RYFO Team Leader Simeon Lohrmann recently sat in as a guest on the Axiom Church Podcast. Listen as Simeon, and the leaders of Axiom, discusses their passion to eliminate the divide between the church and the musician community.
Serving the Voices Blog
I have always struggled with Identity and who I am, especially while doing White Collar Sideshow. I’ve come to the realization that it’s easy for the thing that you do, whether it be; music, job, sports, relationships, past struggles or mistakes to define who you are or become your identity. No surprise, I’ve said it before but I probably see it more as I’m getting older.
For me, letting my music become the wheel, or god of my life. For instance, becoming obsessed with MORE, MORE and MORE! More tours, more shows, more radio, is it time for a label, booking agent, festivals, merch sales, the vicious cycle of Want, Want, Want, and forgetting the whole time of, why do we do what we do? And then,when things don’t go my way; anger, frustration, the question of “why?”. Feelings of entitlement from hard work, loneliness, or measuring success placed on the people around you. When this becomes the god of our wheel so to say, we take this god to all of our different spokes of that wheel. What are the spokes of our daily life? The gym, spouse, kids, job, school, stage, meals, friends, concerts, conversations, addictions…and the list goes on. it’s so easy to let the emotional and mental state of our wheel take over and become our identity, at the same time if we don’t renew our mind at some point, our identity becomes the very thing we are consumed by.
I’ve had to sit down and retool my brain. Recognizing that if I’m a follower of Christ, my identity needs to be His, Christ defines me and not what I do for a living or what I’ve done in the past. A couple of friends, Ed and Brian, have challenged me with this, and it is way easier said than done for sure. If God is the center of my wheel and I take this identity to the different spokes of my daily life, then I am actually becoming a living, breathing example of the great commandment.
Focusing on Him; heart, mind and soul, then loving others as I want to be loved. Sure it’s no easy task, especially in the selfish world of art, but we have to be able to recognize when we are being consumed or when one of the spokes of our wheel is becoming our identity again. This is what I’ve been counteracting everything that begins to consume my wheel with; and also what needs to be in my wheel presently and daily – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control. I want this to be my identity! I want this to define who I am! I want to take this to my marriage, my son, family, music, stage, conversations and life in general. I want these to counteract any negative emotions and it’s up to me to recognize when I’m being consumed and put these into place. If I can practice this daily, in the present, I believe my identity will not be my own, but one of a light that shines brighter than I ever could!
I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. – Phil 4:13
I can make it through anything in the one who makes me who I am…
White Collar Sideshow is a RYFO band, but they are also part of one of our partner ministries, Steiger International. Steiger is a worldwide mission organization that is called to reach and disciple the Global Youth Culture for Jesus. They use art, music and other forms of creativity to present Jesus in a clear and relevant way, and establish a long-term presence in urban centers through ongoing outreach, discipleship and local church partnership.
JD Vazquez // Shadow of Whales
“I’m here to talk about an organization that is near and dear to my heart called RYFO. Recently, we were playing in Lawrence, Kansas, and as a couple of small town boys from Texas, we needed a godsend to keep us from sleeping in our van. Thanks to RYFO, we found one. After driving six hundred miles, playing a rock show, trying to connect with and thank every new fan that night, we were exhausted. The last thing we wanted to do was drive another six hundred miles. Because of the incredible people at RYFO, we didn’t have to. We had warm beds to sleep in, breakfast the next morning, and conversation with some of the nicest people we’ve met on the road. Not to mention a fond and safe farewell. The team at RYFO make it possible for bands like us to extend our reach beyond what we thought possible. We are so grateful to be partnered with them and definitely recommend it to musicians alike.”
Rarely, do any of the bands that stay with us arrive when we are actually eating dinner. Most of our stays arrive at midnight, or well into the morning. All the bands have something in common though…they are all hungry. Since life on the road lends to an unusual schedule, bands tend to eat whatever they can get from a convenience store or through a drive-thru.
When bands stay with us we like to have something healthy and hearty to serve them. It is however hard to motivate yourself to cook a full meal at midnight. So, here are 3 quick fix recipes for those late night arrivals. You can get these started, and be ready to go when the band walks through the door.
