Serving the Voices Blog

RYFO Staff Posts

Refuge from the Storm

Our Irma Experience with a RYFO Host Home

Guest Written By: Nichole of Chiaroscuro (wife of David Hamilton – RYFO’s Director of Operations)


When David and I first heard about hurricane Irma, we weren’t too concerned. We both grew up in tornado country and have lived in Florida the past seven years without major incident. Year after year, you pay attention, you prepare, and then you watch comfortably from your home as nothing serious happens. But as it turns out, this time was different.

Day by day, the storm drew closer and continued to pick up strength. All of a sudden, there was a very real possibility that it could be a category four or five when it hit Florida, and that Polk County could be taking a direct hit. When you live in the middle of the state, this just isn’t something you expect to deal with. Native Floridians all around us were making plans, and lots of people starting boarding up their windows. In other words, everyone started taking things serious for the first time in seven years.

On Friday evening, we decided that we would check the weather update when it came out at 2am on Saturday. If there was a possibility that IRMA could hit us at a four or higher, we would leave. So, David got up early, studied the forecasts, and woke me up about an hour later to tell me that it could indeed be a four by the time it got here. Of course, you never know with hurricanes, but we were convinced that leaving was the right decision. At worst, our city would face massive destruction. At best, out power would be out for several days, maybe weeks.

Leaving was a very difficult and emotional decision to make. The duplex is the first house we’ve ever owned, and we love it. Leaving it all behind, not knowing what we might come back to was painful. It felt a little bit like we were abandoning our home, a place that has much more value than the money it cost and the stuff inside it. We were also fearful for our city. There are so many people and businesses here that we are invested in. What would happen to them?


We buttoned up the inside of the house as best we could, and fled the state at about 4:30am. We arrived in Tallahassee a few hours later, and it was time to make another decision. We could head to New Orleans, where we have friends that could possibly take us in, or to a RYFO host home in Alabama, which was much closer. We didn’t have a concrete solution worked out in either place, but we had faith that it would work out one way or another. We stopped at a local coffee shop to take a break, clear our heads, and wait for an answer. By the time we had finished our coffee, we had gotten word from our RYFO host home. They said to come on over, they would be happy to have us.

We arrived at their house in Auburn a few hours later, physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Walking into a new place can be intimidating and foreign, but their home was warm and inviting right from the start. We had a bunch of stuff with us, including our little dog and even my pet snake, but they didn’t bat an eye. They prepared a little room for us (someone who lives there actually gave up her room for us), and we immediately crashed. We were so thankful to have a safe place to rest and ride out this storm.

 

The next several days were strange, but memorable. The first two days we were anxiously awaiting the passing of the storm. I was constantly checking social media for updates from friends and businesses back home. People were still very concerned, but prepared to ride it out together. As we were keeping an eye on Florida, we were also getting to know our host family and their charming city. We ate together, played music, watched movies and laughed. It was a fantastic relief to have a place of rest, but it was also a wonderful experience getting to explore new places, new people, and being a part of the family for a few days.

Thankfully, Irma passed through central Florida without major incident. Most people didn’t have power, but most people also didn’t have serious damage. We were so grateful that this monster storm ended up being only a little worse than the norm. The trip back to Florida was stressful (due to traffic) but we were at peace. We were heading back to our city and home, both of which were almost entirely intact.


Our hurricane Irma experience was emotional and tense. It was a scary disruption to our normal life, and it gave us important insight into what a RYFO host home really is. When we were alone and unsure of where to go, a family of strangers welcomed us into their home and took care of us. This is what host families do everyday. They embrace those in need, and show them the love through hospitality. It may sound like a small thing, but for us, it made all the difference in the world.


“For You have been a strong-place for those who could not help themselves and for those in need because of much trouble. You have been a safe place from the storm and a shadow from the heat.” Isaiah 25:4


 

A Complicated Matter

Written By: Stacy Knapp (Director of Network Relations) 

Two weeks ago we shared a personal and honest journal entry from an artist who has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. As I reflected on what he shared there were a couple of statements he made that helped me see things in a deeper way:

 

“After more than 10 years of dealing with depression in its most extreme forms I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not solely a physical, or emotional problem. For me, it is also a spiritual problem.”

