Summer Snapshot: Youth Choir Tour 2022
This summer, after waiting three years to take an annual choir tour, 34 McFarlin choir members traveled to Florida and shared God’s love to others through song and worship. Below, Christina Miller, her two kids Rose and Isaac, and Lindsay Hawkins share how their experience on this trip has impacted their lives.
What was it like building relationships with the people on your trip?
Rose: It was really fun just bonding with everyone. I made a lot of relationships with people that I would see every week [in choir] but maybe didn’t know very well.
Isaac: Making friends was my favorite part. I made friends I didn’t know beforehand. It was cool having people talk to me that don’t normally talk to me or hang out with me. It made me feel good.
Lindsay: I grew up going on choir tours and mission trips at McFarlin and the experiences from those shaped me and kept me on the straight and narrow path. As an adult I really wanted to experience that again because I think as humans we need those moments.
Do you have a favorite moment?
Isaac: We rang bells and sang at nursing homes. When we were singing at the nursing homes, people were lip syncing with us because they knew the words and that was cool.
Rose: I was talking to one of the residents and she was talking about how she used to do this when she was our age, how she would go around the world with her choir. And then she talked about how much hate there is in the world right now but we just bring so much joy to them. It was really meaningful.
Lindsay: At the first nursing home we performed at, there was a man in the audience who we found out later had suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident 30 years ago. He had lost his motor skills and his cognitive speech so forming words and articulating was hard for him. During Amazing Grace, his face lit up and he started singing the lyrics. He expressed so much love in such a beautiful way when the kids were singing. It was beautiful and in that moment and even reflecting on it now, it really touched me. Especially because we found out later that music had been a big part of his life before his injury. Music breaks down the barriers and allows us to do and experience things that we may not normally experience.
Where there any other moments where you encountered God or when you saw someone else encounter God?
Rose: There was a time when we were at one of the nursing homes and we were just singing our hearts out like it was so good and I just knew that God was there and that everyone felt it. It felt like even the people back home would feel God in Oklahoma even though we were across the country.
Christina: Going on the choir tour with all these other parents and learning their stories was such a great way to connect. They’re people you may see passing on Sunday mornings or standing next to your kid in the choir loft but you really don’t know them so it takes stepping away and having long days together to connect and really get to know people and build that relationship. I think that is such a big benefit of being part of a church family is having things that are stronger than friendships because they’re rooted in faith and that shared belief in God and what He’s doing in our lives.
How does spending time with your church family help you grow in your relationship with God?
Rose: I think spending time with God and my church family is a good thing because it just helps me in my day-to-day life. It gives me things like patience. And I know that if I do my devotion in the morning I have a better day and am more forgiving and loving. And spending time with my church family helps bring that out too, because we all have the same goals and we’re all trying to be more like Jesus and we help each other out in that.
Isaac: It helps me feel better about myself and other people.
Christina: Something Isaac shared with me about that–some of that comes from having such great choir leaders and working with Stephen and Austin and Trey. There are so many fantastic adults that pour into your life and help you develop your talents and abilities and just encourage you.
Lindsay: Sundays are my time to recoup and if we miss church because we’re traveling or sick, I notice a difference in my week. Seeing people you love that you care for and you know care for you just makes a huge difference and it’s extremely important. McFarlin has really done a great job with asking the question ‘What does missions look like’ (and not just mission trips because those are great places to get that mountaintop experience we talk about) but the local things that we can do are just as important. Those trips can be a stepping stone for someone, but then when they’re back it’s about plugging in and finding those local ways to get involved.