Friends made for the Lord

Members of the Western Territorial Band teach students about various instruments at Gladys Wood Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska. Photo by Jenni Ragland

Western Territorial Band travels to Anchorage, Alaska.

 By Diane O’Brien

On my journey to Anchorage with the Western Territorial Band (WTB), I changed planes in Seattle. By chance, I was seated in front of one of the bandsmen, Gary. Engaging in some unavoidable eavesdropping, I heard Gary talk to his seat companion about his commitment to God as an employee in ministry; it was the beginning of a weekend of witnessing.

At the high school on Friday morning, a young bass guitarist was joyful as he listened to the different styles of music from the WTB. Later, at the grade school, the children bounced along with the music, but just as important was the welcoming attitude of the staff as the band played well-chosen pieces.

On Saturday morning at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), bandsmen led sectional workshops, and some members of the UAA Concert Band joined our band for several pieces. One player told me he had never been surrounded by such a wonderful musical sound. As the two groups played together, I admit I was a little shocked when a clarinetist played the first solo in “Daniel”! After the workshop morning, some of the local musicians chatted with one of the bandsmen, Matt, and they decided to go to lunch together. Friends made for the Lord!

One man came to the Saturday evening concert to fulfill a requirement for a music appreciation class. From our conversation at the beginning of the concert, he clearly had no idea that this was a group of committed Christians, playing music to the glory of God. He took notes all evening, sought out various people and expressed his pleasure at being there.

The band continued to give of themselves in song, brass, praise team and testimony on Sunday morning, drawing seekers to the mercy seat.

The musicianship was good, of course, but the dedicated ministry of the band was even better—clearly communicated through the music and attitude of the band members. After all, our ministry is all about relationships—with fellow Christians, with people we meet and most importantly with our Savior.

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