Aug 26, 2016

Light Into Darkness

The Bill Drake Band at Rackeresztur, Hungary

The Bill Drake Band has toured in many countries all over the world, and as such, we have been in a variety of circumstances – on a ship in Turkey, in a prison in the UK, playing on truck trailers in Azerbaijan, and setting up the drums on table tops in Serbia!  But rarely have we had the opportunity to do a concert in a Roman Catholic Church, and even be allowed to carefully move some of the more “valued” items on the platform, such as a statue of the Mother of Jesus, or a solid stone lectern used for the Scripture Readings. 

But the little Catholic Church in Rackeresztur (pronounced: ‘rats-care-est-tour’ whilst rolling all the “R’s”!) Hungary, not only allowed us to do so, but welcomed us with open arms to bring the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the men of the local drug rehab center and their extended families. 

We arrived at the rehab center for lunch, and were treated to a great Hungarian meal.  Marcel, one of our translators, noticed a young man looking extremely dejected, as he was apparently being enrolled in the drug rehab center.  Hovering nearby, his mother was extremely distraught, while his father, obviously distancing himself from what was an embarrassing and disappointing situation, was trying to stay detached.  The mother was trying to get her son to go to his father, but neither man was willing to bridge the gaping chasm that was separating them. 

Later, after setting up, respectfully moving certain religious paraphernalia, and sound-checking in the difficult space, we started the concert to a hall nearly filled to capacity.  After the first three songs, I usually share my testimony, and this time was no different, emphasizing the part where my dying mother prayed for me even though I cursed Jesus in her face.  I shared how I rejected God after her funeral, and went out and trashed my life. 

As I was sharing, many in the room began to tear up, and some began to weep.  That particular testimony ends with me sharing how Jesus Christ saved my life, and how I hope my mother can see her prayers have been answered.  I close with dedicating my next song, There’s a Place of Immeasurable Blessing, to all the mothers in the room who pray for their children, regardless of where they might be at with God in the moment.  It was obvious to all of us that the story and song had a deep impact on the audience.

At our next tour Devotions, my daughter Sharayah humbly shared that she had had a vision during that part of the concert.  She said through great emotion, that as we sang the lyrics,

There’s a place of immeasurable blessing
There’s a song that cannot be unsung
There is God Who inhabits our praises and sings over us

…it appeared to her as if the painted ceiling of the church opened toward the back of the sanctuary, and angels began descending into the church, and began processing up the aisle.  They were carrying torches, and bringing light into the areas and hearts in the room that were dark.  As the song finished, repeating the same opening lyrics, Sharayah felt as if God were impressing on her, “These messengers of mine are inhabiting My presence.”

Others in our Devotional time recalled that many responded to the Lord at the end as we impressed upon them the message of reconciliation from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21: 

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Marcel then shared the epilogue to his story:  During the invitation time to the concert, he noticed that the father of the troubled son had moved next to him in the pew, and had his arm around him.  Praise God for the ministry of reconciliation. 

Aug 5, 2016

The Arms of Jesus

By William Trimper & Sarah Liu


Bill Drake Band at the Rakospalota, "Youth Women's Prison"


This was the second time we have presented a Bill Drake Band Concert at this facility. Both events felt dark, lonely and heartbreaking and we prayed hard for God to reach out to them thru Bill Drake's ministry in music and words.


Just before the inmates arrived, a leader of the prison told us we could have some limited contact with the women, but no photo's were to be taken of their faces. After the concert was over, the women would immediately be taken out of the concert area. We also had restrictions as to the area we could walk around the campus. He also told us to sit in the back row and the next row in front of us would be where the more hardened women would be required to sit. One mother-killer was also going to be in that row!


After that row filled up, and all the other inmates were still waiting to come in, the women began to ask about the 8 year old Chinese boy who was with us, and what his name might be. "Sarah's son, Casson" we answered. When they all turned around to look at Casson, he began to hand Salvation Bracelets to each of these woman in the last row, bracelets with the colors: Black, Red, White, Blue, Green and Gold.  One woman happened to speak English and listened as we explained what each color represented for a person who trusts Jesus Christ for Salvation.  She promised that she would share what the colors meant with the inmates.


