Kansas Youth Chorus

News from KYC while on tour.

Thursday, Day 7 (+ Wednesday night; – Thursday Night)

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(Written by Caleb and Frieda)

Wednesday evening found us back on the bus heading towards the downtown area with  Enos onboard in search of places to sing for the evening. Bill did a great job of navigating the narrow streets and tight corners with many cars, trucks and trolleys zipping by and around us.

Upon our arrival in the downtown area, Enos, Shane, and John did some scouting around and decided to set up our risers right beside the entrance to a park. There was a   trolley stop just adjacent to our location and people were constantly getting on and off the trolley. We were right next to a wide sidewalk and it was amazing to watch the constant flow of people beside us – people of every nationality, ethnicity, color, and language. Toronto is a very multicultural city as more than 50% of the population are landed immigrants and non-native North Americans. Canada’s immigration policy is very liberal and they are very aggressive in seeking immigrants to maintain their population. It was fascinating for us to observe the many different cultures represented by the people walking by on the sidewalk.

As we were setting up our risers and preparing to sing, a homeless man came up and began kicking and spitting at us and pretended to shoot at us. He seemed very unhappy with the general scene but eventually moved on. We sang for about 45 minutes and while most people did not stop to listen, occasionally some did stop and some even sang along with the songs they knew. Jewel, Loyal, Brian, and Julian & Bertha were out in the crowd had a chance to talk to some of the people that stopped. Jewel was waylaid for the better part of the time by a guy named James that tried to talk her ear off, it was a little unclear how much of his long story was fact or fiction, but she patiently listened to him anyway and tried to insert some inspirational comments along the way. At one point a man came riding in on a bike with a loudspeaker and made several laps around our risers while singing loudly. John’s smile at the man as he zipped by was absolutely priceless.

After a while we were ready for a break and so we packed up and got on the bus and drove a short distance to a very busy downtown intersection that had a Times Square type feel to it. We set up against the wall of a building right beside a hot dog stand which left a large width of sidewalk for people to walk on. We were again singing right beside a very busy street with cars and trolleys constantly running beside our spot. It was interesting to see people rolling down their windows to listen to the music as they were stopped at the stoplight. I would estimate that several hundred people walked by on the sidewalk in front of us in the 60+ minutes that we were singing and many more got on and off at the trolley stop just beside us. Many people took pictures and short videos of the Amish in the city and then moved on but some lingered for awhile and talked with the chorus members roaming the sidewalks. Loyal reported that he was very encouraged by his contacts with several Christians who stopped and talked to him. He later visited with several Moslem men who were very receptive and open to talking about their faith and found the dialogue to be very stimulating and challenging. Bertha had a chance to talk with a Moslem lady who was very open and interested in talking about faith issues. Her family is getting ready to move back to Saudi Arabia later this fall and she is dreading the move. Later on Shane had a chance to talk quite extensively with her husband about geopolitical issues, the Middle East peace situation, US foreign policy, Israel, and the Islamic view of Jesus. Shane said the opportunity to explain our beliefs of nonresistance and separation from the political system seemed to win some respect from this man and opened the door to further dialogue. Jewel talked to a lady named Camilla who was a former Catholic and had converted to Buddhism. She was very interested in our group and enjoyed the singing. Jewel also talked to a flight attendant who was new to Toronto (just moved from Montreal) and quite lonely and looking for friends. Later she met a couple from Switzerland, a man from Croatia, and a man named Mike who proceeded to give a long dissertation on the war in Afghanistan, drug conspiracy theories, the US government, etc, etc. Julian and Hannah also had the chance to talk to people, including some Christians who were very encouraging in their comments.

All in all, it was a very productive evening and our group was amazed at the opportunities and contacts the Lord brought our way. We had an impromptu time of testimonies on the bus while enroute to our hotel and many people shared their impressions of the evening and their experiences talking with people. A number of us had been quite skeptical about how our evening might go and about the effectiveness of street ministry in particular, but I think we were all amazed at how the Spirit worked that evening.

On a personal note, I think our experience this evening was a reminder that when God’s people boldly proclaim His glory, it does create a spectacle that stands in sharp contrast to the surrounding culture. Most of us do not like to focus on externals, but it was obvious that modest dress and respectful deportment created an opportunity to interact with Moslems and Asians from traditional cultures. I think we as conservative Anabaptists have some tangible advantages in reaching these cultures that some of our Protestant and evangelical friends lack. Lets humbly use the advantages we’ve been given by our heritage to reach a world that is looking for something real and different!

Thursday morning found us on the road enroute to Guys Mills, Pennsylvania, with a stop at Niagara Falls planned as a highlight of the morning. After driving a bit, we arrived at the Falls and spend approximately 2 hours enjoying the scenes and refreshing our souls, bodies, and spirits. People were involved in a variety of activities: some spent their money on on a tour “behind the falls”, others had a delightful walk to Starbucks, and yet others spent their time relaxing and reading.

Immediately after leaving the falls, we stopped at the US border crossing, disembarked from the motorcoach, and walked through the customs checkpoint. It all went very smoothly and we were on our way in less than 20 minutes — a huge answer to prayer. Praise the Lord! The rest of the time of the bus was spent in normal bus activities and we arrived at Plainview Gospel Amish Mennonite Church in Guys Mills, PA in plenty of time to eat and prepare for our evening program.

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Written by Aaron

July 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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