“I’ve been through a tough week and a very hard day.” Tears flooded the man’s eyes as he shook my hand after a concert. “Now I feel such peace.” During our 2010 winter break, the Three Angels’ Chorale spent three weeks presenting concerts from Virginia to California and back. Throughout those 9,200 miles, we received many opportunities to witness the Holy Spirit working in people’s hearts as we presented “Heaven’s Greatest Gift,” a seasonal celebration of the life of Christ. Whether in churches, prisons, schools, homes or even gas stations, God had specific individuals for us to meet.
“We are so amazed. We rarely see people your age doing this kind of work!” People are inspired and encouraged when they see young people presenting Christ in music and testimony.
We also have been blessed with special power to reach other young people. At a youth correctional facility in California the chaplain explained, “Some of these young men and women are facing life sentences. They don’t need entertainment. They need Jesus.” Some of those teenagers had committed violent crimes. The spiritual warfare grew visible as we sang, and we prayed that God would speak to them through us.
“God worked here tonight through your music,” the chaplain told us later. “When these young people go back to their rooms, the battle begins as they struggle with what they have seen and heard. Please pray for our work here,” he pleaded.
Sometimes we ourselves forget the tremendous power of sacred songs to convict and comfort. This proved especially true at a boarding school in Arizona where caring Seventh-day Adventists work for Native American youth, many from traumatic backgrounds. Our choir director, Betsy Mayer, met a senior named Emanuel at breakfast. He shared about his baptism.
“Do you know what your name means?” she asked him.
He shook his head.
“It means ‘God is with us.’ During our concert we will be sharing a song entitled ‘Immanuel.’ It has a special message just for you.”
Classes started as soon as our concert ended, but Emanuel took the time to tell us how much the music meant to him. He even asked for some of the music so that he could learn to play it himself.
We later learned from a school counselor how God really was with Emanuel. During one school break he had found his clothes outside his home in a box and no trace of his family. Now the Seventh-day Adventists at the mission school are his family.
When the last note sounds at a concert, our ministry doesn’t end. The music frequently opens the way for us to pray with our guests and share about God and the unique missionary training we receive at Hartland. We often leave Last Generation magazines, and many people buy our CDs and receive information about our school.
At a gas station in Utah, a Native American lady selling beads motioned Adrian, a black choir member, over. “Come here. I want you to meet my husband.” She explained, “My husband is black, too, and we never see black people out here.”
“At first I feared that I was about to be robbed, but then I sensed an opportunity to witness,” Adrian says. “She took me to the back of the parking lot and began asking me questions.”
Adrian shared that he sang in a Christian choir, and the woman opened up about her desire to return to God. Her husband, completely skeptical, mocked her. “He just wants your money!” As Adrian and the wife continued talking, the husband walked away.
“I felt impressed to offer her a CD,” says Adrian. “I ran to the van for one, but when I got back to her, the husband had returned.
“Then her husband yelled, ‘You actually bought one of those things from him?’ When I explained to him that it was a gift, his expression changed to one of surprise.
“As I turned to leave, the man stopped me and said, ‘You know, she’s going to play that thing, and it’ll probably drive me crazy, but that’s okay. I need God right now, too.’”
As I reflect on this trip, I am reminded how God used us to bring the Three Angels’ Messages to people who might have never attended a prophecy seminar or a Seventh-day Adventist church. Our tour was not just a series of nice songs, but music with power, testimonies from the heart, and an opportunity to witness and to encourage others.
by Claire Ware, Junior, Christian Secondary Education