What's Happening?

Life on the road is never boring! Whether it's a birthday party or a fall outing, read these articles to hear about the recent fun the team has been having.

Thanksgiving Plans

turkeyLess than a week, and our team will officially be on Thanksgiving break! Normally this would signal the end of our traveling semester, but we are meeting up in Indianapolis, IN for a recording the week after Thanksgiving. Because of this, some people are foregoing the normal Thanksgiving meal around their family's table for a "Trailer Thanksgiving". Laura, Sarah, John, and Matt are all spending the holiday with the Galkin family in Indianapolis--this helps save a little money on plane tickets, as we would just have to be back in Indy that Saturday. Will, the true chef of the team, is already planning his gourmet meal, but each team member is expected to contribute a dish. Laura has already made plans for fried okra--a true Southern girl. The Rolands are pulling out Monday night from Minnesota to drive through the night to Mom Roland's house in Denver. We are looking forward to seeing Mom, Grandma, and brothers Ben and Jonathan--Ben, who is at BJU, has still never met Evi! Jonathan is flying down to Greenville, along with our good friend Baldoni (the accordian) to give it to the Pettit team who needs to take it on their trip to Spain. Reba is stopping in at her house in South Bend, IN to spend Thanksgiving with her crazy, large family. We are glad that we all have friends or family to spend this important holiday with--stay tuned, as we may have a special Galkin digital short afterwards. :)


What is a Cola War?

whatiscolawarthumbI've been having more and more people asking me lately, "So, what exactly is a Cola War?" If you're reading this article, it's probably because you are somewhat connected to our ministry, whether through a week of meetings we had at your church, Northland Camp, or a relationship with one of the team members. But unless you have actually been a teen in a Cola War, maybe you find yourself wondering, "What exactly goes on during one?" :)

Well, I doubt you'd find the phrase "Cola War" in the dictionary if you looked it up. But, the phrase was coined by my very own brother-in-law (Will Galkin) in the early nineties while he traveled on the Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team. He worked with teens each week, and through his experiences, came up with a great way to reach youth during a week of meetings. The name just refers to the simple fact that the teams are Coke and Pepsi. They are made up of both guys and girls, senior high and junior high, so that the teams can be as even as possible. On Sunday night, each youth group member/teen is placed onto one of these teams. We have a "pre-service" that meets 45 minutes before the regular service, and during this time, we play a quick indoor game and hear a challenge from the person in charge of the teens (who happens to be my handsome husband for our team).

The POINT of a Cola War is evangelism. I doubt any youth pastor really wants to spend all the money that goes into a Cola War so that his teens can hang out together and eat pizza. :) Starting on Sunday, we are teaching teens about the Gospel, about how it should affect our life, and how that should play out with our unsaved friends. Many of the teens we meet don't know anyone their own age who hasn't heard the Gospel--that's a problem. We NEED to be a part of our communities so we can share the good news of Jesus with others! And, if the Gospel is really at work in someone's life, this will be happening! So, all week long we are teaching the teens truths from the Bible, and encouraging them to invite their unsaved friends to the BIG Cola War night, which usually takes place on a Thursday.

Fast forward to THE day. Our team prepares all day for the teen event. Sometimes we expect less than 20 teens to show up. I think the biggest Cola War I've ever been a part of was in Concord, NH. Hundreds of teens came out--it was a blast, but a nightmare to keep score in sometimes. :P Around 5 o'clock, our team goes outside, where the guys engage the teens present in some fun, casual games like throwing around a football, and the girls work at the registration table. Registration serves two purposes--it allows us to meet any visitors that come and have them fill out an information card so we can keep in contact with them, and it allows us to make sure the teams are very even. Sometimes this requires us switching church teens to a different team, but they are usually so tied in to the evangelistic purpose by the point that it's not a problem. After registration, Josh starts leading some big, rough, outdoor games. These include Tube Tug and Tackle, Don't Crack the Six-Pack, Soda Challenge, and everyone's all-time favorite, Spoke Tackle. I have no idea where these games came from, but teens love them.

