On Day 4 - we went cave tubing! We learned a lot from our guides on a nature walk to the river. Along the way, many kids tried eating termites (they taste like carrot and mint!) and held a giant tarantula!
It was glorious to swim in the cool river. The caves were amazing and just as you might expect, VIP took advantage of those divine acoustics. I was in one of the last groups, so we were probably 10 or so minutes behind the first group. As I descended the final hill down to the entrance to the river, what I heard stopped me in my tracks: it was “Blessing” pouring out of the mouth of the cave. And it was phenomenal.
I’ve heard that piece thousands of times in almost every setting — churches, an ancient monastery in Ireland, under the Chicago bean, in the rotunda of the Texas Statehouse and so many more. Honestly, I’ve done it so many times that I thought its effect had worn off. But this time... this time was different. I was hearing our signature piece, but I wasn’t IN the circle. I got to listen to that musical offering, being given solely for the glory of God and for the sheer joy of singing. It was a sacred and special moment.
I was called back to reality by the sound of kids cheering and chanting for one another, as they leapt off the giant rocks into the river.
VIPs really stepped out of their comfort zones during our cave tubing and had a wonderful time in the glory of God’s world.
We had a great lunch and headed back to the hotel to clean up before the evening concert at La Immaculada Catholic Church in Orange Walk. It is the biggest church we have seen, and the concert was very well attended. This crowd was totally into the music. We do one piece that has an audience sing-along component, and even though it wasn’t the closer of the concert, the audience jumped to their feet, singing, clapping, and cheering. It was awesome!
I think audience applause is a way of saying thank you to the musicians for sharing their time and talents, but more importantly to God, who blessed us with these gifts and brought the singers of VIP together. I always imagine that I’m holding a mirror so that when applause hits me, I can angle it right up to God.
I also think audiences clap because it’s a form of participation… When you’re clapping along with the choir, you’re helping to make the music. You instantly become part of the performance! I think God smiles when his children come together and make a joyful noise.
It was an amazing concert, and the people of Orange Walk overwhelmed us with love! We returned to the hotel, where Ben led Devo.