Guest Blogger: Today the post is from Jenna Layman. She is the mover and shaker behind our Grounds & Sounds Coffee House coming up October 23rd. She has a dramatic story to tell about the meaning and purpose of the coffee house. Please go to http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=169912642993&ref=ts and register your attendance for this great event if you are moved by Jenna’s post. At the end of her post I also include the schedule for the evening. The coffee house will be held at LifePoint Church on October 23rd, 7-11 pm. Hope you can make it. Now here’s Jenna…
Growing up, many of us were blessed to have music programs in our schools, and parents who bought instruments for us to play and even paid for private lessons. Even if we did not become the next Yo-Yo Ma, we had music to enrich our lives and give many of (like me) a skill set to both love and support our livelihoods.
Such is not the case, though, for everyone. I came face to face with this at Institution Univers in Oaunaminthe, Haiti (www.haiticocina.org) this past June. The group I traveled with assisted the school’s graduation (a big triumph with the graduation of the first group of 13th graders to complete the entire program, as well as the celebration of 5 of the graduates coming to the US for college!) and taught the first week of summer camp for 1st through 12th graders.
In the afternoons at camp, we were invited to have special activities for the students. I learned that the school had 2 piano keyboards (one of which worked), so I volunteered to informally give some students some instruction. I’d never taught anyone anything about piano, so it was a bit nervewracking, especially since it’s not my forte! But I was moved by the students’ excitement and desire to learn. We worked through language-barrier musical term issues, and they asked to learn how to play songs we both knew and their own favorite songs. They have SUCH a thirst for knowledge and dedication to work and to learn – it is unlike what I encounter here in America.
In talking with Pam, one of the missionaries at IU, I lamented that the students have no music teacher. She made the observation that there are Haitian musicians that could teach, but there were just no funds.
And there – inspiration; the sense of the Spirit I so often long for and chase after in all the wrong things. “Move.” Not move to Haiti per se, but move to make things happen. How many musicians do I know that were blessed with a musical upbringing? Certainly we could do something! And in this, how great – it’s feeding income and jobs into the Haitian economy and giving the students a skill set they can use to feel God and to possibly one day provide for themselves using it.
So, through the Spirit working through others in the Link at Lifepoint of coming up with the idea for a coffeehouse, wondering if I’d play and want to help, and thinking to tie it in with my talk of wanting to provide opportunities for these children that they will not get otherwise, Grounds and Sounds evolved. God has been working in Haiti, too; as I was emailing Pam to share my thoughts and get information, Hughes (the school/COCINA director) was simultaneously feeling this need and contacting musicians to interest the students! About 85 students have excitedly signed up to begin taking lessons on the weekends.
At Grounds and Sounds, musicians and artists will donate their talents to developing talent in others. In attending the event, you will get a chance to learn more about Haiti, a country so close to us that we learn so little about. The proceeds from your purchase of drinks, desserts, and artwork will provide the salaries for the music teachers the school has contacted. (2 Local teachers at $150/month, 4 from Port-au-Prince at $240/month) Your donations will help even further.
Thanks so much for reading this far! We hope to see you come out on Friday, 10/23 in the Underground for a moment of looking at injustice and seeing what we can do to further the Kingdom all over the world through music.
“My God can do anything for me.” (English translition of Haitian-Creole worship song)
Come join us! Bring everyone you know! :o)
Contact Jenna with any questions!
Performance Line Up:
7:30 Josh and Erica Czufin
8:00 Brooke Vestrand (and company? 🙂 )
8:30 Adam Hunsicker
9:00 Lance Burch (STAND UP COMEDY! WOO!!)
9:30 Jake Dougherty
10:00 Jaime Carbo/Claire Anthony/Chris Badeker/Jenna Layman