After the outdoor games, we head inside for free, all-you-can-eat pizza. This is one of the things we make sure the teens know is going to be there when we invite them (the other two are rough competition and a Gospel message), and the pizza probably draws in the biggest crowd. We make sure to have the lines all set up, pizza on plates, cans of soda out, so that teens can get their food and get right into the room where we will eat. We have them divided up onto chairs on two sides of the room, and continue the competition with trivia questions and small competitions. Our team can be seen roaming the room, offering more pizza or drinks. This keeps the teens seated, which helps with the chaos. We do this right up until the service is supposed to start, then usher the teens into the main service. We usually all sit together so the teens feel more comfortable. This is the most important part of the night--where the teens hear the Gospel. This is why we spend the money on the pizza, games, drinks, and invitations. After the service, we try and connect with as many visitors as possible. Many times teens may not be ready to make a decision in the service, but they have questions--and we love to answer them. We have found that more teens express a desire to accept Christ as their Savior in a one-on-one conversation after the service than during the invitation. Our team is always overjoyed to be able to show someone from the Bible how to be saved!

So, this is a Cola War. Cola Wars actually have a very special place in my heart. When I was in high school, the Pettit team came to my church and held a Cola War with my youth group. Will happened to be the guy in charge of the teens. All week I remember having lots of fun, but Friday night, I dedicated my life to full-time Christian service. It was a very defining moment in my walk with the Lord as a high schooler, where I chose to actively start pursuing Him, which manifested itself in actually spending time in God's Word every day. I know God could have led me to this decision without the Cola War and week of evangelistic meetings, but I think it's awesome that I now get to be a part of the same ministry that God used so much in my life.

-Caroline Roland


Matt is engaged!

mattengagedwebWell, I have an announcement...I’m engaged! Almost two weeks ago, on the 13th, I flew home after our half-week in Jordan, MN to surprise my new fiancé, Anna Niarchos. I had been planning the whole thing for months and I’m so glad that she was surprised, and that we are finally engaged!!!

Here’s a somewhat shortened version of how it happened. Anna and I met and started dating while we were both working at the Wilds Christian Camp in North Carolina. About three or four miles from the camp, there’s a waterfall that we stopped by several times the summer we started dating. We had some fun memories from our dates to the falls, and I knew that it would be the perfect spot to get engaged. So, her parents told her they wanted to get away for a weekend up in mountains and that they wanted her to go with them. They picked her up from school on Friday the 14th and drove her right past the spot along the side of the road by the where the waterfall is. I was waiting for them there and totally surprised Anna, who thought I was still up in Minnesota until December! We took the short walk up to the waterfall where I had a bouquet of her favorite flowers waiting. I had my guitar there and sang her a song, and asked her to be my wife. She said yes! Whew! :)

We spent the weekend with her parents and my parents who came up the next day and had a wonderful time in the mountains. The leaves had some spectacular color, and it was so nice to be able to enjoy creation, our families, and each other. We’re so thankful how the Lord has directed our lives together.

Since I did not have to get back with the team until the 22nd, we were able to spend the whole next week together as well. It was fun to be around her as she showed off her ring and told our story to friends.

We do have a date–July 14th this coming summer in her hometown, Lilburn GA. Please pray for us as we make decisions about how God would use us in the future.

-Matt Reid


4 Wheelin'

4wheelinthumbWhile we were visiting International Falls last week, some of the folks in the church really went above and beyond to show us a good time. Pastor Shane Belding and Ross Crowe gathered around twelve 4-wheelers for our team to enjoy in the beautiful woods of northern Minnesota. This was a day that we will not soon forget!

Last Thursday morning we all got together at a cabin and spent the morning riding on some old logging roads with Ross Crowe as our guide. Riding through the woods and seeing the beautifully colored leaves was awesome! We stopped at a few sandy spots as well to play around on the 4-wheelers. We did a few jumps, doughnuts, and made a whole lot of dust! It was so much fun. It was kinda scary to see what happened to Reba, Laura, and Sarah when they got on a wheeler. . . there was a whole new dare-devil side that came out! I think it maybe comes from playing a little too much Mario Cart!

