Monday, November 14, 2016

Heading to Manila! Your Word Project update

I woke up this AM and God laid on my heart that I needed to get back to posting on this blog, a site that I'd initially created just to share the doors He was opening for our career and to inspire and encourage others who were striving to find success in the music industry. I wasn't walking with Christ when I first started this blog, and I can see the difference when I read back over some of the initial posts. Since it's been two years since my last post, allow me to share with those of you who follow the blog what's going on in my life.

My most recent single, "Give You Jesus" f/Shana, was released in May of 2015 and I was blessed to minister it on the main platform at Lakewood Church with Pastor Lisa Osteen, which was an incredible experience.
Lakewood Associate Pastor Lisa Osteen and I on the main platform after I sang "Give You Jesus" at Lakewood Church in May 2015. My parents are in the front row on the right side, along with my Queen and her Mom (just off camera).

The single cover artwork for "Give You Jesus", designed by Robert B Fresh and Jeff Hernandez. Jeff died in a car accident two days before this single was released and shot up the Gospel and Christian charts.
Rick Rowe from ABC News in my hometown agreed to do a follow up story on my testimony in support of the success of "Give You Jesus," and Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church did a segment (view it below) in the interview where he talked about his support of my ministry, and belief that I'm an example to those who have been pushed down by life to know that we can "rise higher and bless others." This interview was seen all over the world, and one of those who saw it was United Bible Societies, who shared the full ABC News interview and allowed me to write a blog post on their Digital Bible site about my journey and what God has done with their more than 9 million Fans on their Facebook page. That post got such a favorable response that my brother Anders Orsander from UBS, whom I'd initially shared the interview with via Digital Bible, reached out that same day for a meeting with me, during which Gunnar Magï, the head of Marketing for UBS, stated that they wanted to extend our relationship to win souls for Lord Jesus.

Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church sharing his support for my ministry on ABC News. This interview directly led to the forging of my relationship with United Bible Societies, and opened the door for the Your Word Project to happen. I love Pastor Joel and Lakewood dearly and hope they're proud of what God is doing thru this Your Word Project.
Footage appears courtesy of Lakewood Church.

Immediately following that performance at Lakewood and the success of "Give You Jesus," I wanted to go on a tour to support the record, and organized a radio promo tour across much of the country. At the start of the summer, I went to my parents' home in Shreveport to drop my daughters off so I could go on tour to promote the song, but I felt strongly in my spirit that I was missing something in terms of my purpose. I'd recently forged an alliance with United Bible Societies, which is the world's largest Bible translator, distributor, and publisher, but I honestly wasn't sure how to maximize that relationship. I remember saying that to my Dad, and he told me to go into the War Room (prayer room) at he and my Mom's house to seek God for direction. Although I was supposed to leave the next morning for Atlanta to connect with my bro Willie Moore, Jr., I ended up spending the next three days in that room praying, reading my Bible, and seeking God. I didn't bathe, I didn't change clothes, and my parents can attest, they brought me food in that War Room on trays, I ate, and they came back into the room to get the trays later. I remember reading in the Bible that Jacob told God he would not let go until God blessed him; I wasn't leaving that room until He showed me what I was supposed to be doing. On my third day in that room, He did...God spoke to me clearly and said that I'm a songwriter, and that I was supposed to write a Worship song in honor of His Word, both the Word as the Bible and as Jesus (both are referred to as the Word in the Bible). He reminded me that United Bible Societies translates Bibles into different languages, and told me that I was to have this Worship song translated by Christian singers from other nations into their languages and released around the world; the net proceeds from all of the translations would then go to fund Bible translations for the more than 1800 languages and dialects around the world that had never before had the Bible. He then began giving me the Scriptural foundation for the song, and I wrote the song very quickly. I sent the lyrics to the song and the vision God had given me to UBS, and Gunnar Magï, the head of marketing for the organization, replied very quickly that they would love to work with me to bring this to life. My team, JayTel, JD Karpicke, Sean Torres, Brad Sayles, Ron Charlton, and Paul Yuen, and I then immediately produced the music, arranged the orchestra who played on the song, and we started recording.

UBS and I then began selecting the artists from around the world who would represent what became known as the Your Word Project; American luminaries such as Cindy Cruse Ratcliff, my Lakewood sister and Dove Award winning Worship leader, Pastor Marcos Witt, a 5 time Latin Grammy Award winning artist, Dr. Beau Williams, my Queen's Dad who also happens to be one of the greatest singers ever, with a Dove Award and Star Search win to his credit, and a host of phenomenal singers from 9 other countries, who have collectively sold more than $800,000,000 worth of music, agreed to record "Your Word." We worked with top translators in each country to translate the song accurately, with my German Sis Sefora Nelson stepping up to help make sure that I got the best translators and artists for each country. UBS began scheduling flights for me to head to each of the countries, but because I was committed on staff as the Youth Pastor at Higher Dimension Church in Houston, I wasn't able to take the time off to fly to all of the countries, so the decision was made to fly the artists in to Houston to record with me instead. Sefora Nelson of Germany, Lidia Genta of Italy, Darina Konchanzhi of Russia, and Thierry Ostrini of France flew in and we became family. We recorded their translations at Wire Road Studios in Houston, which is where luminaries such as Israel Houghton (congrats on your wedding, big bro!!) and Beyonce have recorded hit records, and bonded over our shared love for God and desire to see His Word spread to all nations. 3 time Grammy Award winning audio engineer Ralph Caciurri (OutKast, Bishop TD Jakes, Smokie Norful, and more) mixed the record in Atlanta, and the project came out incredible. Here's a link to see the behind the scenes of the creation of the song.

