Hope Fest Arizona 2013!
It happened, now the day is over, but the work continues. The work to bring hope, to serve, to love, to clothe our neighbors and so much more. I want to share just a few highlights of the day. I am going to skip over the part where I got extremely frustrated with the man who stood in a parking spot right where I wanted to unload my gear and wouldn't let me in because he had been standing there saving the spot for 15 minutes. Yes, God dealt with me on that by saying these words (which sounded a lot like my husbands voice) "Mia, do you want to be right or do you want to be righteous?" To be right would mean to argue over a parking spot to be righteous which my husband is, means to move on, forgive, love and find a different spot, even if it means a longer unloading trip.
I am always amazed how sneaky my sin is when it creeps in my mind and I don't even recognize it until I've opened my mouth. Can I remind you, I am a work in progress!! After the Lord dealt with me on that issue and forgave my repentant heart, I was off and able to experience an amazing day!
Walking among all the vendors, I had a great chance to talk with them and hear their hearts through their stories of faith, strength and hope. I re-connected with Monnie, who I first met when I was arranging vendors for a festival that I was involved in and she was just getting re-started and had not acquired all the supplies she needed. By God's design, my husband and I had the canopy, table and chairs that she needed and she re-launched her business. Now I got to see her at Hope Fest with an amazing booth, non stop traffic and a huge smile. She is such a great encouragement to me. I admit, I kinda felt like a Mamma who had birthed a baby and watched her grow into an amazing women! Check her out at faithwearforever.com
I met up with a facebook friend (now an in face friend), Deni, who embraced me with tears as I walked by. As she shared her heart we both rejoiced that God is a God of restoration and healing. Now she sells jewelry with Compelling Creations! The jewelry was so powerful that just reading the descriptions of the designs made my heart full. Here is her website
and you can also find her on Facebook
. Another awesome gal!
There were so many other amazing vendors, it is hard to name them all. I guess you will just have to come to Prescott, AZ next year and visit them all with me again!
Throughout the day, there were baptisms, prayer tents, testimonies, outreach to the homeless, free hugs and music. Lots of music.
It was a blessing to see bands, that I now call friends, like Faith by Fire, Covenant 31 and Brian Weaver. A big thank you goes out to Brian for letting me bum a ride up the mountain with him, his 2 dogs, Chris the guitar player and all the gear. He wasn't kidding when he said there might not be room. So I sat in the front seat with my two bags packed between my feet and legs and a dog on my lap. Just like that, we made the trek. I have to admit it was fun cuddling with his sweet doggy!
Not only is it great connecting with bands I know, it is a blessing to meet new musicians. My merch table was right next to a young couple that travels full time in music ministry. It was fun to talk with them, but to watch them do what God has called them to blew my mind. Dusty is a Hip Hop artist (AND A GOOD ONE) and his wife Krystal is a singer and paint artist. They incorporate it all in their ministry and set. LOVED IT!! My greatest compliment (at least I think it is) when I meet a hip hop artist is this "I'm not really a hip hop fan, but I LOVED that." Dusty is so kind to see my heart through that ridiculous comment as I haven't yet mastered the art of political correctness or tact. They are so gifted, called by the Lord, sent to share their testimony and lift up the name of Christ! They are "Irregular4Christ"
and ready to travel!
With all the independent artists that were there, many of us rely on help. We can't do it alone. When someone says that they are willing to drive up to Prescott, get a hotel and volunteer at your booth to watch and run your table so that you are free to sing and meet with people, there is only one answer...YES!!!
I'm not sure if there are words that can adequately express how grateful I am to these two ladies. I kept saying "I don't know what I would do with out you." It was true, they were amazing, selfless and willing. They really are not volunteers, they are partners in the ministry. They are friends!
Thank you Deby! Thank you Lisa! As you can see by the photo, they didn't just help me, but also Brain Weaver, Faith By Fire...all of us!
With my table in good hands, I was able to go and do the main thing I came to do...SING!
This is where I get blown away (again). First off, I was blessed to have Jerry sit in with me on base. He was so great. It takes great skill to play with me. A midst the wrong chords (played by me), playing the song in a different key (me again) adding or subtracting a bridge here or there (give you one guess who did that), Jerry was a pro and able to follow my every crazy move and mishap.
(so thankful to Karmen
for the photos, always the last thing I think about when playing)
One of my favorite parts of the set, especially because this was sponsored by Celebrate Recovery, was being able to share bits of my testimony, what God has done in my life, how awesome our Lord is and the song I wrote for the Celebrate Recovery inspired Home Run Movie CD
~ "You Are Not Alone"
(looking forward to recording my own version soon)
Jesus Loves Me (ok, actually I haven't named it, but lets just go with that for now)
It's what happened after the set that blew my mind. The rush of people who were there waiting and had beaten me to my merchandise booth and the fact that they all waited after they bought CD's to talk and share their hearts was overwhelming.
To talk with a man who received hope through the songs because he was just diagnosed with cancer that week, to hear from a man who is praying for a marriage restoration, a woman who even 20 minutes after I was done was still weeping because of what the Holy Spirit moved in her through listening to the music and words I shared on stage..... to have people come up to me in tears because the Spirit spoke to them through the songs.....a lady who was telling her friend on the way there, "I just wish some one would sing a Keith Green song" and then to hear it at the end of my set and worship to the words of that amazing man, blessed her heart and blessed my rejoicing heart as well. It overwhelms me.
Story after story, hug after hug, prayer after prayer, I stand amazed at what God does when we simply obey. Amazed at what God does through broken, imperfect people who stumble and fall, but people that know the voice that lifts them back up.
It is my joy to sing, to share my testimony, to be used by God as He has gifted me, but more than that it is a responsibility. When God has done an amazing thing, my response and responsibility is to go and tell.
Yes, it is a joy. Yes it is a responsibility and Yes it is also an Honor.
An honor that I do not take for granted or take lightly.
Whatever vocation we are given, we have a story to tell. It's the beautiful story of the redemption of mankind, the story of redemption in our lives. We all have different ways of doing it, but we all are called to do it.
Hope Fest Arizona answered the call. They just did it and they will continue to do it, even when the music stops playing. Hope Fest is more than a festival it is the hands and feet of Jesus serving God through broken people who celebrate all that God has done and will continue to do.
It is because of the hearts of the Hope Fest team, that I count it a joy and honor to have partnered with them to share the story.
Hopefully you made it to the end of this post, because I am saving the best for last. None of this would have happened without the Lord. The few stories and miracles that I heard of and the countless ones I did not get to hear are testimony to God's hand and providence for this event. He really was there EVERY step of the way, providing it all.
A huge blessing and thanks go to these two who heard the call and gathered God's people to action. Thank you Jaye Lene and thank you David. May God's blessings continue to flow over your lives!
(and thank you Monika for this beautiful picture I snagged off of FB)