Contemporary Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman has set off on a ten-week tour with his family to share with people across the nation a night of music and hope.
"A Night with the Chapmans," which kicked off Sept. 10 in Lancaster, Pa., is expected to hit 34 cities before concluding Nov. 21 in Baltimore.
The special family affair comes nearly two-and-a-half years after the youngest member of the family, 5-year-old Maria Sue Chapman, died after she was accidentally struck by an SUV in the driveway of the Chapman home in Franklin, Tenn.
"We've prayed for months that each evening of this tour be an opportunity to ponder important things, and to celebrate the hope we have in Jesus, the great hope I'm so thankful continues to carry us all," said Chapman ahead of the tour.
And while there are days when the family is doing "really good," there are still days where the tragedy and the loss hits them again and they're taken back to the events of May 21, 2008.
Since news broke of Maria's death, the Chapmans' story of tragedy and healing has touched people across the nation, from believers to non-believers.
The family has made numerous media appearances and Chapman has also brought their story on the road with him, though the accident initially led him to consider the idea of not returning to the stage.
For this fall's tour, Chapman will be joined for the first time by his wife, Mary Beth, who said she told God there were three things she would never do – homeschool, adopt, and speak in public.
"Well, we've already homeschooled, you know we've adopted, and now this fall I'll be on stage speaking at Steven's concerts," Mary Beth stated, before playfully sharing her plan to tell God she will not go to Hawaii for three months.
During her appearances, Mary Beth plans to share her journey as reflected in her inaugural book, Choosing To See, which recently debuted on the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction List at No. 16 for the list published on Sept. 12.
Mary Beth will discuss her courtship and marriage to Chapman, her struggles for emotional balance, and how it was for her living with grief. She will also open up about how she has wrestled with God even as her story was being put on paper – both during times of happiness and those of tragedy.
"Mary Beth's transparent style will surprise audiences with the depth of her faith struggle and her hilarious sense of humor," assured Chapman's publicist.
During the "Night with the Chapmans," Mary Beth and Steven will also introduce audiences to "Caleb," a new band featuring their sons Caleb and Will Franklin.
The tour is being sponsored by Show Hope, the ministry founded by the Chapmans that enables individuals and communities to change the world for orphans by not only addressing a child's need for food, shelter, care, and spiritual nourishment, but by also addressing the root issue for an orphan – the lack of a family.
For the past five years, Show Hope has been one of the leading groups behind the Cry of the Orphan campaign, which heightens awareness of the plight of the 140 million orphans around the world.
Steven Curtis Chapman and Mary Beth founded Show Hope shortly after adopting their first child, Shaohannah, who was their fourth overall (after three biological children). The Chapmans would go on to adopt two more, one of which was Maria.
Since Maria's death, the Chapmans have graduated two sons, married a daughter off, and married a son off.