Arts Release (formerly called Resonance) aims to train and mobilise people who are already gifted in arts such as music, drama, storytelling, dance and visual art for cross-cultural mission. Internship opportunities exist for skilled musicians, performers, researchers or songwriters to combine cross-cultural (or multicultural) music and arts training with a field trip.
During the summer of 2014, a group of 6 musicians from different parts of the world gathered in the UK for an intensive 2 week training before embarking on an exciting journey to East Asia. They spent one month interacting with a minority people group that is culturally rich in music and dance but deeply entrenched in their religion. Jessy from Singapore was part of the team and shares her experience…
What is Arts Release all about?
Arts Release is a UK based ministry under WEC that trains and mobilizes people for cross cultural mission through the arts, i.e. music, drama, dance, visual arts and storytelling.
What kind of training did you receive in the UK?
Apart from learning to play the ethnic instruments, we had 3 other workshops per day on the understanding of Ethnodoxology, its research methodology, music and sociology, heart language, etc. It was pretty intensive.
During the one month on the field, what was the team involved in doing?
We had music exchange sessions with their local professional musicians. A music camp was organized for the local people, which drew a large crowd in the village. We taught them how to play various musical instruments. Good friendships were developed, which enabled us to engage them in meaningful spiritual conversations. It was such a privilege to witness how our friends were touched by our sharing and allowed us to pray for them.
What was one particular incident that really spoke to you?
Once I was playing/singing in our hotel corridor, a lady journalist approached me as she was drawn by the music. We ended up spending 6 hours in conversation about God, leading her to pray to receive Christ. It’s awesome how God gives music to reach out to people.
What was the main challenge for you?
Being taken out of my comfort zone for 7 weeks to work with a team of people from all over the world we had just met was nerve-wracking. I did struggle with loneliness in the beginning but God’s presence was my comfort every moment. I’m thankful He made us bond in spirit soon after that. I was also struggling to embrace the hygiene standard of the ethnic group and public toilet. Hahaha…
How has your experience in this trip impacted your relationship with the Lord?
We were tasked with many ministries to handle concurrently and decisions to be made. Staying alert at all times and listening closely to my Shepherd’s voice was crucial. God also constantly reminded me that ministry is not an obligation, but it’s a natural outflow of my personal relationship and deep love for my Saviour. What He asked of me was an undivided heart that delights in Him above all things in this world. Only then could I view others from His perspective, love them from His heart, treat them with His compassion and reach them for His glory alone.