Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Third World Symphony ::: An Interview with Shaun Groves

I am very excited and honored to write this post today and a bit out of the norm of the topics here on my little blog. Not because it's not an important topic, but because there are others that are more eloquent with their words than I am! : ) I am assuming that most of my readers are familiar with Compassion International and their work helping children in third world countries. (If not, let me know and I'll be happy to share more or send you links where you can find more information!) Our family sponsors a little girl through Compassion and it has been an eye-opening experience for both me and our children. (Well, the ones that are old enough to understand anyway). : )

Shaun Groves is a musician that has taken on the cause of Compassion and put himself out there as a spokesperson for the organization and their needs. Many, I'm sure, are familiar with the groups of bloggers that he takes each year to different countries, giving more exposure to the work of Compassion and the needs of children worldwide. This year I was GREATLY moved by different posts, specifically those from Tsh of Simple Mom and Emily at Chatting at the Sky on their recent trip to the Philippines. Their stories and pictures were both heart-breaking and inspiring and were burned into my head and heart.

All that preface to say, Shaun is releasing a new CD on August 30 called Third World Symphony ... I'll let him tell a little bit more about that below, but you can preview the ENTIRE album here online before it's available to buy. 

He recently gave bloggers the opportunity to ask him three questions and help spread the word about the album, so here's our little mini-interview.

How long as this album been in the making?

Kingdom Coming is the oldest song on this album. I started writing it in 2005. Then I put it aside for a couple years and picked it pack up in Ethiopia, in November of 2007. I had a wonderful dinner with leaders of the once-persecuted church in that country. We celebrated that the communists had left, the church was free to worship once again and had grown thirty fold during the persecution years! It was that evening, the conversations I had over dinner, that inspired me to write this album - to attempt to put into words the wisdom and beauty and joy and power I'd received from the people of the third world.

What is the goal for this album? To raise awareness for children in need? To open doors in churches for you to speak about those needs? Is it even bigger than that?

It's all of that I suppose and more. I truly have no idea how God will use this music but my best guess is that He'll use it as he has my blog and concerts and speaking over the last few years. People will, I pray, gain a bit of perspective and gratitude and joy and from that - in view of God's mercy, Paul says - offer their lives to God as a sacrifice. Many will sponsor children through Compassion International. Some will simplify their lives so that others may simply live. Some will begin carving out time to serve their family and community a bit better. Others will simply stop and say "thank you" for life as they know it. I've always been surprised at the off-the-wall surprising ways God has used my previous records. I'm sure I will be again. There's no way to know what God has planned.

What are your best suggestions for teaching about the needs of children around the world to your own children? (And by that, I mean MY own well-fed, middle class, wondering how to best teach them contentment and being thankful children?)

Practically, I can think of no better way than to sponsor a child through Compassion International for each of them. Let them contribute something - even fifty cents - each month to the bill. Guide them to pray for their sponsored child each night. As a family read the letters your sponsored child sends your child. Talk about what they've written. Find their country on a globe and measure the miles between your house and theirs. Have them save up money to send to your sponsored child for birthdays and Christmas. Talk about what they might buy with that money. I remember one of our sponsored children received a goat for Christmas with our money. We had a good talk with our oldest daughter about whether she'd like a goat and why her sponsored child loved it and needed it.

But I don't want my kids only thinking need only exists somewhere else. So I take them to our church's family assistance center every Wednesday to stock shelves, breakdown boxes for recycling, count cans - that sort of thing. And there are always opportunities to serve that crop up - helping mom make a meal for a woman who just got our of the hospital, assisting a teacher in a Sunday school class, manning a garage sale for an adoption fundraiser.

Now, understand please that my kids are just as inherently selfish as yours...and as you and me. But they're farther along than I was at their age. They don't say they're starving when they're merely hungry. When they hear about an earthquake in Haiti they pray for the children living there without prompting. And they're in the habit of giving away some of any money they earn. That's a pretty good start.

Thank you, Shaun, for taking the time to answer a few questions! 

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Shaun's album you can go here and pre-order your copy for $10, or you can snag it on iTunes on August 30. 

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