Return to the Music
By Matt Wilkie
I am moved by stories of restoration, reconciliation, and hope. A Convoy of Hope Field Team recently connected with children at the Mwika Hope Orphanage at the base of Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro to experience a sweet moment of hope together.
Mark TerKeurst spent many childhood years in a Liberian orphanage after losing his parents in the midst of a violent civil war. He often joined his fellow orphans to sing church songs during some of the war’s darkest days. As part of the healing process, their director started a choir that was later given the rare opportunity to sing across the United States.
In 2003, the choir sang in Charlotte, North Carolina, where New York Times bestselling author and speaker, Lysa TerKeurst, was impressed that her family needed to adopt two of the boys. After talking with her husband Art and their three biological daughters, the TerKeursts pursued adopting Mark and Jackson. Along with Mark and Jackson’s eventual adoption, more than 40 children from the orphanage were adopted across the United States. Oprah Winfrey hosted the family on her show and calls the story one of her “all-time favorites”.
Mark, his sisters, and their parents (Jackson wasn’t able to make it) served at the Tanzanian orphanage through a Convoy of Hope Compassion Team this summer. Mark played soccer with the children, helped prepare a chicken coop to provide funds to send the children to quality secondary schools, helped with a bio-gas project that will increase fuel efficiency at the orphanage, and made music with the children.
When he heard the orphanage choir, it brought back memories. Soon, he guest conducted the choir, leading them in a song he and his Liberian friends sang years earlier. His mother and sisters joined this choir, which performed in the Sunday service at the local church.
Mark’s return to the music inspired purpose, restoration, smiles … and a sweet moment of hope.