931 S. Kickapoo · Springfield · Missouri · 65804 · 417-883-5274
email@example.com · www.messiahproject.org
December 26, 2015
Dear Messiah Project Partners,
I hope this holiday season has been a very special time for you and your families and friends. As we head into the new year, I wanted to recap for you what your ministry has accomplished. I pray that you will take a moment to reflect with me on the year’s accomplishments and help us chart our course for 2016.
March 22 - Messa di Gloria by Puccini at All Saints Anglican Church
Sharon Wilkins directed this beautiful work as Jonathan Story accompanied on organ. Fr. Douglas McGlynn, rector of All Saints Anglican Church, gave fresh insight into the Mass, pointing to the Gospel that is presented in this wonderful work. It is a difficult work but the ensemble rose to the occasion and we were blessed by God as the music opened the scripture that is embedded in the liturgy of the Church.
June - Revelation Concert Tour – at the right time!
Our concert tour to Greece and Turkey was a tremendous success. Jonathan and Kara Story led the musical charge with a variety of music that appealed to all the audiences. Sharon Wilkins did a tremendous job of bringing the platoon of valiant singers together for possibly one of the best musical presentations yet heard by Messiah Project audiences. Another significant highlight was Kate Riegler and Kara Story’s dance/vocal duet to “You are My Hiding Place.” The piece brought tears to many in the audience and choir. Completing the instrumental offering, Dr. Linda Ligate joined Jonathan on the piano to perform four-hand arrangements of great hymns.
The entire group was not only harmonious in sound but in spirit and worked unselfishly to be a blessing to the people of Greece. At the right time – We were there as the financial crisis reached a critical point. Many asked “Should we cancel?” and “Is it safe?” Without exception, the entire group wanted to forge ahead. The music brought encouragement and spiritual rejuvenation. In the midst of international cultural decline those who came to the concerts were reminded that in the end, Jesus is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” A follow-up concert was presented August 29 in Fayetteville and August 30 in Springfield.
October 17 - 8th Annual Heritage of Hymns
Singers from 41 different churches in our area came together to honor God through some of the finest music ever penned. This year’s featured artist was Dino Kartsonakis, who along with his wife Cheryl, lit up the stage. As always, the Springfield Symphony contributed to a very energetic and emotionally moving performance. Close to 2000 were in attendance at the performance which some said was the best yet. We are reminded that God called his people on festival occasions to come together to praise and honor Him with no thought to their tribal affiliation. As a truly ecumenical community-centered event, Heritage of Hymns is a must for this city! If you’d like to order photos from the concert, they are available online.
November 22 & 23 – The Holiday Prelude at the Fox Theater on the Square, Springfield
For twelve Christmas seasons Messiah Project has produced the American classic Amahl and the Night Visitors. This year, we stepped away from Amahl to revisit The Holiday Prelude, celebrating through vocal and instrumental music the stories of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas. The concert featured the Forum Sinfonia from Krakow, Poland, with marvelous conductor Piotr Sulkowski. Since 1996, The Messiah Project has collaborated and toured with Maestro Sulkowski, who has become highly sought after to conduct symphonies throughout Europe and the Americas. It is an unusual blessing for Springfield, Missouri, to host such a noted conductor, and we are blessed that he has been a good friend and strong supporter of The Messiah Project for almost 20 years. Over 400 attended the performances, including 260 young people who were touched by a message of the holidays pointing to our heritage as Christians.
December 14 - Amahl and the Night Visitors in Jonesboro Arkansas
|We were so pleased to present Amahl in Jonesboro, with Piotr Sulkowski conducting and his gifted son Jan singing the role of Amahl. In cooperation with Arkansas State University Choral department, the performance was a stunning success with an afternoon free performance for area public and private school children and an evening performance for the community at large. The matter of bringing in the orchestra and Piotr Sulkowski would not be possible without the significant generosity of Dr. Dan Ross (who happens to be my brother-in-law). We were personally so blessed that my niece Cherie Collins, vocal instructor at Arkansas State University, spearheaded the production of Amahl.
December 19 & 20 – Cosmic Christmas by Credo Dance Academy
The holiday season would not be complete without the stunning performance of Cosmic Christmas, conceptualized, choreographed, and directed by Kate Riegler and performed by students and teachers from Credo Dance Academy, a subsidiary of Messiah Project. The performance, based on a work by Max Lucado, tells the Christmas story from the perspective of the angels—and celebrates the victory of God’s light over the forces of darkness. The three performances were preceded by special dance pieces performed by the younger students at CDA.
November/December – Nativity Scenes
Since 1992 we have faithfully placed nativity scenes in and around Springfield, bringing a reminder to the community of the true reason for Christmas. Sadly, these scenes are the only connection some people have to the Gospel’s account of God coming to live among us, to show us His love and forgiveness, and to eventually pay the sacrifice for our sins so that we might have life in Him. We are grateful to McDonald’s owners who continue to support this vital ministry and to others who help fund the upkeep of the scenes.
