Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Leo's Gift


I didn't really want to give away my first electric guitar.  Even though it was an Ibanez "shredder" guitar, designed for a style that I don't really play much anymore, it was very sentimental to me.  I had owned it since I was 14 or 15 years old, and it had been with me for all the many changes of my life.  I had moved it with me when I moved to different parts of Texas at least 4 or 5 times. I thought I would always keep it, even if it was just a nostalgic conversation piece in the closet. So, when I sensed God leading me to dust it off, get it fixed up, and give it away, I was immediately resistant.  Awwwe, man.  God.  It was my first guitar!!  I whined a little to Him and pushed back on the thought of giving it away, but I knew it was what He wanted me to do.  Because if it was just an extra guitar and didn't mean anything to me, what kind of gift would it be?  My leftovers or whatever I "could spare" wouldn't mean much.  But to give something that, in all honesty, I really wanted to keep, something that hurt a little to give away and was really a sacrifice, that means something.  To God and to the recipient.  Ok ok OK, God.  I'll do it.

I planned to give it to the youth pastor at Hope 4 Honduras, who is also a wonderful guitar player and worship leader.  But the thing was, I found out right before going that the youth pastor had gotten a job elsewhere and was no longer at the mission.  Well, who would I give it to now, God? I debated about even bringing the guitar at all, but I remembered what God had told me and decided to bring it after all.  I didn't know who I would give it to, but I had my eyes open for an opportunity.

Shortly after arriving in Honduras, I ran into Leo.  I had forgotten about this guitarist. ^_^ Leo works at the mission as an IT guy and also does security there, and he happens to be a killer metal guitar player.  The dude has a testimony you wouldn't believe of being redeemed by an all powerful God.  He was raised in an environment where Satanic activity, black magic, and witchcraft was the norm.  Before Christ, he was involved in all sorts of darkness and played music for the Enemy rather than God.  In the 90's, he was in a band called "Blasphemy."  But when he came to the Lord, he entered onto a journey when it came to music.  The Lord led him to put down his guitar for a long time as he healed from his former life.  God showed him his motives were more for his own glory and recognition rather than God's.  So, after some years of soul searching and transformation, Leo pondered whether or not it would be ok to pick up the guitar again.  Someone bought him one as a gift, an acoustic guitar, but he sensed he was not ready to perform yet.  This time, he promised himself, his performance had to be for an audience of one.  He loved metal and he loved to play live, but he wanted to make sure that his motives were pure, that it was for God's glory and His alone.

We sat on the patio as he was telling me about all of this, and he had a fire in his eyes when he told me that just recently, he felt like God was telling him he was ready.  He had scheduled some time in the recording studio, only a few weeks from then.  He was trying to get a group of guys together to form a Christian metal band, hopefully being able to bring Christ to the dark places of the metal scene.  His goal was to be able to minister to those musicians as well, sharing his testimony, sharing the glory of God for his redeemed life.  The only thing he needed was an electric guitar, which he was planning on buying.  He didn't have much money, but he was hoping to be able to find something that would work.  I asked him the brand and type of guitar he would get if he had the choice, if he had more money, and when he said "Ibanez" and started describing the characteristics of the guitar I had brought, I knew it was time.   

After I told him the story of how the guitar got there, and the two of us in awe.
Leo playing his new gift from God

I will never...EVER get over how specific His love is for us.  Down to the brand and the type of gift He would love to give us.  I love how personal is His touch.  I will never get over how He provides us with more than we can ask or imagine, at exactly the right time.  I told Leo that this was His affirmation, that this was God telling him beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was, indeed, ready.

Leo is running with it.  He has been jamming and recording, and has decided to call his project "Memra," which loosely means "Word of the Lord."  In Aramaic, it is a word used in the Bible to describe when the Lord's power is physically manifested, when God's power comes alive in the physical world, as it will with Leo's music.  To God be the glory for what He does with Leo and His gift.  We are so excited to see.