Boarding the bus with near freezing temperatures at 9am had the Choir quickly leaving Fergus Falls. On the heels of the Dominican Mission Hillcrest sent another group off during Easter vacation with a different mission but similar message.
The 38 students were quickly brought-up to speed on the mission of their cross-country trip following lunch. Chaperons pulled-out Bibles and directed students to gather their's. As students opened their journals with pen in hand they listened to Hillcrest Senior J.K. Lee share his testimony.
Lee started by telling students that he has been an arrogant kid growing up. Raised in a family that doesn't place a lot of stock in God, Lee identified how Hillcrest's approach is different. After understanding how the world has a need for God, Lee developed a belief that he alludes to being an intellectual acknowledge of God's creation. With a systematic approach and rhythmed pace to his words Lee shared how he has grown to see God as a real person and how he is developing a relationship that he acknowledges to be a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Following Lee's testimony students took to their journals. Their task was to write a response to Lee's faith story, highlight a few passages in scripture that are meaningful to them at this time, and begin to write out some of their faith story. The practice saw Kara Nash prepared as she walked to the front of the church during the evening concert with her Bible in hand and a microphone stretched out before her.
Admissions director Wayne Stender took to the mic following the opening songs of the Choir's tour. Referencing the words in the program, Stender highlighted the need for us to hear faith stories as we grow empassioned in developing a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit's movements. Kara Nash was the first student who volunteered to share her story in the tour's evening performances.
Nash spoke the challenges in her life, namely the difficulty in working through her father's cancer diagnosis and his passing before she entered the 10th grade. The testimony was reminiscent for many students to the journey she shared with the student body a year ago. As Nash concluded she painted a picture for the congregation of God reaching down to her in a muddy mess and pulling her out. She noted that the question she often asks is why God chooses to do good things, noting that sin has left us in a world where bad things should be more commonplace. However, Nash notes the grace of God, that in his character is bound this saving action that works in the lives of people to see Him.
Stender closed the offeratory message by highlighting the fact that Kara's message is a beautiful picture of the Gospel that envelops Holy Week. Referencing the realities of Good Friday, Stender commented on the incredible love of God to save the world, despite the continued sin, and offer a way of redemption and restoration with the God who loves all humankind.
The group completed their first concert in Antler and is resting peacefully in host homes. They look forward to traveling to Billings, MT tomorrow evening for a Saturday night concert and joyful celebration in the Easter morning service.