Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Celebrating the Mission to South Africa this weekend

Come Celebrate the South Africa Mission
Join us this weekend as we celebrate God's working for our Mission to South Africa.

  • Sabbath, November 10, 4:30 p.m.
  • Adventist Community Church of Vancouver
  • 9711 NE St. Johns Road
  • Vancouver, WA 98665

If you cannot attend in person, we will "LIVE STREAM" this celebration. Go to the OAMC home page to link to the livestream.

A few of the program highlights are:

  • Five South African singers will join us including their highly acclaimed conductor, Mokale Koapeng
  • Dan and Betsy Matthews of Faith For Today's Lifestyle Magazine will return to the Northwest
  • Pastors Dave and Shirley Allen - both of whom were with us in South Africa will share what they witnessed
  • Together we will share the sights, sounds and blessings of this journey
  • Hymn Sing in the Round with OAMC, Brass, Percussion and Organ
  • "The Midnight Cry" - OAMC and Gary Parks soloist
  • "Khutsho"; Incredibly beautiful South African composed and conducted by Mokale sung by OAMC and three of Portland's finest soloists
  • Reminders that God's hand rules over all - including stories of the "Concert in the Dark,"  hear about the joys of broken down buses and much more...
Follow the link below to 'attend' the November 10 OAMC celebration... you can test it prior to the event... Go to to find the link to the live streaming page.

It all starts at 4:30pm (Pacific Time) Sabbath, November 10.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

There's no place like home

Mt. Hood signals we're almost home.
As the airplane nears Dulles International at Washington, D.C., one can’t help but feel joy at returning to one’s home soil.

And when familiar Mt. Hood comes into sight, one really gets the feeling that there’s no place like home – and soon we’ll be home to our own familiar beds.

Our Mission to South Africa has come to an end. We’ve made new friends, formed new relationships, received and imparted blessings to others.

But, it’s really only a beginning. God seems to have a special calling for the Oregon Adventist Men’s Chorus that touches lives in a way no other can. This was evident as stories were shared during the journey home and we reflected on the past two weeks on the African continent.

Looking to the future, there’s talk of uniting our three choruses – American, Romanian and South African – for a tour of France and parts of Europe in 2014. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it appears to be the direction God is leading us at the moment.

So some are not home yet. They’ve chosen to extend their time in South Africa to visit game parks or take other adventures. Others are visiting friends and family in Europe – Romania, Germany and France.

And we still have stories to share here in this space from the journey. As we get back to our busy lives here at home, we’ll continue to post stories and pictures as we’re able and as we receive them.

All the while, we’ll remember the heavenly purpose we serve. We’re here temporarily on this earthly journey – there’s really no place like the home our Heavenly Father is now preparing for us.

Let not your heart be troubled; 
you believe in God, believe also in Me. 

In My Father’s house are many mansions;
if it were not so, I would have told you. 
I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, 
I will come again and receive you to Myself; 
that where I am, there you may be also.

- John 14 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Picture Link - Thursday August 9th

Here are some more great pictures provided by Rick Pummel. Rick said on his Facebook page that the final concert on Sabbath evening was wonderful.

Most everyone should be on there way back by now. May God provide them with safe travels and bring them all safely home to us.

Thursday, August 9, Durban sightseeing and concert in cathedral

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Picture Links - August 6-8

Happy Sabbath Everyone!

Having these pictures and reading the stories on the blog makes us feel as if we are there with them. Thank you Rick Pummel, for all the pics you're taking and providing. Here are three more links to picture galleries on Rick's Facebook page. Just click the picture to be taken to the gallery for that day.

Monday August 6 in Port Elizabeth

Tuesday August 7 travel from Port Elizabeth to concert (in the dark) at Grahamstown

Wed August 8 Travel day from East London to Durban

Friday, August 10, 2012

Decisions for Unity

Pastor Gary gets everyone's attention
to begin the discussion.
Originally uploaded by oamcsinger

Decisions for Unity

As we’ve traveled here in South Africa, we’ve faced many challenges – losing power in Grahamstown and singing in the dark, no and little water at our lodging in Port Elizabeth, a bus breaking down and turning a 17-hour trip into 28 hours, and many have been challenged by sickness, along with long hours traveling South African expanses on the buses.

At the beginning of our tour, we were told we’d need to be flexible. And our flexibility certainly has been tested. It’s not been an easy trip, to say the least. 

One of the themes of our tour is unity among African, American and Romanian brothers. We’ve had great fellowship as we’ve prepared for concerts, traveled in the buses, prayed and ate together, and shared lodging these last several days. We’ve done everything together. No “them” and “us.” Only “us” – all of us.

That flexibility and especially unity was challenged yesterday (Thursday, Aug. 9) when there arose some dissatisfaction among the ranks over when we’d be returning to Joburg - whether to return via an overnight bus trip and arrive in the early morning hours, or to leave early Friday morning and risk an extended trip because of inclement weather and icy roads, since it had snowed on the mountain passes we’d be traveling. 

Many South Africans were looking forward to the prospect of seeing their families and sleeping in their own beds and taking some time to recover before our Friday evening activities.

