Serving the Voices Blog

Testimonials 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


 

What the church can learn from the hardcore scene

Last week one of our host families shared a blog with our staff that really resonated with us. The blog is directed at the church and outlines the discoveries a mother made in attending her son’s hardcore show. In light of our unique mission, it’s always encouraging to come across someone else who is advocating for the same thing we are – to bridge the divide between the church and the musician community.

That said, we wanted to pass the blog along to our network to hear your feedback on…

What the church can learn from the hardcore scene

2016 Annual Report

By: Simeon Lohrmann (Executive Director)

Whether you have been connected to RYFO for years, or you are brand new to the network, this update is for you. Detailed in the pages of our annual report you’ll read testimonies that give a glimpse into the impact RYFO has had in the musician community this past year. Additionally you’ll read about how we’re working to expand our reach and influence over the next decade and beyond.

The vision God has revealed to our team is bigger than any one leader or organization, it can only be achieved through collaboration and financial generosity. We value your support and pray for it to grow in the New Year!


Click Here to give a tax deductible year-end gift


RYFO is a ministry of CRM (Church Resource Ministries), a global missions agency and 501(c)(3) based in Anaheim, California. CRM is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Artist Testimonial // JD Vazquez

Testimonial JD Vasquez Shadow of Whales

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.”