Courtesy of Dash of Texas
For the Soup:
- 3 cups cooked shredded chicken (about 4 breasts or most of a rotisserie)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup green beans, sniped in half
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 Russet potato, peeled and diced
- ¼ scant cup flour
- 7 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup whole milk (optional)
For the Biscuits:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup butter, cold and cubed into ½”
- ¾ cup buttermilk, cold
- In a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the onion and garlic. Cook until soft and translucent. Add the carrots and potato chunks and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add the flour to the vegetables in the pot and stir to coat, letting cook for about 3 more minutes. Add the chicken stock while whisking, stirring out any lumps. Add the whole milk (optional – will just make the base a little more creamy instead of solely brothy).
- Add the peas, corn, green beans, and chicken. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
- To make the biscuits, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cute in the cubes of butter until pieces no bigger than peas remain. Make a little well in the bowl, and add the chilled buttermilk. Stir with a large spoon until the mixture comes together. Knead once or twice in the bowl.
- Lay the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently roll out into a ¾” rectangle (don’t over-roll – as that will make tough biscuits). Fold the rectangle into thirds, like a letter, then roll out gently again. Repeat this process 2 or 3 more times (this creates flaky layers in the biscuits).
- Roll out into a ¾” rectangle again, and cut out biscuits using a biscuit cutter or the mouth of a drinking glass. Place close together on a baking sheet, 1-2 inches apart from each other. Bake in an oven heated at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until golden. Serve with warm soup.
Any and all of the vegetables can be frozen or fresh. If using frozen potatoes or carrots, simply gauge if they need more time to cook through on the stove.
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven
- 1 pound Italian sausage (I prefer hot, but mild or sweet also work)
- 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
- 6 eggs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 (20 ounce) bag frozen hash browns, thawed
- 2 cups shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- (optional topping: thinly sliced green onions)
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Add the sausage to a medium saute pan. Cook over medium-high heat until browned, crumbling the sausage with a spoon as it cooks. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Reserve about 1 tablespoon of sausage grease in the saute pan, discarding the rest.
- Add the onion and red pepper to the saute pan, and saute for 5 minutes until cooked.
- Add the garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Pour the vegetable mixture into the mixing bowl with the sausage.
- Add the hash browns and 1 1/2 cups cheese to the mixing bowl with the sausage and veggies. Stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and black pepper until combined.
- Add them to the hashbrown mixture, and stir to combine.
- Pour the mixture into a 11×7-inch or a 9×9-inch baking dish (a 9×13-inch dish will also work), and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes and the top of the potatoes begin to slightly brown.
- Remove and let the casserole rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions and serve!
Courtesy of Cooking With Curls
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 Large clove garlic, minced
- 2 Cups enchilada sauce
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
- 2 Cups shredded, cooked chicken (rotisserie is perfect)
- 8 Ounces rigatoni pasta, cooked and drained (reserve 1 cup of pasta water)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- sour cream/yogurt, sliced olives, diced green onions (to garnish)
- Cook chicken. Shred and set aside.
- Cook pasta and drain, reserving 1 cup of water.
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add garlic, stir and cook for one minute.
- Add enchilada sauce and stir in sour cream.
- Add the chicken and stir to combine.
- Add drained pasta and stir to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add the reserved pasta water 1/4 cup at a time.
- Sprinkle cheese over pasta mixture, cover and reduce heat to low.
- Heat until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly.
- Serve with sour cream, sliced olives and green onions.
“Life on tour is hard. RYFO is here to help”. This statement, however simple it may seem, holds profound truth to me as it has been realized in my life over the past 4+ years. My name is Lee Humerian and I play drums in a band called Phinehas.
My first tour was also Phinehas’ first tour – a short run in the summer of 2009 that started where we were from in southern California up to Washington state and back. I’m pretty sure we did more driving than playing, but it was a chance for us to play out of state and get our feet wet in the road grind. Back then, when we weren’t driving overnight, we relied on family for a place to eat, shower and sleep.