In addition, some work still needed to be done to prepare for our Friday evening and Sabbath services, to conclude the special time we have all shared together. So the prospect of arriving earlier than 4 p.m. was also inviting.

Before we headed out Thursday morning to the Durban beachfront for our last shopping and recreation, we all gathered for a discussion of what the group desired. It was clear that our South African brothers preferred to leave immediately after the concert, while others preferred getting much needed sleep Thursday night, preferring Friday travel, and yet others had no preference. 

At the beginning of our discussion, Pastor Gary Parks and others reiterated our choice for unity among brothers, one of our highest purposes for this mission. After prayer together and much discussion, ably led by Pastor Gary, allowing all voices and opinions to be heard, the consensus was that we would defer to our leadership, who have been leading us well during the tour. 

As decided by our leadership, the plan was chosen to travel through the night. However, after the concert and as we were having dinner and loading up the buses, we learned that the hotel would not be prepared for us, as they were not expecting us until Friday afternoon. We’d have no place to “land” if we arrived in the early morning hours.

In another group meeting, when the South Africans were asked whether they wanted to take a bus and go on ahead so that they might have the opportunity to spend time with their families and even their own beds, or stay with their American brothers, without hesitation and as if with one voice they all agreed to stay so that we all could travel together. 

So we stayed one more night in Durban, departing at about 6 a.m., all three buses traveling together. 

God truly blessed this leg of our trip. Pulled in to Joburg, at about 2 p.m., well ahead of the expected 10-plus hour trip. We made great time. We had no major delays. And we had more opportunities to fellowship together as we traveled on the buses. 

We can count these blessings with those we’ve already received. 

An Unanticipated Journey - A young person's viewpoint

Sarah Herbert, of Walla Walla,
Washington, has been offering
her point of view of our
South Africa mission.
One of the joys of this mission tour has been having a number of young people with us. One of them is Sarah Herbert, of Walla Walla, Washington. She's been assisting in many ways behind the scenes. In addition, she's been writing  about her experience in her blog, "An Unanticipated Journey."

You'll want to go to her first blog postings to learn how it came about that she is on this trip.

You can find her blog at:
An Unanticipated Journey -


Originally uploaded by oamcsinger

During the South African mission we are asking members of “Arise O Man,” the name of the combined choruses, to share stories or thoughts about how God is great, what God has done in their lives, how he has provided a way to participate in the mission, or what has made the biggest impression on them during this this mission. Here is one of those stories.

For us back in the US, we call this the “Walk of Faith Mission to Africa.”  As we have done our planning and our fundraising and dreaming, I’ve been really amazed at how we have experienced God’s faith-building process. People are here on the mission who never thought they could afford it. There are engagements with our South Africa friends that we didn’t think was possible, and we’re just hopeful and gratified at the same time to see that God’s hand is moving over all of us on this mission.

Right now, today, the complete story hasn’t yet been written, and we’re excited for what God has in store for us over the next two weeks. It’s very evident that God has been leading in this effort, so we know that he has a great plan, and we’re still learning what God’s plan will be. 

-John Korb, Vancouver, Washington, USA

It was a privilege for me to share what God had done in my life when I gave the devotion for the large group, and to know that each of us had a story that we could share of what God had done for us. And I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude to God for how he’s blessed my life. 

-Ray Ammon, Portland, Oregon, USA

We were at rehearsal in Johannesburg. I think it was after we had just sung The Midnight Cry. Lou was saying that it was this story that we had come to tell in South Africa, Botswana, and beyond to the continent. The fellow sitting next to me—his name was Final—from Botswana, added, “And to a dying world.” 

That really touched me because I had come halfway around the world, and I find that here people are of the same mind as we are, their mission the same as ours. It made me realize that no matter where I go in this world, I am going to find brothers and sisters who have the same hopes and dreams, and the same desires to share the good news with the world. 

-Ray DeHaan, Oregon, USA

Being here makes me realize how incredibly blessed I am. When I went past all the little houses in SOWETO I saw how blessed we all are in America – with my home, my job, my family.  

-Warren Berg, Walla Walla, Washington, USA

Bring your tithes and offerings

Bring your tithes and offerings

During the South African mission we are asking members of “Arise O Man,” the name of the combined choruses, to share stories or thoughts about how God is great, what God has done in their lives, how he has provided a way to participate in the mission, or what has made the biggest impression on them during this this mission. Here is one of those stories.

By Bill Gosse, His Praise, Vancouver, Washington

This started about 10 years ago when I was talking to my sister on the phone and I told her that OAMC was planning to go to Africa – Kenya and Tanzania. 

[The late] Jerry Patzer was having a series of meetings in Tanzania and he had invited OAMC to come along. So I was telling my sister how much I’d like to go, and she said, “Why don’t you?” I told her “Money. I can’t afford that.” She said “Well, Gary (her husband) and our business is going well, and we just had a $25,000 sale, and didn’t you say that it would cost $2,500 to go to Africa?” I said “Yeah.” She said “Well, that sounds like a good tithe payment to me, we’ll pay for it if you decide to go.” 
So that’s how I went last time.

When I heard that OAMC was coming to South Africa again, my ears perked right up. Oh! I love Africa. It was good to be there and I wanted to come again. 

