Northwest Tour Journal
Karen Lafferty and the Generations Band
Over the past week and a half, Chad, Karen, Danette and myself (Meagen) have been on a music tour from Santa Fe, NM to Washington state and back. With Chad on drums, Karen on acoustic guitar and vocals, Danette on bass, and me on keyboard, we’ve been playing songs off Karen’s new worship album called “Singing My Heart Out”. Our destination in this trip was the Christian Musicians’ Summit in Redmond, WA, a two-day conference of workshops and concerts for musicians from all over the country. So we thought it would be awesome to post a blog of our journeys, and clue you guys in on what has been happening with us over the past 3,000 miles.
Tuesday November 11th
We staff took off from the YWAM Office at 7am after loading our green mini-van and 8-foot trailer; complete with sound-system, music equipment, luggage, food, pillows, and tired bodies. Danette was picked up shortly after and we all began the first leg of our journey to Murray, Utah, a town right outside of Salt Lake City. The 10 1/2 hour drive plus stops put us at John and Laura Cowen’s house at 6:30 just in time for their home fellowship bible study. Only they weren’t doing a bible study that night; the program was up to us. So with tired eyes and voices we did our best to sing along with a few songs of Karen’s and share a bit of our own history and adventures involved in missions. There were about 20 people crammed into their toasty aromatic living room and we had a wonderful time getting to know this closely knit group of believers. We were blessed by their thankful and generous hearts and by the Cowens’ wonderful hospitality. We slept in Wednesday and enjoyed a restful late morning by the fire eating homemade pumpkin muffins and laughing at Daas, their playful smoky-gray kitten. We departed after lunch for Twin Falls, Idaho and all agree that nothing beats Laura’s delicious soups!
Wednesday November 12th
Our trip was fairly short Wednesday afternoon, only 3 1/2 hours. We landed in Twin Falls around 4, but had entered in the incorrect coordinates for Lighthouse Christian Fellowship into our GPS. So we took the scenic detour thru old downtown and ended up in the more commercial area of the city. Daniel Marks met us at the K-mark turned church building and helped us unload the entire system plus product. Our evening concert was in the coffee house portion of the new Calvary building still in process of completion. The setting was great! But to Danette and mine’s disappointment, unfortunately the coffee bar was not up and running to purchase hot Chai. The crowd started arriving about 6:15 and we went on about 7. Many in the crowd listened to Karen’s music in the past and one man even brought his old records of Karen’s early music. The artwork on them was so groovy!! The audience was participative, and sang along while we worshiped God. About half way thru the show Karen sang “New Song in India to a track and great visual background video. Near the closing of the song, the sound system (we thought) began making unexpected horrible feedback. Quickly, Dan and the sound crew began nervously attempting to isolate the problem to their own failure. Karen continued to sing, soon without the music and along with the deafening ring. Finally the soundman jumped on stage and turned down Danette’s bass guitar solving the disheartening issue. Other than that slight embarrassment the night went well, and we had a nice time talking with people after the show. Chad and I split up from Karen and Danette and left the church with our host families. Second day of the tour, goodbye.
Thursday November 13th
All day Thursday…we drove, and drove, and drove some more. Our trip from Twin Falls to Redmond took us thru the rest of Idaho (which seemed to always smell bad, lots of farming I guess) the corner of Oregon, and thru central Washington. The scenery was beautiful as we crossed the Snake River Gorge, the Columbia River, and drove thru Snoqualmie Pass. I reminisced while seeing the familiar landmarks of my stomping ground. We left from Lighthouse at 8am and arrived at Overlake Christian Church around 7 at night. Our time on the road was great, and we are miraculously still getting along. God has given us traveling mercies, and Chad a determination to drive! Christian Musicians Summit: a two-day conference for lead worshipers, musicians, technicians, pastors, songwriters & indie artists to improve their skill and inspire their talent. We set up our Musicians For Missions product booth in the exhibits area, and checked out the setting. I think Overlake is the largest church in the entire Northwest. Karen and Danette stayed at the luxurious downtown Redmond Marriot Thursday night, and from dropping them off, Chad and I drove to Issaquah to stay with our friends Jed and Kristen Walters. O what a long day.
