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Contact us in Guatemala - 502-4958-6313

Message Phone in the U.S. - 608-313-4673

What is a Symphony of Hope or a Choir of Faith? It is a group of people-- young or old, dedicated to serving in God's love and making God-centered music that is special, set-apart, joyful, triumphant, or reverent.

Building an Orchestra

A dusty dirt road, kids passing time on the street, the chaotic noise of neighborhood life. As a mission team that is what we start with. The most critical ingredients are participants that are willing to accept commitment and willing to put God at the center of what they do. When we first meet with people in a neighborhood we explain to them that the orchestra or choir being formed will have a foundation of these principles will be a guiding light to everything that the orchestra or choir does. Some of these principles include: to follow the ways of Jesus; to serve others in love; to do all that they can with what they already have; to value respect, honor, obedience, self-discipline and self-control; to avoid the promotion of alcohol. We teach them that as they make decisions the respect and honor they receive from others will either increase or decrease. We clarify that on practice evenings we will include films and small presentations teaching about God’s ways. We explain that we will be singing hymns, saying a prayer, and memorizing some verses. We make it known that we are not out to promote any particular church but that desire to encourage them to learn and think about Jesus and what He has done for them.

Having laid this foundation, we issue a half yardstick and a stick to each participant. These are the tools they will use to learn how to position their fingers and handle a bow. They will practice in this manner for 3 weeks before they will touch a real violin. We encourage them to welcome newcomers, but all new participants need to pass the same steps. As time passes it becomes clear which students are practicing and have a strong desire to learn. These students are designated teachers of those who need extra help. If a student has a good attitude we don’t want them excluded, no matter what their level of ability or economic status. One of the most inspiring things for us to see is the older more capable students working hand in hand with those who are younger or less able. They learn to do this on a routine basis and it is really neat to see.

And so the orchestra begins with rhythm exercises, note reading exercises, their first tune, their second, and so on. Each song has its own Bible verse assigned to it and when we have a performance we say the verse as a group before the song.

The next hurdle is violins and community support. We loan them our violins to start but there are never enough. Where many parents earn only $3-$10 per day, coming up with the funds to buy a violin for each student is not easy. When the mission team leaves there may be only 2 violins for 12 good beginning players. The fledgling orchestra is encouraged to give simple concerts wherever they can, especially in places where they can perhaps lift the spirits of those who are suffering in some way.

We need your prayers and support!

Not long ago one of these small orchestras played for a man with a terminal bone disease. They only knew the first and second song from their Suzuki violin book, but he was very much moved and wanted us to return. In many places it is a rare sight to see children or adults come together in this way. As the children met him, they were becoming more aware of a world of people around them that are suffering. It was a very special and memorable day. The little orchestra, only 3 months old, was already being used by God to create works of great beauty!

I love the Lord for he heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me I will call on him for as long as I live.

Psalm 116 1-2