That’s pretty much how it was for us for our next couple tours in the summers of 2010 and 2011. We would plan on playing a summer festival and book as many shows in between as we could. There were no tour budgets and no back-up plans – just (hopefully) enough fuel to get us to the next show. Twice we popped the radiator on our van. The first time we used my credit card for the repair and borrowed a family mini-van for a couple shows. The second time, we also blew a head gasket in our engine and couldn’t afford the fix. We were stranded in Cle Elum, Washington for three days until our friend Tyrone from Bakersfield drove 1000 miles one way (!) to pick us and our trailer up. This unbelievable display of kindness is one of COUNTLESS acts of selflessness we have experienced in our years of touring. I firmly believe that we wouldn’t be a band today if it weren’t for the love and blessing we’ve received by people like this.
Many of these kind, incredible acts have been poured out on us by folks we’ve met through the RYFO organization. RYFO is a non-profit advocate for outreach to musicians. Basically, they are a community of people who open their homes to touring musicians to provide not only a place to sleep, but full-fledged meals, clean showers, laundry, and many other amenities that are often difficult to find or afford while on tour.
We met a RYFO representative at a festival in 2010 and started staying in host homes consistently when we started touring full time in 2012. While playing shows every night is an absolute blast and something we in Phinehas are very fortunate to have the opportunity to do, touring can be very exhausting. After a while, the sleep-deprivation, poor eating habits, sweaty clothes and filthy van can get to you no matter how much or how little you’ve toured. That’s why we love staying at RYFO host homes so much.
Whenever we have the opportunity to stay at a RYFO home, we almost always take it. Rest is so invaluable in life, but it can be extremely difficult to come by while on the road. RYFO stays are so replenishing for me in every way: Physically, emotionally and spiritually. What they offer is so seemingly simple, but when you’ve been away from family for weeks, stuck in a dirty van and eating poorly and irregularly, a bed, shower and meal go a really long way. On top of this, there have been many times RYFO families have gone above and beyond their call of duty. We’ve had a couple drive 4 hours one way to pick us and our gear up from a transmission shop and take us to that night’s show, then drive us 4 hours back so we could pick up our van. We’ve had hot meals waiting for us at 4am after an all-night drive. We’ve received care packages of snacks and sports drinks. We’ve had long, deep conversations about life. I could truly go on and on.
Needless to say, the people involved with RYFO are incredible. We are so fortunate to know the people we’ve stayed with. Many of them have become like family to us, and it is only possible through their loving generosity. We in Phinehas are so thankful to be a part of RYFO – this organization and the host families a part of it have blessed us immensely. If you are in a touring band, we highly encourage you to sign up for RYFO. You’ll be so glad you did! If you have the heart and the means to host and these stories moved you in any way, then we would encourage you to apply to be a host home!
Grace and peace to you, and long live RYFO!
Lee Humerian & PHINEHAS
If Jesus was walking the earth today where do you think He would hang out? Who do you envision He’d be spending His time with? In the Gospels we clearly see His game plan for life and ministry, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17 NIV.)
Jesus spent His time with real people who were dealing with real life challenges. Furthermore He chose to meet people where they were, in the midst of their circumstances, and He spent time with individuals who had social influence. The verse after Jesus invited Levi to follow Him; He’s seen at Levi’s house having a banquet with all of Levi’s friends (Luke 5:27-29).
So if Jesus was walking the earth today where do you think He would hang out? Who do you envision He’d be spending His time with? It stands to reason that one place He’d be is in music venues, spending time with musicians. More than anyone else Jesus would understand the unique challenges artists face. He would offer them hope, encouragement and freedom rather than clamoring for their touch and suffocating them with adoration.