For lunch we roasted hot dogs, and Mr. Crowe taught us how to make sliders, which were basically roasted crescent roll dough stuffed with jelly. They were delicious! After lunch we played a little more on the ATVs and were also able to do some skeet shooting. The Galkin kids were able to get in on the shooting too. The kids shot Mr. Crowe’s .22 rifle, and William got to shoot his first shotgun.

We are thankful for the time and money these kind people from International Falls spent on us as a team. They allowed us to enjoy some of their hobbies with them, and we had a blast doing it! I’m thankful that God allows us to meet and enjoy fellowship with so many of His children as we travel. He surely is good to us!

-Matt Reid


{the} Kids

thekidsthumbnailAnother traveling year has begun for the team, which means another year on the road for the Galkin kids. They are excited to share this new year with their cousin, Evi. We'd like to give you a little update of what's happening with the Galkin and Roland cousins.

Anna Grace has entered FIFTH grade (still hard for me to believe!) She is a great help with the younger kids. She has been able to participate in her first school Cola War this week, and has enjoyed playing the games she has watched for so long. She continues to study violin and piano, but her great love seems to be reading--she eagerly searches out church libraries to see what new books she can find. William has entered fourth grade and loves learning about all subjects. Don't tell him a story unless you're prepared to be able to explain how and why it all works. He enjoys taking apart broken electronics and discovering how things work. He is playing guitar, and loves to sing along with the guys in music practice. Lilly is in second grade and still earns her nickname of "Silly Lilly". She is always full of laughs and often has the team members genuinely laughing at her humor. She is learning penny whistle and wows us all with her skill at computer and iPhone games. David is in first grade and working hard in his work books and at learning to read. He is almost done with his first year of cello lessons. Eliana "does" school with the older kids and bosses around the youngest member of the family, Snickers. She also takes good care of her younger cousin Evi. Evi has mastered crawling and wants to walk sometime soon. We have heard her say "Hi" three times, but her favorite word to say over and over is still Dada. The older kids are working as a team to put on a 5-day skit in each church that teaches their peers about the 5 Lie Smashing Facts we learn in the children's program. They all have a special place in our hearts, and we are glad to be their friends!

-Caroline Roland


4 Birthdays and a Game of Mafia

4birthdaysmafiathumbHere on the Galkin Team, we do birthdays right! With 15 people total on the team, there are several opportunities to celebrate during the traveling season! Last Sunday night we celebrated 4 birthdays: Laura’s, Caroline’s, Reba’s, and, most importantly, my birthday (Matt)! There were lots of gifts, lots of good food, and of course, lots of good fun!

We got some pretty cool stuff, and I think each of us got at least one Starbucks card to fuel the coffee addiction we all have! We also played a game called Mafia. In this game, everyone in the group is either a townsperson, doctor, sheriff, or the mafia. In each round a couple things happen. The game runner tells participants close their eyes, then the mafia gets a chance to eliminate one person, the doctor gets to protect one person, the sheriff gets to investigate if one person is mafia, and the townspeople get to eliminate one person from the game who they think might be the mafia. The townspeople are trying to eliminate the mafia before they get eliminated themselves! It turned into a heated but hilarious game as accusations were made, key townspeople were saved from elimination, and the mafia tried to fly below the radar. We all love the chance to laugh together and enjoy each other. It’s just another part of the community of brotherly love we enjoy on the team.

The most special part of a Galkin birthday party is when we share with the group how we have seen God’s grace at work in the lives of the individuals whose birthdays we are celebrating. We share things that we appreciate about that person and ways that we have seen evidence of God’s sanctifying work going on in their lives. It’s always a sweet time that knits our hearts together and gives glory to God.

I’m thankful that I can enjoy great times with this group of people as we roll down the road, striving together for the gospel of Christ!

-Matt Reid


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