Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What do Russia - Jan 2012 and Nashville - May 2012 have in common?

What do Russia, Jan 2012 and Nashville, May 2012 have in common?

My first trip to Russia was full of unknowns. 25-30 women would travel to Russia with Debbi Bryson and CCCPM. I only knew Maryann Willer and had just met a few of the gals going down in Oceanside a couple months prior.

I was on my way to see MaryAnn, whom I call, "My Home Away From Home". She was down in Oceanside helping with a women's conference. Perry and MaryAnn have become such dear friends to me as they gave me a home while I was recording "Five O'Clock" with Danny Donnelly in 2010 for about 6-8 weeks in Northern California.

The thought crossed my mind, "I want to go to Russia with MaryAnn," as I drove down 45 minutes to Oceanside where MaryAnn was visiting. I thought that was a strange thought because I hadn't thought of going to Russia since we had "almost" gone to Russia in 2008 when our church missions trip was changed to go to Africa. When MaryAnn opened the door of the house, her first words were, "Do you want to go to Russia?" I intended only to visit for an hour or so, when circumstances turned and I ended up staying the entire evening. I went to dinner with the girls where we shared life stories, prayed for each other, and attended the women's Bible Study taught by Debbi. At the study, we covered a verse that I felt was the verse that confirmed me going, but I didn't want to acknowledge it till I could pray with my husband about it.

Long story short--- I found myself in Russia with these girls a couple months later. Non-stop work and fellowship with the ladies from Russia and America. When we arrived at the Women's Retreat, we all went straight to work in the areas for which we were each responsible.

When the Russian women arrived to the women's retreat, we greeted them and laughed with them. Oh it was SOOO cold outside.

They each walked from the train in the dark, cold and bitter air. It was so cold, you cannot leave your smart phone exposed and out of your pocket without it shutting down in just a few minutes. We tried standing out there to watch them arrive, but not without a heavy coat you couldn't!

The weekend was filled with worship, teaching, workshops, praying with girls, crying and laughing with the girls, listening to them, sitting with them, drinking coffee and tea with them, standing arm and arm with them as we sang or prayed, and sitting and eating with the girls.

Some brought their children and the American girls took such good care of them. Some of the Russian girls served together with the American team and we all bonded in a special way.

There were moments of "sitting in the river" (that's another story I would have to write about). There were moments with the staff who worked at the retreat center.

I couldn't remember the last time I had cried and laughed with this many women in this short amount of time. It was such a time of healing. I loved every moment.

Sherri Youngward, a worship leader and singer/songwriter I respect and love very much, gave me the opportunity to minister to the girls through music in a little optional concert the 2nd day. It was such a sweet time sharing what God has been teaching me put to lyric and music.

I also had the opportunity to speak during a workshop session: Responding to Your Call. So many girls came that we had to add seats. We prayed Jesus would send who we wanted to hear that message. So many of the ladies requested prayer and a listening ear after the workshop, that those moments went on throughout the retreat!

There were so many moments that would probably keep this "short" blog going on and on and on. It was an IMMENSELY sweet time at the retreat which I shall ALWAYS cherish and hope to be able to partake in again EVERY year… but that's up to Jesus.

We then made our way to an orphanage where we shared the hope and message of Jesus through song, plays, and gifts. As I shared my testimony, I asked the children if they thought God was mad at me that I had walked away from Him. So many raised their hands believing that He was. We were able to share with them that He is NOT angry with them, but that He loves them, died for sin, and wants to save us from death that sin causes in every person. Everyone who spoke or shared had such a deep impact on the children and a few even committed their lives to Jesus!

I was the last to leave the theatre/auditorium when the director of the orphanage spouted a bunch of Russian words with a huge smile, squeezed my cheeks, and gave me a hug. I can only imagine that her heart was also touched by The Savior, as it was a beautiful moment. I know God knows what she said.

We also shared Gospels of John with random people at coffee shops, trains, train stations, metros, metro trains, airplanes, and wherever and whoever came our way as a group. The CCCPM folks on the ground made our "tourist-y" day an opportunity for shining light in darkness while buying souvenirs. :) It was a joy.