 

It is no wonder that depression is complicated. Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington were complicated just as each of us is in our own way. We are not just physical beings. We are not just emotional beings, nor are we just spiritual beings. We are all of these in one whole person, so we must consider all of these areas when dealing with depression.

 

Along with depression, grieving the loss of someone to suicide can get complicated especially when we’re watching on the outside attempting to figure out why someone would do it. There are all kinds of emotions that rise to the surface when we learn about the suicide of someone we know or even someone we admire or respect like Cornell and Bennington. To some of us their lyrics pierced our soul because it felt like they knew exactly what we were going through. There are many facets of grief: disbelief, sadness, anger, envy, helplessness, emptiness, fear and the list goes on. Then there are the unanswered questions of “Why did she do that?” or “What was so bad that he couldn’t cope?” And then there are the questions about ourselves of “Is there something wrong with me that I’m crying for the loss of someone I didn’t even personally know?” or “Am I weird that I don’t feel anything?” Whatever the questions we ask, grief is a personal thing and we express it in different ways. It is complicated.

 

“Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. I want to stop the mental health stigma and start being authentic. There is healing power in non judgmental community, and we need to break down those barriers and just be real with each other, because love is all we have.”

 

Whether you’re questioning your mental health or walking through grief, reaching out to a professional therapist or counselor is a good step. If you’re not ready to do that, then finding a “safe person” for help is an option. You may be asking, “How do I know if someone is a safe person?”

 


Important characteristics to look for in a safe person

Trusted – Do others trust them? Think about who has been a trusted help in the lives of others.

Present/Good listener – Not only being physically present to listen to you, but are they able to focus on being in the moment with you without distractions? Sometimes you just need to know that someone is available, but there are other times when you need a listening ear.

Peaceful – Are they the type of person that brings peace to what may seem to be chaotic situations? They may not be able to change the situation but they may be a person who makes everyone feel at peace when they are around.

Compassionate – Are they sympathetic, caring and understanding? Your feelings are real and this is not the time for someone to act judgmental towards you, but it’s the time for your feelings to be validated.


Perhaps as you’ve read through this list you recognize these characteristics in yourself. If so, please consider looking out for people who may need a safe person. It can be just reaching out with a phone call or just a text message saying “I’m here.” It could be the offering to just sit quietly across from the person and “just be.”

As a licensed Chaplain I consider it a blessing to care for the unique spiritual, emotional and physical needs of anyone God connects me to. From being available for someone who is dealing with depression, to sitting with someone in the midst of their grieving, I know God has called me to be a safe person. If there’s anything you’ve read in this post that you’d like to discuss further, please don’t hesitate to contact me: Stacy@ryfo.org. If you would like to respond to this post anonymously you can send RYFO a message via Sarahah.


Reflection:

When you ​have been ​depressed or ​grieved the loss of someone, was there a person in your life who was a safe person​? If yes, how so?

How can you ​be a safe person to someone who is grieving?


Get To Know Jim Dallett – Artist Relations Coordinator

Jim Dallett | RYFO Staff

Jim’s role with RYFO

Jim serves as RYFO’s Artist Relations Coordinator. He serves as the connection between the artists and our organization. He reviews and approves all artist applications and welcomes bands into the network.

What attracts Jim to RYFO

Jim’s attraction to RYFO comes from him being able to experience the love and generosity of several host homes while on the road as a touring musicianary. He believes wholeheartedly in the mission and vision of RYFO. Becoming part of the RYFO team has been a tremendous opportunity for him to give back to an organization that was a huge blessing to our ministry.

Jim’s hope for RYFO

Jim’s hope is that more and more artists and musicians get to experience true “radical hospitality” and the love of Christ on their musical journeys.

About Jim’s family

Jim, and his wife Lois, live in Vineland, New Jersey with their daughter, Darla. Jim and Lois have dedicated their lives to serving the Lord; their house has been filled with plenty of music, family, friends, love and joy. In 2016, their family had the amazing privilege to tour the country in the band, Never Forsaken, where they trusted God with their booking and used RYFO host homes. It was an experience their will never forget. These days they can be found doing local outreach ministry work for their church and community. They enjoy family time doing things around the house; watching movies, working on homework, having family dinners together, studying God’s word and just enjoying the blessed life he’s provided them with.