Bill Drake's testimony is used tremendously among any Prison Ministry and our team was praying for the Holy Spirit to speak softly to the hearts of these young women. 


Sure enough, one of the young women directly in front of Sarah Liu (dancer, media person and evangelism team member from CVCC), began to weep; softly at first, then harder and harder. Sarah has a mother's sensitivity, and felt the need to offer a tissue, then a soft voice, more tissues and then hugs, not to just one, but three, one on each side of the original woman had also broke down and was weeping.


Sarah recalls, "When I used my whole arm to hold the original girl, that girl started to kiss my arm many times and that caused me to tear up immediately. Then when as I wiped the tears off her face, the girl kissed my face, as I leaned into her.  Nearby, another girl didn't cry, but always was staring at me. I felt she was so hungry for love, so I held that girl also, as my heart was being broken for what was happening to them. I wish I had more arms to hold all the girls who were crying at that moment!"


Sarah softly asked them, "Did Bill's testimony about his mother touch you? " to the first

woman to cry. She said yes, then Sarah asked the second the same question, and she too said yes! Then Sarah asked the third and the terse response was, "NO! I don't have a Mother!" Sarah and others think she had just found the mother-killer…


Sarah made sure that every woman in that row had a "Hungarian Gospel Tract" in their hands as they were led away. How thrilling for us to have the privilege to pray for each of these women as they passed by us and back to their confinement areas. They were short prayers, but we know God heard every one of them. (Psalms 116)


Only God knows for sure how many girls came to Christ that day, and if the "Mother-Killer" will come to repentance and reconciliation. We are praying for that to happen!

Aug 4, 2016

You Just Found Him

By Bence Fonyad & Bill Drake

Bill Drake Band at Baracska Prison - Hungary

I would like to share a story with you from yesterday when we had a concert in Baracska, a male prison. This is another testimony of how Jesus is lining up encounters for us decades before we even show up. It also testifies to the reality and significance of Romans 12:1, which says to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Basically showing up at a certain place at a certain time in this case regardless of opposing circumstances.

The inmates at Baracska responded very well to the Bill Drake Band concert.  At the end, when Bill gave the invitation, at least a third of men (around 30) raised their hands to indicate that they wanted to receive Christ; to surrender to "The Lamb" before every knee will have to bow to "The Lion".  It was an awesome sight to see these convicts being set free from spiritual chains in Jesus name!

Some inmates were chosen to stay behind to help us load the equipment and they started to talk to me. One of them was a gypsy man named Csaba (pronounced Chaba), and he just began to share his son's story with me:

His son had an accident about 20 years ago when he was almost four. He was playing outside and fell off of something, got hooked into a rope or something, and basically got hanged by his throat. He was taken to the hospital where they said he will most likely not make it, but even if he did, he will have severe brain damage. He spent the night on the ICU where his bed happened to be between the beds of two old ladies. One of ladies died during the night. 

In the morning the son woke up and was completely fine and wanted to have his favorite breakfast!  Later Csaba asked him what happened during the night, and how does he feel now?   The son shared that a guy with a shiny face in a white robe came to him in the night, stroked his face and told him he needs to go back because he's got nothing to do there yet.  As he was going back through some kind of a corridor he saw one of the ladies who had been in one of the beds next to him coming past him...

The father then said to me, "Three year old kids don't lie about things like this. They don't make up stories like this either.  Ever since then I have been looking for this man with a shiny face in a white robe, and I wanted to know who he is."

I then asked him, "Have you found Him yet?"  He said, "No".  I immediately replied that he actually had just found Him and His name is Jesus - the Savior that we all had just sang and talked about during the concert, and Whom so many just received when they put their hands up to indicate their surrender to Him.  I told Csaba that he can get to know this Jesus better from the Bible and through a personal relationship with Him. 

After this I prayed with Csaba, and asked Jesus to meet him, in the same way He did with his son. Csaba was saying he will try hard to meet Jesus, but then I told him, "No need to try hard, He will come to you so just expect Him to show up sometime soon."

Csaba shared proudly that his son is a successful young man today, who speaks 4 languages.

As we drove away from the Prison, I was reminded again that God meets us right where we are at, reveals to us what we need to know, and is always waiting to receive those who will humbly receive Him.