The answers to the unknowns were answered in 10 short days: What will it be like? Who will I meet? What will I do? How cold will it feel in the dead of winter? How will God use me there? What will it be like serving with so many women I don't know? What friendships and relationships will result from this time?

Had I not gone to Russia, I would not have met Sandy and the girls from Nashville. Had Sandy from Millersville not invited me to stay at her home in Millersville, my band and I would have never stumbled into the Millersville Waffle House.

Had we not stumbled into the Millersville Waffle House one sweet girl would not have known she could give her life to Jesus after an impromptu concert at that Waffle House and the other gals and patrons there would not have heard that night how much Jesus cares, loves, and chases them!

Had we never met them, they would not have known about Calvary Chapel at Rivergate as their new home and community of believers who can come alongside and encourage them, love them, and walk with them in this life.

Russia was not just about Russia. Nashville was not just about Nashville. All of this is about Jesus and leaving the 99 to go find the ONE! Where does He want to send you? Where will He send me?

I leave for Russia AGAIN in June! Praying for more lost sheep to find their Shepherd to bring them into fold and find protection for their souls and hope for their lives in Him!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baby Girl and The Waffle House Band and the Best Night Ever!

It just keeps getting better!!!

In the last blog I shared how we were divinely led into the Millersville Waffle House in Goodlettsville. We promised to return the next night with our instruments and a full concert.

While this promise meant we couldn't go out to Broadway with the folks at The Objective, we knew something special was waiting at The Waffle House. Chris, my friend Maya's husband, Pastor of newly started Calvary Chapel Nashville offered to bring an amp for Joe's Electric Guitar, and an amp for my Nord piano. This was last minute news, a couple of hours before we headed out to the Waffle House.

We shared our hearts at the Objective Showcase with a couple of songs where we received feedback from a panel of four judges. Many friends and their families that we've met along the way came out to support us and wanted to visit with us for a little bit and then we had the opportunity to listen to the rest of the bands that night.

After that, we made our way back to the Waffle House where we set up our gear and gave a concert. We started the night singing an old hymn everyone knows, Amazing Grace. There were a few of the same folks we had met the night before and folks there from Calvary Chapel at Rivergate and as mentioned before Calvary Chapel Nashville.

One of the gals we met was our new friend's daughter. After the concert, she and I spoke for a bit. It turned out that she longed for peace and wants to follow Jesus. She knew she needed Him but hadn't yet committed her life to Him. Jesus has been chasing after her a long time as He does for every lost sheep... He never lets us go, without going out to seek us out. He never discards us because of sin! He came and died and rose again BECAUSE OF SIN!!! Sin is WHY we need to turn our life to Him, otherwise we wouldn't need His forgiveness! She committed her life to Jesus that night and my prayer is that she would run with Him and never look back! I am so excited for her and how God is going to bless so many other little lost sheep through her life and story of redemption!

All those seeds planted in her heart and watered!... and tonight, we had the privilege of seeing the fruit! So excited for our new friends and family from the Waffle House!!!

So, we were given the suggestion to change up our band name. When I was born, my parents were undecided about what name I would have. So, the hospital fittingly gave me the name "Baby Girl" Fontanes until my parents could decide. Well, they decided on my name but my Birth certificate to this day remains "Baby Girl".

So... Baby Girl and the Waffle House Band was suggested. :) We're having fun with it and thought you might too! We've even jested about a Waffle House Tour! What do you think?!?!

Please pray for our newly and recommitted "now running with Jesus" friends/family at the Waffle House!

Love, e

James, a harmonica, and $5.

If you did not read the post from the other night: SPOILER ALERT!!!! Brian, my husband, Jenni and Joe Arant are on our trip to Nashville.

We met James on 4th and Commerce in downtown Nashville. James is homeless, was drunk, and needed a few $. However, we were enjoying the music coming out of the box on the corner of the street in Music City. My husband, Brian, was playing his harmonica, when James approached us looking for $. "Can't you see what we're doing? Enjoy the music with us!!" So James started dancing with us to the harmonica Brian was playing along with the country music coming out of the box.

Again, James insisted on some $, when we asked him what his name was. He swore he was using it to buy food and that he was was hungry (I know, I know). James professed to know Jesus and follow him, he is a prodigal. We told him about God's food and water for our souls, prayed with him, that God has a purpose for his life, and only because one of us felt led to do so, gave him $3. While he claimed it wasn't enough, we sent him on his way.

