Well, we’ve been back from our USA trip for just over 3 months! I can hardly believe it – it seems like we were sitting in Doug’s kitchen just yesterday. But somehow it also seems like a lifetime ago. Strange.
What an experience it was! We’ve been reflecting and talking about it week after week at practice, and we’re still just blown away by it all. The flights, the sites, the churches, the people… Just blessing upon blessing.
And now we’re back, and working hard on our new album There’s a Light, which we will release in January, God-willing. But more on that later.
May: Heidelberg Men’s Camp, and Dalpark Presbyterian
We took a few weeks off when we arrived home, and then I played solo at the Heidelberg Methodist men’s camp, led by former bishop Bill Meaker. What a weekend! As usual there was plenty of time for rest and reflection, and we spent a lot of time discussing the theme for the weekend, “The Meaning of Life”.
We were all set to visit Heidelberg Presbyterian at the end of May, but our visit was cancelled, and so we phoned around to see if we could spend the morning somewhere else, and ended up at Dalpark Presbyterian around the corner from us. Strange how it happens – the first time we visited Dalpark, it was also after a cancelled service!
This particular Sunday was the minister Philip Stoneman’s birthday, and so there was a great joyous atmosphere inside those four walls. We sang songs from Walking With the King – and it was such an experience for us to sing Hammer No More on the other side of our US trip, and tell the story and just think about how much Doug did for us. Fantastic stuff!
We raised the roof of that small building, and had an emotional morning singing our songs. Afterwards Philip prayed a lovely prayer over us and our ministry, and we left feeling humbled that God uses these songs the way He does.
June: Brackenhurst Methodist and Turning Point Ministries
June came around and we were off to Brackenhurst Methodist, to share that same set of songs from Walking With the King at both services. The first time we visited Brackenhurst we only played the 09:30 service, but this time around we would lead both morning congregations. We were hoping that the early crowd would enjoy our old-school rock and roll sound… and thankfully, they did! We sang together and had a memorable time. I remember in particular that “Hammer No More” once again made an impact, and tears flowed as people heard that story. There is just something about that song.
We ended the month at Turning Point Ministries – Kevin’s home church – where we rounded off their series on worship with a full-on worship service. Once again we were playing our Walking With the King set, and once again the songs were powerful: “Soldiers” was loud and enthusiastic, “You Walked a Mile in My Shoes” was emotional, “My Poor Heart” was light-hearted and fun, “Hammer No More” was touching, and we rocked out with “Walking With the King” to close. Such a special place to us, and we’re looking forward to bringing out new album there in the new year.
July: Nigel and North Rand Methodist
July is normally our break time: it’s cold, it’s school holidays, and I’m often away for a weekend or two! And so we had to squeeze our two planned services into one Sunday, the 23rd.
We started the morning early with a drive out to Nigel Methodist (stopping for a Seattle coffee on the way, of course!) and warmed up nicely as we set up our equipment and played a few sound check songs. As the people filtered in we saw some strange hats – tea cups hanging from from hats, shower caps and bicycle helmets to name a few! Turns out it was “Mad-Hatter Sunday” – great fun and smiles all around.
We did a different set here, because we’ve been to Nigel with all our albums already. We started with a new song, “Jesus is Alive”, which will be on our new album. Then we sang some hymns with a difference, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “To God be the Glory” – and boy, did the people sing! We had to turn up the main volume just to hear the instruments.
We then got to tell some USA stories, using our friend Darren Flood’s song “Just For a Moment“, which was written on 11 September 2001, as well as Doug’s song of course. Rich sang “Come Unto Me” and then unpacked the song line for line, which was a moving and inspiring, and we ended off by all lifting God on high with the favourite “How Great is Our God”.
It isn’t often that we sing popular worship songs these days. We usually go out and sing our own songs and tell the stories behind them, and that is what we feel called to do. So it was really enjoyable singing some favourites together with the congregation – powerful moments that are easy to take for granted!
Soon after we were on the road to the other side of Gauteng: Fourways. Now normally, I phone churches all over the country to introduce CrossRoad and see if we can come and share our songs. But with North Rand Methodist, the opposite happened. Albert Coomer, a minister in training at NRMC, was looking for a band to come and share at their young adults service in the evenings, and ended up on our website. He and senior minister Festus Marumbo listened to our songs online and then invited us to visit. You gotta love the internet!
God was orchestrating it all, of course. It took us a while to find the right date, but then we settled on the 23rd July and we arrived in the afternoon to set up our gear. Great people, great atmosphere. We felt at home straight away!
We played a mix of songs from our Walking With the King and Rock of Ages albums, and I shared the good old “Never Again” talk. Wow, we were so humbled by the response. The people sang and clapped enthusiastically, and there was a great spirit of joy as we all lifted our voices and our hearts to God. At the end of the service, Rev. Lea called us forward and the leaders and elders laid hands and prayed over us, with a special emphasis on John 3:16 – that God would use us to show the world how much he loves them.
It was a very meaningful day to us.
Before the services, we had discussed and prayed this verse from Psalm 115:
Our prayer is that God continues to be glorified in what we do, and that people see more of Him as we sing, and less of us. Not to us Lord, but to Your name be the glory!
As I mentioned earlier, we are working on a new album, and we are getting there with it. We’ve been praying that God will guide us in the writing and selecting of songs for the album, so that we can release something that just lifts Him up, while encouraging and challenging the listeners. We have some songs lined up, and we’re so enjoying recording them. I’ll update you as we go along – and in January we will hopefully be coming to you with these new songs.
August is looking busy for us. We hope to see you at one of these churches:
God bless, and keep worshiping!