Friday November 14th
Registration for CMS began at 8 am, a tad early for us. The first pressing event for the team Friday morning was a sound check on the fringe stage at Overlake at 10 am. With the help of musicianary/hippy Tim Moon we prepared for our lunch hour entertainment set. About 1500 attended the summit this year, a lower number than last. Yet the teachers and performers were top notch, and there were many opportunities to learn. The exhibits room was bustling and we had a lot of interest in our upcoming School of Music in Missions. We were really the only missions-orientated booth in the place. Media tools, music, instruments, as well endless amounts of resources were offered. Our lunch break concert was alright, but we were not used to the distraction of the crowds walking by and the line for lunch trying to chat over all the noise. Five songs went by fast and our stage time was suddenly over. Karen taught an afternoon workshop on Music on the Mission field, sharing many of her own stories as well as some of the practical opportunities of getting involved in different works going on around the world. Between the workshop and dinner our booth got some hits, and around 5:30 we all went out to Thai food with my sister and family. It was a nice treat after the hardship of paying for overpriced mini pizzas inside the church. Chad, Danette, and I retired to our beds early, but Karen stayed around for the late night Lincoln Brewster concert.
Saturday November 15th
Was again an early start. Danette and I attended a workshop by Tom Jackson on “The 4 most important things in Worship”. Karen taught on fundraising and titled her late morning workshop “Time to get a Real Job?” stressing on the importance that we as missionaries don’t see ourselves as beggars but that it’s biblical to receive support. Chad and I shared stories of how God has been so faithful to provide all our need and has made serving Him in other countries possible. After the session we proceeded to lunch and later on in the afternoon Chad and I attended a workshop on how to set sound-systems in awkward spaces. Around 4:30 I headed over to Seattle to meet my best friend for dinner, as Chad, Danette, and Karen prepared for her performance on the main stage. At 8 pm “Songwriters in the Round” kicked off with a very talented artist named Sarah MacIntosh. There were about six artists following, all of whom have written very popular worship songs used in the church for many years. Brenton Brown played and sang “Everlasting God”, Kathryn Scott did “Hungry”, Kelly Carpenter played “Draw Me Close”…and so on. The final performer was Karen! Of course she played her famous praise song “Seek Ye First”. She told the story of how God gave her that song, and the things she was going thru as that verse in Matthew spoke to her in time of need. The crowd went wild as she closed the time, and Bruce Adolph came on stage to transition to the night concert by Starfield. But unexpectedly he called on Karen again, and presented her with the “Roby Duke Creative Life Award” for her service as a musicianary, serving people all over the world. Chad stumbled to whip the video camera back out, as Danette jumped up and down in excitement and I cried a few tears. We were all very awed and surprised by this unforgettable moment. Karen was super honored and we are all very proud of her. One more plaque to hang up in the studio!
Sunday November 16th
We didn’t arrive to my house, in Goldendale, until 2:30 am Sunday morning because of some wicked fog thru central Washington. Our scheduled arrival at Columbia Avenue Baptist Church was 8:30, so needless to say we were all exhausted. The service was full, The Sharp family with six kids taking up one entire row. The pastor, Michael Block was so pleased to have Karen and introduced her by showing off his own copy of Karen’s “Life Pages” eight-track to the audience. We played a more laid back set to cater towards the crowd. I was so delighted to see lots of family and friends, including my best friend’s parents. Michael and his wife took our team out to lunch at Gee’s, Goldendale’s only Chinese restaurant. We feasted but struggled to keep our heavy eyelids up. From there we returned to the church, packed up the sound-system, and trekked over to Community Grace Brethren Church to set up everything all over again for an evening concert. Because I have good inroads to the community, and mostly because Goldendale’s a tiny town, we got our concerts advertised in the paper and the newspaper. We got everything set for the night, and had planned to go back to my house, and take a catnap. But time didn’t allow, so we all camped out on couches upstairs in the youth room for about an hour. We really need the rest and extra boost for the night! We performed for about 80, and again saw lots of my family and friends. We were very blessed by both churches, and received with lots of love and appreciation. I had been looking forward to bringing Karen to my hometown for a while, to show more clearly what Chad and I do, and whom we work with in New Mexico. We arrived back to the log cabin around 9:30 and were so relieved to lay down our tired heads.
