Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Day 4: A Little Louder

Hello friends! Happy Tuesday! Today, I think has been the craziest day of tour yet! (In a good way). Early this morning, some of the choir (myself included) went to sing at a K-8 Christian school!
We took the bus to the school! It was fun!
We went to Daystar School!
We got to the school and they told us that they had no guitar amps. So, "Gospel Choir: Unplugged" happened! Our musicians are super flexible and are just the best.
Sam Cho poses awkwardly when I tell him to "smile!"

We sang a few of our songs, like "This Little Light of Mine" and "Freedom"to get the kids up and dancing. Then, we sang one of their favorites, "My God is Awesome". At the school, the kids were taught sign language with songs because it would help them to read. So, I did my best to pick up the sign language while we were singing. It was super fun and overall, I think that we all felt really blessed by the children and the hearts that they had for God.

The children of Daystar School!
Since we had extra time before we had to be back for our workshop, the next event of the day, we took our time and walked back down on Michigan Avenue. The weather was beautiful-around 60-70 degrees, and we all enjoyed our lovely walk!


We got back to the hostel where we are staying and then proceeded to have our workshop with the Voices of Praise Choir from Baldwin Wallace University. Joining choirs with them was incredible. We learned new songs that were so powerful. We all definitely felt the holy spirit work mightily in the  middle of the hostel where we were practicing. We probably looked crazy to the people who were watching us, but I think it's amazing that we can worship God out in the open and that we don't have to hide our faith. We can sing in the middle of a hostel in Chicago with people that we just met that day and God will make his presence clear and touch everyone's hearts. I don't think that any of us will be forgetting this afternoon anytime soon.

Praising the Lord in a common area of the hostel

After praising, dancing, and lunch with our new friends in the choir who were so sweet to us, we had some free time! Woo! During this time, I got to go to the Bean with a few friends!
My "artsy" picture of the bean- look at those clouds!
The afternoon was nice and restful, considering what a busy morning we had. Soon, it was time to go to dinner at an alumni's house! They were SO sweet to us and they hosted us in the penthouse of their apartment building. Look at how nice it was!
the beautiful view from the roof!
They ordered a nice dinner for us, including the best guacamole I've had in a long time and some amazing freshly grilled chicken. They were so sweet and I can only hope to be somewhat near as generous as them in the future!

After that, we worked on our step routine for tomorrow. It was challenging but I think that we can do it! Today has been a revitalizing day that was overall a 10 out of 10. God is working in us and through us and fulfilling his purposes for his glory. Hallelujah be unto the Lord!

-Sarah Cam


Monday, March 7, 2016

Day 3: Here is our God!

Hello to anyone reading this!! Today we woke up to a lovely and generous breakfast of all sorts of stuff like blueberry pancakes prepared by our new friends Ara and Alina! Then Pastor Danny gave us a little pep talk on ministry and work ("Ya know how you spell ministry? W-O-R-K!"). I really appreciated all that Solution church had done for us and felt this need to give back. Then we were commissioned to help out around the church (the "work" part!)
These are my sweet friends, the cousin duo Sarah and Nina looking super cute...
so of course I had to snap some pics! (I'm the mom of the group).
 I was a part of the outside crew and we had a lot of fun together cleaning up trash around the church property and a little  retention pond on the side of the building. It was such a joy to be outside, even when it was rainy and windy because it was such a nice day!
When we finished picking up garbage around the church, we were still really determined to 
clean as much of the trash around the pond as possible, so we kept going! A few minutes in, I found a styrofoam cup that had in it an $100 bill in perfect condition! I prayed about what to do with it and I decided that I wanted to give it to the church as an offering from the choir. It felt good to have some way to give back to the church and I praised God for that miracle!




 
                   

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Day 2: Freedom

Hi friends and family! Today's been a crazy but wonderful day. We woke up on Wheaton's campus bright and early this morning and headed down to Solutions Church in Matteson. We worshipped and took communion with our beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ. Immediately after the service, we went right to Freedom Church and casually sat spread apart in the congregation. Erin started to sing "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning" as we all gradually walked on stage, flash-mob style. Then, we had a full 40 minutes of awesome worship with this body of believers! We even got to witness a man being saved. His name was Anthony, and it was so amazing to watch him be filled with the joy of the Lord. Here is a photo of a few choir members with our new brother and friend: 



Here is a picture of our table with the gospel choir merchandise -- we sold 16 CDs this morning!