Fall 2015 - RELIEF SHIPMENT TO IRAQ – TOUCHING THOUSANDS
Many of you have followed this saga of bringing aid to Northern Iraq – Kurdistan. Following is a report from our friend and pastor in Erbil, Kurdistan. We have left unedited his message to us. A few footnotes are added to his account:
Please accept my apologize for replying and getting back to you very late, I feel very sorry for I couldn't make everything at its right time.
Let me explain briefly how we made a plan and distributed the goods;
1- as regards the Barazani foundation and our agreement with them, we handed them %20 over. (Note: The Barazani Foundation is a well-respected foundation of Kurdistan bringing relief to all people regardless of race or religion. Barzani is a highly decorated soldier of the Persmerga. His organization caught wind of our mission and helped with the final phase of getting the goods in to Erbil.)
2- as its appear in the pictures, right after getting the shipment we got a medical team (dentists) from the United States, we used the sanctuary of the church as the clinic room and around 450 patients been treated very well. There, we gave away the tooth pastes & brushes to those who were coming to get treatment.
3- as our church is a recognized church officially by the government and the other local church are in a limited relationship with the churchs and Christian organizations abroad, we preferred to share what we have got;
A- helping the church of Ranya and Qaladza ( near the border of Iran ) with two tons, they have done very organized work among the Syrian refugees in their district.
B- helping the church of Mesopotamia with two tons that has been distributed among the Syrian refugees and yazidi's in Sulaymaniyah city.
C- helping the church of Duhok with one ton to be distributed among the IDP (the yezidies in particular) in Duhok and Zahko.
4- the rest we kept for our church as more than a thousand Syrian refugee families are getting a monthly food parcels, so instead of purchasing rice from the stores we used the protein rice and inserted 4 bags into each parcel. (each bag has 6 servings)
5- the kindergartens here in Erbil liked very much and around 250 kg been given away to 3 of them to be used for the kids under 5 years.
It's worthy to be mentioned that the audio bibles and booklets been given away too to all those who got the parcels as well as those who attended the clinic.
Thanks so much for your continual concern and love for the sake of the Lord God bless
We have published a full report on the proceedings that took place to get the shipment to Erbil. It was a tremendous effort and took literally hundreds of man hours to get through the maze of challenges that were thrown at us. www.messiahproject.org
This is the truck and trailer that transported the goods from Mersin, Turkey to Erbil, Kurdistan. It was delayed for 3 weeks at the border between Turkey and Kurdistan.
Picture taken the day the trailer arrived in Erbil. Volunteers were busily unloading the trailer.
These are the pictures that were taken during the dental clinic in Pastor Majeed’s Church.
Upcoming Concert Tours:
We are currently planning concert tours to:
- Greece with Dino Kartsonakis
- Czech Republic and Poland - Redeeming Love Tour featuring Ballet Excelsior from Houston, Texas - June 7 through June 21
- Austria and Poland with Jonathan and Kara Story – June 19 through July 3
- China – International Arts Festival – Sharon Wilkins has been invited to lead workshops and bring a musical performance to the festival in Kunming the last two weeks of July.
- British Isles – When we determine the dates of the Holiday Prelude, we will set a date for our fall Cathedral Tour to Great Britain.
Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating in any of the above tours – instrumentalists, singers, and travelers are always welcome. Our quest is to reach the lost and to encourage our fellow believers through the arts!
The Messiah Project Wants You!
We have lots of volunteer opportunities for you. Let us know your availability and interests. The times are flexible, the projects varied, and the rewards eternal. You can call Jean Ann Hutchinson at (417) 655-0117 or email email@example.com for more detailed information.
Closing Thought for 2015 (from Heartlight)
I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. — Psalm 108:3
Songs go where evangelism, witnessing, and planned outreach sometimes cannot go. Songs tell a story, offer praise, and deliver truth in a package that opens the heart and stirs the emotions. Songs give life to the soul and stir something primal, buried deep inside by God. When you are around friends you are trying to reach with the Gospel, listen for the kind of music they like. Then when the time is right, point them to songs that share the message of the Gospel with a melody and beat that can stir their hearts. God wants us to praise him, not just in our sanctuaries and churches, but with our friends and across cultures. He wants us to sing in ways that help other people know the "heart song" of our Redeemer's love.
Almighty God and righteous Father, thank you so much for the gift of song. Thank you for lyricists that capture the mood of our hearts and the word of your grace and help move others closer to faith. Please bless all those involved in bringing Christian songs to the public and making your Word more understandable to the masses. Empower singing in your Church, and help us to sing of your salvation in ways that reach all peoples on the earth. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
The Thoughts and Prayers for Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you,
Lindsey & Jane
Lindsey & Jane Robison - Founders of “The Messiah Project”