The cultural influence of the music community can not be understated. 6 out of the top 10 profiles on Twitter are musicians, and those artists alone have a following that’s greater than the US population. Despite the level of influence and the rapid secularization of our nation the music community is a mission field that’s often overlooked. The Good News of our day is that Jesus is still walking the earth! His Spirit lives within His followers and we have the opportunity to follow His lead into the places of need around us. You can be A Different Brand of Fan…
Next Saturday (the 12th) at 12PM PST we are hosting our quarterly conference call for RYFO staff members, Host Home families, and financial partners to join together in prayer. If you believe in the mission of RYFO we invite you to commit to join us in “Prayer for the Voices.” Here are some ways you can focus your prayers:
-Health and safety for the bands who have started to hit the road now that winter is ending
-Provision for the RYFO staff members who raise missionary support through financial partnerships
-Effective recruiting of new Host Home families in areas of the country where we need to expand our network (mainly the East and West coasts)
-Blessing over our continuing efforts to develop and launch our Artist Chaplain program in 2016
Thank you in advance for those of you who will be praying with us. Please email our Communications Coordinator any insights you receive while you are praying: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All around the country, communities of local musicians are the voices of their city’s music scene. Through their music these artists shape the cultural identity of their city. United in their experiences of being misunderstood, or feeling judged by the church, these local artists congregate in bars and clubs, music venues and concert halls—spaces where they feel welcomed and at home.
In addition to local artists, touring musicians typically spend more time on the road than they do at home. Their communities are their fellow bandmates and the other bands they tour with. When they return from long months on the road, touring musicians find it difficult to assimilate into the norms of life back home. They come back to find that life has gone on without them—often straining even their closest relationships.
In light of this reality, we’ve identified, and committed to focus on, 3 Keys to Transform Life Backstage:
1. Connectedness – The emptiness and isolation musicians often experience creates a need for genuine trustworthy relationships—relationships where they are given the opportunity to stop performing and simply be.
2. Sacrificial Service – The musician community needs servant-hearted individuals to identify and respond to the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of artists.
3. The Love of Christ – Musicians who’ve lost their way, or those who are struggling to find it, are in desperate need of hope and truth. They need to be encouraged in the midst of their doubts, and reminded about their true identities.
If you resonate with the importance of these keys we invite you to partner with us by joining the RYFO FAM. For as little as “Five-a-month” you can become a Key Holder in transforming life backstage.
Are you a Key Holder?
[Click Here] to join the FAM
All donations are tax deductible. RYFO is a ministry of CRM (Church Resource Ministries), a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Anaheim, California. CRM is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), which provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that demonstrate compliance with established standards.
Whether on the road or rooted in the local music scene, the musician community is a world clouded with hopelessness. For many musicians the glamour they project from the stage life in stark contrast with the realities of their lives backstage. Too often life backstage is characterized by deep emptiness and isolation. In search of something to fill the void; drugs, alcohol, pornography, and other sexual exploits are common among faith-based and secular musicians.
So this year-end we’re inviting you to partner with us in caring for the Whole Artist: Mind, Body & Spirit.
THROUGH THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP; YOU CAN TRANSFORM MUSICIAN’S LIVES
3 ways to partner
Purchase a limited edition RYFO T-shirt from our friends at Modfund: Click Here
Stay caffeinated with The RYFO Blend from our friends at Pneuma Coffee: Click Here
Join the RYFO FAM, to be a part of our committed team of financial partners who give a minimum of Five-A-Month: Click Here
Members of the RYFO FAM receive a RYFO Key, as a symbol of our partnership, and our FAM booklet which tells the ‘Serving the Voices’ story
This coming Saturday (the 28th) at 2PM PST we’ll be hosting a nationwide conference call for our staff members, Host Home families, and our financial partners to join together in prayer. If you believe in the mission of RYFO then we invite you to put down your Thanksgiving leftovers, or take a brief break from your Christmas shopping to join us in prayer.
Not sure what to pray? Here are some items we’ll be praying for:
-The launch of our Chaplain program and the expansion of our Host Home network in 2016
-Blessing over RYFO’s existing Host Home families as they head into a New Year serving bands
-That the light of the Gospel would permeate the music industry and transform musician’s lives
Still looking for more guidance on how to pray? Take a look at this article on Praying for the Voices.
We believe our prayers are heard and that our prayers change things in Heaven. When Christ instructed His disciples on how to pray, one of the instructions He gave was to pray like this, “May your Kingdom come, may your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). We believe that God’s will is to see the music industry impacted and transformed for His Kingdom.
Will you join us in this powerful time of prayer?