Mission, Ministry and Music
Recently, MOVIEGUIDE(r) had the blessed opportunity to hear a concert by an artist whose mission and ministry is foremost in her life: Sarah Vienna.
Here is Sarah’s description of her music, mission and ministry:
For the past 12 years, God has been using me to lead an international humanitarian aid organization call Firm Foundations Romania www.firmfoundationsromania.com . This organization is being used to transform culture in this region of Romania. To compliment this positioning, I have recently been leveraging my singing and songwriter gifts to produce music with the intent to transform hearts.
Music was a part of my life even before I was born. My mother was strumming her guitar while she was pregnant with me, and I know those were the moments when music entered my soul. The day I was born my parents had no idea what to name me, which I blame on being the youngest of seven girls. As they were driving to the hospital they turned on the radio and the Hall and Oats song was playing, “ Smile A while For Me, Sarah” and that is how my name came to be.
When I was three years old my mother taught me my first song, “Jesus Loves Me”. This song is a class due to the simplicity of the words, yet powerful message. Growing up as the youngest of seven sisters there was always something going on at home. Food cooking, laughter, but some of my fondest memories were the times when my sisters and Mom would turn on the radio, and we would all dance in a circle to the number one hits of the day. I would do my best as a kid to dance like Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk and break dancing moves. I was always trying to live up to my older sisters.
The day that my sister brought home a record by the great mother/daughter duet, “The Judds” I realized how much I fell in love with rhythm guitars and blood harmonies. One of my favorites of their numerous number one hits was “ Have Mercy”. My Mother was and still is a very talented musician. One of her favorite things to do was putting her favorite Bible verses to music. When I was a late teen, I gave it a go and took the verse from 1 Tim. 6:12 and placed a tune to it. “Fight the Good Fight” was recorded on my first EP album. Little did I know I would soon be battling some of the biggest fights of my life ; the fight for independence and the fight for the widows and orphans in Romania.
In 2002 I embarked on a journey leaving the comforts of my home and family in California and flew to Romania for what I thought would only be a six months missions trip. 12 years later I have my residency and Brasov has become a home to me. In the first years of moving to Romania, I took a musical break as I was concentrated on fitting in the new Romanian culture and developing our projects. It was the day that Steffi Vogel, the vice president of FFR wrote a poem about a boy who wanted one last hug as we were leaving his room in the orphanage that I re discovered my love or writing and singing music. The song “Unwanted” has become an FFR motto for all those who have en -countered a child who yearns to be accepted and loved.
A little background of how Firm Foundations Romania began:
In 2005, Romania shut down all State orphanages for children under the age of 2 years in order to join the European Union. That same year, Steffi Vogel and I were asked to sing Christmas Carols for the children in the State Children’s Hospital in Brasov, Romania. What we found were rooms full of children without parents, without diapers, only wearing rages tied by strings. The children were in horrible conditions. Many of the children we recognized from the State orphanage, and we were told they had been placed in families, but obviously the children’s hospital became to new holding tank for abandoned children. God placed on Steffi’s and my heart to start buying diapers with our own money and to visit the children on a daily basis. One diaper how now turned into over 56,000 diapers annually, and one hour has turned into a global volunteer project. It is amazing that God used the simplicity of a diaper to start Firm Foundations Romania.
Many of the children we support and assist in the children’s hospital come from the local Roma Community. When I use the word “Roma” this is a politically correct word for “Gypsy” which is an ethnicity originally emigrating from India and are highly segregated in the Romanian society. FFR’s goal became to help socially integrate this ethnicity into the society. We have been able to start various projects like our After School Program where we work with over 100 Roma children providing education assistance and share the love of God into their lives. We also have started a high school mentor-ship program where provide teenagers a place to stay in Brasov outside of the village where they can focus on their studies, graduation high school with hopes for them to start university. One teenager named Andreea, recently graduated from high school and is one of the first to do so from her village.
We are grateful for our world-wide team and volunteers assisting our projects in Romania. Recently we had six volunteers representing six different countries at one time. We accept volunteers from all religious backgrounds. We see their volunteer experience as a great witnessing tool to be able to share the Gospel as children truly soften man’s heart for God.
Two of my favorite songs on the CD are:
Song #1 “The Unknown”- This song is a heart call to action to stand in the gap for the 70,000 thousand children and counting still in institutions in Romania waiting to be placed in loving homes. Their voices need to be heard and not forgotten. This song is about making known the silent voices that are crying out for help. Currently we are working with Romanian politicians to amend the laws, but we are still in the middle of the battle, but I believe there will be victory in the end.
Song #2 “ Breathe” -Everyone needs to breathe but many times we forget the necessity of taking the deep breaths of life. What we do on a day-to-day basis is sometimes disturbing. We see suffering children daily, and sometimes there is no cure for their heart pain. It is easy to become hardened to a cry of a child when we see it so often, but when that happens it is the time to take a step back, take a deep breath, and re-focus our relationship on God to give us the strength when we are at our weakest, emotional point.
Our MOVIEGUIDE(r) reviewer noted:
Though the effort to glorify God is commendable, the album is neither particularly poetic nor strikingly singular; rather, the words seem like conclusions draw from life’s lessons, like the meanings behind the songs the artist has yet to write.
As for the sound itself, the singer’s voice is nice but she seems to shy away from hitting high notes with full breath. The songs include popular sounds, such as electronics, but they do not serve a greater purpose. Their inclusion disrupts continuity because they are not fully realized.
That said, Sarah’s concert was heart warming and heart rending. Her live présence and singing was inspired.
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