Now we will answer the age old question, "What really happens on tour?" Besides for tons 
of singing and praising the lord and worshipping him, weird things like this happen:
GC guitar player Sam Cho furiously tries to avoid being drooled on by PJ.


(PJ is Miss Tanya's grandson for those of you who don't know. Around this time last year, on the tour in North Carolina, the GC am found out that Miss Tanya was expecting a grandson. And one year later, here he is!)



From there, our friends at Freedom Church took us out to "the best pizza in the world."


It was super delicious! But, as a Native New Yorker I cannot say that it was the best pizza in the world, even though it was thin crust. But we all had a great time talking to new people over lunch and of course, always learning new things about our GC fam! We got to lunch late in the afternoon, so by the time that we left the sun was setting, and it was beautiful! 
There is nothing quite like the Midwest

By this point in the day, we were all super tired. On the way back to Solutions Church, this is what one car of choir kids looked like:

(I am fake sleeping in this picture to fit in with my friends)
That night, we went to the young adult worship at Solutions Church because that is where we are staying the night. We were all super exhausted but we never miss the chance to sing a little and focus ourselves on the Cross. We even met some new friends who showed us some of their dance moves after! And of course, the Savidge twins did a face swap:

#whoswho???
Overall, we had an AWESOME day! We are feeling physically tired but re-energized and revitalized in spirit. What more could you ask for? 
Matthew 28:18 says, "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." He has risen from the dead and is omnipotent, which is why we proclaim "He is alive with all power in his name!" We are just at the beginning of our journey but I know that there is so much more that God has in store for us.
-Sarah Cam

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Day 1: Renewal


Rodney and Hasana Sisco welcomed us into their home to start tour off with a restful afternoon of fellowship. We are so grateful for their hospitality!



Our first concert of tour was at New Hope Baptist Church where we had the pleasure of worshiping alongside the Renew ministry team. Thank you to Greg and the Renew team for their warm-hearted welcome! We were all encouraged to spend a night soaking in God's love through praise and worship as strengthens us for the week ahead. "But those who hope in the Lord will RENEW their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles: they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
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Friday, March 4, 2016

#gctour16

Classes are out, bags are (mostly) packed, and less than 24 hours lie between us and the first concert of our 2016 spring break tour in Chicago! Check back here every day March 5-13 for updates on what we're up to. We invite you to come worship with us if you're in the area, and to support us in prayer wherever you are! Lord, let our music and our ministry be pleasing in Your sight as we commit this week to you.

The Wheaton College Gospel Choir
2016 CHICAGOLAND TOUR ITINERARY
1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light!
25 servants of God ~ 9 full days of music & service                                                                     
Saturday March 5th
6:30 pm  New Hope Baptist Church- RENEW 11201 Twombly Rd, DeKalb, IL 60115

Sunday March 6th 
10:30 am Solutions Church 4818 Southwick Drive, Matteson, IL 60443    
12:00 pm Freedom Church 18301 Governors Hwy, Homewood IL 60430


Monday March 7th 
5:00 pm Uptown Baptist Church 1011 W. Wilson Ave, Chicago IL, 60640        

Tuesday March 8th
10:00 am Workshop with Voices of Praise  
7:00 pm Friendship Baptist Church 5200 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60644


Wednesday  March 9th 
12:00 pm Pacific Garden Mission 1458 S Canal St, Chicago, IL 60607
7:00 pm Mount Vernon Church 2622 W. Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612


Thursday March 10th
1:30 pm  George Westinghouse College Prep High School 3223 W Franklin Blvd, Chicago, IL 60624


Saturday       March 12th 
9:00 am Soul Children of Chicago Rehearsal
4:00 pm Youth Event King of Glory Christian Center, 319 Morris Ave. Bellwood, IL

Sunday March 13th
10:30 am Living Hope Church 6414 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60637
5:00 pm Wheaton Christian Center “RAISE the PRAISE” 610 E North Avenue, Carol Stream IL 60188


Alumni are invited to join us at all services.


For the privilege of representing the King…

To GOD be the glory! 
Great things He has done!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Day 6 (Thursday): You Reign Forever

Day 6 (Thursday): You Reign Forever

It’s not often that I see kids get excited about routines—school, church, you name it. But today I saw a foil to that. We pulled up to Wesleyan Christian Academy yesterday shortly before 9:00a, with most of the choir feeling groggy, tired, and wanting to go back to sleep. Being a Christian school, chapel attendance is mandatory for middle and high school students. As they walked in, I couldn’t tell much of a difference from their faces and ours. But in spite of our exhaustion we knew that we would have to bring our best to the table. After all, if we don’t give God our all, why should we give him anything?

