Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Power of Music

Kyle in Kiziba
by Kyle Vondrak 
Robbie leads the crowd in singing "How He Love Us"
Stephanie leads us with her amazing voice
I consider myself someone who is very knowledgeable about music and concerts, and the impact that can have on someone, but the worship event that we attended tonight totally changed my view on the power of music. 

As I previously said, tonight we attended a worship event at a local church. The night started out with us sitting in the back as someone up front, presumably the leader of the event, was up front speaking Kinyarwandan. Upon noticing our arrival, we were immediately invited to sit up front, which we refused because we would be leaving early to go to dinner. Also upon noting our arrival, he invited someone else up onto the stage to translate to English. 

Soon after, the band came out on stage, and we jumped right into some songs in Kinyarwandan. Although they had the words up on a projector up front, it almost seemed as if I already knew the words of the song, even though it was a language I knew nothing about. I couldn’t help but sway to the beat, and hum or attempt to sing the words. It felt so natural, and seeing everyone else doing the same thing made me realize that the power of God and music transcends all languages and cultures.

After singing a couple of Kinyarwandan songs, they invited Robbie and Steph (the I-Teams interns) up onto the stage to sing some songs in English. What moved me was that they referred to them as their brother and sister, even though they were obviously not. By the time Robbie and Steph got on stage, the church was almost full, so when they started their songs, there was a buzz and intensity to the crowd, which was something you could not deny. Not long after Steph sang the first notes of her song, a woman next to us exclaimed, “Wow”. By the time Robbie and Steph were onto the last song, the whole crowd was singing, raising their hands in the air, or sitting down and praying. This is the power of God - He inspires us all in different ways and how we express that is up to us. Like a man said to some of us before the service: This is a time of prayer, and that means we can be free. 

After finishing up with the songs, they invited the pastor up on stage, who then invited his sister up on stage to translate for him. He went on talking in Kinyarwandan, then in English, and even some French. But his main point was that we are all followers of God, and towards the end, he invited anyone who had just discovered God to come on stage and profess their faith. No one did, so he continued on and finished up with his talk. By this time, we were leaving, so we were not able to see the next band that was coming on stage.

Overall, it was a great experience for me. People, including myself, buy the big bucks to go see their favorite artists or bands perform, but after attending the event tonight, it made me realize it’s not about the music, but it’s about how it makes you feel, and the connections that it can make to yourself and your faith. Music should’t be something that you listen to when you’re bored or having nothing to do. It is something that should make deep connections, and arouse in us the things that would otherwise be impossible to find.


  1. Kyle - If only Ellie Goulding had been there too! Thanks for sharing your story about the worship service.

  2. Kyle, knowing that you are an avid music lover it is great to hear that something you love so much has impacted your life over there as well. The power of music is universal and it is great to see how even though you didn't know the words that the music was still extremely powerful to you. I'm happy you got to share that moment with everyone there in the church.

  3. Music serves us in so many ways. For me, it's fun, it's a release, and it's the ultimate way for me to praise God. Singing, in particular, is a creative experience that involves my body, mind, and spirit. Hearing someone sing or play beautifully can be just as powerful as belting out my own favorite songs.

    I love the image of the crowd of people, arms raised in praise. What an amazing experience, for you to sing along with this community of believers.

  4. It is amazing the relationship the I-teams have made. I love that they started translating in English when you arrived -- they wanted to include everyone in the experience--how welcoming. I love the atmosphere that the music created and the community. Keep taking it all in.

  5. Thank you for sharing how you worshiped. You all were heavy on our hearts and minds in worship at Faith this morning. Here are some messages from your community of faith back home ~

    Though you are thousands of miles away, know that you are in our hearts and prayers. We are so proud of all of you and all you are doing in God's name.
    Susan Hawkinson

    Dear Ellie,
    I am thinking of you. Your dad showed me a picture of you. I was glad to see you smiling. I know you are having a great experience.
    Blessing and love,

    I miss all of you but I am so proud of you for sharing your love of Jesus and faith with everyone you meet.
    Peace and God's blessings to you.
    Naomi Barr

  6. Great point about music and the correlation of a ticket price to hear music in the U.S. What a joy to experience a free concert with the same feelings. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Kyle, my mom loves music and has played in bands for most of her life. One thing she always has said is that all people in government should be musicians and should sit down to sing and play together before any "official" business. Once they have experienced the universal language of music, which is best expressed when all the parts work together, only then should they make any big decisions. Reading your post today really brought those sentiments to life. Music is a uniting force!

    And I loved this part of your post "This is the power of God - He inspires us all in different ways and how we express that is up to us. Like a man said to some of us before the service: This is a time of prayer, and that means we can be free." Thank you for sharing this part of your day so vividly. Others have said it, but I will too, the posts have all been so wonderful.

    On an unrelated note: please let Andy know that it looks like we have maple syrup.

  9. Hellooo, Team! Were your ears ringing around 5:00 p.m.? The people of Faith were buzzing about you all this morning. Everyone loves reading the blog. They are all amazed by your experiences and impressed that you can put your feelings and what you are seeing into words. Truly, you are making a difference at home...and you are not even here! I hope you feel the love and support coming to you from across the ocean.

  10. Here are a few more from Sunday morning!

    Hope everything is going well. Thinking of you each day and praying for you.
    Safe travels back to Chicago!
    Sue and Ted Flores

    Prayers of joy, peace and encouragement!
    Sally Hanson

  11. The fact that your blog is about music doesn't surprise me at all, KJV. That's such a cool thing to experience-everyone singing (although in different languages) about one ultimate thing, God. There are definitely barriers as some people have talked about but we all have our God in common. Hope everyone is doing well, I'm trying my best not to miss you (it's hard !!) because I know you're doing great things and I'll see you soon:)

  12. This morning in church we sang "Earth and All Stars", and I couldn't help but think about this post while singing it. I especially thought of all of you while singing the refrain, "For God has done marvelous things. And I will praise him with a new song!"

  13. Like Janice, I thought of this post during today's worship. Phil Spencer played the organ and piano today's, and he had a BLAST improvising and bringing new life to old, familiar hymns. For "Earth and All Stars," he even wove in the theme from the original "Star Trek." It was a totally joyful moment, full of humor and music and noise and Jesus meeting us right where we are.

    We should ask him to do it again when you return!