Global Missions, Local Impact: Rochester NY

Today GFG had the opportunity to help out Gospel Baptist Church, a local church in the Rochester Maplewood neighborhood. This church is home to many Burmese immigrants and is only a year old. It is pastored by William Laphee, who earnestly leads worship for his church of forty members and then preaches a sermon right after.

He shared with us the pressure he feels from needing to complete both tasks week after week. There are several youth in their congregation who have a desire to start learning how to play guitar and lead worship, but the problem is that they lack the instruments and training in order to assist their church. 

As I approached the home of Pastor William with gear in hand, I was greeted with a smile and could see the excitement in his face. He lead me into his living room where I was introduced to his wife, children and several youth from his Burmese congregation. 

After I explained who I was and gave them a brief history of GFG, I told them that a Grace Road Church elder made me aware of their situation.

I explained to them that Guitars for Glory is a local organization with a passion to put instruments in the hands of pastors, worship leaders and youth all around the world in order to spread the Gospel through music. I told them that there are people locally and all around the world who love and believe in them. I then told them that we are honored to give them some musical gear in order to encourage and equip them to lead worship in their local church. 

When the youth saw the items, they began to laugh and smile in almost unbelief. One of the local boys told me that he always wanted to learn how to play guitar but didn't have anything to practice on. I assured him that this gear was here to stay and said that there are many local musicians eager to encourage and teach him and his peers how to play a variety of instruments.

After the gear was passed out and the laughter continued, I asked Pastor William if he would show me a Burmese worship song in order for me to better understand their church and culture. 
Pastor William started strumming a guitar and almost instantly this small Maplewood living room was filled with beautiful singing and worship. My eyes welled with tears as they worshiped so shamelessly and passionately. 

After hearing a few songs, I thanked Pastor William for helping spread the gospel in Rochester and said we would be back in a few weeks to help teach music to the youth in his church.

As Pastor William walked me to my car, he hugged me and told me that he has been praying for a long time for someone to come equip the youth in his church for worship. He said that his greatest desire is to spread the Gospel to many local refugee families, and he thanked GFG for all they have done in order to assist this dream. I assured him that there are many people locally who want to help out and we are so honored to support him more in the days to come. 

-Jesse Werzinger: Worship Director at Grace Road Church: Rochester NY