So I was talking to my sister on the phone again, and I decided that I would not mention it to her. But I couldn’t help it and I told her that OAMC was going to Africa again. “Would you like to go?” she asked. “Oh, I would, I would, I would.” I told her. “But there’s no way I can afford it.” She told me that their business had taken a downturn, and they couldn’t afford to donate this time. So I told her it was fine, I wasn’t soliciting, just mentioning it in conversation. She told me to ask Mom, because she had also helped last time. So I mentioned it to Mother, and she said, “No, I can’t do it either.” So I resigned myself to “Oh, well.” Because I would desperately love to go, but clearly it wasn’t going to happen this time. 

But that doesn’t mean that I stopped praying about it. I really wanted to go, and I made it a matter of prayer all the time. It was when I went to the festival in April 2012 that some people asked me if I was going to Africa, and I told them I’d attend it spirit only. I couldn’t afford it, and it was twice as much money as last time. 

I started changing my prayers. I would say, “Lord, I want to go, but I don’t want to go unless you want me to be there.” Money is my big problem. I’m self-employed so I don’t have trouble taking time off, but this is my busiest time of year. I’m backlogged with work, and I’m trying to retire in a few years so I was praying, “All the gold and silver is yours, and you have all the tithes and offerings in the storehouse, so I’m going to let you do what you do best. Things I never could.”

In addition to my tithes and offerings, then, I also started making an offering to world missions, a hundred dollars a week. Just a little bit before that, another fellow in a group that I sing in asked if I was going to Africa and I told them no. He told me I’d better think about it, because he and his wife had already donated for me to OAMC. I told him thanks, but I didn’t know what to say, since I wasn’t planning to go.

The following Sabbath we had some friends over for lunch, and a few days later we got an email from them saying that they were going to put some money in for me to go to Africa. I found out that the more I donated to missions, the more came in, and I never asked a soul for a dime. I thought,“This is amazing!” It came up to the day we were supposed to leave; July 25th, and I was still $500 short. My wife was telling me that she thought that OAMC told everyone just to go, even if you were a few hundred dollars short, it won’t matter, but I was $500 short, not one or two hundred dollars.

A little bit later my wife called me in and said to come read this email. So I did; it was some people who had previously donated and they said that they felt impressed to donate again. They were donating $500 more, and that was all of it! 

I never asked for a dime. God said to bring in the tithes and offerings to the storehouse, and he would open the windows of heaven. And that’s how I came to Africa this time.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

God hears our prayers and heals

God hears our prayers and heals

During the South African mission we are asking members of “Arise O Man,” the name of the combined choruses, to share stories or thoughts about how God is great, what God has done in their lives, how he has provided a way to participate in the mission, or what has made the biggest impression on them during this this mission. Here is one of those stories.

By Nimrod Vara, South Africa

I entered the hospital on the seventeenth of July, and stayed for three weeks for severe trauma that was work related — because of Satanism at my workplace — and I was really not well. 

The brethren of Arise O Man, they prayed for me during rehearsal sessions in my absence. Initially I was there when they prayed for me, but when I was hospitalized they prayed for me in my absence. I started to feel better when they prayed. I believe that it was through the prayers of my brethren, and through the prayers of my church, that I became better. And, of course, with my doctors, my psychologist, played a strong role in my healing. 

On Tuesday (Tuesday, July 31) I requested a pass out from the hospital for a rehearsal with Arise O Man and OAMC that went from 10 am to 5pm. It was then that I was interviewed by Pastor Dan Matthews (of Faith for Today, who has joined the mission tour). Pastor Matthews prayed for me also during the interview and he gave me reassurance that God was going to heal me. 

Yesterday (Wednesday, Aug. 1), I was discharged from the hospital because I am well; immediately I went home to fetch my bags and go on the trip to perform on the tour. Now I am on the tour with OAMC and AOM on my way to Cape Town for our first concert. 

It is through the power of prayer that I have been restored. Our God is a prayer-hearing God. 

Surprises in Grahamstown, Aug. 7

Alin Apostol conducts the chorus in the cold in the dark after the building lost power Tuesday evening in Grahamstown.
Originally uploaded by oamcsinger

“That’s one for the record books.”
“We’ll never forget tonight’s concert.”

Didn’t we just write about “expecting the unexpected?”

Yes, when we look back on our Tuesday evening in Grahamstown, it will truly be unforgettable … cold rain and wind… no heat in the concert hall … losing power in the building … singing to the audience out in the lobby… 

We arrived in Grahamstown, a small university town, early Tuesday afternoon and were given some time to have lunch on our own before boarding our buses for the short ride to the Guy Butler Theatre, located in the Settlers Monument on the Rhodes University campus on a hill overlooking town. 

The weather had been cold, windy and overcast on the trip, and remained so as we walked to lunch in town. But by the time we headed back to meet the bus, it had started raining in addition to the wind; and it wasn’t the light rain we usually see in the Pacific Northwest. It was raining fairly heavily. Some were unprepared and got fairly well soaked on the walk to meet the bus.