Get To Know David Hamilton – Director of Operations

David Hamilton | RYFO Staff

David’s role with RYFO

As the Director of Operations, David focuses on assessing where RYFO is now, and helping to develop and implement a strategic plan that will carry RYFO into the future.

What attracts David to RYFO

David has been familiar with RYFO since 2010. He and his wife always wanted to be a host home, but weren’t in a situation where they could. Over the last few years, that idea has driven several decisions in their lives, and through conversations with Taylor and then Simeon, he realized that he could be a useful resource to RYFO.

David’s hope for RYFO

David’s hope for RYFO is to see it grow to the place where God wants it to be.

About David’s family

David, and his wife Nichole, live in Lakeland, Florida. David works for the University of South Florida as an Academic Services Administrator for a Graduate Program. Nichole works as a Graphic Designer for a local marketing company. They are both involved in their church, Fuel Church where David plays guitar in the worship band Nichole handles the marketing and design work.

Get To Know Stacy Knapp – Host Home Relations Coordinator

Stacy Knapp | RYFO Staff

Stacy’s role with RYFO

Stacy is RYFO’s Host Home Relations Coordinator. She’s the first point of contact for our 100+ host homes across the U.S. She is responsible for the applications, interviews and onboarding.

What attracts Stacy to RYFO

The main reason Stacy was attracted to RYFO is that she has seen the heartbreak and pain that people in the music industry go through, and she believes that there is hope for every person. She knows that God has given her the gift to love people through their difficult stuff.

Stacy’s hope for RYFO

Stacy hopes that through RYFO lives will be transformed by God’s incredible love!

About Stacy’s family

Stacy and her husband, Paxton, live in Los Angeles, CA; and she works for Foursquare Church as their Benefits Administrator. She and her husband met in the summer of 2012 and were married, October 2013. Stacy enjoys the science between art and music, and has a passion for those who make it.

Get To Know Rebecca Harvey – Communications Director

Rebecca Harvey | RYFO Staff

Rebecca’s role with RYFO

Rebecca is the Communications & Organizational Partnership Director for RYFO. She manages the social media and web aspects of the organization, as well as, works to find like-minded businesses to partner with RYFO to grow our mission and reach.

How Rebecca became involved with RYFO

Rebecca first learned about RYFO from Nick Greenwood at Cornerstone Festival in 2009. Nick was running around with a clipboard explaining RYFO and getting people to sign up for more information. At the time, Rebecca and her husband had already been hosting bands, but lived in a very small apartment. A few years later, they moved into a house and became a RYFO host home. About a year ago, the opportunity came available for Rebecca to join the RYFO staff.

Rebecca’s hope for RYFO

Rebecca hopes RYFO can reach all musicians, both secular and faith based, with radical hospitality.

Artists and bands face a lifestyle that wears them to the bone, but many feel called to share themselves and their art with the world.  That process of sharing is vital, and through art and music lives are touched, minds are changed, and hearts are opened.  It is RYFO’s task to protect and care for those who give themselves over to that process, that choose to live with close to nothing and share themselves far from their homes and families.  RYFO does this by meeting their most basic needs first, then hopefully are allowed to help artists grow in other areas of their lives.  She hopes that RYFO will continue to expand and draw in people with unique gifts of caring and equipping to see that idea realized fully for the music community.

About Rebecca’s family

Rebecca & her husband, Ian live in Austin, TX. Rebecca enjoys photography, cooking and art. She also owns a the jewelry design company, Rebecca Harvey Designs. Ian works in student ministry at their church and is currently in a band that uses RYFO. Together they have three dogs; Thrash, Emo and Indie. They are also in the process of adopting. They both have a heart for hospitality, and enjoy having people in their home.

Get to Know Taylor Adkins – Artist Coordinator

Taylor Adkins | RYFO Staff

Taylor’s role with RYFO

Taylor is RYFO’s Artist Coordinator. He serves as the connection between the artists and our organization. He reviews and approves all artist applications and welcomes bands into the network.

