We arrived in Ségou early afternoon on Friday. We set up camp at a local church. Our concert venue was an indoor concert hall…by far the nicest of the places we’ve been – it was even air-conditioned! Someone had made arrangements for a sound system and John and the tech crew went to a local bar of all places to pick it up. It was a nice system and worked wonderfully. Again, our concert started with a couple of Malian choirs followed by our team. Because we were indoors, our audience was limited to around 200 people. But the concert went very well. After the concert, we returned to the church for dinner and some sleep. The dorm rooms were small and weren’t able to hold everyone, so John and a couple of other guys slept on the floor of the church sanctuary.
Saturday morning we left Ségou and returned to Bamako for the last 2 concerts. It was exciting to return home. We had a wonderful family reunion until John had to leave for the concert an hour later.
Our concerts in Bamako on Saturday and Sunday nights were wonderful. We had several groups perform ahead of us including Kings Kids, a YWAM children’s performance group. They are always a crowd pleaser. Because Bamako is the capital city and there is so much to do, we had our lowest turnouts of the tour with our audiences topping out at 100-150. But that certainly didn’t keep us from worshiping the Lord.
The travel was long and grueling, and it was difficult to be separated as a family. But it was an event of a lifetime for John and he is happy to have been a part of it. He never imagined he would have the opportunity to tour with a professional singer/songwriter. It was in many ways a dream come true for him. One of John’s favorite French worship songs is Entends mon coeur. It’s originally an English song called Listen to Our Hearts by Geoff Moore and Steven Curtis Chapman. John fell in love with the French version (sung by Rolf Schneider of all people) a few years ago when he first heard it. We’ve still never heard it in English! John has always wanted to play the song, but it’s mainly a guitar song and didn’t translate well to the piano. John was so excited to find it part of the repertoire for the concert tour and on the play list every night. He accompanied on the synthesizer which he doesn’t get to play very often.
Each concert ended with a song written by Rolf Schneider called Shalom. John reminisces of looking out at the crowd swaying and singing along at the end of each concert. It was a fitting end to every evening. We’ll also let it be our closing remark for the Concerts de l’Espérance 2010 tour of Mali.