Choir Tour is my favorite time of the year. It reminds me a bit of Christmas because of the excitement and preparation, and (I'm not gonna lie) stress involved. All year, the choir I direct (ahem...directed) prepares and serves in the church and the community, but once a year we take a no-holds-barred-katie-bar-the-door-hang-on-tight-here-we-go missions trip.
This year, one of the best songs in this trip was a song called "Cry Out Your Name" Here are some of the lyrics...
When the mountains fall and the waters rise, with a trembling faith we lift up our eyes.
Let your power fall and your church arise.
As we cry out, Lion of Judah, protect us!
As we cry out, Shield of David, go before us!
As we cry out your name!
You are our help! You are enough! You give us strength when we had none!
You are our hope! Our great reward! You give us peace in the midst of the storm!
We cry out your name! We cry out your name! You are the Lord of Everything!
We cry out your name! We cry out your name! You are the Lord of Everything, Jesus!
This song really was our "theme song" for the week. The part that really stuck out to me was the way Jesus "went ahead" of us and protected us on this trip. First, I have to tell you about one of our chaperones - Mr G. He drove the church van the followed the bus from home to Ocean Springs, MS. About 20 minutes after arriving at Camp Victor (our home away from home for a week), Mr G. was sitting on his bed, but he was not totally coherent. His wife and a few other adults took him to the hospital to find out what was wrong with him. It turns out that he had a stroke. Yes, 20 minutes after we arrived at our destination. I don't even want to think about what it would have been like if it had happened 30 minutes earlier while we were still on the road. God went before us and protected us.
The amazing thing is that as a result of the stroke, he had no deficits. He was able to come home - err - back on choir tour with us 2 days later. He stood at the door of Camp Victor and hugged every single student as they walked in.
Second, I have to tell you about Brother Bill. It kills me that I don't have a picture of this big teddy bear of a man. He is the pastor of Lemoyne Boulevard Baptist Church. We sang there on Sunday night, and this church caught the vision of what we were doing before we even got there. Their church staff lined up 6 apartment complexes for us to share in. They went out before we got there, met with the management staff and set up the performances for us. They had never met us before - they had just talked to my main squeeze on the phone - yet they trusted us and what God was doing enough to put their own names (and their church) on the line. Not only did they set it up for us, but the entire staff came to each performance. They let us eat our lunches in their fellowship hall every day. They brought cups and water coolers. They even bought us ice cream!! Our tour would have looked totally different if they had not gone before us and supported us.
Third, I have to tell you about Home of Grace. It was our Monday afternoon contact. This place serves to help rehabilitate young women who have been tied down in a lifestyle of drug, alcohol, sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse. Some of the women there have been struggling and in and out of "programs" the majority of their lives. I don't know why, but this appointment weighed on my heart from the time it was booked. My job, as director, was to choose the elements that we put into the program for each appointment. We had over 50 elements prepared, but each element is geared to a certain audience (children, teens, general public, church audience, adults, etc.). I had the HARDEST time choosing the elements for this appointment. I wanted to choose elements that would show them God's love and hope, not share any more condemnation for the life of their past. I kept praying for God's leadership as I chose what to do for this appointment. As I wrote down the songs and skits, I kept feeling doubt, and I asked Jesus to confirm what He was leading me to do. When I got off the bus at Home of Grace, I felt flooded with peace, and I looked at one of our chaperones and said, "This is going to be good." And it was. By the second song, you could feel the emotional walls crumbling and the Spirit working. At the end, my Main Squeeze shared from Ephesians 2 - "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins....But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."
Those are some of the highlights from Choir Tour - I want to leave you with links to some of the "daily diary" youtube posts. They are each less than 2 minutes....You want to watch them :o)
What was a favorite memory from a ministry trip?