How We Became Musicianaries - Part 4
At the beginning of 2013 we committed to full-time music ministry.
However, in our minds, we kept telling ourselves that it was only going to be for 6 months. It seemed safer. Less scary if you will. Then after six months the plan would be to move to Avondale College for Eric to complete his Theology/Ministry degree that he started all those years ago. Even though a major move in and of itself is daunting, to us, that option seemed a lot easier than the unknown life of the full-time musicianary.
So, we prayed and planned for six months of music ministry.
First up in 2013 was the Songs of Ascent 'Psalm 103 Tour' that would go from January till March in USA (Read about that tour here). Before we left Australia we were struggling in looking for tickets. They were all so expensive! We started to look around search engines. Researching different ways to put together the flight sectors to get it cheaper. We then realised that a make-it-yourself round-the-world ticket was actually the same price as a return trip to USA! Wow, sweet! That led us to thinking, "Could this be a door that God is opening for us to tour in Europe as well as USA??" So, we prayed. We struggled. We thought... a lot. Then, the ticket prices changed slightly and we knew we had to make a decision before they went up too much in price. So, we 'jumped'. We prayed both before and after we bought the tickets that God would use this decision for His glory. Even though we hadn't booked any concerts, we prayed that He would make a way for these events to come.
He did! Through the 11 weeks in USA and the 5 weeks in Europe we saw God at work. It was an amazing experience that we haven't to this day fully processed. We heard stories of struggles experienced and commitments that God inspired people to make through the concerts. After USA and Europe we went back home to Australia to tour the East coast. June was approaching and we came to a point where we couldn't see ourselves putting the brakes on music ministry. God had opened so many doors and we could visibly see Him working through this mnistryand we knew we had to keep going. It didn't help that people after concerts around this time would say to us, "Don't stop doing what you're doing" we saw this as a sign and our six month jaunt became one year... Oh, by the way, you can read about our first full-time year in more detail here.
So our first year of full-time music ministry came to an end and we were trying to figure out what to do next. We spent a few weeks struggling, praying and thinking over possible options. Could full-time music ministry actually work and be sustainable? We felt a strong need to be a part of a church community and to have a place to come back to after a tour. After being on the road for a year and being at a different church for nearly every Sabbath for 2 1/2 years we wanted a home.
All the while music ministry was happening, we still had Eric's unfinished degree in the back of our minds. Just the thought of the moving expenses of going up to Avondale College was weighing us down. Randomly, we then heard that Eric's degree was now being offered by distance education beginning in 2014. So, Eric contacted the Theology/Ministry department to see if doing distance education was a viable option. After praying about the situation we got to thinking about where we would want to live if distance education was the direction Eric would go.
At that point we were staying with my parents who live in South Gippland in Victoria. We have always loved South Gippsland. It is simply one of the most beautiful areas in Australia and for many years we had dreamed about being able to live just outside of Melbourne to be far enough away, but close enough to enjoy. Also, one of the churches Eric worked with in our first year of marriage is in South Gippsland. We loved that church! So, we began looking around for rental properties. On the day we began our search we found a cute, 3 bedroom house. It was on the coast and it had cheap rent. In fact, we found out that it's price had dropped $50 on that very day we were searching. We prayed about it and put in our rental application thinking there wasn't too much of a chance we would be chosen due to being newly self-employed. Two days later, Eric got an email saying he could finish his degree by distance education. Then, two hours later we got a phone call from the realtor saying we had been chosen out of about 15 applicants by the landlord! Praise God!! So, we moved in and began our second year of music ministry with a place to call home after tours.
So in a nutshell, that is the story of how we became full-time musicianaries.
The last year and 8 months have been nothing that I had imagined or could have ever predicted. Sometimes it's really difficult doing music ministry and being on the road can be incredibly tiring. We've learnt that numbers don't mean much. Often we can't believe the places we have sung in and how far around the world our music has travelled. But, the greatest reward is hearing stories from people of how God used our music in their lives.
For me, music ministry begins with an understanding that everything is only possible with Jesus at the centre. Every note. Every spoken word. Every concert. Every tour... And that if God is taken out of the centre, that will be the moment the music ministry begins to lose its purpose. With this in mind, we spend time before each music event in prayer and focusing on the importance of what we are about to do. Praying that God will be heard through our singing and speaking. That God will be seen and we will become invisible. And that He will help us to sing like this could be the last time we ever get the chance to sing.
Each tour has been unique in its own way with the people we meet, the stories we hear and the scenery we drive by between each place. Yet, they also have similarities that run between regardless of state, country or language. We have found that music breaks down barriers and speaks to the heart in a profound way when it is coupled with Scripture.
Overall, it has been overwhelming to receive so much encouragement and support from family, friends and people we have just met. We've noticed that God has a sense of humour and is always there to catch us when we take a leap of faith.
Becoming full-time musicianaries was not part of our original 'plan' or desire in life, but it came about through what we believe was the leading of our Saviour. We don't know where the road will lead or how long we will be on it. All we know is that we desire to follow Jesus where He goes and live a life dedicated to Him.
If you missed:
To Read Part 1 - Click Here
To Read Part 2 - Click Here
To Read Part 3 - Click Here