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29 February 2016

Message Through Music

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I want to share my experience of how my ministry came about. I became a Christian in 2011 and almost immediately starting writing songs. Amazing considering I had only written one song prior to my salvation. Thank You Lord. The lyrics and melodies didn’t always come easy but they came. I prayed about them often and God in His good timing, delivered. I didn’t have access to a studio but I had the Garage Band app on my iPhone 3 and was somewhat of a savvy tech guy at least as a home user. So I figured it out and that’s how seven or eight of my songs were put together lol. I laugh because I picture myself hovering over a table buried in lyrics and chord sheets with index fingers pointed from each hand trying to manipulate commands and keys in Garage Band on my tiny little iPhone in the midst of it all. It was tedious, yet fascinating. I was always moving forward and that’s huge.

My amazing wife Jaana had convinced me to partake in the 10k category of the Mississauga Marathon so we often found ourselves at the gym. Soon after completing the race we decided that the following year we would both step it up. Half marathon here we come!! Although Jaana had already completed a few ‘halves’ at the time and five in total, I was quite happy to complete only one. I like being able to negotiate going up and down the stairs without my knees crying out “ENOUGH!” One day at the gym while working up quite a sweat on the treadmills, Jaana dismounted and seemed to be in considerable pain and was crying out… something. I couldn’t quite make out what it was. I earnestly inquired “Are you OK? What’s wrong babe?” Her Finnish accent was strong and she was exasperated and tried once again to tell me and once again I was at a loss. I was thinking it was a hamstring or worse…I didn’t really know because we were training hard and for extended periods of time. It really could have been anything. Finally after catching her breath and relaxing a bit she spoke calmly…”Holy Spirit just told me about your ministry”. With an equal mix of joy and surprise I eloquently replied “Huh? What?” To which Jaana smiled and responded “Yes. Your songs tell your story”. “They do? Wow!!” Mind blown right? But now what? So we went home and Jaana freely wrote out a template and the context as to what the presentation would be. I was literally watching the Holy Spirit manifest right before my very eyes.

After much prayer , writing and composing a total of ten songs and a move from Milton to Hamilton, I now had the ability to record an album for Jesus. Jaana and I had prayed and put together a budget and moved forward completely out of faith into the next chapter of this journey. Wait…What? A Journey? Yes, A journey. That’s what we’ll call the album. Ok cool but are we missing anything? What’s the plan? HOW do we proceed? God knows. We had songs, we had a story, my story but it felt incomplete and I didn’t want the attention on me. I tried that for 47 years and it didn’t work out so well. So we prayed and waited, prayed and waited until one day while driving home from a visit to my parents, God deposited in me what we had been waiting for… VIDEOS!!

We are so blessed by our amazing bible believing church and by so many wonderful brothers and sisters we have in Christ. Ken V. happens to be one of them and also happens to be a gifted spirit filled musician/producer. Ken also owns and operates his own recording studio and media company. Hmmm, how convenient. A one stop shop in fact. Ken was excited to be a part of the project and I communicated to him what our budget was, what the plan was including the making of eight videos (which is what we needed for the ministry presentation of ‘A Journey’). I had never navigated recording songs or creating videos before so this was a huge learning curve for me. Ken and his amazing wife Amie understood that. They were supportive and informative at any and every time needed. Blessed I tell ya!! One issue we had though was were we going to film our own video footage (very costly and time consuming) or purchase online footage. Online footage? Turns out many sites online have footage available for purchase and download. Great idea. Let’s do that!! The boys at ADS Media (Ken’s media company) provided a few links and I was off and running. “Hey this video looks cool”. Man this is great I thought. I clicked the check-out button and what?!? $650.00?!? For 30 seconds of footage?!?!? That was almost our entire video budget and we needed about 40 minutes worth. Small issue. God is bigger. He birthed this ministry and He will provide. So we prayed and waited, prayed and waited for only 2 days this time. I was checking my email inbox and as usual had received a few new spam messages but this time was a little different. VideoBlocks one year membership sale? What’s that? Just a $300.00 yearly membership to download unlimited videos of every kind. Praise You Lord.

By October 2015 the process of creating the web page, the album and the videos was complete during which time God revealed what the ministry would be called. I didn’t want to use my name, at all!  It’s not about me. The album is called ‘A Journey’ but I won’t be playing all the songs from the album and what if I record another one? There may be other opportunities for different types of outreach as well. Hmmm. Pray and wait, pray and wait…. Thank You Lord !! Message Through Music Ministries was born.

Ken was recommending that we needed to film an advert for the ministry to which I responded “Ken, you know that guy who is face down in the wrestling ring tapping out because his opponent has him in an arm bar or a leg lock? That’s me. We don’t have any money left in the budget.” His right hand man Matt walks out of his office and says, “Make a dvd!”. Turns around and walks back into his office lol. I laugh because in and of itself, selling the DVD should pay for itself and the advert. Not to mention how much Ken has offered to bless me again. Thank you Lord.

Another awesome brother in Christ, Galen G. and I had been performing with a worship band at a little church in the north end of Hamilton on Friday nights. I mentioned I had this ministry thing to them and they agreed to let me present it there. We put the word out and soon after I was blessed to minister to about 25 people. It was good, but for me it still felt incomplete as far as the verbage was concerned. I’m no english major so I completely depend on God for what I’m going to say and how I’m going to say it among other things. Everything in fact. It was a work in progress and that’s pretty exciting considering how well that first gig went. Soon after God put on my heart that I should approach my home church to perform my ministry there. So I approached Pastor Marisa, our worship Pastor at Living Hope to set a time to discuss the matter. Soon after we met in our church café. With my laptop and paperwork in hand and my strategy all prepared and rehearsed I sat down with Marisa and she said “How can we help you?” I said “I would like to present and film a dvd of my ministry in the sanctuary at Living Hope. Perhaps soon and on a Sunday night?” Marisa said “OK! We want to help you. Let me get back to you within the week with some details and we’ll do this”. That was pretty much it! lol. Too cool! I smiled and was filled with joy but by this point I wasn’t surprised by the amount and frequency of favour we were receiving because the ministry was God breathed.

The date was set. February 28 2016 at 7pm. I practiced daily starting January 1st or so and was cruising right along right up until Feb 27th. The verbage and the message between song 6 and 7 seemed incomplete. I wasn’t feeling the love. I wasn’t sure I had the message God wanted me to share. Maybe this is what had been missing. Sharing the right message and tying that into the next song can be tricky, at least for me it is. So I put on some worship music and prayed, praised and rehearsed for about an hour and 40 minutes. It was just after midnight when God deposited the message. Thank You Lord. Awesome!! But now I had less than 24 hours to remember it in context, ‘LIVE’ in front of potentially hundreds of people. I hadn’t come this far to just give up so I rehearsed the lines over and over. About an hour before the show, Val M. says to me, “Don’t worry about it! The Holy Spirit put it there. He’ll say the words”. Man what a good word. Thank You Lord.

I have received so much love and support putting everything in this ministry together and it’s ongoing. I am blown away by it! I pray that I will be sensitive and obedient as to how God wants to continue to move forward with it. Thank You Lord. Thank you also to my amazing wife Jaana, and also to Ken V., Paul N., Clara F., Rob M., Richard K., everyone at ADS Media, the pastoral staff at Living Hope and all the volunteers that made this project possible. I am blessed beyond measure.

 

Dan Dyer

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