When we arrived at the concert hall, we were told to take in what we needed for the concert, which meant our concert attire. So in the driving rain all the guys were pulling out their suit bags from under the buses; many of us were soaked even more now.

On top of that, the auditorium was not heated. It was cold!!! All of us remained bundled up trying to stay warm for the rehearsal on stage.

Some time after we started rehearsing, shortly before we were to break for dinner, the lights went out. All the power went out. Suddenly, there we were, 150 men crowded onto the stage, pitch black. It wasn't long before a few flashlights and phones came out to give off some light. 

We managed to continue rehearsing for a few more minutes with someone holding a flashlight so that we could see Mokale Kaopeng, who was conducting when the lights went out. We broke for dinner with people with flashlights stationed on the stairs to get off stage and out of the auditorium; we ate in the dark by flashlight and phone lights.

By the time we were finished eating, it was about time for the concert to start. Power was still off. It was after dark. We could look down from the hill to see the lights of the town. But we still had no power.

As we were finishing dinner in the dark, someone discovered a few people who had come to hear the concert. People were starting to come into the building. So it was decided to line up the chorus in the three-story lobby area, facing the steps that came down from the entrance where a few people had stationed themselves.

So, in that position, we gave a short concert in the dark without keyboard, and only Levis Dragulin on trumpet and Dave Wyman on clarinet for instrumentation. 

We sang several songs to quite a few people who had gathered on the steps, with a flashlight shining on the conductor's white-gloved hands so we could see to follow. Somehow we managed to fill in the parts we're used to hearing the piano and other instruments play.

About an hour and a quarter after they went out, the lights came back on. We sang another song or two, including a couple of African songs, to which the audience showed their approval by standing up, moving their bodies, singing along and ululating.

That concluded our mini-concert, or so we thought.

We were instructed to go to the auditorium to pick up our bags we’d brought inside. But people followed us into the auditorium, and now we had, as Lou put it, "unintended consequences." We had an audience that was expecting more music. We sang four more songs in the auditorium, still all bundled up. Did I mention the auditorium wasn’t heated? We’ve learned that’s de rigeur here in South Africa.

In any event, people enjoyed the "concert.” Members of our support team said the concert in the lobby – imagine a space 100 feet high with slate floors and magnificent acoustics – was “so good” and even without electricity it was “electrifying,” even inspiring.

We’ve received a few reports that people felt they received such a blessing by being there in spite of less-than-ideal circumstances. 

We learned that seven people, who had previously lived in Johannesburg and were members of an Adventist church there, traveled 300 kilometers to attend the concert. They were wonderfully surprised to find Reinette Boschoff, our South African soprano soloist on “Khutso,” who they had known from their “Joburg” church, was traveling and singing with us. 

We also heard of a woman named, Rejoyce, who dreamt some time ago about a concert in the dark. She was thrilled to find herself at our concert in the dark that she had dreamed about. 

The devil may have tried to prevent our concert, but as we’ve seen time and again, our God prevails. 

That’s only part of the story of our Grahamstown rehearsal and concert. We can be sure it’s only the beginning of many more stories and blessings to come out of adverse circumstances. 

Our human tendency is to focus on our outward circumstances, to focus on the adversity and problems and challenges. 

We’ve again seen how our mighty God can bestow blessings even in the most challenging of conditions.

8.10.11 Update - I've learned that one of our own, Ishamel Nyati, an electrician, solved the power outage problem.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Picture Links - August 3-5

Here are three more links to picture galleries provided by Rick Pummel. Just click on each image to be taken to the gallery of pictures for that day or days on Rick's Facebook page.

Cape Town home stay and sight seeing, August 3-5 (Pummel's, Levis, Ian and Johnson's)

Sabbath August 4 church and concert at Art Scape

Sunday August 5, travel from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth

Expecting the unexpected

One of the dormitory rooms at the
Red Location Backpackers
hostel in Port Elizabeth
where we spent two nights.

If there’s anything members of OAMC have learned on our mission trips, it’s to expect the unexpected.

We’ve had a few of those over the last several days, starting with the bus ride from Johannesburg to Cape Town on the 1st and 2nd.

Three buses left Joburg after our concert at St. Mary’s Cathedral in downtown. Before our dinner stop, it was determined that one of the buses was having some sort of trouble with its rear suspension. A replacement bus was secured and made it’s way to the Bloemfontein area where we were waiting. 

Our group of more than 100 had overwhelmed and “took over” the Steers Restaurant where we had dinner – we used up the 19 veggie burgers they had on hand, and most of the veggie burgers we provided them.

As we often do, we sang for the four restaurant workers before we departed. As we sang our first song, one of the women mouthed the words and more than one had a few tears in their eyes. In the middle of the restaurant surrounded by singers, four men sat eating their dinners. After our songs, one of the men, with tears in his eyes, commented to a few nearby, “That song was for me. I needed to hear that.”

These are among the unexpected blessings we receive as we meet people along the way.

Two buses were sent on ahead while most of the young people and a few others of us waited for the replacement bus. Sometime during the night, the second bus developed some sort of electronics problem that prevented the driver from shifting the gears. A second bus was secured while we waited in the middle of the night and cold temperatures. Sometime around 4 a.m. the second bus arrived, we transferred luggage and personnel and were on our way again in a few minutes. 

