We've been doing this now for 7 years. There have been many days where it has taken everything we have to continue on, however, there hasn't been one single day that we haven't gone to bed without gratitude. Without a doubt we wouldn't have been able to do any of this first without the support of our family and closest friends but second from so many people we have met along the way. From all of you.
It’s hard to ask for anything when we feel we have been so blessed in this life. We know the opportunities before us are rich and we believe that our needs will be met and we will also be able to contribute towards meeting the needs of others.
However, we find ourselves at a cross roads in life. For years we’ve been acknowledging and whispering to one another about the need to really take a season of rest. Our intention was to take that time this winter. We’ve been pushing aside a health threat with Brian’s mouth that is only getting worse by the week.
We’re also exhausted. We've traveled through 23 countries and 48 states. 9 cross country tours and over 250,000 miles of driving. Neither of us have lived in a home for over 7 years. We’ve lived in tents, vans and school buses. We aren’t complaining, we chose this lifestyle and have been inspired every single day by the people we meet and the beauty we’ve seen. Our souls have been overwhelmed by the goodness we have experienced here and our hope in humanity is always growing.
Two weeks ago the transmission on our new bus went out, the mechanics said our engine didn’t look too strong either. This is our second bus, we bought it at the end of March and spent a lot of time and pretty much all our resources making this new home. After losing two buses in less than a year, we’re re-learning not to be attached to anything. We’re trusting this happened to re-direct us and push forward this season of healing and true rest that our bodies and spirits desperately need.
We’ve decided to rest in Thailand. The reason being is that we can afford the medical treatment Brian needs and we can manage to live there comfortably for less than $20 a day. Originally we were going to go in December but now we believe it is time to go now. Brian’s health can't be pushed aside any longer.
We've learned a lot in the last 7 years. This journey has been amazing, however we need to go back to the drawing board. We would never completely walk away from the music or Journey4YOUth but the way we do it in the future may look very different than the past. We don’t know what to expect so at this time we are not making any plans (or booking shows). We want to remain open, trusting God will reveal these next steps to us.
We are on our way to Asia right now with almost nothing. But we’ve lived like that for so many years that we’re not worried about our needs being met; somehow they always are. Our biggest concern is being able to raise the funds for our non-profit Journey4YOUth. We have over 100 kids in our sponsorship program. We also have 15 kids who will be graduating 8th grade this year and we’d like to see them go on to high school which is $300-$500 in Kenya. The average person we work with makes less than $1 a day. (So even an entire years wage couldn’t even send their child to high school). In addition we are giving micro-loans to women so one day they can meet these needs themselves. The women will also pay their loans forward to another woman in 2-3 years. Generating lasting change from within.
Brian and I can live simply, we can live with little but it has always been hard to justify taking the break we need to take because we raise money for these children and these women at every single show and we don’t want their needs that are far greater than ours to fall through the cracks.
We share all this with you with no expectation for anything. We know how loved and supported we are. Thank you. If you want to help please consider donating to Journey4YOUth. You can sponsor a child for $30 a year (nursery-8th grade) or if you’re really ambitious you can find a way to send an adolescent to go high school ($300-$500 depending on the school) or engage your community to fund a micro loan for one of the women we work with.
Those links are here:
Another great way to support Journey4YOUth is by setting up a monthly donation. There are already several people who give between $15-$25 (which all adds up). We're grateful for these donors because it really helps us maintain our daily programs as well as the larger programs (educating children and empowering women). Daily we take care of 7 older widows and 1 total orphan. http://www.journey4youth.org/donate.html
Brian and I have never taken a single dollar from Journey4YOUth. This keeps our administrative costs below 3%. Giving more to the people we serve, with the ultimate goal being one day they won't need us, and they themselves will be the ones giving to many more.
As challenging as it is to cancel the tour and as much as we don’t want to miss out on seeing so many people (especially our families), we have peace that this is what needs to be done. We’re confident that we’ll be able to come back renewed and ready to give more of ourselves.
As a token of gratitude, Brian wants to give away all his music. Since we can't continue to spread the music ourselves at this time, we want to give it to all of you and let you spread it for us. For the next few weeks you can go here and download Brian's 1st, 2nd and 5th album. He will upload the other two albums in another week or so. It is completely free. Noisetrade (the website we're giving the music away on) gives people the option to leave a 'tip' please know that this is not necessary but if you want to help us personally through this time you could do so there.
Download the music and tell your friends to download it. Take it and continue spreading it around the world. http://noisetrade.com/brianernstmusic
Someone told us recently, you can't burn out if you were never on fire.
That is so true.
We're going away for a while but we will come back stronger.
Thanks again, and God bless.
Katie & Brian Ernst