Changing the Oil

I’m sitting here in Meineke waiting for my oil change to finish and yes I have a coupon. I’m thinking about how I’ve recently been so inspired to increase my biblical knowledge. Partly because I’d love to be able to recite more scripture from memory. I also want to better apply what I learn to my life. And understand the theology behind a lot of scripture. I could go on, but you get the idea.

With a cheesy metaphor fully in mind, what would our cars be like if all we got was an oil change? If we get regular oil changes, our vehicles will actually function very well. It will make everything mechanically run smoother in the car for 3000 miles. But it will not protect our brakes or our tires. It will not keep the windshield wipers from rusting. It will not keep the windshield from cracking and needing replaced. (Yes that’s me and that is where I’m headed after the oil change is done.)

If I spend time gaining biblical knowledge, it will undoubtedly make my relationship with God somewhat deeper, but it will not protect me from attacks. Reciting scripture from memory alone will not keep my faith strong. Neither will better understanding theology. In the same way oil changes without getting gas will not keep your car alive, and the same way faith without deeds is dead (James 2), knowledge is only a starting point. And it will more than likely lead to pride. The same way an oil change alone will not cause a car to run, gaining biblical knowledge alone is not enough to make a Christian run. So I can read read read and learn learn learn until the cows come home, but it will also take prayer, worship, etc., to make me run smoothly.

Who knew an oil change could be so deep?

Faces From the Equator Part 4

Lunchtime at Compassion Project EC-478 is a high intensity activity. Within 45 minutes, 300 kids eat their lunch in 3 shifts of 100. Roberth, one of our translators and Compassion tour guides, explained how the project lunch is the only meal some of the kids will have. Our group had the pleasure of serving lunch to these wonderful kids. They were so thankful and patient with us. Check out the video.

To sponsor a child or learn how Compassion works, click HERE.

Faces From the Equator Part 3

Today I want you to meet Andrew and Marcelo. Andrew is a super-talented 19-year-old pop artist from Colorado. Marcelo is a 14-year-old aspiring guitar player from Compassion project EC478 near Otavalo, Ecuador. Last week they shared a moment that neither will ever forget.

A few years ago, Andrew wrote a song called Compassion (Change the World). After Marcelo and I exchanged guitar exercises through the translator, his mother Maria asked me to sing a song. I felt a nudge from God to have Andrew sing. I never knew he had written a song inspired by Compassion’s work, but God did…and He wanted this perfect moment to unfold.

Here we all were, about 8 of us, crammed into this tiny little homemade house with no floor, plastic lining the walls, and one bed for the 5 people in their family.

We sat and listened as Andrew sang the song, and it was amazing. The lyrics, the melody, and especially the line, “I have seen a grateful smile shining on a child’s face,” as he could glance over and see a child who has been changed. When the song finished, we all had tears in our eyes. The joy on Maria’s face, that somebody would be willing to sit and play and sing with her son, was overwhelming. She asked if Andrew had a CD, which he just happened to have on the bus. Maria’s family had a old CD player connected to one old speaker. By American standards this would’ve been considered cheap, but by their standards: a blessing. Eventually we left and got back on the bus for the ride through the town back to the Compassion project.

After about an hour, Maria showed up. She had walked so far to tell us that we had blessed her so much, she wanted to give us gifts. She gave Emily and I a Feliz Navidad decoration that her oldest daughter had made (and by American standards, it was totally impressive). The only other thing she had to give was eggs. A lady who had nothing, was giving what she could find. (To see what Jesus says about this, go HERE.

We presented her with a box of gifts for her family. Food, water, etc. She had the biggest smile on her face, and even sorta jumped up and down when we told her we’d be taking it back to her house because it was heavy. So we all got back on the bus and drove to her house. We walked back through the field past and heard music coming from inside. We walked in and Marcelo was sitting in the corner by himself in front of the speaker, listening to Compassion (Change the World) over and over. Wow. And once again, we all lost it. A story that only could’ve been orchestrated by God. A story that none of us will forget, especially not Andrew or Marcelo. We prayed through the tears for Maria, Marcelo, and the rest of their family. We asked that Marcelo be able to thrive in his love for music and travel the world telling his story and playing for God.

As we walked away, Maria said “My home is now your home. The door will always be open for you. I will be waiting to see you all again.” And she turned to Andrew and said, “I hope you will come back again someday…with a new CD in Spanish so I can understand.” The way God works, don’t be surprised.

To give hope to a child like Marcelo, click HERE.

To check out more of Andrew Witt’s music, visit http://www.andrewwittmusic.com

Faces From the Equator Part 2

It was the innocent look in their eyes. They could not speak English, but their eyes would clearly say, “Thank you for being here with us. You represent our sponsor. You love us. We love you.” That’s just a piece of it.

Sometimes you’d catch them staring at you with such admiration and adoration. Sometimes when you’d look back at them, they’d come wrap their little arms around you and point to the camera.

“Foto. Foto.” Followed by a little pose.

So you snap a shot and they say, “Miro. Miro.” (I look.)

These kids live in circumstances beyond their control. Yet they have beautiful smiling faces and joy-filled eyes. And if you’d catch them looking at you like that, you’d understand.

You can represent hope to a child in need. To see more children in need, click HERE.

Faces from the Equator Part 1

Jenny and Rosa

Jenny and Rosa

I want to introduce you to Jenny and Rosa. Rosa is the 20 year-old mother of Nayeli, who is a 21 month old enrolled in Compassion’s Child Survival Program. Jenny is here CSP promoter. The Child Survival Program was created after Compassion realized that when kids would get involved in the sponsorship program, (beginning at 4 years old) the kids’ development from birth to 3-years-old was not where it needed to be. So CSP was introduced in part to help empower mothers to properly care for their children so they develop correctly. Each mother and daughter has a CSP promoter, who meets with the mother once a week in a one-on-one scenario, and then again once a week in a group setting. You can read more about the specifics of the program here, but trust me, it’s making a huge difference.