Monday November 17th
A free day!! Well deserved I believe. Today all of us climbed out of bed to our own leisure, and did only as much as we wanted throughout the day. I played with my baby niece and two nephews, Chad split firewood, Danette read her bible, keeping her mind off the fact she sadly had no cell phone signal or wireless connection, and Karen chatted with my parents and jammed with my dad on his old Harmony guitar with some classic hits from their era. It was a wonderful in my opinion and down time that we all needed. We spent a lot of the day outside, and tended to two enormous bonfires. The Sharp family came over for dinner, and brought a venison roast…only fitting. It was a full house and I cherished every second with my relatives. We shared stories, music, played games and took pleasure in wonderful food late into the night.
Tuesday November 18th
Today was a long drive from southern Washington to Salt Lake City. Heavy fog rolled in and the bright sun peaked thru as we traveled the winding road of the Columbia Gorge. Danette and I slept until lunch hour and Chad driving, faithfully pressed on. We were confined to the vehicle for about 12 hours total! We landed at John and Laura Cowen’s doorstep at about 7:30 pm just in time for the weekly bible study. There weren’t as many attending this time, but it was good to meet a few familiar faces from last week. John shared out of Romans 3, and Karen and I closed with a few songs. Unfortunately Laura was sent to the hospital earlier that evening because of heart palpitations. We settled back into the apartment like downstairs, caught up on emails, and called it a night.
Wednesday November 19th
Our drive today was from Salt Lake to the small town of Monticello, Utah, only about four and half hours. The way we got the contact in Monticello was pretty cool. Chad and I met a family at the YWAM “Go Conference” in Colorado a few weeks ago that are from Farmington, NM. We hadn’t gotten a concert at that time for Wednesday night on the way home. So we mentioned that we might be available to come thru their town. It didn’t work out to do anything there, but they put us in touch with a guy named Rhett who runs a radio station out of a small Southern Baptist church in Monticello. We contacted him who then talked to his Pastor, John, and a few days later we were set to show up and host a concert there. They were very spontaneous to our advantage. We got to their log cabin building about 4:30 and set up with Rhett’s assistance. We had dinner with Pastor John and his wife Echo. To Karen’s excitement they ordered in green chili enchiladas for everyone. They had a small manufactured home right next to the church, and an incredible 5th wheel next door! They travel with their ATVs during the year and camp and play. There were about 50 who came to the service and they were maybe our most unresponsive crowd. Every group is different. But they were all great to talk to afterwards, and there was one lady particularly who was very interested in being a part of the mission trip to Honduras this summer. We had a fun night staying with John and Echo. John was quite the jokester…for instance, he tried turning off the water while Danette was in the shower after the concert. To her benefit it didn’t work, but we could all imagine her reaction. We will definitely keep those guys in mind next time we are traveling thru.
Thursday November 20th
Another fairly short journey today, thankfully. It was only five hours from Monticello to Albuquerque. We celebrated the closing of our tour eating a Thanksgiving meal at Boston Market. At one moment in the car, Karen mentioned that we could stop at Cracker Barrel. About 10 minutes later, Danette sat up from her four-hour nap and asked, “Are we eating at Cracker Barrel, or did I dream that?” Well we didn’t have time for that restaurant, but if you want food somewhat in-between fast food and sit-down, Boston Market’s a good choice. We’ll be dropping off Danette at home soon, and the rest of us are off to Karen’s house to unload the equipment one last time…at least for this week! It has been an awesome time spent together, on the road, with strangers and friends. God took care of our every move, and used us maybe in ways we’ll never know. Can’t wait for next time!