3 Christian schools
1 ministry tour that will never be forgotten
As a member of the orchestra at Faith Baptist Bible College, it was a dream of mine the past few years to go on a week-long music ministry tour. Last August I received an email informing the orchestra members that at the end of the 2011-2012 school year, we would finally have that opportunity. But halfway through the fall semester, that dream once again became wishful thinking when I received news that the tour had been cancelled.
Not only was I in orchestra, but I joined the handbell ensemble for the first time last fall. The orchestra and handbell choir always travel together, so the news about the cancelled tour was doubly disappointing to me. But what could I do? In a way, I wasn’t surprised by the cancellation because it had taken many years to actually have one scheduled in the first place.
But sometimes, God chooses to crush our dreams before fulfilling them, and when He does so, He demands more glory when He makes our dreams come true. In this case He temporarily took away something I wanted only to give it to me in a way I couldn’t have imagined.
Two of our orchestra members approached our college president, Dr. James Maxwell III, and expressed their disappointment over the cancelled tour. Dr. Maxwell, unaware that a tour was even planned obviously had no idea that it was also cancelled. So what did he do? He took it upon himself to re-initiate the tour and schedule the whole thing! Although the whole ordeal was confusing for awhile, I finally realized that the tour would become a reality, and my dream would come true after all.
Well, the 2012 orchestra/handbell ministry tour has officially began and ended. We departed the school at 1:00pm on Saturday, May 5 (only 24 hours after commencement), and we returned at 1:30am on Monday morning, May 14.
During that time we ministered in 9 churches and 3 Christian schools in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
It is so difficult to write in words just how well the tour went. Glorifying God through music is enjoyable enough. But having the opportunity to do it every single day for a whole week is a huge privilege. Yes, at times it can feel monotonous if the musician falls into the trap of simply going through the motions, and early on in the week I came close to adopting that mindset. But a renewed attitude of service each day helped me embrace each new opportunity to ring and string God’s praises (handbells and violin).
I suppose the easiest way to summarize the tour from my perspective without rambling is to list the highlights of the trip. I praise the Lord for the opportunity I had to travel with many fine musicians on such a fun tour and worship Him with my musical abilities.
I’m also especially thankful to Dan Bjokne (one of our vice-presidents) who came along with his wife to drive one of our shuttles, Dr. Maxwell who scheduled the tour and also joined us with his wife, and the two students who talked to Dr. Maxwell after the tour was originally cancelled. Oh, by the way, neither of those students actually got to come with us either, and yet it was largely because of their efforts that we got to go.
So without further ado, here is a rather extensive list of highlights from tour:
-A surprise visit from my family at the first concert in Albert Lea, MN
-Seeing people that I knew from IRBC at over half of the churches that we visited
-Trying to pick up a MinneSOta accent
-Mall of America and IKEA on Monday
-Receiving encouragement from people that were blessed by our music
-Opening my first sack lunch and finding a $10 bill as I pulled out my sandwich
-Frosted animal crackers
-Dr. Dougherty referring to my good friend Christian Cook as “Chin”, a nickname that is now common among Christian’s friends
-Como Park in Minnesota on Tuesday
-Impromptu “Jesus Loves Me” at the end of an evening concert
-Talking to hosts and playing games with them
-Bubble Talk in the shuttle
-Dutch Blitz in the shuttle
-Chin’s purple socks with his tux
-Learning about the history of different churches we visited
-Camp Fairwood on Thursday
-Encouraging different friends as we talked about the school year and the tour
-Playing soccer with Dr. Dougherty
-Visiting two of Dr. Maxwell’s former churches
-Sleeping on a real bed, a fold-up bed, a 3/4 inflated air bed, a couch, and a bed made of multiple sleeping bags all in one week.
-Millennium Park and Navy Pier in Chicago on Saturday
-Getting a view of Navy Pier from 42 stories up in the expensive Swissotel in Chicago
-Pizza at our hosts’ homes after three different evening concerts
-Hilarious Mad Libs
-Teaming up with Chin to “Pig” Abigail Levy’s bed every single night
-Playing one of my favorite piano arrangements on a $165,000 9-foot Steinway grand piano
-SO many hilarious comments and a few blond jokes from Dr. Maxwell
-Eating tacos at three different churches and dubbing the tour “Taco Tour Twenty-Twelve”
-Taking pictures 🙂
-Building relationships with godly friends
-Sharing snacks from the “snack box” and “snack bags”
-Ringing and stringing for God’s glory, over and over again 🙂
Yes, it was a dream…a dream come true.