Tuesday, we were able to visit Rosa and Nayeli at their home.

Rosa's house

Rosa's House

Rosa and her husband Byron, and little Nayelly live in a 10×10 room that was clearly unclean from the moment we walked in. It was complete with a queen-sized bed, a homemade wooden crib, a homemade dresser, and a stove. That left about 3 feet of empty space on the floor. That was it. The 3 of them in what, by American standards, would be considered a tiny room. Rosa said (through her translator) her only prayer for her daughter is that she would “grow up to serve Jesus and be in ministry to give back to Him for what God has given to her.” That was it. Not a prayer for her own bedroom. Not money for toys. Not more comfortable living. But Jesus. Only Jesus.



Jenny also gave examples of how she helps Rosa and Nayeli develop as mother and daughter. She helped Nayeli build a tower with blocks and taught Rosa what to eat so that Nayeli would be fed the proper nutrition. Jenny walked Rosa through her questions and discussions. Rosa explained how her relationship with Jenny has grown into more of a sisterhood and best friend over time. They are like family. It’s life-changing to see how Jenny has helped this family grow and develop and set a foundation of faith in Nayelly’s life. Through Jenny’s compassion and love, Rosa, though with next-to-nothing, has a joyful spirit. They were all excited for us to visit them, when really it ended up being more of a blessing to us to see God at work.

Three years ago, Jenny was in Rosa’s position. The local church invited her to be a part of the Child Survival Program and once her son turned 4, he became part of the sponsorship program. Now that he is 6, Jenny’s son’s teachers say that he is the smartest kid in the class because of his early life development. After CSP changed her family’s life, it wasn’t hard for Jenny to decide that she wanted to be a part of the CSP team and become Rosa’s promoter. She now mentors seven other mothers and daughters too.

That’s the way God designed the church. Reach out to help somebody. They take what they learn to help others, who take what they learn to help others…and so on. When people know they are loved, they share that love. It’s infectious. The world will change because of it.

Yes, this is an amazing story…and yes, there are plenty more. But stop reading now. Pray for Rosa, Nayeli, Byron, and Jenny. Pray that God would empower Rosa; Protect Nayeli; Make Byron into the Christian man he’s called to be; And continue using Jenny in powerful ways.

Nayelly, Her grandmother, and Emily

Nayelly, Her grandmother, and Emily

Oh and one last thing: When we asked Rosa if she had a message to share with everyone she said, “Thank you to the people who sponsor us. I pray that because of this Nayelly will fall at the feet of Jesus.”

If you want to read more about or donate to the Child Survival Program, click HERE.

Ecuador Video

I don’t really have time to tell any one story from here. We’re still trying to process the lives that have been changed and the lives that need help. I am going to start telling a story a day next week so I can share about the amazing people here in Quito and Otavalo. One thing I have learned…the Kingdom of God is alive and well in this world.

Yesterday we visited Compassion Project EC-429 in Otavalo. The 11-12 year old class, knowing we were all musicians, prepared a song for us. Here it is:

Keep checking back for more updates, photos, and videos.

Ecuador Blog #1

Hey everybody…first of all thanks for checking out this blog.

Internet signal has been spotty, as you might imagine, so I haven’t been able to upload pics, videos, and blog. But We have a few minutes before we head out for the day and I have uploaded some photos to share. I also have some amazing stories that will have to wait. It will take a little while to write and figure out how to describe how God is working here in Ecuador. I will just say that the kids are amazing and Compassion is doing an amazing job reaching them and their families. Now, here are a few photos. Thanks to my beautiful wife, Emily, and Sami Rigelsky (our new friend from Wisconsin) for the photos. Tons more to come.


Wammies Update + Ecuador

The Wammies were a lot of fun. Unfortunately I did not win in my two categories, but I did see a lot of great bands and musicians. DC has a lot of unbelievable musicians who are mostly unknown nationally.

On to the main thing…today is the day we leave for Ecuador. We can’t wait to get there and start soaking in whatever God has for us. Keep up with our trip through the blog and please pray for safety and good health.


The Wammies

WAMA, BMI, and City of Falls Church present
24th Annual Wammies
Sunday, February 28, 2010
at the historic State Theatre,
City of Falls Church, Virginia.

Ok so what are the Wammies and why am I nominated? Some would simply say they are the Washington Area Music Association Awards…some would say they are the Wanna-be Grammys. Maybe it’s some of both…I have never been so I don’t know. However, we will be going tonight for the first time because I am nominated in two categories: Inspirational Album of the Year and Inspirational Male Vocalist of the Year. I don’t know if it will be closer to the Grammys or the Dundies, but it will be a great experience. I do feel very honored and humbled to be nominated. Why am I nominated? God is good. Other than that, I have no idea. I definitely feel undeserving as a fairly new “artist”. Who knows what will happen, but one thing is for sure…Emily and I will have a great time and soak up the experience.

American Idol

American Idol is becoming a regular thing in the Elgin house this season. Maybe it’s because we’ve been singing more ourselves lately? Maybe it’s because we have DVR now? Maybe it’s because we’re dorks? Who knows. But either way, we have watched all the episodes and [like nerds] try to predict who will get the boot and who we think will win. (The people we chose 3-4 weeks ago are still alive – move over Randy and Kara.)
We’re hooked. Are you? Who do you think will win? Who do you like best? Do you think it’s stupid? What do you think?

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