We're often asked where the vision for this ministry came from. It came from singer and songwriter Rich Mullins, through his friends and family to us. Please read the following message from Eric Hauck about the vision behind the Traveling Music School:
Rich's Vision - Thursday, September 18, 1997
(as best as I can remember anyway)
It was Thursday and we were to leave the next day for the long haul to Wichita. We had spent the morning rehearsing our new arrangements for the fall tour in the abandoned church with Rich. As we practiced, Mitch McVicker finished up the last vocal tracks of his album in the adjacent building. We were on an early afternoon break, and Rich asked me, "Wanna take a walk?" This usually meant he had something on his mind that he specifically wanted to talk to me about, so of course I joined him.
It was hot, the street smelled of overstuffed dumpsters and car exhaust in the crowded Elgin side streets. We walked slowly and Rich started:
"I have been thinking about next year, after this fall tour into next summer, and years after that. I have enjoyed having you with us and I know that you're still deciding what the future will look like for you so I want you to know what I have been thinking on and here is my dream.
"I want the Navajo nation to become a Christian nation. I want the four sacred mountains of their land to be the pillars of praise to Jesus. I have a vision of using music and camping (outdoor wilderness camping) to bring Native American kids into relationship with Jesus so that in that land and on those mountains, every knee WILL bow and every tongue WILL confess that Jesus is Lord.
"I would like to work with the kids in the schools there to teach them music during the week and maybe travel between 4-5 schools offering lessons and music classes in orchestra or band once a week at each location. We could offer them strings, piano, drums, guitars, winds, and voice instruction. As a group we, the kid brothers, could teach the kids during the week and then tour on the weekends to fly dates or short drive shows. Then as they improve and learn the skills, I could invite them to tour with us and share their heart through the gifts they have developed.
"I believe the young Native Americans have a unique voice in this country that is not being heard and what they have to share no one can replace. That voice is missed in God's kingdom here on earth so I long to empower the people of the southwest to share their lives, their heart, their beauty and purpose with the rest of the world. ALL of us need to hear them.
"I also want to start a camping program where the kids would learn outdoor camping skills such as fires, tents, tracking, etc. I'd like to teach them Biblical lessons through this. We could take them on occasional hikes, camping trips, and wilderness adventures then once a year, take four groups to the top of the four sacred mountains and, at the same time, they will all pray to God Almighty, worship, and intercede for their nation.
"I want to offer the kids what Christ offered the lame man and the blind man. He healed all who came to Him and He didn't say 'you have to follow me or I won't heal you and offer you this gift of health'. No, not at all. Jesus simply healed all who came to Him because He loved them. He truly loved them and His prayer was that the tangible gifts offered would lead them to decide to give up their lives to follow Him. It's almost as if Christ was saying, ‘I WANT you to follow me, I WANT you to know the fullness of my joy and peace in the surrender of your whole life but EVEN IF YOU DON'T CHOOSE to follow me, I will still love you and I hope you enjoy your new legs or eyes.’
“So I want to offer the Navajo young people the same grace saying ‘I want you to follow Jesus and surrender to Him as Lord and King and Friend and I hope this music and camping will lead you into the truth of His love but, even if it doesn't, I hope you enjoy the music gift we offer you for the rest your life because we love you’."
Then Rich stopped walking and looked at me. I remember the tears in his eyes more than the words he spoke. "And Eric... I long with all my heart to see this happen and to lead this but I have the feeling I am NOT the one to lead this." With that thought he paused as a tear slid down his cheek. He wiped it with his hand and continued. "I feel like God is showing me the vision but is also showing me that I am not the one to interact with the people and run this ministry. I don't think I have the patience or the tact." With this he chuckled. "I do know however that for some reason, I am really good at making money and doing what I do on the road."
"So, I want to ask if you would like to be a permanent part of the Kid Brothers ministry, and you could stay on the reservation and lead the music program and we will help you when we're in town. You will come on the road with us occasionally, but primarily I will make the money needed to fund it all, and you will be the director doing the work that God is not allowing me to do. I feel kind of like Moses looking at the promised land from the mountain saying 'man, that sure looks beautiful’." He smiled.
"What do you think? I also would like for Keith to stay with you on the reservation but serve as my manager & manager of the kid brothers detail stuff as he is great at that and has a great heart for people."
As we came around the block and headed back for the church, Rich finished. I told him that I would pray about it, for I knew that if I were to do this job given to me, it would have to become a passion of my heart as well as Rich's.
Well, I never got to give Rich my final answer. The next night we left for Wichita in the van and I never saw him again. Who knows what God has prepared for those who love Him? I'm glad I can trust in the Master who is weaving perfection out of all the mess I see down here.
I believe that David and Lisa Sprinkle are offering, in the name of Jesus, a very tangible skill of music and art to the Native American people of the Southwest. I see the same grace-giving spirit in them of simply offering a gift to those they love and trusting God to lead His sheep into His Kingdom. I trust and pray that God will continue to bring the Native American people to Himself through the work of the Sprinkles.
Blessings & Favor,
Eric & Britt Hauck