“Katie, I have been planning a concert for us to share this music, and as I have been praying about having these concerts, I have had this feeling you are going to come up to Pennsylvania and sing/perform this music with us.”These are the words I spoke to Katie Shaw Ficker, one of the founding members of Songs for Revival, as I began planning a concert for mid-February after returning from Guatemala. Katie said
they had nothing planned and would pray about the idea… and so it began.
I really wanted to share this music with others and was hoping to do so at the end of my semester in May. I had a project due that I could easily use this music for, so I contacted the worship director at Grove City Alliance Church in Pennsylvania, and we met to discuss the possibility of performing the album. I held my first concert, which was a gathering of my friends at Grove City who had heard my story and performed all 18 songs. At this point, Two Coins and Let It Begin had not been written. It was the first time the music had been sung through, beginning to end, and the first time most of the songs had been shared with anyone. It was a powerful time of worship, and at the end, we prayed that God would protect and use this music.. After the concert, I made practice files for our group to listen to over spring break, because we would have about one month after we got back before the concert… but none of us expected what followed.
The Corona Virus Pandemic had now reached our school. We were given ten days bf we all needed to go our separate ways and return home, thus forcing us to use an online platform. I kept praying and hoping it would only be online a few weeks so we could all come back to Grove City and have our concert…but we never returned.
I was heartbroken by many things that semester: saying goodbyes to friends, my college graduation, and the opportunity to have any type of concert and share this music. I wrestled with God in prayer Him asking Why did I feel so confident that Katie was going to come for these concerts, when now it is not possible for any concert format to take place? What was this feeling, did I mishear or misinterpret it? However, as I continued to pray I could not shake the feeling that the concerts were going to happen. I was reminded in the waiting that God would let this music be released and shared when He is ready for it to be, not a moment sooner, or a moment later, but right on time.
I coordinated with the Songs for Revival group all summer long as we practiced independently, preparing to record in the fall. I talked to Katie and she told me that they were still unsure as to their timing but still needed to come up to the States. However, Guatemala was on lock down due to COVID so there was no way to know the timing of it all. I told her that I believed she would come up by Thanksgiving.
I emailed some people to see if we could have a concert, but Covid was a huge inhibitor of these plans. This did not stop me however; I continued to email, asking them to let me know when we could have a concert, because I was ready to start sharing this music.
At this point, I had heard nothing from churches, but I still wanted to share the music in some capacity and had felt this nudge to have a house concert. I didn’t know what it would look like, but I felt that there was an opportunity to share the music at my house in a small gathering. I started to pray, and God started to bring this idea to fruition: if no facility could let me have a concert, then why not use my own house like I have been using it for worship nights? I called the team, and it just so happened they all could come. I called Katie, and she had some news as well; the Lord opened some doors, and they were able to come to the States. However, they were not going to be here until Thanksgiving, which would be after our house concert, and they would be in the Western United States. I told her not to worry, and if they happened to be up here to let me know! God was bringing her closer, and I knew it was only a matter of time before He brought her out East.
It appeared that the idea I had prayed about/the idea God had given me for a House Concert was going to take place on November 6. However, it was not smooth sailing once we set a date; instead, the storm clouds were starting to form. I don’t know why I would assume there would not be spiritual warfare leading
up to a powerful delivery of the Gospel message, but I remained optomistic. Our team experienced different attacks of the enemy, trying to discourage us and make us afraid, so that we wouldn’t have the concert. With it being Pandemic times, Covid was one way the enemy was trying to stop this concert. However, we trusted in THE ULTIMATE PHYSICIAN and prayed for His hand to be upon all of us performers and all who came… and what happened? God showed up so mightily. God eliminated all fears and concerns, and we were reminded that where the spirit of God is, these things cannot exist. His Holy Spirit was so present in this House Concert.
On that day, I moved all my furniture out of my living room, got all of our signs and T-shirts ready, and decorated. People were able to gather from all over for us to share this music for the very first time. We were not even sure who would come as we sent the invites, but God knew. Before this concert, we hadn’t even sung through the songs all at once with our whole group because we recorded in segments.
What was the result of our prayers and invites… about 35 people came to our house concert!!! The concert was entirely acoustic and I recorded it on an iPhone (you can watch it under the CONCERTS tab). God provided in every way. He provided the shirts to come in on time, He provided friends who were willing to help out, read, sing, play cajon, etc. He brought everyone who needed to be there. He provided negative COVID tests and eradicated any concern, because He is a God who answers prayers and provides for His Children.
