“For His Glory,” a Tabor worship team of 21 students, is accustomed to leading worship in chapel and occasionally traveling across state lines to visit MB churches, but an overseas invitation is rare.
David Martens, director of Contemporary Christian Music at Tabor and leader of “For His Glory,” presented his group with the news that his daughter, Kristen, employed by Crossworld, an international mission organization, had invited the team to lead worship at a conference in Thailand for its missionaries. The team would also visit Multiply missionaries Ozz and Sara Kumrod; Sara is a cousin to Martens’ wife, Lillian.
Upon hearing the initial proposition, six members latched onto the idea: Zach Beachy, Peoria, Arizona; Lauren Christensen, Meade, Kansas; Olivia Jury, Hillsboro, Kansas; Paul Glanzer, Hillsboro; Jonathan Unruh, Meade; and Jeff Tuten, Scottsdale, Arizona.
The students, led by Martens and his wife, spent a month fundraising and training, leaving for Thailand Jan. 19. Four days later they were leading the first of five worship sessions of the week with Crossworld missionaries.
“The missionaries were so appreciative and encouraging,” Tuten says. “They’re devoting their whole lives to this, and we just stepped out for a week.”
For the final two days of their journey, “For His Glory” trekked to an area near Bangkok to visit the Kumrods.
The Kumrods hosted a worship night led by the Tabor team in a neighborhood park, offering free noodles to anyone attending. The park is home to a tree that has been made into a shrine because many locals believe it hosts a motherly spirit. To worship and praise Jesus in the same place is “significant in the spiritual realm,” Sara says.
“Before the concert, we prayed together,” Sara says. “I said, ‘You guys are helping us fight for Jesus.’ And that night, I sensed such a sweet presence of Jesus’ spirit.”
Before each song was sung in English, Ozz, with the help of a translator, asked the Tabor team to explain the meaning behind the lyrics, which was translated to Thai.
“One of our neighbors said, ‘I couldn’t really understand because all of their songs were in English, but I could feel peace when they were singing,’” Sara says.
That weekend the Tabor team also led worship at the Kumrods’ house church, taught an English lesson to the children at Sara’s English club and spent time at Abundant Life Home with Ricky and Karen Sanchez.
For the Kumrods, the team’s presence helped further extend their community reach.
“I was just so impressed with their servant hearts and their posture of being learners,” Sara says. “When they came to our park, they were just ready to serve and show God’s love to our neighbors.”
The team returned to Kansas Jan. 31 with new visions of mission and worship.
“There was so much worship in just living with [the Kumrods],” Tuten says. “Just the presence of living and being in community with one another; there’s so much more that he has for us. Worship doesn’t have to be singing a couple of songs. Our whole lives are worship.”
Kara Unruh is a freelance writer living in Hillsboro, Kansas. She is a 2020 graduate of Tabor College.