Well it’s Sunday night, and we’ve been in the USA for a whole week. And it has been a fantastic experience so far!
As most of you know, we recorded Hammer No More, and got in touch with Doug Ray the writer who lives in Springfield, Missouri. He ended up inviting us over to spend a few weeks in the USA, and we’ve been staying with him. Great guy, with a great family – we’re so grateful to have this opportunity.
And so we left OR Tambo at 8pm on Sunday 26th March. None of us slept very much, and we landed bleary-eyed in London at around 7am.
After some struggles getting through customs, we so nearly missed our connecting flight! We got to the counter at Heathrow and were told our flight was leaving in about 10 minutes – and the boarding gate was a 15 minute walk away! So there’s the four of us, sprinting through Heathrow, bags in hand, panicking and praying!
Luckily we just made it in time. We had a beautiful flight to Chicago, and eventually made it to Springfield to meet Doug and his wife Kristen.
We spent our first few days been showed around by Doug’s step-dad Larry, who is, in Doug’s words, “an encyclopedia”. He showed us a bunch of sights and gave us a great tour of the town, with a whole lot of trivia thrown in. Of course, we wanted to visit all the local music shops, and ended up with a gig booked at Springfield Music next Saturday.
Doug’s church, First Baptist Church Ash Grove, was holding a revival during our first few days in town, and so every evening we went off to hear Dr. Jared Bumpers deliver a great message. Inspiring stuff!
Next off we were off to Branson, the country music entertainment capital of the USA. I am sure there are more theatres on the main street in Branson than in the whole of South Africa! We were lucky enough to see an amazing production of Moses at the Sight and Sound Theatres, which completely blew us away. Incredible – at the end of the performance, one of the actors invited the audience members to come down to the front for prayer to accept Jesus – who can set us free just as God set His people free in Moses’ story. Wow!
After Moses we went to Presleys – no, this is not the same as Presleys in Boksburg! This was a brilliant country music show – a real Branson classic, which started 4 generations ago. Lots of laughs, great musicians and singers. Wonderful show!
First gig: First Baptist Church Ash Grove
And so after all the entertainment and tourist time, we finally got to play our first service!
Scott, the worship leader at the church, was very gracious and invited us to do the worship when he knew we were in town. So we arrived and set ourselves up, and had a great time singing our old favourites:
- Rock of Ages
- To God be the Glory
- How Great Thou Art
- A Picture of Your Love
- Lord Above All
We had a great time and were really encouraged by some warm and friendly comments from the people afterwards. We’re doing a full concert at the church on Wednesday night – hoping for a nice big turnout to share the stories behind our songs.
God is in control
And so all praise be to God, for setting this whole thing up. Oh boy – thinking back to our early days at Trinity leading the evening services, we could never have dreamed something like this up. But God, as usual, has His plans, and we just love and adore Him and are so grateful!
We’ve been praying for South Africa, and the news of some of the struggles have reached us. Once again we know that our hope is in God – whatever happens. Let’s keep praying, and keep holding onto Him.
God bless you all back home!