The House Concert lasted 3 hours, but it felt like 20 minutes. The presence of God was so tangible as He worked through our voices, music, tears, and most importantly, His Word. There was such unity as we sang, and He used different songs to speak to different people. After we finished the concert, the entire house was filled with His Spirit, and you could just tell that everyone's hearts had been stirred… for Revival. There was immense excitement, tears from people who had been so touched by His words set to melody, and His glorious joy saturated it all. This concert was a dream come true… and this was only Act 1 of the dream.
Our album was released, and a date was set for me to leave for Honduras: March 9th. I was still hoping, however, that we would have a chance to share the music before I left. I continued to pray fervently for this to happen, but had not heard anything from the churches I had contacted earlier. I also reached out to Katie who said they were heading back west due to family matters and she wasn’t sure what was going to happen.
I went to Colorado for International worker training and was out walking and talking to God… God, I still don’t understand. I only have about a month left before I leave and have heard nothing from these churches about having a concert. I know we can have another house concert, but it would be nice to share this music with more people. Also, are you going to bring Katie up here? I still have this feeling that she is going to come, but currently there is no concert for her to even come to or be a part of. It is ok; God, if this doesn’t happen. I surrender this to You and trust Your timing and ask for You to make things clear.
I walked back from the trail and had a lot of peace about these concerts not happening. I didn’t have service when I was out walking, but when I returned to where I was staying, I looked down at my phone and saw that both churches had messaged me… and both churches wanted us to share our music and schedule a concert...
I returned from my training at the end of January and began planning right away, because the first concert was 4 weeks away, and we had a lot to get done. I was communicating daily with the churches to organize advertising, invitations, facility logistics, etc. I was also communicating with the SFR group to prepare vocally and get ready to perform. A lot more was going into this than I expected and it was also challenging to coordinate time frames, introductions, speeches, etc. It was quite the growing experience, and God continued to open doors time and time again.
I texted Katie and told her we had been approved for both concerts. The first concert would be at Allegheny Center Alliance Church on February 26th, 2021. We would also be performing the following weekend at Grove City Alliance Church; we were going to lead worship as a part of their young adults conference taking place on March 5th and then perform our concert on Saturday, March 6th, 2021. It was the greatest Gift the Lord could give me, allowing me to worship with my friends and also share my music with them before I left the United States.
Rather than texting me this time, Katie called and said, “Ok, so I wasn’t going to say anything until things were certain, but I wanted to let you know that we are actually in Ohio because we are working on one of the airplanes for Adonai International Ministries, (AIM), and we will be here for at least the next month.” I couldn’t contain my excitement! God brought them all the way from Guatemala, across the United States, for this month, the same month we would have our concerts. God is so good, and His words never go void! I remembered the feelings I had that God was going to bring Katie for these concerts so we could share our powerful story of Songs for Revival with the Greater Pittsburgh Area… and now here we were… living and standing in the midst of His fulfilled promise.
On February 26th, I showed up to my church, Allegheny Center Alliance Church, for concert #3 and before me was every member of Songs for Revival. Brooke, Giovanna, Katie, Mollie, and Peter were all present for the first time ever. A year and a month after Songs for Revival formed, everyone was finally able to meet together. The joy that filled my heart and the thanksgiving I felt was indescribable, and what better way to thank God than to worship Him for 3 hours through the songs He has given us to worship Him with. We (of course) experienced more spiritual warfare than the House Concert we had last fall, but we knew God would come through for us just as He had before. He did not bring us this far to fail us now, and He was even greater to us than we could have ever imagined.
We only had an hour to practice together before the concert, and when you have 20 songs, it is quite the challenge. People started showing up and we gathered in the back room as a group to pray and dedicate our night to God, because it truly was only because of Him that we were all together. God brought everyone that was needed for this concert to take place. Matt Black set up all the sound equipment, lighting, helped me find someone to video-record, and mixed for us throughout the entire concert. My friends David and Grace read introductions to a couple of the songs to give biblical context to the songs being sung, and Karsten was able to come and play cello, while Silas shredded it on the cajon. I am so thankful to each of these people who sacrificed their time to help us; I am so blessed by each and every one of them, and I hope they know how loved and appreciated they are by this group.
