Interview with Matt Thien: 10 Songs 10 Days Africa


10-songs-10-days-africa-matt-thien-musicMatt Thien and his wife Christie live in Conyers, GA, with their two young children, Baylee and Brayden. A Naval flight officer, Matt also has established himself as an independent musician becoming involved in writing, composing, recording, and all things encompassing music business for the last 2-and-a-half years. His passion for music has taken a humanitarian focus as his most recent CD project 10 Songs 10 Days Africa was established to benefit the Tumaini Mission Center in Nakuru, Kenya, home to over 100 orphans. Matt spoke with us regarding the inspiration for his project and how the gospel has influenced his view of humanitarian aid and orphan care.

This project was inspired by a mission trip to Kenya. Describe how that trip touched your life and gave you the inspiration for 10 Songs 10 Days Africa.

A friend approached me earlier this year saying she had experienced a dream where I was in Kenya playing my guitar and doing a concert for some of the Kenyan people. The description of that dream really stuck with me and I decided that I would pursue a mission trip to Kenya.

An organization called The Beech Foundation organizes bi-annual mission trips to Kenya to work with several churches and missions in the area of Nakuru. I joined one of their trips in June of this year and wanted to use my talent as a musician to somehow become involved in supporting these brothers and sisters in Christ. The trip would last ten days in Kenya so I prayed that God would grant me the creative ability to write 10 songs in the 10 days while I was there, hence the title “10 Songs 10 Days Africa.” Continue reading

Family Prayers for Orphans

One of the ways our family seeks to serve orphans is by praying for them at supper time. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to orphanages in China and Ethiopia. So I printed out pictures of orphans I’ve had the privilege of meeting on those trips and put them on our refrigerator. Each time we eat supper our children choose a different orphan to pray for. Once they’ve made their choice and have the picture of their orphan in hand, we talk about what it means for God to be a “father of the fatherless” and how He adopts us into His family. We then take turns praying for each of their orphans.

On Saturday our youngest (4) prayed for the little girl pictured in the middle of the far right column. Here’s what he prayed:

“Father, thank you for my wonderful family; and I love the orphan that I chose today. Give her a mommy and a daddy, some toys, a couch, and lots of food to eat for her tummy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Our Tragedy and God’s Gift of Adoption

As many of you know, in honor of his daughter Maria Sue, Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a CNN article entitled, “Our Tragedy and God’s Love for Orphans.” It is a great example of how vertical love (God’s adoptive love for us) can move horizontally (our adoptive love for an orphan). Steven’s article about Maria and God’s love for orphans moved me deeply because of the two adoption stories God wrote in our family through the illness and death of our firstborn son, Daniel.

God used our son Daniel’s untreatable illness and untimely death at three years old to send our family on two wonderful adoption journeys. Ten months before Daniel died the Lord brought Isaiah Owen into our family through adoption. A year after Daniel’s death God gave us Noah Daniel (Noah means rest). We named our second adopted son “Noah Daniel” to remind us of the “rest God had given Daniel.” Since then, we have come to see God’s gracious provision of adoption within Scripture’s story of redemption as the story of God’s gift of rest to His afflicted children. It is through the consummation of our adoption—the redemption of our bodies—that God gives us rest from all of our affliction (see Romans 8:23). Our family sees a strong connection between the affliction and death of our first son Daniel and the treasure of the gift of adoption. So in honor of this wonderful connection, I share the tribute I wrote for Daniel’s memorial service in November 2002.  Click on the article image link below to read the entire tribute.

The Louks: an interview about caring for Romanian orphans (part 2)

This is the second and concluding portion of my interview with Joshua Louk. The first part can be read here. Joshua and Laurel’s personal ministry blog is http://thegospelinaction.com.

You have a particular interest in ministry to orphans. What motivates that?

The Lord used a CNN documentary called “Easy Prey” to plant a burden in my heart for Romania’s abandoned children. Seeing the hopelessness in the eyes of the street children, I longed for them to know the hope and love of Christ. As I and my wife searched the Scriptures, God used His Word, prayer, and a survey trip to Romania to confirm and to amplify our desire to take the gospel to these children. Some specific passages the Lord used include Proverbs 31:8-9, which says,”Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy”; James 1:27 which says,”Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and keep oneself unstained from the world”; and James 2:16 which says, “and [if] one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” God also used a study of Matthew in our hearts. The value that Jesus places on children and their nurture and training is astounding. Continue reading