The Cantata Tour bus arrived at the fascinating land of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Albuquerque with the population of 550,000 is the biggest city in New Mexico. This city is situated at 1620m above sea level which is equivalent to Mount Hanla in South Korea.
The city was originally built by the Spanish people, therefore there are still many Spanish and Indian culture remaining in Albuquerque. You feel as if you are in Mexico if you visit the Old Town Plaza. The Old Town Plaza under the scorching sun from the sky without a cloud may feel meager, however the building built one hundred years ago also gives a taste of traditional culture.
New Mexico University is built of clean and modern buildings. Simply looking around the museums in the university can be meaningful times. The anthropology museum inside the university is the most historical museum and through it you can see histories of Indians as well. The art museum has many things on display and it is not just paintings but also photographs.
Albuquerque was a city where leisure could be felt. There seemed to be many after retirement enjoying their leisurely rural life.
In this city of Albuquerque the Christmas Cantata was held for the first time. In preparation for this Cantata there were many difficulties. Because a certain venue wasn’t decided for the event, even whilst promoting the event the place couldn’t be mentioned. However last Monday, Tingley Coliseum was decided as the venue to hold the performance. Tingely Coliseum is a venue where rodeos(competition where the person who rides a wild bull for the longest wins) and horse racing usually took place. Therefore it was the first time for the venue to also hold such a performance. That is why there is no stage here and there is no waiting room for the choir members to stay. There were no hangars to hang the clothes of the choir and everything from scratch had to be prepared.
But one could see God preparing everything one by one. For two weeks hangars couldn’t be found on the internet or the second hand shop, however through one brother God sent strong hangars. There were no waiting rooms or mirrors, so mirrors were brought from the church and carpets were laid to make our own waiting rooms.
Promoting the Cantata wasn’t simple as well. Dear Neighbor letters were also made daily through donation funds. The same process repeated everyday. But, God opened ways so that the event could be promoted through the radio, and newspapers such as New Mexico Daily Lobo, The Sunday Journal, El Semanrio.
The Albuquerque Cantata which seemed impossible through the grace of God began regardless or the circumstances. From one hour before the performance there were long waiting lines to enter the venue.
Because Albuquerque is a small city the biggest auditorium can only fit 2000 people. That is why in order to fit more people a sports venue was made into a performance hall. As if the audience knew this heart 4500 people came to fill up the venue.
“Folks, if you sin you cannot go to heaven. We all live sinning, but in front of God we were cleansed! We are weak how ever we have been sanctified by God! We are evil, but inside of God we gained righteousness!”
The venue was filled with happy voices as well as loud applause.
One message and one heart was preached to Albuquerque. The sports venue which was usually filled with shouting and dust was now filled with the music of Gracias Choir. Also in the hearts of the citizens God’s heart was preached.
Afterwards in Handel’s oratorio Messiah’s beautiful songs were sung. All audience when listening to ‘Hallelujah’ stood up to listen attentively to this song with a devoted heart.
There is no good sound system in the arena, and because the way it is built the sound rings. However Tingley Coliseum where the Cantata was held delivered the music of the Gracias Choir like no other great auditorium. One could feel that God was pleased with the Cantata happening in Albuquerque.
“I received tickets through the church and came here with my daughters. The first stage about the birth of Christ was good, the story of Anna in the second stage was good too, but the full choir in the third stage was the best! Especially ‘God Bless America’ was really touching. I think rather or not you believe in God it is a performance that all could enjoy. It’s the best!” -Maria and her two daughters
“It was such a great honor for me to see this performance. My husband suddenly asked me to go watch a performance with him and I thought ‘what is this?’ and came but it was a very special experience for me. After seeing the performance my heart is only filled with joy! I also remember the message in the middle of the performance, I felt that God wanted to enter my heart. You are returning next year right? Please do! I will greet you in the very front row with my hands waving!” – Claudia
“Seeing the flyer on the notice board I came here with my family. It was truly an amazing performance. The first stage about the birth of Christ is most memorable. And, yes ‘God Bless America..!’ America really needs this. The message that pastor preached, I think that is the reason why we are living here today. Thank you for having such a performance in Albuquerque. Next year I will bring all of my family.” – Hudgens & Carnall Family
Jesus Christ who was born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. The country of America 200 years ago was built on the foundation of Jesus’ mentality. But as the land becomes materialistically more abundant they start to forget and lose Jesus. Just like how one citizen said “We need this!” after listening to ‘God Bless America,’ the land of America needs Jesus.
Today Jesus visited Albuquerque and inside of many people’s heart Jesus was born. Our hearts are hopeful when we think about Albuquerque being covered with the Gospel after the Cantata.