In the meantime we learned that one of our Walla Walla members on one of the buses ahead of us, Warren Berg, was suffering from passing a kidney stone and had been taken to a hospital in a small town on the route. About an hour later they and Warren were on their way. Warren continued to recover for the next few days while we were in Cape Town. He was finally able to get out and about by Monday, the 6th.

The third bus completed the trip without further incident, arriving in good spirits to join our compadres already in rehearsal in Cape Town late Thursday afternoon – making the planned 17-hour trip a 28-hour journey. 

We stayed at the Shalimar hotel and conference center where our hosts were gracious and the accommodations adequate. 

The concert at Cape Town’s Artscape concert hall went well, the audience responded enthusiastically, and the trip to Port Elizabeth (PE) was made without incident. 

When we arrived in PE, however, we learned the city was suffering from a water shortage because the dam that supplied the water was broken, and water was being allotted to only portions of the city at certain times. 

That presented a problem because we couldn’t use the indoor toilets nor was there water for showering. The first of our two nights here we had to use the outdoor portable toilet. The next morning we learned that the dam had been repaired and we should be getting water again. While we did get more water and could begin using the indoor toilets, it wasn’t generous enough for many to get needed showers. A few took showers late after lights out and got warm water, while a number of others who did get showers got cold water or had to finish with the water dribbling. And others settled for sponge baths. A few scruffy faces can be seen among those who chose to forego shaving until we have warm water. 

On Monday, the 6th, a group went to a nearby elephant park while another group had opportunity to do some shopping at The Boardwalk mall. 

Today we depart for Grahamstown, about a 90-minute drive, for rehearsal early this afternoon and concert this evening.

In spite of the less-than-ideal conditions, there have been no or few complaints. Spirits are good. God is good. We’ve had warm beds for the cold nights and meals that have kept us well fed.

We continue to see God’s hand as we meet and minister to people wherever we go. Monday evening for part of our rehearsal, we had opportunity to sing a couple of songs for members of a local Adventist church, where we received a warm reception. 

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. We pray for God’s continued blessings and protection as we continue our mission journey. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Picture Links - July 31st to August 3rd

Our many thanks to Rick Pummel for all the pictures he is taking. This post and the one following will both have three links to lots and lots of pictures Rick has taken over the past few days. Just click on each image to be taken to the gallery of pictures for that day or days on Rick's Facebook page.

Tuesday July 31 rehearsal in Johannesburg

Wed & Thur, August 1 & 2, concert at St Mary's Anglican cathedral in Joburg and grueling bus trip to Cape Town

Friday August 3 rehearsal in Cape Town

Heart-to-heart, shoulder-to-shoulder with my brothers

Russ Davidson with "Bao" &
Nelson Mandela bust
at Robben Island terminal.
During the South African mission we are asking members of “Arise O Man,” the name of the combined choruses, to share stories or thoughts about how God is great, what God has done in their lives, how he has provided a way to participate in the mission, or what has made the biggest impression on them during this this mission. Here is one of those stories.

By Russ Davidson 

 The African songs really stand out for me, learning in particular Khutsho and Bawo Thixo Somandhla. When I was made aware of what these songs are about in the African language; a prayer for peace, and asking God, “Why are we killing one another?” And these cries to God for peace in Africa — it was brought home to me that this is where those kinds of things were happening. 

 I live in America; I hear about troubles in Africa and they hurt me deeply, but I can’t live my life in pain, but what can I do? I feel helpless, because I live in America. 

So when those things were actually going on, I would hear about it, they would pain me, but I would have to put them aside and think about other things, because those were things for Africa to solve – that was my attitude, because I can’t carry the pain of the world and be a functional human being. 

 Now that I’m here, and I feel that God has called me to be here, standing shoulder to shoulder with my African brothers, to hear and to feel their sense of pain and longing for it to end, and pleading to God for peace, and questions to God of why we are doing this to one another, and praying for peace in Africa, there is this very strong spirit of unity. Heart-to-heart and shoulder-to-shoulder. It is a very emotional moment to live that with my African brothers and to sing about it. 

I’m blessed to live in America; I have peace and protection from those kinds of evil. It makes me grateful for my experience that I live in America. On the other hand, I want my African brothers to know that I feel their pain and that I’m standing with them. I have the same wish they have: that there may be peace in South Africa.

Cape Town concert, Saturday, Aug. 4

Arise O Man Festival Chorus performs at Cape Town's Artscape Concert Hall
Originally uploaded by oamcsinger
Starting with a worship service Sabbath morning, Aug. 4, with Dan Matthews and Lifestyle Magazine, we prepared for our Saturday evening concert at the Artscape concert hall in Cape Town. A number of people in the audience responded with enthusiasm and approval, jumping to their feet and ululating when we sang African songs. The concert went well and was a great start for our concert tour.

Click the photo to see a few more photos of the Saturday evening concert in Cape Town.

Men sing in St. Mary's Cathedral in downtown Johannesburg

As we embarked on the first leg our tour from Johannesburg to Cape Town, we had the opportunity to sing at St. Mary's Cathedral in downtown Johannesburg before we departed. Here is a short video clip of "Uthando Lwakhe" filmed for Lifestyle Magazine with Dan Matthews.

