Conway is sure to be rockin’ on Thursday night as three of Christian music’s top artists come to town.
Show Hope, an organization that works to assist families wanting to adopt orphans from around the world, presents "The Glorious Unfolding Tour" featuring 5-time Grammy award-winning artist Steven Curtis Chapman, Grammy-award winning worship leader Laura Story and hit recording artist Jason Gray.
Chapman and his wife founded the organization, originally named Shaohannah’s Hope, after a trip to China to adopt their first of three adopted daughters. According to Chapman, while they were at the airport, four or five different people mentioned that they would love to adopt, but just couldn’t afford it at the moment. His wife’s heart "immediately went out to those people as she had seen so many children in the orphanage that wanted a home, and saw families who would adopt them if they only had the money."
Chapman began to look for an organization that gave financial assistance to families, but quickly discovered "there wasn’t a national organization that we could find that helped families in that way." Since that trip over 13 years ago, the organization has been blessed to find partners to help them raise funds to give to families that want to adopt.
"In the last 10 years, we’ve been able to give over 4,000 grants to families, allowing them to adopt children from countries all over the world."
When speaking of his new album "Glorious Unfolding," which also happens to be his 18th album, Chapman stated his inspiration was much like all of his past albums. "It’s written from a place of having walked through some very dark days and even having written some songs out of those very dark places in the deep valley of losing Maria."
In 2009, Chapman lost his youngest daughter, Maria, in a tragic accident and maintains, "All the while, this music has been in the process of coming out and beginning to be rebirthed in me. And really, the theme of the whole story is coming to a place where we can really believe and trust and begin to see and experience that God really does, as scripture says, know the plans He has for us. The scriptures in Jeremiah are ones that my wife and I really held on to as a promise of our future and because we believe that God knows our future, He will be faithful to complete it. God works all things together for good and these are anchors that we’ve held on to."
Similarly, Laura Story has experienced her own storms in life. Laura’s husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumor within the first couple of years of their marriage. "It’s been a hard story and not the one we asked for, but we’ve still seen God’s faithfulness," Story said. "It’s kept us on our knees and given us a dependence on God that we never knew about."
Story goes on to say, "The thing I’ve learned about faith is that I’m not very good at mustering up enough faith to get through whatever life’s trial I’m in the middle of, but I’m learning that I can pray for faith and that it’s a gift. The strength of my faith has very little to do with my efforts but has everything to do with the object of my faith, Christ. A lot of times we beat ourselves up because we don’t have enough faith, but as scripture says, all we have to have is faith like a mustard seed, a crumb-size faith, to move mountains."
Story, who on top of dealing with her husband’s continued recovery, is also learning the balancing act that is motherhood. Her daughter Josephine Grace was born 14 months ago and the new Mom is quite in love. According to her Mom, Josie is experiencing more than most babies her age. "It’s a different childhood," she said. "Most people can’t say that their child has been in 40 states by the age of 14 months, but I really feel like she’s learning that our lives are supposed to be spent on missions and the cause of Christ."
Jason Gray is no stranger to life on the road either. He grew up traveling with his Mom’s band and due to a speech handicap; he was very shy and introverted. "I’d often spend a lot of time alone in my room listening to music," Gray said. "Music became a companion." Through the years, Gray recalls always being aware of the healing powers of music. "I’d received so much healing from music, and that’s when I realized I wanted to give something back," he said.
As Gray became aware of God’s calling in His life, he thought God would have to heal him of his speech handicap and that would then be the story that would allow him to enter his calling. "You know, we live in a world where we see weakness as a problem to be managed or overcome, especially us in the church, which is where I think we gain a sense of fear of being honest about our weakness."
He has since discovered that he doesn’t need that healing to cultivate his calling. "My brokenness gives others the ability to relate to me. When we bring our weaknesses to God, He takes them and makes something beautiful out of it. The worst things that you’ve gone through can become a testimony to His grace. The wounds we receive, if we keep bringing them before the Lord, don’t have to harden us but can become healing for us and those around us."
The artists will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Woodland Heights Baptist Church. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are still available at Woodland Heights, online at www.iTickets.com or by phone at 800-956-9324. Ticket prices are $24-$36. For more information about Show Hope, please visit www.ShowHope.org.