Every mission trip has a different vibe - and this one is no exception. Voices In Praise is navigating their days well, and battling the heat and humidity with grace and perseverance.
Yesterday, we started at a nursing home in Belize. The choir sang a concert and visited with residents.
It’s always amazing to me to see how God shows up in different settings. We were singing a beautiful piece called “Be Not Afraid” and I looked at one of my altos. She had tears just rolling down her face as she offered words from the scripture of Isaiah: Be not afraid for I have redeemed you. Be not afraid, I have called you by name. I have no idea what was going through her mind at that exact moment, but I know that she was singing her heart out and as I looked at this child, who has had a tough year, I was just overwhelmed.
In that same concert, as we sang Here I am, Lord, many of the residents joined us in singing along. One particular resident of the nursing home used to sing in a choir, and r...
A few years ago, our home church underwent a building renovation. One of the best outcomes of that project is a stairwell with some mighty fine acoustics.
I’m sure that in all the meetings on the project – no one ever gave much thought to the stairwell. After all, it’s just a stairwell. It connects two floors. It’s up to code. It does its job. But to VIP, it’s something more.
The VIPs regularly ask to sing there and when we do, it’s pretty special. The sound is amplified and it rolls around in a way that it doesn’t in most other spaces. We’re suddenly able to hear one another, loud and clear, which enables us to tune more easily with one another.
In rehearsal last night, I was reminding the kids to open up and sing out with a little more intention. One singer said, “We need to find our inner stairwell.”
Our inner stairwell. What an interesting phrase. What IS it about that stairwell that makes it special? It seems built for singing. But is it the stairwell, or is it the way that we all...
A few weeks ago, I sat in the balcony at church. As I looked across the room, I smiled to see Kristie (Muller) Stilton, in town for the weekend from her home in NC. She was sitting on a pew with her husband and kids, parents, and sisters. Kristie was one of VIP's founding members, way back in 1998. Sitting behind her was Justin Byun - VIP Class of 2016.
I sat there, looking at Kristie and Justin and realized -- here were two people who have played huge roles in the VIP ministry . Yet, they don't know one another at all. How could that be? They came up through the same program, sang some of the same music, and had some of the same experiences. But they're strangers to one another. Their paths just didn't cross. That's so weird to me because when I think of VIP, I think of both of them!
Then, I looked at the third pew - the only other occupied bench on that side of the room. There was a young girl with her family, and I thought to myself, "I think she's a rising 6th grader. If she joins...
We are now just past the midway point of tour. As one of the kids prayed last night, "Please let time slow down a little bit."
We've been posting a lot of pictures of our group having fun but I wanted to share a little bit more about the heart of this trip with you. Because of the venues in which we sing, we're often not able to take pictures. When we go to a homeless shelter or children's home, it's critical that we respect their privacy, so cameras are always left on the bus. We have to tell the story in a different way...
On Sunday evening, the choir arrived at the Knox Area Rescue Mission (KARM) to complete service work and sing during the chapel time. We have done this before in many different shelters. We planned to have some kids work in the kitchen, while others would be sorting donations or completing projects around the facility. KARM had asked for another group of students to serve as a prayer team -- to make cards and pray for people at the facility.
One of the things that I love most about music ministry is how, in the process of making music and serving God, deep and lasting friendships are built.
This morning, we had the opportunity to sing in worship at Church Street United Methodist Church. I have been friends with their youth choir director, Tim Ward, for many years. Our choirs joined forces and sang at the United States Naval Academy Chapel in 2014. It was great to see Tim and some of those singers again!
The setting of today's worship allowed us to do some of our more formal pieces. We opened with a piece called "Music of Living" by Dan Forrest. Strong and powerful, it begins with the lines "Giver of life, creator of all that is lovely."
Iain conducts this piece for us and Brie accompanies, which leaves me in the unusual position of having absolutely no real responsibilities. Instead, I am given the joy of listening.... of being on the receiving end of the music. It is a special place to be. To watch the ki...