In January 2010, the WMM sent a short-term team to Nairobi, Kenya to lead worship for the SIM/Sudan Spiritual Life Conference. The team led worship for 70 missionaries and their families, many of whom are serving long-term in Sudan.
Kenya 2010 Report
by Joal Devendorf
As I started picking the chords of “This Is My Father’s World”, I just felt like it was a “nice” song to start leading a group of strangers in worship. One verse into the song, each of us in the band knew something special was happening in that hall.
Three musicians from Nashville, used to playing worship tunes at church, used to leading sometimes nominally interested people, used to the hum-drum of ‘let’s sing a few tunes to touch-a-few-hearts-maybe’, three musicians playing a familiar hymn were tossed into a sea of heartfelt and exhaustive worship. We watched some of the most precious servants of God collapse in worship—singing together as a community of faith—in English—for the first time in over a year!
We were asked to lend our gifts to a Spiritual Life Retreat—we gladly came without knowing anyone personally, but knowing they were bush-serving missionaries in Africa. What we immediately realized was they were a family, a community of Christ followers who have endured real and indescribable hardships to bring Jesus to the ends of the earth. They’ve lived in huts, buried colleagues in Africa who died of mysterious illnesses and tragic circumstances, endured and survived plane crashes, and escaped ruthless guerilla attacks.
What they needed from three musicians from Nashville was the skilled guidance of worship, dance, release, comfort, re-focus, and truth. We took requests that week, we played some songs four and five times because they liked them that much. We read over 20 Psalms corporately as part of our worship times. We played as many as four times a day. We ended up giving our guitars to missionaries who could take them to places in the heartland of Africa that no regular suburban-dwelling, guitar picker would ever imagine. Why? Why go? Why even care?
The Holy Spirit has an amazing ability to prick our hearts and keep the pressure alive until we yield, acknowledge and act. The Spirit of God convinced three musicians from Nashville that there was a bigger stage for their gifts than just Sunday mornings for their local community of faith. And these three musicians watched, felt, tasted the goodness of God with some beautiful people from around the world!