"Your Word" Recording Behind the Scenes

(From left) Lidia Genta (Italy), Sefora Nelson (Germany), Darina Konchanzhi (Russia), Evangelist Debra George, Thierry Ostrini (France), myself, and Telford "JayTel" Birmingham II, my production partner, at Lakewood Church in Houston. This was immediately following recording sessions for "Your Word" at Wire Road Studios in Houston, TX.

And here is a link to hear the finished "Your Word" song with all of the different languages on one song:

We then began the promotional process; a TBN interview was scheduled in Houston at KETH-14, and Marcos Witt, Cindy Cruse Ratcliff, Dr. Beau Williams and Anders Orsander, the Digital Marketing Officer for UBS (who flew all the way from Sweden to be here) joined me on TBN for a Praise the Lord taping that was supposed to be all about the Your Word Project and promoting Bible translations globally. We taped the show and did a series of anointed interviews that really captured the heart of the project, and Dr. Beau and Cindy sang "Your Word" with me and blew the roof off the place, but KETH ultimately decided not to air the interview, stating that "it was too promotional" for their guidelines. While I was disappointed at their decision, I understand that God doesn't need KETH (or me, for that matter) to do whatever He wants to do. He's still in control.

(From left) Joshua Jackson, Praise the Lord host Matthew Bismark, Marcos Witt, Cindy Cruse Ratcliff, Anders Orsander of UBS, myself, Dr. Beau Williams, and Shana Dorsey on set at KETH-14, the local TBN affiliate.

I then did an interview with Tiara Kennell from my hometown Shreveport Times newspaper talking about the project and our goals for it, and she wrote a phenomenal story that showcased Your Word Project.

Article in my hometown newspaper, the Shreveport Times, about the tour and the Your Word Project. 

Shreveport Times website with the Your Word Project article

That brings us to now:

In two days, I'll be boarding a plane heading to Manila, Philippines to sing and speak at an event we put together called Signs of Hope. This event is a partnership between my thebridgelife ministry, United Bible Societies, and Philippine Bible Society, and the goal is exactly what God spoke to me at my parents' home last summer when He gave me the vision; this event will use music and ministry to  fund the first ever complete Filipino Sign Language Bible.

The concert in Manila will be followed by a night of Worship in Jerusalem on December 19th alongside Israel Roytman (who sang "Your Word" in Hebrew) and a night of Worship with myself and Lidia Genta (who sang "Your Word" in Italian) in Torino, Italy on January 28th, and a different country per month for the next ten months, ending with the filming of a documentary in India for the project, directed by my brother Len Wehrung. To say that I'm in awe at God is an understatement; it's one thing to know He's real. It's a whole other thing to SEE His Hand move, or to hear Him tell you something is going to happen and then to SEE it actually happen in such a tangible way. For those of you who know my testimony, God promised me a few things when I was homeless, but the last of those was that "the world will know (your) name, but it will be for (MY) glory, not (your) glory." It's surreal, even after all of the other amazing things He's done, watching Him now fulfill this promise thru this project before my eyes. I'll be traveling to 10 different countries over the next ten months, singing "Your Word" and sharing the vision God gave me, and championing the cause of global Bible literacy. To be honest? I'm nervous. I'm nervous that I won't have the right words to say when I stand in front of all of God's people to speak about a vision He gave me. Me, who didn't deserve any of this. I'm nervous my voice won't come out right when it's time to sing, and I still wonder if I'm good enough or skilled enough for this level of global ministry, even after all my years of singing and preaching. And I'm nervous at whether the reception in these countries of a young black man will be conducive to the magnitude of what we are trying to accomplish....but then God reminded me of Moses, and him being afraid of his stammer, and afraid of Pharaoh not wanting to listen to him, and afraid of his own sin and frailty. Moses looked at his own shortcomings instead of looking at God's power. God reminds me in this moment that, just as He was with Moses, so shall He be with me. And I can smile knowing that any Pharaohs who try to get in the way of God's people getting the Word of God won't have to deal with me; they'll have to deal with my God. Red Sea or plagues, anyone?

Your Word Project, all completed translations, available now via iTunes, Amazon Music, etc. Net proceeds from all sales go to fund Bible translations globally.

I'll close this first post back with an encouragement to all of you who may read this; we all have a purpose in life. God created us with gifts and talents, and with a calling, and it's up to us to find them, hone them, and walk in them. It doesn't matter what you've done wrong, or what mistakes you've made. The only thing that really matters is your submission to God, not just in the area of your gift, but in EVERY area of your life. When you give your life back to Him, He gives you purpose, anointing, and divine favor to walk out your calling in excellence and effectiveness. Don't be afraid to go, Moses...for God will be with you every step of the way. Please keep me lifted up in prayer as I head out on this 10 nation Your Word Project tour to do His will. #thebridgelife

No comments:

Post a Comment