There are times in life when multiple passions and paths intersect; when seemingly random individuals connect to create something wholly “more” than what could be accomplished alone. When describing movements for the Kingdom of God, those of us who follow Jesus often describe moments such as this as “divine appointments”. Miki and I want to share one such appointment with you now.
In January 2015, I began working on an music album for Laura Llorens – an American songwriter who lives in Paris. This was my second project with her, having produced her previous album in 2013. The project stretched out over many months, as Laura was expecting her 2nd child in the middle of the process. After she gave birth, we reconvened in the fall in Tallinn to finish up the rest of the album. During those hectic sessions, one song that “blossomed” was a song called “Sweet Thing”.
Like many residents of Europe, Laura was very distressed by the refugee crisis taking place here in 2015. She had also followed closely my family’s first trip to the Balkans to help refugees in-transit through Serbia. All of the images and stories and television footage inspired her to write a song about the crisis – from the perspective of a mother fleeing war with her child.
Its not hard to imagine that the recording of this song was very intense. Every note, word and drum beat was carefully chosen in an effort to convey the emotion of what we in Europe were witnessing on our shores.
Furthermore, the personnel involved had a significant impact on the song. While I generally prefer not to categorize or segregate music, Laura would, for the most part, be considered a “secular” artist – though she does follow Christ. All the people involved in the album are Christians with very unique stories.
For example, Three of us on the record could be defined as “migrants”. Laura is a “Wisconsinite” who is a permanent resident of France with her French husband and two beautiful children in Paris. Our drummer, Gustavo Faliero, is a Brazilian missionary and pastor from Rio de Janeiro, who, at the time, was also working in Paris with his family. And then there’s me and my family – a bunch of “South Georgians” living in Estonia.
We all know how it feels to be outsiders in a foreign land.
And the piano – truly the foundation of this particular song – was played by our Estonian friend Aivo Jakobs. Aivo has his own migrant identity. Many of the Jakobs family had to flee their homeland during the final years of the Soviet Union because of their faith in Jesus Christ. As a result, Aivo spent years in America with his family waiting for the opportunity to return home. He has a real understanding of the motivations underlying the current refugee crisis.
This gathering of musicians, to me, was a “divine appointment” to use our talents to help advocate on behalf of these “aliens” on our doorsteps.
We’re humbled and blessed to be able to share the premier of the music video for “Sweet Thing” below. The song begins with a traditional French children’s song about the wind, but changes to English once the main song starts. Please check it out and share. And special thanks to French artist Nols for the brilliant animation as well.
As we’ve mentioned before, we understand the refugee crisis is a heated and difficult issue these days. But, it is important to remember that the Bible says that those of us who claim Christ as our Lord are all “aliens and strangers” in this world. As we await to enter fully into our “citizenship in Heaven”, we are called to help those in peril – even our enemies. We are to overcome evil with good. I hope this music video encourages you to stand firm in our shared calling.
I leave early Wednesday morning for Lesvos, Greece – a small island off the coast of Turkey – in an effort to serve the refugees there however I can. Accompanying me this time are missionary friends coming from Spain and Ghana. Who knows what divine appointments await us there. We covet your prayers and support.
Blessings to you all, and enjoy “Sweet Thing” below by clicking on the image.
Ways to donate to this ministry:
By Check: Send a check to the following address, noting “Chastain/Russia 322” in the memo:
The Mission Society
6234 Crooked Creek Road
Norcross, GA 30092
By Credit/Debit Card: Go to: https://themissionsociety.org/give
In the box noting: “Give to a Missionary”, fill in the amount and 0322 for the “Four-digit Missionary ID#”