(written by Bria)
Wow! What an unbelievably blessed whirlwind the last few weeks have been. I love how we never know what each new day is going to bring! One such day was June 14.
That day started out like most other days. Woke up. Cup of water. Cup of coffee. Some facebook time to find out what amazingly exciting things had happened Stateside while I’d been alseep. Some Jesus time to find out what amazingly exciting things He’d been waiting to tell me while I’d been alseep. And at some point during that amazingly exciting morning, I got a private message on facebook from a young woman, Rachel, in Kyiv. Years ago, my sisters had been very involved on a website for missionary kids, and they had “met” Rachel there. She’s now living in Kyiv, working for a mission organization, & at the time she wrote me, she was in the middle of helping to organize a youth festival called Without Walls. She remembered hearing from my sisters that I do music, and managed to find some of my videos on YouTube. After watching the videos, she and the other organizers decided that they would love to bring me to Kyiv to lead worship for the last session on the last day of the festival & then have me do a mini-concert of my original music after the session!!! I was…flabbergasted (that’s the most appropriate word I can think of to describe my emotions). I had never been invited to do music before by anyone whom I didn’t already have a personal relationship with. And here was a group of people whom I had no relationship with, not just inviting me to do music at their festival, but also offering to cover travel expenses to bring me and a band of my choosing to their city, AND pay us a generous amount on top of that for coming! Wow, God!
The only catch: the festival was only 2 1/2 weeks away from the time I got the invitation! Gaaah…freak-out time! I had no band, not to mention the festival organizers requested that I do all of the worship songs in Russian – and I barely speak Russian. Oh dear.
But, when God is involved, why do I even waste the energy on worrying? Psha!
I called some good friends of mine, who also happen to be very talented musicians (how blessed am I?), and voila!…I had a band in no time! Including my very own Lindsay, whom I pulled in to not only sing back vocals (which she can do with her eyes closed), but also to make her public debut on the clarinet (which she was a bit terrified about, considering she’d only started learning 6 months ago…but I knew she could do it). What with schedules and all, we somehow managed to squeeze out a grand total of 5 rehearsals, in which time we pulled together 8 worship songs and 5 of my original songs! Wow, God!
So, 2 1/2 weeks after being invited, I boarded an overnight train with my 5 band mates & our instruments (including Lindsay’s clarinet – yeehaw!), and we were off. All aboard…out of Lviv at 8PM & welcome to Kyiv at a very bright & early 6AM.
After being picked up and driven to the festival location, meeting Rachel in-person, going over some last-minute details, eating some breakfast, and an hour or so of down-time, it was time for a quick set-up/sound check, and then…let the worship begin.
I tell you what, one of my favorite things in the world now is leading worship in a room full of young people who are completely excited about Jesus! If we could all be consumed with that much passion for God…and keep it…we would have the Kingdom of God here in no time! 🙂
The worship was so sweet, and then once the final session had been wrapped up, they welcomed us to the stage to play a few Bria songs. Which we did. And for only 5 rehearsals it went great – the band did an amazing job…including Lindsay on her clarinet! Yay, Lindsay! And even though I was singing in English, the young people seemed to really love the songs, so that made me happy.
The best part, though, was talking to a particular young lady after the concert. She approached me about my song, Love as a Means. A couple of years ago I watched Born Into Brothels with a friend – it’s a documentary about the children that are born into the brothels of Calcutta, India. My heart was so broken, and my life so impacted, and this song came out of that:
So, this young lady came to me and said that my song meant so much to her; she’d cried all the way through it because…she had been a street kid! Oh my goodness! I NEVER imagined that my song would ever be heard by anyone who could actually relate to it. Thank God, this young lady is now in a rehabilitation home and her life is being completely changed by the love of Jesus! And I am soooo blessed by that short meeting with her. It was unforgettable to get to give her a big hug and bless her in the beautiful name of Christ. Wow, God!
And as if all of this wasn’t more blessings than I could ever ask for or imagine, before we left the festival grounds that day, I had 2 more invitations in my pocket to come do music at other youth events – one in Cherkasy (another region in Ukraine), and even one in Minsk, Belarus! WOW, God!
The festival’s last session had begun that day at 12 noon, was finished by 2:30, and we were on a train and headed back to Lviv by 5PM…it was definitely a whirlwind…but more wonderful and blessed than we could have ever dreamed of!
Isn’t it absolutely amazing that the Living God uses little us to do His work on this earth? Whatever it is – whether He asks us to sing at festivals or feed the poor or serve in the nursery at church…whatever it might be, as long as we just say ‘yes’ to Him, He can do anything with us! Wow, God!
…and speaking of saying ‘yes’…
Stay tuned for an upcoming blog entry from Krista, who is, at this very moment, on her way home from serving at a camp in a village far, far away.