In wake of the critical need for relief still present in South East Asia, The Gospel Music Association (GMA) has announced the establishment of Project Restore, an Asian Tsunami awareness, prayer and fundraising effort in coordination with international Christian disaster relief agency World Vision.
Through its website, www.ProjectRestore.org, Project Restore will serve as the gospel music industry's unified campaign for raising awareness of how its fans can be involved in helping provide relief. This includes encouraging financial donations to World Vision (WorldVision.org) and other Christian agencies, such as Compassion International (Compassion.com), Food for the Hungry (FH.org), Feed the Children (FeedTheChildren.org), and International Justice Mission (IJM.org), which GMA has worked with and which are directly providing disaster relief for the countries and the victims of the Tsunami. Project Restore will focus its initial efforts on the Tsunami disaster, but will remain the industry's official crisis response vehicle in the future
"Tragedies like the Tsunami disaster can make individuals feel helpless. We believe that where two or more is gathered, God will be there," said John Styll, president of GMA. "Project Restore is our opportunity to gather together all the constituencies in the GMA community to make God's voice and heart heard on the other side of the world during this time of unimaginable suffering."
"The work to be done to heal lives, hearts and souls is overwhelming, but we can offer our prayers and our resources, and World Vision and other relief organizations are providing the hands and feet in this immeasurable task," Styll continues. "Together, we hope to reflect the grace and goodness of the Gospel as God brings hope and restoration to the people of Asia."
Among the artists who will be lending their support to Project Restore are Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, CeCe Winans, Kirk Franklin, Casting Crowns, Newsong and the more than 40 artists who serve as World Vision ambassadors. Each artists' website will include links and information about Project Restore and World Vision and more than 45 concerts will be held throughout the month of January to make an appeal to concertgoers for a single gift donation for Tsunami relief.
"As I've wrestled with the questions that all of us have in the wake of this great disaster I've come to realize that once again the only question I'm in a position to ask is, 'What now, how am I to respond?'" said Steven Curtis Chapman, who in addition to being part of the gospel music community, is the father of three adopted Asian children (Shaohannahshope.org). "As a community of people who create art for the purpose of showing the glory and greatness of our God through music I believe moments in history like these are the very reason we exist. Who we are in these times is the essence of why we are, so its my prayer and hope, that as we carry this banner of compassion everyone will join in alongside us and watch what God will do through us."
A complete list of artists supporting Project Restore, and details related to concert fundraising will be included and updated on a regular basis at ProjectRestore.org. As part of the Project Restore campaign, artists not associated with World Vision or another relief charity will be offered resources for their website and tours.
One event in the works for Project Restore is "An Evening for Restoration: Music City Comes Together for Tsunami Relief," a one-night only benefit concert which will be held on January 26th at the Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville. According to Project Restore, the concert, which will be co-hosted by Michael W. Smith and Kathy Mattea, is an invitation for the city to join together with some of Nashville's major music organizations, artists and area church leaders for an evening of music, prayer and reflection. Although the ticketed event will raise money for World Vision, the focus of the evening, according to John Styll, will be on the gathering of community.
"This concert will be unique to Nashville and the collection of inspiring music performed at 'An Evening for Restoration' will be extraordinary," says Styll, "We hope to bring a large community together to make our voices heard, in song and prayer, of our support for the millions of children left without parents, the millions of mothers and fathers without jobs and homes and the millions of Asians left hopeless after a tragedy beyond anything we can comprehend."
"An Evening for Restoration: Music City Comes Together for Tsunami Relief" will be heard live, exclusively on XM Satellite Radio. Due to the broad range of artists participating, the concert will be broadcast on both XM Live (Channel 200) as well as America (XM Channel 10) taking the historic event beyond the boundaries of Music City and into the homes and automobiles of the 3.2 million members of the XM Nation.
GMA first associated with World Vision after 9-11 when artists, writers, musicians and executives in the gospel music industry contacted the GMA wanting to be a part of the healing response to that tragic event. Out of a desire to respond as a community, the GMA welcomed World Vision's offer to partner in rallying the gospel music community to aid in future disaster relief efforts in the future.
World Vision has been providing relief in most of the areas impacted by the tsunami, with 3,700 staff on the ground in the five hardest hit countries alone. World Vision staff has been distributing survival packs of food, bottled water, medicine, sleeping mats, clothing, and household items to tens of thousands of people. World Vision has set a $100 million goal to help the victims of the South Asia disaster, the largest single commitment in the organization's 54-year history.
For more information, visit GospelMusic.org or ProjectRestore.org.