Then Reverend Desmond Tutu, a prominent figure in the anti-apartheid movement, became the first Black Dean of St. Mary's in 1975. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Prayer for OAMC Mission Trip to South Africa

As the Sabbath comes to a close here in the US, I received an email in response to our request for prayers for the South African Mission Trip. Gordon and Lissa Wildman, Lou's brother and sister-in-law have been praying the following prayer daily, for OAMC and our brothers and sisters in South Africa.

It says in Matthew 18:19 "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven." Let us all join together in prayer that God will hear our combined voices and do a great and wondrous work in South Africa.

Father, in the name of Jesus, we bring before you Lou Wildman and the Oregon Adventist Men’s Chorus (OAMC), their ministry team, all traveling with them, all groups with whom they sing and all who attend their events in South Africa as the men go forth to minister and preach the gospel of the Kingdom through song. We declare that the harvest is ripe and ready as with their music they minister the gospel to the poor, bring healing to the brokenhearted, deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind.

Father, We pray for an outpouring of your Spirit upon all flesh in South Africa. We declare that Jesus will work with the Word of God as the men sing, and confirm it with signs, wonders & miracles. May your healing power move mightily in every worship service, concert and meeting, and may the people be enlightened and transformed by your Word. We believe for unusual and extraordinary miracles to be manifested among the people. We declare that deaf ears will be opened, the lame will walk, the dead will be raised and the demon-possessed will be set free.

Father, thank you that Lou, the OAMC, their ministry team, all traveling with them, all groups with whom they sing in South Africa and all who attend these events are covered with the blood of Jesus and protected from all schemes and plots of the enemy. We forbid any demonic activity against them and their families, their finances, their possessions, their travel schedules, transportation vehicles, their health, their meals, sleeping accommodations and all activities they engage in. Father, give your angels charge over them to keep, guard, defend and preserve them in all of their ways.

Father, cover them with your glory as the waters cover the sea. We call in multitudes of souls and declare that many are delivered out of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of God. We praise you for doing abundantly above all that we are asking according to the power that is working in us, and we declare that Jesus is Lord over South Africa.

In Jesus' name, Amen!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Invitation to pray for concerts

Click the image to see a larger version

Some folks back home have asked when our concerts are being held so that they can pray for their success during the concerts.

Generally the concerts are at 7 pm local time (nine hours ahead of US Pacific time, which would be 10 a.m. Pacific).

We invite your prayers during our concerts as we sing to direct the audiences' hearts toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

As chorus members have encountered people, we've been inviting them to our concerts. For instance, the young woman who was the tour guide of one of our tour groups on Robben Island said she would be at our Saturday evening concert in Cape Town. 

We solicit your prayers that people's hearts will be open to receive the love of Jesus as we sing.

Arise O Man festival chorus concerts 

  • August 4, 7 pm - Cape Town at ArtsCape
  • August 7, 7 pm - Grahamstown (near Port Elizabeth), Guy Butler Theatre
  • August 9, 7 pm - Durban, University of Durban-Westville
  • August 11, 7 pm - Johannesburg, WITS Great Hall, Wits University

Thank you so much for your continued prayers. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

God is great – He gave me my voice back

An open market in downtown Johannesburg
During the South African mission we are asking members of “Arise O Man,” the name of the combined choruses, to share stories or thoughts about how God is great, what God has done in their lives, how he has provided a way to participate in the mission, or what has made the biggest impression on them during this this mission. Here is one of those stories.

God is great – He gave me my voice back

By Ronald Sithole, South Africa

In 2007 I developed a cancer of the lungs. During that year I went to the doctor, because I thought that I was having the flu, and my voice was dying out, and the doctor said he didn’t see anything. In 2008 I then went to an ENT doctor, a specialist. He checked my ears, he checked my nose, he checked my throat. When he checked my throat he said he found that my left vocal cord had a pimple. By then I was not talking; I couldn’t talk, my voice was gone. 

During that year, 2008, I went for a surgery and they removed my left vocal cord. Sure enough they find out that the pimple was cancerous. 2008 went by and I couldn’t speak. And I went under radiology. They did my throat (radiation treatment) until 2009. I couldn’t speak the whole of that year. The doctor said to me they were very lucky that they found it early, but he couldn’t guarantee that my voice would come back.  

To my surprise it was in September of 2009, the end of September, we were doing evening prayers and my daughter was the one who was having to preside over evening prayers, and every time she asked a question, out of nowhere I said to her, “Look, I’m going to answer the question.” I don’t know where, but I was talking. That moment she dropped her book by surprise; she screamed, “Daddy can speak!” I said to myself, “Wow, I am speaking.” 

It was then that we knelt down and praised God. My voice was back. Today I can sing the part that I never sang before – I can sing the first tenor. The highest voice in the male voices, first tenor. When I talk, people say I’m hoarse; my voice sounds like I have a flu. I say, “No, I have only one vocal cord.” And I’m cured; I don’t have cancer anymore. It was only that pimple on my left vocal cord. The doctors removed it and I have not had it again. 

