So...........probably about 8 or 9 years ago I loved this Christian song called "Welcome Home" by an artist named Shaun Groves. I still love that song. I remember he came to my then church in concert and I would say it was a great concert (because I'm sure it was) but I mostly remember that Laurie was busy trying to get us to sit so we could see this cute guy named Steve. So future husband hunting took priority that night (which obviously paid off).
And then two years ago - that same Shaun Groves who I had heard on the radio - emailed me and asked if I would want to go on a Compassion trip with him to El Salvador. It was a very surreal moment for me. But I went on the trip. And it changed my life. But being around someone like Shaun changed me almost as much as staring poverty in the face.
That's the reason that last year when our Sunday School class was studying "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan and the question was "Who can you think of who most lives out this crazy love in their life? Who has this kind of passion and gives so much to others?" ...........my answer in a split second was "my friend Shaun".
Shaun has amazing talent. He was making albums and touring with big names and he could have continued on this path and had some pretty great American success. But something happened. He went on a trip with Compassion. And he completely changed his entire life. He sold his house and bought a much smaller one. He lives a very simple life so that he can dedicate his life to his passion - helping kids get out of poverty. He tours around the country FOR FREE and sings ......simply so he can speak on behalf of Compassion. When the horrible Haiti earthquake happened - Shaun is the one who organized a big benefit concert for Compassion to help. His heart and passion for these kids are amazing. Some people look up to sports figures or celebrities.....Shaun is someone who I want to be more like. Mostly because he makes me want to be more like Jesus.
And now he is using his talent to further help the world's poorest kids. He has been on a lot of Compassion trips and wants to help more so he knew if he made a new album - it would help him get the exposure to get MORE free concerts scheduled so he could speak to more people about Compassion. He's dreaming big. But not for him to get rich or be popular or famous - but to help kid's in third world countries have enough to eat. Enough money to go to school. Enough opportunities to change their lives and to hear about Jesus.
I don't promote a lot of things on my blog. I don't want to constantly advertise things or ask you to spend your money on things. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing someone be the hands and feet of Jesus in action - not for their own glory but for God's alone. And so if you buy this album (which is AWESOME!) and if you support Shaun - you are not helping him - you are helping him spread the gospel and spread Compassion to hundreds of thousands of kids. My favorite Shaun Groves quote is that he realized that being a Christian is not just about being saved FROM something............it's being saved FOR something. For him - that Something - that purpose - is what he doing right now with this album.
I loved ALL the songs on his new album - Third World Symphony - but I'm a sucker for hymns - especially with new spins. So I asked him to video his version of "Just as I Am" for us! This album is a message of hope. Shaun poured out that amazing heart of his into every word.
And PLEASE watch this video - because not only will you love the song - but I think you will love what he has to say about the song.................Oh boy - I did. (Except the snarky comments at the beginning about the razorbacks. Not cool - texas boy.)
Shaun doesn't have a record label - so he lined up 17 AMAZING blogs to do his album tour on (well - 16 amazing blogs (like Pioneer Woman, Michael W. Smith, Angie Smith, BooMama, Big Mama)- I'm kind of the small fish among the group - but I'm excited to be included!) - you can read other reviews here: http://thirdworldsymphony.com/tour/