African group will visit Shelby County church

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A group of 20 children from Africa will sing their songs of rescue in Finchville on Sunday.

By Beth Herrinton-Hodge

Imagine the scene: 20 children, ages 7-15, 9 adult chaperones, from East Africa, on a 6-month road trip, gathering in Finchville for the weekend.

These elements make for an extraordinary event taking place on Sunday morning, when Finchville Baptist Church welcomes the Asante Children’s Choir for a 90-minute service of worship and song.

“We are excited to have the Asante choir come to our community this weekend,” says Maria Gordon, church administrator. “We planned to host the group last year, when their visas fell through at the last minute. This fall, they embarked on their U.S. tour. So far, they have traveled to Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Central Illinois, and Indianapolis. They will move from Louisville to St. Louis, then on to Dallas, Austin, and Houston.”

According to the group’s promotional materials, “Asante is a Swahili word translated “Thank You” in English. The Asante Children’s Choir is made up of children from East Africa, a region recovering from years of civil war and genocide that have claimed millions of lives leaving thousands of children and women as orphans and widows. The choir is dedicated to spreading love, hope and joy while raising awareness for the desperate plight of orphans and other vulnerable children. Their colorful clothing, pounding drums and sweet voices demonstrate their hope and dream for a brighter future. Their inspirational stories of resilience have instilled hope in the hearts of all those who have seen them perform.[B1] ”

Asante Ministries is a collaboration of Christian organizations and individuals who provide both local and boarding schools, orphans homes, and services to families and communities in Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. The children in the choir have been selected from among students in an Asante school.

They receive education as well as training in dance and music before embarking on 6-month tours. Once they return from tour, they continue their education through graduation.

The group says that many of its members have been rescued from some of life’s most difficult circumstances and that they express their gratitude through their music.

The children’s choir will arrive in the area on Saturday afternoon, presenting their Jericho Tour concert at Christ Lutheran Church in Jeffersontown on Saturday evening. Church members in Finchville will host the children and their chaperones in their homes Saturday through Monday nights. On Sunday morning, the children will offer their concert at Finchville Baptist, then perform at Buckner Baptist in LaGrange on Sunday evening.

“Monday is a day of rest for the choir. We have plans to take them to the Kentucky Science Center and the Louisville Slugger Museum. If the weather is nice, we’d like to take them on a walk across the Big Four Bridge, too,” Gordon said.

“If the children were traveling during their school year, they would have classes and homework on Monday. This is the season for their summer break, so we get to show them the tourist sites of Louisville instead.”

Each concert is free and open to the public. In Finchville, the concert will take place during the church’s Sunday morning worship service.

There will be one service on Sunday, beginning at 10:30 a.m., and followed by a luncheon for all at noon. A free-will offering will be taken during the service to support the ministry of Asante and the children in the choir. During lunch, craft items made by Asante children will be available for sale.

“The concert begins at 10:30 a.m., but you’d better come early to get a seat,” Gordon said. “The group’s tour director tells us that people who hear the group perform in other local churches often follow them to the next local performance, just to hear the children sing again. Their joy and excitement make you want to hear them again and again.”

“We’re hoping to welcome the whole Finchville community to the concert on Sunday, as well as anyone who would like to come and enjoy it.”

To learn more about Asante Ministries and the Asante Children’s Choir, find them on the Web www.asantechoir.organd on Facebook, Asante Ministries International.