We met in the back, prayed, and reminded ourselves of the blessing it is to be able to worship a God who loves us, and the blessing it is that He has written the narratives of our lives together. As we walked on to the stage, and looked out over the 100+ God brought to our very first live concert with the entire Songs for Revival group, the only thing we could feel being a miraculous sense of awe. Pure awe of God’s faithfulness, love, and presence as He dwelled with us over the next three hours.
Throughout the concert, each of the original six Songs for Revival members shared their testimonies. I
was so proud of my friends. They each spoke so eloquently, allowing everyone to truly see their heart for worship, for this music, and for God. I was moved by their testimonies, as was everyone else sitting in that room. It is the greatest gift knowing each of these incredible people. I thank God for them all the time.
I cannot truly describe the concert in words. Thankfully I don’t have to, as you are able to watch the concert for yourself and hear each of these amazing stories and songs. The concert at Allegheny Center Alliance Church was recorded and is available to be watched on our website under the CONCERTS tab. This concert was a gift. A gift to have and a gift to perform. A gift that sang of the greatest gift ever given to us, a relationship with Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection. If you call on Him and ask Him to come into your heart you can receive this gift, and then you will understand all that I am writing about and all we are singing about!
This concert was the first time any of us has shared this music and our stories on such a large platform, and it was exactly like the vision God gave me last year when I shared, “It Is Finished”, with Katie in Guatemala. I remember thinking that you cannot help but notice a difference in Katie when she sang the song “It Is Finished”, and you cannot help but be moved when you hear and know her story as well.
Therefore, the thought I had of how powerful it would be for us to share this music along with our stories was everything I thought it would be and so much more. The most amazing part is that it wasn’t just Katie. It was Brooke, Giovanna, Mollie, Peter, and myself as well. As each of us shared our stories and truly sang from our heart in spirit and in truth, it was unbelievably powerful. I can say this with such confidence because I am not only speaking from my own point of view. These words were spoken to me from so many others after the concert. Many people came up to me and told me how powerful it was to hear our testimonies followed by the songs. Again, people were moved to tears, and I heard testimony after testimony of how they were touched and how God had spoken to them throughout the concert. Awe.. pure awe… and the greatest part was that this was only the first of our two concerts.
I had said I always wanted to tour, and God gave us a two stop tour!!! The following weekend we were
able to lead a night of worship and also perform the entire concert again at Grove City Alliance Church. Afterwards someone came up to me and told me that our group is anointed. I had felt that there was something special about singing/worshipping with the Songs for Revival group, and I have felt this way for a long time. However, more and more people were telling me how they see it too; so, through countless affirmations I know it to be undeniably true.
On Saturday March 6th, 2021 we performed the 4th and final concert of our 2021 tour. God brought friends and family from all over the country; it was remarkable to see people be reunited, who hadn’t seen each other in a long time. It was especially meaningful for me because I was able to see so many friends before I left for Honduras, and since it was in the same town as my college, so many of my college friends were able to come as well.
Throughout the concert people sang and worshipped along with us. Hearing this was such an encouragement and blessing to us as we sang! I invited the audience to join us in our final song, At the End of the Road. I invited them to stand or sing as they felt led, and the entire audience stood, and as we sang, a chorus of voices erupted throughout the room. Praises offered up, voices lifted up from all walks of life, to sing those powerful words, “Hallelujah He is Risen! Hallelujah He’s alive!”. It was truly amazing.At the end of the concert we talked with many people and were blessed to hear testimony after testimony of how God was moving in their hearts and ministering to them. I wanted to debrief with the SFR group afterwards, but all anyone had to say was that they were in awe… and I could not have agreed more.
As I reflect upon these concerts and this story, I am reminded of many things.
I am reminded of God’s faithfulness. Though waiting is tough, when God speaks a promise, it will come true.
I am reminded of God’s goodness. In knowing how much this music has meant to all of us, He orchestrated a way for all of us to come together.
I am reminded that our God is God of the impossible. There were many circumstances that were deemed impossible in the eyes of the world. This being said, it is a good thing we serve a God who makes the impossible possible and does that which is beyond our understanding.
I am reminded of Psalm 127:1 which reads, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain…”. None of this could have been done without God’s hand working in it. Only because of God’s doing was this possible.
Finally, I am reminded of the one thing I felt and saw throughout all of this. The one thing that is only brought by and through the name of Jesus Christ…. Revival.