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The Final Day of GMA, Serving the Poor and the Anti Dove Party

May 7, 2009


Peterson, Petersen, & Gray

Peterson, Petersen, & Gray

Day 4 of GMA

And now the end… Wednesday was the last day of GMA and a light day at that, with only a handful of interviews mid-day and a visit to the World Vision booth to build caregiver kits.  After a few days in the world of music business, it was a blessing to remember the poor as we stocked a hardshell case with bandages, Neosporin, cotton balls, paper and pens, a flashlight, handtowels, and latex gloves to send to caregivers in Africa

When we were in Africa, it was the caregivers who left the biggest impression.  They are volunteers in the community, usually women, who care for those dying of AIDS as well as the orphans left behind.  With no access to basic medical supplies and with nothing like sinks and running water in the homes of those they serve, they have no way of even properly washing their hands after they dress the wounds of the people they serve, and therefore many of them contract AIDS themselves.  In some villages they are scorned and abused by the local witchdoctors who hate them for their Christianity.  They serve tirelessly with no compensation and at great risk to themselves.  They were our heroes everywhere we went. 

Overcome with a desire to help them, we would ask them what we could do for them, and they would only ask for supplies for them to better serve those in their care.  We learned things like the fact that they were lucky to have access to one cotton ball, which they would rinse out with water at the end of the day and lay out in the morning sun to dry so they could reuse it.

Out of these conversations came a program to benefit the caregivers, including what we were doing now in the hallway at GMA as we lined up at one end of the table and worked our way down assembling a little orange hardshell case with simple supplies that we take for granted everyday.  It was good to touch things and build with my hands something that would find it’s way to Africa and into the hands of the most Christ-like people I’ve ever met.  It was the most meaningful work I got to do all week and I was grateful to be reminded of these great spirited people.

After wrapping up and doing the last of my interviews, I said my good-byes to everyone in the Centricity suite, checked out of my hotel, and paid my friend Pete Prevost, guitarist for Sanctus Real, a visit.  I toured with Sanctus in the Fall and hit it off great with these guys and Pete and I had talked about getting together ever since.

We walked downtown to a coffee shop not far from his house, talking music and about the tour we’re doing together again in the Fall with Phil Wickham (more on that soon!). I learned that Pete makes pipes as a hobby.  Pete’s a good hang and I’m happy to get to be on the road again with him and the rest of the guys from Sanctus Real.

I left Pete to go out to Andrew Peterson’s house – again (This was the 3rd time in 5 days I’d been to his place and I was starting to be afraid of wearing out my welcome, despite his assurances that I wasn’t).  This was the night I was most looking forward to of GMA week: the annual anti-dove award party at Andy’s house with the Europeans.  The get together really has very little to do with the Dove awards, it just feels rock’n’roll to call it that and always coincided with the night of the Dove awards – except this year, but we called it that anyway.

For years the Swedes, Danes, and other European distributors and promoters who were in town for GMA have come to Andy P.’s house to hang out, eat food, and share stories.  I was blessed to be invited a few years back and it’s become the highlight of my GMA experience.  We told stories, laughed a lot, talked politics, learned a few colorful phrases in Swedish, and wrapped up around midnight.

With GMA over, I caught up on some sleep the next day, grabbed a late morning coffee at my new favorite coffee shop in Nashville – la crema – with my friend Staci Frenes, heard some mixes of Downhere’s upcoming Christmas record (oh man!  It sounds great!), and went back to Steve Ford’s house – head of Centricity’s marketing) – to stay the night and get ready for my photo shoot the next day.

(Next: The Photo Shoot)

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