The next night, as we drove past the same corner half-expecting a response, I yelled out the window, "James, what did you do with the $3?!?!?". We all giggled about it.

The next day, we were sitting outside of Rocketown talking with a mentor we were assigned. We were many blocks from the corner where we met James. And here we were, tucked away between a Crown Vic we rented and the stairwell outside the Rocketown building when out of nowhere comes a man asking for money. Yes! It was James! There were many other people physically outside the building he could have asked for money. However, he came between the small opening straight to us when we all exclaimed, "James!"

I recounted to him the night before when I was yelling outside of our window, "James, what did you do with the three dollars?" He right away claimed that he bought food that night. I then asked him if he had drank anything today, and he honestly answered yes.

We then had the opportunity to really talk to James. He came to realize the fact that, yes, he is being held captive, and so we asked him turn around and look to the sky, and pray for God to help him. At first it seemed like a little show for us, but then it went on & on, and it became sincere.

I believe God gave me this picture: the same enemy of our souls that influences men to abuse children physically and sexually, is the same enemy of our souls that takes God's children captive with addictions and temptations of sin. Jesus came to set the captives free. And He has done that. So, why would we allow this disgusting enemy, to take us by the hand and put us in the box in his backyard. This is the spiritual equivalent to what child predators do.

This was a sobering thought to James. We gave him five dollars, and once again, prayed with him and after talking with him, sent Him on his way to McDonalds then the mission. This time, he promised to be running straight to the mission anytime he heard the tempting voice of this enemy. Run to the mission and confessing he was being tempted to drink. He will ask for prayer, and he will seek help from the chaplains. Whether or not James overcomes his addiction yesterday or today, God is greater than the addictions that has held him captive these years. This is why Jesus came!

Please pray for James!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tonight was the best night EVER!!!

We stumbled (Divinely) into Waffle House IN MILLERSVILLE, TN tonight after a prayer asking Jesus to show us what to do and then leaving our sessions in Nashville early.

In Waffle House
The gals: Brenda Sue, the sweetest gal and cook (a gem) & Casey our server (another gem)... also trickling in: Jeff, a patron who drove back 8 miles after getting home to order hash browns w/cheese and Lynn, our server, Casey's husband. We could just sense we were led there and we made great friends with all four of em quickly when we suddenly broke out in song!

With tears and joy, we gathered in a circle and prayed together for our new family, shared struggles, more prayers, and promised to come back tomorrow night with more instruments and a full set.

Last night, WE MET JAMES. He was asking for money, but we told him to forget all that and join us in dancing to the music and harmonica. We were led to gather in a circle, hold hands, pray with him though he was inebriated and wanted two more bucks. Pray that James would be freed from addiction for He confesses Jesus but is trapped in his addiction.

Also pray for the unspoken things of the individual's we met at the waffle house tonight ! Pray for Brenda Sue's grandson headed to dangerous places soon, and Casey's little boy's healing, and a few things God know that I won't write here. Jesus loves all these folks so much. And He loves you too!!! He wants to use you to wrap your arms as His around the lost sheep, the hurting sheep, the wandered sheep...

Though we didn't go to the organized outreach at the "Objective Meetings" the Lord sent us to different highways and byways where He wanted to touch four souls in a very special and unique way. Joe said it tonight... We take Jesus and show people the Kingdom of God wherever we go.

We just used what we had in our hands... Joe and I- our voices and a table as a drum, Brian-his harmonica, and Jenni, a camera.

He guides us with His eyes... Whoever catches your eyes, it's because they've caught His. Be sensitive to what He puts on your heart to do in that moment!

The BEST DAY EVER!!!!!!!!

There is a video! I'll post when I can sort out how!!!! :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Nashville Bound & Chasing Your Dream

4:30a: It's Time To Wake Up
5:11a: lug the rest of the luggage/instruments downstairs.
520a: thank you Jen's mon & Eric! - Jen Arant's bro and mom for a ride to SNA.
7:00a: Let's take a ride on a plane!

It was a seamless and smooth take away this morning.

