whirlwind for sure and we are just starting now to decompress and reflect back.

Our time in India was both memorable and rich.  Yet again, we experienced a summer of young people growing in their faith in front of our eyes.  It is always hard to look back and sum up all that went into spending two whole months with a group of people, but I will try nonetheless as both Steph and I will post some reflections on this blog in the next couple of weeks.

For those of you who are curious here is a quick recap of our time in India:

First two days (July 6th to 8th) we spent in an old part of Delhi called Pahar Gange where we spent our time in a hotel acclimitizing and adjusting to the new time zone (12 &1/2 hours ahead!)  The highlight of this time was when we took walking tours of Old Delhi and our students were overwhelmed with the poverty and craziness that they saw.

Next two days (July 8th & 9th) spent on a train heading to the state of Bihar in Eastern India.  The ride was a whopping 24 hours long and quite a cultural experience.  We each had a bed to sleep on, which was nice, although you had to get over the cockroaches dancing on the walls if you wanted to get some rest!

Next sixteen days (July 9th to 25th) spent living at the Duncan Academy and hospital compound in Raxual, Bihar which lies directly on the border of Nepal.  During this time we facilitated a Vacation Bible School for the young people of Duncan Academy as well as visiting and doing ministry in local villages, and a leprosy colony.  Other ministry opportunities included leading devotionals and afternoon activities with children from a hostel each day as well as leading a church service in English one Sunday.

Next five days (July 26th to 31st) spent in Southern Delhi for our time of debriefing.  Here the students decompress and recive teachings on how to reflect not only on everything that God taught them throughout the summer but also to prepare ofr going home.

That is a basic rough outline of our summer with many great stories and amazing God moments that fill in all the details to follow.  Below to fill in some of those gaps are  is an update I just wrote that reflects back on the entire summer:

Well, the dust has settled.  The train rides are over, the crazy rickshaw rides and coach rides are past memories.  The mad dash to get home and put all of our students on their connections and headed home is settled and done.  And the realization that we are home has now fully sunken in.  We are no longer sweating record levels and consuming copius amounts of delicious curry!  We are no longer witnessing bulls walk right through the middle of the most chaotic traffic you can imagine.  We are no longer watching a monkey jump up and practically give Erin Bidwell a heart attack as she gazes out the window of our bus.  And we are no longer taking daily cups of homemade chai.

To be honest, this summer was really a lot of fun.  India is such a fascinating place.  Trying to describe it is a challenge because honestly it is so different than any other place I have ever been (and I’m confident the same holds true for our students).  So in lieu of trying to capture it with what would most likely be boring paragraphs, I thought I would try to recap my top ten favorite moments/things about this summer/India, so here we go.

10.  Watching one of our students, Ani, out of nowhere, rap the connecting with God booklet at training camp.  Two things passed through all of our minds as she started rapping- A)We had no idea it was possible to rap the CWG and B)Man, Ani can lay it down!!!! You have to hear it to believe it.

9.  On one of our last days in India, Matt Duval and Alex Grandjean payed 10 rupees (about 20 cents) each to have a monkey climb on their shoulders and mess with their hair.  I don’t know what was funnier, the monkeys or how excited Matt and Alex were.  And then the owners of said monkeys tried to extort Alex and Matt for 500 Rupees each!

8.  Knowing that we would be facilitating a Vacation Bible School for young people while in India, we as a team during training camp planned out several Bible stories that we could share.  One of them was the story of Shadrach, Mesach, and Abendengo being thrown into the fiery furnace from the book of Daniel.  The main theme of that story was that there is only one true God that we are to worship.  We had no idea how powerful of a message this would be in India until we got there.  The Hindu culture is one of hundreds of God (which Jesus is just one of many), so to see how God worked through our students through this story was amazing.  And as we already wrote about, several Indian students responded that their desire was to follow the one true God!  How awesome is that-God is good.

7.  Every night in India, one of our students got the opportunity to share the Word and speak at a devotional time in front of the students who lived at the hostel on the grounds of the school where we were working.  It was really fun to see each student share their faith from their own unique perspective and to realize the impact that their example and words had and will continue to have on the young people from the hostel.

6.  During a prayer time one night right before the students headed to bed, one of our senior staff, Alex Grandjean, unintentionally prayed something that sent us all into hysterics and completely dissolved our prayer time.  He said “Lord, we came to serve this summer, but we got served.”

5.  After braving the Old Delhi train station and finally making it to our train platform, several of our students found it rather funny that the only spot on me that wasn’t dark with sweat was the breast pocket on my button up shirt.  I was then donned “two-toned Travis” for how often I sweat through my shirts (which happened about once every 3.5 seconds).

4.  Watching some of our students on our team love on the street kids in a shopping plaza in Delhi.  These street kids are ignored and forgotten and never touched by anyone.  So to see our students smile at them, speak with them, buy them ice cream, and hold them was truly an amazing example of Christ’s love.

3.  The wife of the principal of the school where we were serving, Victoria, was in charge of all of are meals while we were at Duncan Academy.  Now, while the meals were awesome and she really became like a mother to all of us, I will always remember her for how gaga she went over our daughter Railey.  Every chance she got, she would cart Railey around the room with a big smile on her face.

2.  During our VBS with the older students of Duncan Academy, each of our students led a group where they facilitated discussions about Jesus and the Good News.  It was awesome to see how courageous and willing our students were to share their faith.

1.  Roof top worship times as we overlooked the city of Raxaul.  Somehow these times helped sharpen our focus not only on our big God who is doing big things among this community, but also on the people who are in desperate need of him.  It was powerful to walk away from these, clear about why were we there and who we came to serve.

Thanks again to our students who were awesome and to our newfound friends and fellow believers at Duncan Academy!

My Solo Tour of Historic Boston Through Tweets!