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big lessons from a little man


His name? Nehemiah.

God has a way of putting things on our hearts at what we feel are the most random times. Like a few days ago when He said, "Hey Amy, why don't you open to Nehemiah tonight?" and I said, "mmhmm, ok, but I don't see what building a wall has to do with the African Children's Choir..."

Oh my, I mean this short little man and I are like twins, metaphorically speaking.

Reading through the chapters, Nehemiah finds out about the destruction of the city wall, he feels a call to rebuild it, he asks the king to go, the king says yes, he goes, he plans, he builds, he faces opposition, he keeps building. He keeps building. He keeps building until the work is done.

Do you see it yet? Do you see how we're twins? No? yeah. Took me a while.

It clicked in my head when I got to 6:3, where Nehemiah says these words: "I am doing a good work, and I cannot come down."

A few years ago my pastor did a sermon series on Nehemiah, and that verse is what I remember from it. Occasionally it runs through my head when I maybe don't want to do something other than what I'm doing, and I say the verse in pride. As if to say, "ha, as if, I'm busy doing good up here, so too bad, I cannot come down." But sometimes I say it in humility as a personal reminder. "I am doing a good work, and no matter how tired I am, no matter how much I may want to go back home, no matter what anyone else says, I cannot come down."

Building a wall around Jerusalem surely wasn't an easy task. Fifty-two days, chapter six tells us it took. Fifty two days - God had a pretty big part in this - because fifty-two days for a wall around a city is making quick work. (If only road construction in the 21st century could go as quickly.) But the stones were still heavy, the work was hard, with it came blisters, sweat and pain as they worked to restore the wall. But the joy they had in amidst the difficulties, the sense of accomplishment they must have had when they stepped back and saw just a little bit more of the wall completed. Isn't it worth it?

And I look at my life right now; I look at the beautiful faces I see each day, the joy and the hope that is in the eyes of each and every one of those kids, and I see my wall. I am Nehemiah, and the ACC is my wall. Some days the work is easy, some days it is hard. Sometimes I feel that the section I built yesterday came crumbling down today. Some days the work is quick and the party at the end of the day is a grand celebration of the accomplishments. Some days are just average - but I must rejoice in them all. For God has called me to this work - and when I continue to rely on Him, the wall will get bigger. It is good.

I won't be home for Christmas (this year you can't count on me, despite how much I would love to go home for Christmas) and I won't be home for Easter, Thanksgiving, my sister's birthday, New Years, or anything else for a while, but I am where God has called me to be. My wall right now is here, on a bus. I am doing a good work, and I cannot come down.

So you see? Me and Nehemiah, we are twins.

P.S - I like mail :)

Hey! This is my mailing address while I'm on the road, and I'd love to hear from you!

African Children's Choir
c/o Amy Thompson, Choir 35
PO Box 31683
Bellingham, WA 98228



In my tour journal I have a page dedicated to quotes from the children. Soon, I will have two pages dedicated to quotes... then three... then four... then five...

For now, here are a few of my favorites for you to enjoy.

Eunice, at the drive-through: "There is a man in the box who is talking!"
Me: "Stella, can you tell me what time it is?"
Stella: "It's two, two little, two little dots, nine, eleven, eleven, nine, one, one, dots, two dots, nine eleven, it's nine twelve."
Now to explain this one, I have been telling them in rehearsals to pretend like God has tied a string on top of their head and he's gently tugging it to help their posture. So this was Ruth one day, talking to herself & grimacing in pain:
"Ow! OW!! ow. OW! God is pulling the string!!"
Me: "Children, do you like Christmas music?"
Ivy: "Oh yes! (sings) Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you..."
Stella: "If you catch the water the fish will spank you!"
Esther: "Auntie! Me I am brown like you!"
Jonah: "Derrick is cooking up harmonies!"
John: "In a SAUCEPAN!"

More to come, eventually :)