What attracts Taylor to RYFO

Taylor experienced life as a touring musician, both first hand and indirectly through many other bands in the music industry. While on the road, most relationships centered around fandom of the music industry. Despite being around people 24/7, he rarely had the opportunity to engage with people looking out for him as a person; they were more interested in him as an artist. He was attracted to RYFO when he saw that the organization existed to serve touring musicians not out of fandom, but out of the love God has called us to show each other within the music community.

Taylor’s hope for RYFO

Taylor hopes RYFO is able to offer genuine love and support for touring musicians that is rarely given from the fan or business perspective. Additionally, many Christian and non-Christian artists are disconnected from the church and community while on the road and can have a negative impact both physically, mentally, and spiritually. He hopes that artists are able to find a community of support within RYFO that will care for the artist like family and provide that support while on the road.

About Taylor’s family

Taylor & his wife, Mandy are from Virginia, but now call San Antonio, TX  home. Taylor grew up in Virginia Beach in the 90’s surf/skate punk music scene. He played in bands and was a promoter at several local venues. Mandy grew up in southwest Virginia and they met in college at James Madison University. After graduating college, they began full-time jobs in the sports industry, but Taylor still had a strong passion for music. While he was no longer playing/touring, he was able to connect with RYFO in 2011. While Taylor and Mandy don’t share the same type of passion for music, they both love to host and serve others. Taylor and Mandy are one of RYFO’s host homes. Mandy enjoys caring for the bands that come through their home, and Taylor enjoys staying connected to the music industry.

Get to Know Simeon Lohrmann – Executive Director

Simeon Lohrmann | RYFO Staff

Simeon’s role with RYFO

Simeon Lohrmann is the Executive Director of RYFO.  He oversees all of the projects, goals and is tasked with expanding the programs RYFO offers; while working to ensure the health and vitality of the core staff team.

How Simeon became involved with RYFO

Simeon’s story with RYFO started in the fall of 2006. He moved from his hometown of Baltimore, MD to Orange County, CA to help founder, Nick Greenwood, launch RYFO. He was attracted by the vision because he had seen the faith struggles of some of his close musician friends who had become popular in the music scene. Once in California, Simeon spent some time growing his personal career, but after nearly 4 years God directed him back to the original reason for moving, RYFO. It became clear that his purpose was to bridge the gap between the Church and the musician community.

In 2010 Simeon officially started volunteering with RYFO, and became Nick’s go-to for operational needs. After 3 years of volunteering and working full-time; God led Nick in another direction, and Simeon left his job to step into the RYFO role full time.

Simeon’s hope for RYFO

Simeon’s hope is for a transformation in the musician community. He wants to see artists discover their true identify, and wants to see them equipped to bring Kingdom influence through their art. He’s hopeful to see musicians who are far from God, or those who have been marginalized by the church, being discipled to make disciples.

About Simeon’s family

Simeon & his wife, Johanna, along with their two kids – Judah (2) and Adalynn (4 months) live in Phoenix, Arizona. Simeon enjoys playing, writing music and playing soccer. Johanna likes yoga and crafting. Together they love investing in the lives of young adults. As a family they love to travel and host friends or family in their home.

Johanna owns Five Stone Furnishings. She uses the business to connect her love for restoring furniture with her passion for restoring lives. The proceeds of the pieces she sells helps to fund the abolitionist work being done by the nonprofit organization, Exodus Cry.

Prayer for the Voices

Prayer for the Voices

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? 

The Archetype of RYFO

Jason Wisdom Becoming the Archetype

By: Simeon (Team Leader)

From his years as a touring musician to his recent experience as a classroom teacher, Jason Wisdom is the archetype of the RYFO staff. Jason reached out to RYFO Founder Nick Greenwood earlier this year wondering if our team could use his talents.

Fast forward nearly 6 months…

After completing a formal application and assessment process, we are elated to announce that Jason has officially joined our team as our Discipleship Coach. In this role Jason will combine his experiences as a touring musician (with Becoming the Archetype) with his passion for defending the faith (becauseitstrue.com), to help develop training on the process of discipling musicians. Jason’s background, skill set, and personal passion make him the ideal candidate for this role.

If you’re excited as we are about Jason’s addition to the RYFO staff, then we invite you to support the training he and his wife will be going through 2 weeks from today: Support The Wisdom’s.

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