Well, the official temperature report is 97 degrees, at least according to Sam, Jayme, and Caleb when they last checked. Even though the LAs love playing outside, I think they’re preferring the air conditioning inside today!
That being said, we are glad to be home. We had an extremely busy week last week, and while it is much fun to travel and sing together as a family, it is also tiring and exhausting. So we are grateful for these two days to play “catch up” and “rest up”. Yesterday we spent the afternoon mowing and trimming our lawns (Sam is now push-mowing – good for him!) and taking care of other household duties. Tomorrow we’re beginning another four-day tour: first at Lindstrom, MN, then in Isanti, MN on Thursday, then in Windom, MN on Friday, and finally in Aitkin, MN on Saturday.
But let’s put things in reverse and review the past four concerts. I and the others took plenty of video of the past week in hopes of some future video blogs (no promises, but someday, sometime we’ll post some – if we ever get the time!).
JUNE 1st, 2011:
Seven hours of traveling. Road after road, forest after forest, rest stop after rest stop. Great deli sandwiches for lunch. Laughter and fun. Quiet times of reading and writing. Relaxation and space in the Glory Bus. Songwriting and video taping. And finally, arrival at our destination: Watertown, WI.
The first thing we did was check in at the hotel, unpack, and freshen up for the concert. Then we headed to Christ United Methodist Church, met our sweet promoter, Barbara, and started the unloading/setting up process. Come 7:00 p.m., we were chatting with the audience and all ready for the concert. (I kept forgetting we were in Wisconsin, so when people would ask, “Where do you guys come from?”, I’d reply “Braham…er, Minnesota!” 🙂 We were closer to Illinois than our home state of Minnesota!) We had a wonderful time with the people who attended the concert, and were glad for the opportunity to share the message and music God has given to us.
Thank you, Barbara, and CUMC for bringing us to Wisconsin! We enjoyed singing to y’all and hope to come again soon! 🙂
JUNE 2nd, 2011:
We left the hotel around 7:45 in the morning to arrive at Bethesda Lutheran Home in Watertown. As I mentioned in my previous blog, Bethesda Lutheran Communities is a service/home for those who struggle with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and we were going to give a concert for the residents and staff who resided in the Watertown facilities.
Wow. What an eye-opening experience.
Most of the residents were severely handicapped and disabled. Many were in wheelchairs, and could not express themselves with words. To be truthful, it was different and a little frightening, especially to Sam, Jayme, and Caleb, but we all experienced God’s moving and saw things in a different light.
When the staff was first bringing the residents in, I, to be honest, felt rather overwhelmed, and retreated to the restroom just to refocus. I prayed, “Dear Lord, give me Your heart and Your eyes.” When I came back into the chapel, I immediately saw the precious people in a new light. I saw people around my age, those who were many years older, and some younger, all struggling with disabilities, unable to communicate through words, unable to respond to normal conversation. They were people, all “fearfully and wonderfully made”. I saw the fingerprints of God all over their their sometimes expressionless faces, twisted forms, and uncontrolled limbs, and I and the rest of the family were filled with love and compassion for them.
I watched Sam, Jayme, and Caleb sing directly to the people: “There is not a mother, sister, friend, or brother loves the way that Jesus can…Jesus wants to love you, there is none above you; you are precious in His sight” and almost starting crying at the truth of those words.
Then, in the words of another song Jayme and Caleb sang, “Before I was born, He was watching from above. He paid close attention as He made me in love. He knew just how special I’d turn out to be, cause God has a plan for me!…It won’t all be easy, but God will understand. Through all the hard times, He’s there to hold my hand. He knows just how special I’ve turned out to be, cause God has a plan for me!”
It was so fulfilling to watch looks of peace and joy come across the people’s faces. One time during the concert, I saw a man (who had been sitting with his face in his wheelchair tray) raise his head and arm into the air, happiness just radiating from his face. His sisters who had come to visit him watched with joy at this moment of expression and communication. The sisters came up later and told Dad, “Music is their language.” We saw that truth come alive as we observed the people respond to our music and God’s Word.
A big thank you to Joy and all the wonderful staff who helped make the day possible! We sincerely loved coming to Bethesda, learned a lot, and would love to come back soon. God bless you in your ministry.
Well, I was going to write about all four days, but unfortunately, this is already a long post. I will stop, as other responsibilities are currently calling my name, and write more later. Look for more about the Duluth Gospel Sing and Emmanuel Baptist coming soon!
Have a wonderful evening!
Blessings and Joy in the Journey!
Taylor for TGF