On the Tour of Hope they took in April 2018, members of the Rehoboth (N. Mex.) High School Choir volunteered to help rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
While there, they performed concerts―mostly at churches, but also at a Port Arthur firehouse for firefighters who were among the first to respond to the hurricane that hit in August 2017 and left almost the entire city of 54,000 underwater for several days.
“We sang for people who were having a hard time and tried to give them hope they can get by putting their trust is Jesus Christ,” said Pete Garcia, one of the choir’s 60 members. “I love being in the choir and with people who have the same passion as me and want to sing about God’s strength.”
Along with another current choir member and two alumni, Garcia will have the chance to once again sing about the power of the Lord at Inspire 2019, the Christian Reformed Church gathering of ministry leaders and volunteers taking place Aug. 1-3 at St. Clair College Centre for the Arts in Windsor, Ont.
“It is a huge honor for members of our choir, coming from a community tucked away in New Mexico, to be on a national stage like this,” said Gail DeYoung, codirector of the choir who will help musician and pastor Jeremy Simpson lead worship at Inspire 2019.
Reflecting the choir’s repertoire, DeYoung added, music at Inspire will incorporate numerous musical styles including traditional, sacred, contemporary, and gospel. Garcia will perform a song in Navajo, his native language.
“Hopefully the whole picture of worship at Inspire will be to present the beauty of God,” De Young said. “There is a spirit that comes when we come together in praise.”
Elizabeth Howard, a current choir member, also will be part of the praise team. Like Garcia, she lives outside Gallup in the community of Tohatchi. Her years in the choir have been very important for her and helped her win a music scholarship to attend Eastern New Mexico University this fall.
A highlight of Howard’s time in the choir came about a year ago when they sang for and with students at Westside Christian School in Chicago. “We started out all nice and proper,” Howard said, “but when we really got going, the kids jumped out of their chairs and we started dancing.”
Looking ahead to Inspire, she said she hopes times of worship can ignite some of that same energy.
Jonathan Lynch is excited to be part of the Inspire 2019 praise team. He hopes the Holy Spirit will be at work in the worship to help open hearts and minds to things being shared by the plenary speakers and during the breakout sessions.
“I am so thankful that we are being given the opportunity to facilitate worship, but more importantly to hear from the word of God,” Lynch said. “I pray that every single person attending gives thanks for that opportunity alone, and I look forward to worshipping with everyone.”