That is how God is great. Having cancer, and being cured; not by anybody, but God did it. I did go to the doctors, but God did it. I thought my voice would be gone, but now I am singing back to where I was, and even more. God is great.

That is my story: I sing because my God gave me back my voice.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mokale Kaopeng rehearses Bawo

Originally uploaded by oamcsinger
Here's a short video clip of renowned South African conductor Mokale Kaopeng rehearsing Bawo Thixo Somandhla, along with a few other photos of Monday's rehearsal.

God’s Hand at Work, Appeal for Support of Africans

Tuesday, July 30, 2012

We’ve been here for only a few days, and we’ve already seen God’s hand at work guiding the development of this mission. 

We’ve had a wonderful two days meeting and rehearsing with our African brothers on Sunday and Monday.

Our first rehearsal with all the groups – men of Africa, Botswana, Romania, Lesotho and America – on Sunday was such a wonderful experience. The men sang with conviction and power. Lou said it was the best first-day rehearsal he’d ever heard: “It was inspired music.” How encouraging! Men of both choruses are well prepared.

After our first run-through of “The Midnight Cry,” one of the South African women cooks couldn’t contain herself and burst out with an exclamation and applause of joy! 

Surely the Spirit of the Lord was with us as we sang, shared and prayed together. 

We shared two meals, had opportunity to become acquainted with one another, to learn new names. Between 150 and 200 men must have been present.

We shared how the Lord had led to this mission, how doors had been opened, how blessings and God’s hand was already being seen in people’s lives because of this mission.

As we began our Tuesday morning rehearsal, Ngaka Tsagae of the Orlando West Male Chorale and the man who invited OAMC to South Africa, gave us a follow-up report to our visit on Sabbath at Moruleng church near Rustenburg. 

During the church service, about 12 people came forward to give their hearts to the Lord. He shared further that later the same day, two older women came to the pastor saying they had decided to give their lives to Christ because of the testimonies they had heard that morning from academy students Sterling Cornwell and Dallas Amen. Praise the Lord!

Renowned South African composer and conductor Mokale Koapeng led our Tuesday rehearsal of our South African repertoire and Beethoven’s “Hallelujah.” It was quite a treat to see his versatility in conducting these contrasting pieces.

On Wednesday we depart for Cape Town on the first leg of our tour. 

Appeal for Support

We’re often asked whether the South Africans will be traveling with us. Yes and no. A number of Africans will be traveling with us, but there’s also a number who have the time and availability, but do not have the funds. 

Already OAMC members here have donated enough from their spending money to sponsor four Africans at $700 each. However, a number of others do not have the means to join us on the tour.

Your continued partnership is urgently needed at this time. We know there are four number of Botswana singers who would join us if the funds were available. Many of them can pay part of their expenses. In addition to their personal funds, we need a minimum $2,800 to help fund their further participation. 

We need them. They add so much to the Arise O Man chorus. 

If the Holy Spirit is impressing you to make a gift, now is the time to act.

You may make your gift online at, click “Make a payment,” check Other and add “South Africa” in the text box. 

Thank you for your thoughtful and prayerful participation in this ministry. 

Pictures from Monday the 30th

Hello Everyone,

Here are some more great pictures from Rick Pummel from Monday the 30th. Just click the picture below to be taken to the Facebook album.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday the 29th - First Practice

More pictures from Rick Pummel.

"Sunday was our first rehearsal together for the groups."

Pictures Here

Friday the 27th - Pics and Worship

Greetings Everyone,

Rick has been taking lots of pictures and sharing them via his Facebook pages. Here are some great pics of activities on Friday the 27th and worship on Friday evening.

"The Friday pictures document the planning team meeting where we all crammed into Connie's room, as well as the evening worship where we first rubbed shoulders with some of the South African men."

Pictures Here

Sunday, July 29, 2012

OAMC South Africa - 1st Sabbath

Hello Everyone,

Here are some great pictures Rick Pummel has shared on his Facebook page of OAMC's first Sabbath in South Africa.

1st Sabbath

OAMC members in South Africa visit game preserve

While out and about in South Africa the other day, OAMC members had an opportunity to visit
Pilanesberg Game Preserve. Rick Pummel is sharing his photos.

South Africa - 1st rehearsal with full group


A few photos of the first full day rehearsal with all the combined groups - OAMC, Orlando West, men from Botswana, and others.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Arise O Man tour featured in radio interview

Received from Richard Crowley on Sabbath afternoon Pacific time.

