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The Gift of Guitar

This week we are happy to have Chad share his story of his very first experience in Ghana. He traveled from his church in Little Rock to the Touch A Life Care Center this past March and participated in the team’s music and art camp as a guitar teacher! His heart for young people certainly isn’t limited to his youth group in Arkansas, and Chad was deeply impacted by his time with the Touch A Life children this spring.

 

 

My name is Chad Nall. My wife, Deana, and I have two children – Julia, 17 and Jenna, 11. We’ve lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, nearly 10 years where I am the youth and family minister at Little Rock Church. My life work is students and children. I love to walk alongside young people through the confusion, chaos, laughter and tears. I love watching faith emerge in their lives as they develop their own relationship with the Lord. My heart has always been drawn to work with those who are hurting, confused, or from hard places.

I first heard of Touch A Life years ago while volunteering at ACU’s leadership camps when students were shown a video of the work done in Ghana. Little did I know then I’d one day find myself at the Touch A Life Care Center in Ghana. Years later, in 2011, Deana and I had lunch with Ron and Nan Deal on a Sunday afternoon. They spoke of their son, Connor, the Art Center and Touch A Life; I was reminded of that video. Since then, I have been unable to let go of the thought of being part of Touch A Life. The Deals’ passion and love for Touch A Life sparked something in me.

I’ve thought about Touch A Life, Ghana, the Art Center, and children ever since that Sunday lunch in 2011. So, when I saw a message from Ron and Nan inviting people to Ghana for a spring break mission, it was an easy decision. The Lord had been drawing my heart to Ghana for a long time, and this seemed to be the final tug. My friendship with the Deals, the type of work being done, and the timing all fell into place. It’s as if God orchestrated the whole thing knowing I would need this week.

Ron explained the goal of the week was to do an art camp. He asked me what I might be able to do and I replied, “draw stick figures.” I wasn’t sure what I would do, but I knew these things: I love young people, I know how to relate to them well, and God had been prompting me a long time to consider this work. When I learned I was able to go and discovered we were taking guitars, I said I knew a few chords and 4 songs. Nan promptly said, “Hey, you can teach guitar!”

 

Chad with a group of guitar students.

Chad with a group of guitar students.

 

And “yes” is the only answer one can give Nan. I believe God was calling me to step out and do something while trusting Him to make it happen. I felt as if he was inviting me to show his greatness in my willingness to be small. So I did. I taught something I had never taught – guitar. God took what little I knew and brought joy to some of the children there. When we arrived Sunday at the Care Center and Felix, a 16-year-old Ghanian boy, saw I had a guitar, he asked me to teach him. Every day, he would step of the bus from school, change his clothes, come find me and ask me to teach him. Some of the other kids asked, too, but none absorbed it like Felix. By the end of the week, Felix was starting to teach others!

 

Felix practicing guitar with Chad. | Photo by Even Bourcier.

Felix practicing guitar with Chad. | Photo by Even Bourcier.

 

Of all the things we did that week, I was most impacted by our last day there. I watched Felix teach guitar to younger boys and girls. God took my imperfect, unskilled effort and multiplied it. I just had to be willing. Felix eagerly learned and wanted to show others. But that’s not all; I was impressed by how he and the other older boys and girls led the younger children. That’s redemption. God is taking their brokenness and not only making them whole, but using them to make others whole. It’s a beautiful and glorious thing to behold. God is indeed making all things new!

 

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Mary Ad. practicing her guitar skills (and rock star faces!) | Photo by Even Bourcier.

 

Participating in God’s redemptive work by doing the simplest, seemingly unnoticeable things and watching God do great things changed me. I am once again reminded that faith, love and hope spring from the most broken places in the most unexpected ways. I see how God heals and restores the brokenhearted, brings freedom to the captives, and healing to those who are hurting. I’ve shared my love for Touch A Life, these children, and God’s work in my student ministry and community. I share the story of the Care Center, my week there, and invite others to be part of what God is doing in the lives of precious children. I’m excited about the future of Touch A Life and these children.

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