Slums in India spur musician's witness

Baptist Press
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Posted: Jul 19, 2011 5:52 PM
Slums in India spur musician's witness
MUMBAI, India (BP)--When Micah Watson came to India for the first time, he never thought he would be back, let alone recording a music video with his band there one year later.

The daunting task of sharing Jesus with the 22 million people of Mumbai -- India's largest city -- haunted him so much that all he could do was talk about it for a year after his first trip to India. He shared with his family and friends and even his audiences at Micah Watson Band concerts.

Watson is no stranger to seeing a lost world up-close-and-personal, having grown up in a missionary family in Israel. But somehow the songwriters' trip to Mumbai was different than anything he had experienced.

Watson thought he would be writing songs and experiencing the city from a safe distance. Instead, from the moment he slung his guitar over his shoulder and left the airport, the singer-songwriter found himself face-to-face with life in India.

The devastating poverty in Mumbai overwhelmed him. Dirty children swarmed around him in the slums. Being a father of four, Watson wanted to pick them up, play with them and protect them. Even though the trip was a step far outside of his comfort zone, the test of faith had only just begun.

Watson was caught off-guard when the team leader said they would be going out two-by-two to share the Gospel and pray for the sick.

Even though he sings weekly in front of crowds, Watson didn't feel he has an "outgoing" personality. And while he shares with concert-goers about God's work through his songs from the stage, he struggles sharing the Gospel one-on-one.

"God, I need you to put words in my mouth," Watson prayed, and soon the prayer was being answered as people began inviting him into their homes.

On that first trip to Mumbai, God stirred Watson to realize more than ever that the Holy Spirit is working all around the world.

"God went before us and is behind us working," Watson said. "When you go on a trip like this, you're just becoming a part of what God is already doing. You're not creating a new thing. We just need to tap into what God is doing."

After that first trip, Watson shared about India at all his concerts in the southern United States, with his song "Your Hands, Your Heart, Your Voice" resulting from the year of talking about what God is doing in India.

When Watson returned to Mumbai's slums to make a music video for the song, the trip was different this time -- even when people stopped and stared, forming a crowd around him. Even though trash covered the streets and dirty children roamed wild, Watson's heart and voice reached out to everyone as he shared the Gospel.

"As overwhelming as it is that there are so many people," Watson said, "it's more overwhelming that God knows each one of them."

Music is the one art form people can't ignore, Watson said, voicing his goal to use music to stir people's hearts toward what God's doing in the world.

"If you can get songs in front of the church that are focused on missions, on what God is doing in the nations," Watson said, "if you can get that rolling around in people's heads, then maybe more people would give, go and pray.

"When people hear the song 'Your Hands, Your Heart, Your Voice,' I hope they will stop and realize, 'Hey, I have to go and be God's heart and hands.' It's not just a lovely thought for someone else. You don't do your Christian duty at 18 and that's it. We're commanded to do it."

Torie Speicher is a writer, volunteering with International Mission Board, serving among South Asian peoples. To see the video for "Your Hands, Your Heart, Your Voice," go to http://www.go2southasia.org/resource/video. The Micah Watson Band is online at http://micahwatsonband.com.

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