So we brought it. As soon as we were introduced to the school by their student chaplain, we began one of the most intense sessions of worship we’ve experienced so far on tour. Song by song, I watched the kids in the audience get more and more into their praise until, finally, more than half of them in the chapel had swarmed onto and in front of the stage. 

“You reign forever and ever and ever!” they chanted with us. And they didn’t sing timidly either—they were so passionate in their worship and just so enthralled with the words that for 2mins after the band brought the song to a resolve, the kids were still singing those words over and over again. That moment was easily one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed. The beauty of the moment only increased when the school chaplain told us that in his 21 years of working at Wesleyan nothing like that had ever occurred. 

The excitement continued as Sam Cho, one of our insanely talented guitarists and a Wesleyan alumnus, was able to share his testimony with the rest of the students in the building. (I can’t do Sam’s story justice, so I’d encourage our student readers to get to know Sam and his awesome story themselves—his sense of humor is contagious, and he is easily one of the most talented people I believe I’ve ever met.)

After another chapel service for Wesleyan’s high schoolers at ~11:00a, we were treated to lunch in the cafeteria, which gave us the opportunity to sit with the students we’d just sung to, getting to know more about their own school while also sharing our experiences at Wheaton.

The blessings didn’t end there, though. Sam Cho’s parents were kind enough to invite us all to their beauty shop and then into their home, bringing a day full of concerts to a relaxing end in their backyard. I popped open a bottle of Mandarin Jarritos soda, flipped open a book, and just laid in the grass with the blue sky above me. Everything was quiet. It felt amazing.

We’ve still got a few more days of touring left and spirits are still high—even in the midst of the stressful times it’s still very obvious what God is doing with and through us on this trip.

—Connor

Day 5 (Wednesday): Audience of One

Continuing our service projects from the previous day, we spent Wednesday morning sweeping out dusty cabins, beating out mattresses, and insulating screen windows with sheets of plastic covering to prepare Victory Mountain Camp for a girls' retreat that will take place in two weeks (please keep the girls who will be attending in your prayers!) We kept our spirits up in the gently warming forest clearing by intermingling cheerful conversation with practical requests and punctuating broom strokes with snippets of song, forming a sweet symphony of the fellowship we share on so many levels, from spiritual to musical to relational to practical.

After lunch, we sang for a crowd of elementary and middle school students at Redeemer School in Salem. Ms. Tanya's experience as a kindergarten teacher specially equips her to minister to such groups of children. She had them participate in vocal warm-ups alongside us in addition to our standard tour repertoire, gently explaining the significance of our music both in the physical quality of our voices and the spiritual power of our message as she led them to participate in worship with us.

Wednesday evening, we joined Ignited Youth Ministry at Cath the Fire Raleigh, where Ms. Tanya's daughter and faithful GC assistant director Tiffany Egler is a leader, for their combined middle school and high school meeting. This was the first chance our step team had an opportunity to perform. Both Monday and Tuesday nights, Uncle Jeff had spent time training around twenty of us choir members in step ministry, which combines rhythms of spoken scriptures with foot stomping, clapping, and various actions and hand motions to communicate our message. Although there are several active veterans of step team, many of us (including me!) had never stepped before, and the times of Uncle Jeff's intensity, discipline, and enthusiasm whipped us into shape to be prepared to perform on Wednesday. I was nervous beforehand, as the movements of each member of the team must be extremely coordinated and precise. But by God's grace, I experienced a calm during our performance, in awe of the power of God's Word as absolute authority as we quoted from it directly Isaiah 40:31 and 2 Chronicles 7:14. Through our execution was not perfectly flawless, God's promises of faithfulness to those who seek Him are, and I pray that this is what our audience remembers.

Before our music that night, we also had a chance to participate in the youth group's opening game time. Intermingling with the students, a crowd similar in number to our own group, we formed two teams and enjoyed a friendly but enthusiastic competition in charades, where one representative on stage guessed the word his/her teammates were acting out. The fellowship between our group and theirs continued as conversation and laughter transitioned into our worship time, where they added their style of waving banners while joining in our own clapping and choreography. Throughout the night, the enthusiasm, openness, reverence, and wonder displayed by all present, including choir members, youth group attendees, and visitors, united in one sacrifice of praise to our Creator and King. Ultimately, we weren't singing for them, they didn't buy pizza for us, and I'm not writing this blog post for you, dear reader. God alone is our audience, our judge, our support, and our reward.

--Nina