Very few people can say that they get the chance to have their worlds collide beautifully. Past, present, and future. Old friends and new. Celebrating something bigger than themselves, walking away different than the people they were when they walked in the door. This was my experience from the Winston-Salem House Concert on Tuesday night.
It all started with the idea of an outdoor farm Jars of Clay concert. A stage was made, picnic tables set, an electrician making sure the 100-year-old barn was ready for a rock band, fall-themed decorations assembled. And then it rained. And as Jake, our director of engagement joked, we had been praying for this event as we have simultaneously been praying for the drought in Kenya for one of our partners, so MAYBE somewhere the wires got crossed.
Regardless, it was a last minute scramble as we found a new venue, and all hands on deck got busy to try to bring the “farm to the city.” But as the guests arrived Tuesday evening, it was like that was the plan all along. I grew up in Winston, and when I started working with Blood:Water, I had no idea of the community of advocates and supporters for this cause that were already there. As old friends walked in, I was able to connect my new friends, my Blood:Water family, with those who had known me since I was a child. It was truly providential, and the entire night felt so much greater than me and the people I knew.
It amazes me how a community in central North Carolina can care about communities across the ocean whom they may never meet. And yet, they do. They care A LOT. They care enough to raise almost $100,000!!! We were blown away, speechless. This was a record for our house concerts.
As Jars of Clay led us through whimsical songs about love, joy, sorrow, and growth, the crowd was touched by this cause to which the band members have devoted their lives. I, as always, was reminded of the amazing power of music to stir the soul and awaken our hearts. I knew that God was using all of us for his greater good, for our friends in Africa, his other sons and daughters. The night was one of the most memorable I have ever experienced. As I looked around and saw many members of my family with tears in their eyes for the work my new Blood:Water family is doing, I knew that God was at the center. Winston-Salem is an unbelievably generous community, and we are truly grateful to have the support that we do from all of those who were able to join us Tuesday evening.