Back to NewsJuly 5, 2011
"Fighting for Freedom"
Without question God has raised up ABC Alumni to serve throughout the world as pastors, missionaries, school administrators, teachers, military personnel, and so much more. Each has a unique story about how God has taken their training from ABC and enabled them to impact lives for the Gospel. We have seen this continually through the "Grad Glimpse" section of ABC's Introspect. Below alumnus Scott Carpenter shares how God opened the door on a particular opportunity to serve through music.
"A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." (Prov. 16:9) I have heard it said so often, "God opens doors, and God shuts doors." Many a door has shut on me through the years, and I say with shame, that I have not always immediately responded in faith. But God is gracious, and has wondrously opened the doors of opportunity through the years for my family and I to walk through. Most of these opportunities are ministry oriented, for, to such, we have dedicated our lives. But a few of these "opened doors" are less spiritual in nature, and allow us inroads into realms previously unknown for the purpose of influencing others for the gospel of Christ in the future. Such was the opportunity afforded us on the weekend preceding July 4th, the day on which we celebrate our country's independence with great patriotic fervor!
As The Carpenter Family travels about to various churches each week, we have the privilege of meeting many of God's choice servants. It is in the course of our ministry that we came to the attention of Pastor Kevan Bartlett of Maranatha Baptist Church. Having worked closely with Evangelist Byron Foxx for a good many years, Pastor Bartlett recommended me to do some writing for Brother Foxx's growing music company, "Bible Truth Music". In addition to writing the dramatic monologues for their up-coming patriotic musical, "This Is My America", they allowed me the privilege of writing a musical number to be included in the cantata. Interestingly enough, they asked that I not include a biblical message in this particular piece, but focus on creating a tribute to our military and the freedom they have fought and died for through the years. They explained that all the other musical pieces would supply the biblical message. The resulting song, "Fighting for Freedom", was graciously accepted for publication.
I must admit, the next part of the story may sound a bit self-seeking, but I believe God puts into all of us a desire to be excellent and take steps to expand our sphere of influence utilizing the talents and abilities He has bestowed upon us. Free of expectations - for my expectations are from God - I quietly submitted my song to Maestro Grant Cooper of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and simply asked him what he thought of the song. I was certainly prepared not to hear back from him, but that was not the case. He enthusiastically responded by saying that he was moved by the piece and would love the opportunity to arrange it for the symphony. Bible Truth Music, now owning the rights to "Fighting For Freedom", was happy to give full permission to pursue the project!
Working with Maestro Cooper has been a privilege I do not deserve. To say that I have stepped out of my comfort zone would be an understatement! At one point, having communicated with me through email concerning certain technical changes he wished to make to my original notation of the piece, and having used such musical theory terms I have not heard since my classes at Appalachian Bible College, I desperately contacted one of my fellow Music Theory classmates, Beth Pauley, "You have got to help me work through this!" was my plea. With her help we were able to understand to what he was referring, and to understand the changes he had in mind to make. I was praising the Lord for Beth at that point, and thanking Him for Mrs. Anderson who had so thoroughly instructed us during our years at ABC. God is good.
Maestro Cooper and I met to discuss the arrangement a couple of months prior to July 3rd, the day the piece would be performed live in Charleston, WV during the Independence Day celebration on the levy by the Kanawha River. Seeing that the song was larger than what my family and I could handle alone, I immediately contacted Jim McQuerrey, minister of music at Bible Center Church, and enlisted his help and the vocal strength of his choir. They jumped in with great eagerness! When asked by the Symphony promotional team what our group was called... I was a little confused. "The Carpenter Family and Friends" was all I could come up with on short notice. Maestro Cooper also gave me the double honor of leading the audience in the National Anthem.
July 3rd came and it proved to be an extraordinary evening! The Lord allowed everything to "come off without a hitch", as they say. In addition to the excellent performance of Maestro Cooper and the WV Symphony, as well as the strong voices of our newly formed choir, Dr. and Mrs. Anderson arrived just before the concert began! I was so honored to have them work us into their busy schedule.... on July 4th weekend, no less! After the song concluded by a final whip of the conductor's baton, I praised God for His loving kindness to me his servant, and thanked Him for the privilege of being born in the greatest country of the world - The United States of America! Let Freedom Ring!
Photos have been provided by alumnus Jeremy Yeckley. Be looking for the next Introspect that will expound further on alumnus Scott Carpenter and God's hand in the ministry of The Carpenter Family.