I've been pondering how we got to where we are going today. Some people end up in Nashville to chase the dream of a musical career. As I learn more about God and His purpose for us in these last 11-12 years, I see more and more WHY He wants us to chase Only Him.

Chasing dreams can be filled with disillusionment, disappointment, tiresome striving that seems only to spin wheels, a lot of pressure on you to "make it happen".

Chasing after Jesus is "seeking First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and everything else shall be added into you". My friends, THIS IS NOT CLICHE'! It's actually true!

I don't want to confuse "having a goal or dream" and working towards it with striving in your own strength apart from a relationship with God.

While we have definitely put in many hours of personal band rehearsals, quiet time, mundane tasks like trips to the post office, graphic design, responding to many requests in order for this trip to be possible, how it even became possible was no effort on our part. This was something presented to us and a door we walked through.

Literally, I was contacted by someone who happened upon my music on the internet. The organization is The Extreme Tour. They invited me to apply to go on The Extreme Tour, a musicianary type Tour where you are able to visit many cities and actually meet people on the ground and shine Light in Darkness, share our music, and pick up those who are in need of some Love and Rescue. We've been accepted for that tour and just waiting to hear back about dates between August end to Nov start.

They offered us the opportunity to come out to Nashville, play at Rocketown, attend some closed door meetings with mentors: musical and spiritual, industry folks, and the Extreme Tour Staff. They called these series of meetings: The Objective. There will be many other bands and musicians and we're looking forward to meeting new people and developing relationships with folks we'll be working with.

It all started with: Chasing After Jesus.

Many are called, but few are chosen.

God has a call on your life. Yes, you reading. How do you "get chosen?"

You RESPOND. Respond to Your Call.
What gifts, talents, and abilities have you been given?

What daily, "small" things you know you need to be doing that you keep putting off? Areas of discipline? Forgiving those who have hurt you? Luke 17!!! Roots of bitterness or resentment in your heart towards anyone? Fasting? Praying? Spending time knowing God by reading His Word? One Year Bible and journal are awesome for that!

It's a matter of your heart and is yours & your whole life surrendered to Jesus everyday?

These are the things God has spoken to my heart and even more so these last few years! I struggle to chase after Him! Everything worth something has to be fought for, and so I chase. Fallen down? Get up!!! Fallen down? Get up! Fallen down??? You get the picture!

You're not down until you quit and don't get up anymore. "a righteous man falls seven times, but gets up." Not in your own strength BUT HIS.

In due time, the things that so easily entangled, lose their power over you, when... You chase after Jesus.

DO YOU HAVE A DREAM? Don't give up on it!!! BUT, CHASE JESUS, not the dream.

He is so worth the fight rather than your own desires and ambitions. His desires and ambitions are far greater than what small things we can imagine for ourselves.

Let us seek glory for God, not ourselves. Chase Him, not our dreams.

And in the meantime, start doing the "small", mundane, disciplined hard work for each thing He calls you to each day.

Lord, what do you have for me to do today?

If you don't know what your gifts and talents are. Chase Him, He'll unfold/unwrap a perfectly beautiful gift of life that will lead you to places, people, and things you never imagined.

It's time to WAKE UP! THIS is the call!!!

Take a listen to FIVE O'CLOCK album, the musical version of this message! :)


By Buying music from independent artists like me, you help me Respond to my Call to be Hands and Feet and you'll be encouraged in responding to yours!!!

Lots of Love, Jesus, & Music!
e of b&e frye. :)

Landed in Dallas, gotta go!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Nashville, The Objective, and the Extreme Tour

Tomorrow morning 645a, Joe and Jenni Arant, Brian and myself will be sitting on a Nashville Bound flight.

Saturday PM: sightsee, visit with friends, and settle in!
Sunday AM: sharing a song or two at Calvary Chapel @Rivergate in Goodlettsville, TN
Tuesday 7 PM: originals at Rocketown - The Objective Showcase Concert -
Wednesday PM TBA: we caught wind of possible street outreach, but not sure if we're playing yet.

Then back home we come!!! :)

We'd love your prayers and if you're nearby, stop by Rocketown by 630p as we're on right at 7p!

We'll be taking pics and posting on my FACEBOOK page. www.facebook.com/elvafrye

Much love, prayers, and music!