On Friday, Mokale Koapeng, Lou WIldman and Connie Smith went to the 15th floor of the South Africa Broadcasting Company (SABC) to be interviewed by Kutlwano Masote on his nationwide program, “Sunday Choral”. They discussed the OAMC’s mission to South Africa and the “Arise O Man” concert tour around the country. Several selections of OAMC music will be played on the program, and the interview segment is expected to be around 15 minutes during the 1 hour show.
The program will be broadcast at noon on Sunday (South Africa time) and will be available streamed online at:
Choral Music Choral and Vocal Music Repertoire by Kutlwano Masote

Video: South Africans singing a welcome greeting

Hello Everyone,

Rick Pummel was fortunate enough to capture and share a small video with us of the moment of Group 1's arrival and the South African's singing Bawo Thixo Somandla to greet them.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rick Pummel arrives in ZA and even provides us some of our first pics

Hello Everyone,

And the hits just keep on coming. Rick has some wonderful thoughts about the trip over and the amazing greeting Group1 received in ZA. Rick has also provided us with some amazing pictures via his Facebook page. "Picture link is at the bottom, you have to read his thoughts first. :-)"

On Tuesday, July 24, the first wave of OAMC members and staff, “Group 1,” left PDX bound for Johannesburg! Unfortunately, a group of 5 members flying in on a connecting flight from Boise had their flight canceled, causing them to miss their flight with Group 1. However, they were able to reschedule with the airline and head on to Joburg the following day, arriving Thursday evening, safe and sound!

Group 1’s route took them from PDX to Amsterdam and then on to Joburg, South Africa. Upon arrival in Amsterdam, the plane stopped a ways out from the terminal. After a while, the pilot announced that we were waiting for someone to bring stairs so we could get out, and then they would bus us to the terminal. That was OK, except that the pilot went on to say that they did not currently know where any stairs were, and they were trying to find some. After a very long while, a set of stairs showed up, and we were encouraged. More time passed, then the pilot asked us all to be patient because even though we had stairs, as it turns out, they were too short. Eventually, they figured out a way to raise the stairs, and we were able to get off. By the time we got off the plane, were shuttled to the terminal, gathered all of our group, and walked to the other side of the airport to get on our next plane, they were ready for us to immediately get in line for screening and boarding of our second flight. And, God is good, we made it, and they didn’t even have to wait for us!

Arriving in Johannesburg, all of us in Group 1 were thrilled to collect all of our luggage at baggage claim – all of us except for Virginia! As it turned out in the end, the airline delivered her bag a day later. What happened was that someone had taken her bag by mistake and left their own. One fears this sort of thing if your bag is one of those black, very generic looking suitcases. However, Virginia’s is hot pink! I can just imagine what the person was thinking when they picked up Virginia’s bag by accident: “Look, there is a bright pink bag! Of course, nobody else in the world has such a beautifully pink bag as I do!”  Who would have thought that having such a unique suitcase would actually cause more confusion than having just another clone!

As Group 1 entered the lobby of the Johannesburg airport at around 10 PM on Wednesday night, wearily looking for the ride to our lodging, our ears were greeted with recognition even before our eyes were. Music spontaneously filled the airport lobby as “Bawo Thixo Somandla” rang out, sung by 20+ members of the South African mens chorus who call themselves “Rise O Man.” Lou, Connie and others were among them, and we instantly felt like we were being greeted by family, even though we had never even met most of them before. Hugs ensued, names were exchanged, pictures were taken, and for a while, time was forgotten. We eventually pulled ourselves apart to go get some much needed rest. And so it begins . . .

Rick Pummel

Louise Craig arrives in ZA and coments about the first rehearsal

Hello everyone,

Here are some great thoughts from Louise regarding her experience so far and even some comments on how the first rehearsal went.

25 July 2012

Lou, Connie and Louise rehearsed with the Arise, O Man chorus at the Orlando West SDA Church in Soweto. Like their American counterparts, they were struggling to learn the Hallelujah Chorus. Connie was struggling to play the accompaniment. It’s a challenging piece to play in the best of circumstances but the piano was not only out of tune, several of the keys were sticking.

Rehearsal broke up around 8:45, followed by prayer. Then we hightailed out of the parking lot on our way to the airport to greet Group 1. Fortunately (unfortunately if you’re Virginia Oliver), one of Virginia’s suitcases didn’t show up – or was picked up by someone else as there was a suitcase of similar color left on the carousel. That made them very late entering the terminal.

On our way to the airport, we came upon a very serious accident. Several cars were involved, one of them very badly smashed. We said a quick prayer for those involved and worked our way through the traffic. Because of the luggage issue, we were able to make it into the arrival terminal before they came through.

A group of singers from the African chorus were on hand, standing apart from us so they wouldn’t be readily identified as belonging to us. Once all of the Americans were through the gate, the African chorus burst into Bawo Thixo Somandla, with all the gusto and passion of those who really understand what the song is about.

The arrival terminal is open vertically to a couple of stories. People were lining the railings on the floors above us, some of the locals joining in.

Judging by the smiles on the American faces, it was a joyous reception.

The wonderful thing about being part of the worldwide Adventist family is just that – a family was clearly welcoming and being welcomed.

Another group arrives tonight, but their reception will be much more subdued. The African group is hosting a fundraising event tonight so the singers will be occupied. Wish those coming tonight could have experienced those amazing moments.

At this moment, a busload of jet-lagged Americans is experiencing a tour of Soweto, the birthplace of the antiapartheid movement in Africa. The Orlando West church is just a couple of blocks from the heart of the events that changed a nation. This country’s recent tumultuous history surrounds the area and deeply affects those singing with us.

Black and white people talking, hugging, working and ultimately singing together is the face of hope and change in South Africa. We can hardly wait for our first joint worship Friday evening.
Louise Craig