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“The Healer is here,” Building 429’s lead singer Jason Roy said from the front of the stage. “Right now, raise your hands. Move to healing.”
The music pulsed steadily as students and visitors lifted their hands and dropped to their knees.
Streams of neon green and blue lights showered the audience, catching glimpses of lifted faces and mouths echoing the words “here I am to worship.”
The Sounds of Hope Tour strove to offer more than entertainment for students and College for a Weekend (CFAW) guests, Sept. 30 at Thomas Road Baptist Church. The event, which featured bands Royal Tailor, Leeland and Building 429, brought excitement and passion to the stage.
“It was, overall, a great experience,” CFAW visitor Emily Witter said. “It felt totally natural to let go in worship. It was definitely more than a concert.”
Each group brought a different feeling to the stage, from Royal Tailor’s hip hop-rock mix, to Leeland and Building 429’s signature rock and worship styles.
“I thought it was fun,” Liberty freshman Andrew Freese said. “I’ve been really looking forward to this evening, and they did not disappoint.”
The tour, sponsored by the child sponsorship organization Food for the Hungry, took a break between sets to give the audience information and an opportunity to sponsor a child.
“Child sponsorship is not about the money,” Roy said.
From the stage, Roy challenged the audience on the money they spend so easily on clothes, going out to dinner with friends and specialty drinks at Starbucks. He then asked the audience to move from their comfortable lifestyles and propel change where they are.
“God is calling us to go and do something with this time,” Roy said. “It’s up to all of us tonight.”
As guitars continued to strum, Roy held up information packets of information on children from countries such as Guatemala, Uganda and Indonesia. According to Food for the Hungry, for $32 a month, a sponsored child could be provided with clean-water projects, medical care and vocational training, among other lifesaving programs. By the end of the night, 57 children had new sponsors.
“This tour isn’t about pep rallies,” Roy said. “It’s about releasing the power of Christ.”
For Liberty student Heather Osborn, God used Sounds of Hope to convict her of how she was spending money and to offer her a chance to sponsor another child.
“Over the night and the course of this week, God has been putting certain things on my heart,” Osborn said. “He’s been saying, ‘you spend money really easily when it’s something that you really want.’ I realized that when it comes to sponsoring another child or giving to Somalia relief efforts, I tend to start thinking ‘I can’t spend that much money.’”
During intermission, Osborn walked to the information booth and picked up a packet, not looking at the picture until she reached her seat.
“When I flipped it over and saw the face of the little child on the front, I started to cry,” Osborn said. “It was like God was saying ‘yes.’”
For Freese, whose parents raised him in Africa where they do missions work, the mission of Food for the Hungry was very real.
“They took time out of their concert to promote Food for the Hungry. I thought it was awesome,” Freese said. “I grew up in Africa. I feel like I know first hand what (poverty) is like, because I grew up around it.”
Near the end of Leeland’s concert, the band played the title track of their new CD “The Great Awakening.”
This song was inspired by a poem they found tracing back to the great awakening of the 1700s, where whole cities were led to salvation in America.
As they started to play this song, they told the audience that it was their hope for today’s generation.
“Whole towns came to Christ in a matter of days,” lead singer Leeland Mooring said. “I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see that today.”
For more information about the Sounds of Hope tour and to find links to each band’s website, visit soundsofhopetour.com. To find out more about Food for the Hungry, visit fh.org or call 1-800-248-6437.