Friday, February 13, 2009
The journey began 5 years ago this month when our Missions Minister, Scott Harris introduced us (me and Karla) to John & Avril Thomas from Cape Town, South Africa.
That conversation was the beginning of a most incredible music & worship ministry missions partnership with some of the most loving, talented, and under-resourced people on planet earth. Since our first trip there in 2004, we have taken (3) music/worship teams there leading workshops, and we are planning two more trips this year.
At our very first meeting with John, he told us about a church choir in a community (Masiphumelele - "Masi" for short) near his church who had recorded their very first CD. He was convinced that one day this choir should and would record another CD. In March of 2007, our team spent several days in Cape Town recording the Masi Choir. In and around that same time, several Christian artists (Jars Of Clay, Casting Crowns, and Michael W. Smith) made their way to Cape Town - they met John, heard about the ministry of Living Hope, heard the Masi Choir sing and lead worship, and they all told John they would do whatever they could do to help the ministry of Living Hope and the Masi Choir. John was convinced in his heart that these artists "had" to be on this CD. (If you know John - his vision, passion, and faith are all "off the chart", and it is almost impossible to say "no" to him!!)
So, literally for the past two years, we have been working on behalf of John Thomas, Living Hope, and the Masi Choir to "secure" these artists and have them record one song on the Masi Choir CD.
The beautiful and sometimes frustrating thing about artists who want to help ministries like Living Hope and the Masi Choir is that they truly want to do this, but they are also most often contractually obligated to companies who quite honestly cannot always afford to allow such valuable "assets" to "give away" their name value to charitable organizations.
However, today was a monumental day in this journey.
Both Michael W. Smith and Dan Haseltine (lead singer for Jars Of Clay) came to the studio and recorded their respective songs. I can't tell you in words how I feel. I see the faces of that choir, I hear their voices, and now we have (arguably) two of the most recognizable voices in Christian music singing along with this beautiful African choir!
I praise God for His timing. I look forward to what is next, but for today, I thank God for the unique and authentic generosity of two men who more often than not have to say "no" when they truly want to say "yes".
Today they said "yes", and there are many people in a tiny church in the middle of a community overcome with poverty and HIV/AIDS who are rejoicing!
To God be the glory!