October 7, 2012
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada—The Gracias Choir Christmas Cantata Tour crossed the border into Canada for their 7th stop in 9 days yesterday evening. Held at the Calvary Temple Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, nearly 1600 people attended through the support of Good News Corps volunteers, the venue’s ministerial staff, and the territory of Manitoba.
The Winnipeg Christmas Cantata may have been the most challenging event to prepare for during this 2012 tour. The snowy weather during the weeks leading up to the performance made street promotion extremely difficult. And without a Good News Mission branch in Winnipeg and the closest church several hours away, managing the work was almost impossible. Volunteers were able to gain strength in their hearts through the words of John 4. Just like the Samaritan woman decided to accept Jesus’ words instead of her own filthy image, volunteers realized they needed to rely on the promise of God for the Christmas Cantata rather than fall to their own situation.
So, despite the circumstances, God paved the way to meet individuals that ultimately played key roles in the Christmas Cantata’s success. In addition to individuals like head Calvary Temple Church pastor Bruce Martin, we were also connected to Flo Marcelino, the Minister of Youth, Heritage, and Tourism of Manitoba. Marcelino attended the Cantata, delivered the welcoming message, and expressed her wishes to continually support IYF and interest in holding an IYF World Camp in Manitoba. CTV, Canada’s leading private broadcasting network, even came out to cover the Cantata for their 11 o’clock program.
The enthusiasm of the Winnipeg audience caught the Gracias Choir and tour staff by surprise. Many arrived to the venue almost 2 hours in advance in order to get the best seats. Everyone perused the various booths set up in the lobby, which showcased sermon books like Repentance and Faith, Gracias Choir music CDs and DVDs, as well as information about IYF.
By the time the Act 3 rolled around, the audience was captivated by “Somewhere in my Memory”, a well-known Christmas song that contains strong family sentiments. Many people watched this performance in wonderment, most likely recalling their own fond Christmas memories. Everyone remained after the final song to listen to a message preached by Pastor Yeongkook Park of Good News New York Church. He and Pastor Joseph Park have been on the road with Gracias Choir since September 29, fervently preaching the Gospel after each Cantata performance.
With so many unexpected but crucial connections made during Cantata preparation, along with the amazing 1600-person showing, it has never been clearer that God is truly pleased with this Christmas Cantata Tour. Including this Winnipeg show, almost 10,000 people have attended Christmas Cantatas across the east coast.
Only two shows remain: Chicago and the grand finale in Detroit, MI at the Masonic of Detroit on October 10. More to come from the final few days of the 2012 Gracias Choir Christmas Cantata Tour. Next stop: Chicago, IL.