We have received an update this Monday morning from The Country Boys updating us all on their first four concerts in the Odessa region. God is at work. As you read through this, lift them up to the Father in prayer as they continue this week. This update is written and provided to us by Amy Gott Pannell. (Micheal Gott’s daughter and MGI staff member who is handling their travel affairs)
Texas Country Boys 2018 Tour Blog – ODESSA CONCERTS
The Texas Country Boys returned to Ukraine and are off to a great start! The American and Ukrainian support staff met the band at the airport in Kiev where all bags, instruments and band members arrived on time and in perfect working order; something that had been a matter of prayer prior to and throughout the time of travel. The band immediately made the long journey to the famous port city of Odessa, located on the Black Sea, which would be their hub for the next 4 nights of concerts.
Concert #1: The House of Prayer Baptist Church, located in a densely populated suburb of Odessa hosted the band’s debut concert. Those who attended witnessed a high energy performance that pointed to The Cross. Michael Gott drew in the attention of the crowd as he interviewed Michael Bridges who shared a personal story of tragic loss, restoration, and the goodness of God. This first concert was the perfect setting for the the tech team, support staff and the band to meld into a single team, united in a single purpose – sharing Christ with the people of Ukraine!
Concert #2 was set on the stage of a well known 1,000 seat Concert Hall in central Odessa frequented by secular performers. Early on it was clear that the venue would be close to full capacity as the contagious energy of the crowd filled the large auditorium. Any kinks experienced with sound or logistics had been worked out and the band hit the stage with confidence and power. When Michael Gott stood to preach a hush fell across the room. His message of forgiveness was skillfully translated into the Ukrainian language in a relaxed atmosphere of acceptance. When the concert came to and end, hundreds of positive responses were recorded.
To reach the site of Concert #3, the tour bus and technical vans had to travel over 3 hours to a city rarely visited by foreigners. This small city, whose name translates to “First of May” only has one concert hall – that proved far too small for the groundswell of interest by local residents. It was obvious that the city was home to mostly low income residents lacking a hope filled future. As the doors opened there was no doubt that there would be an overflow crowd with no place to sit. Realizing the reality of the situation, the local pastor enlisted the help of other church members to move through the auditorium and ask people they recognized as Christians to give up their seats for unbelievers. For this reason it is estimated that the overfilled auditorium was packed with an audience that consisted of 90% non-Christians. Undeterred by the lack of seating, the crowd pushed in and the aisles were packed with people who stood for over an hour to hear the Texas Country Boys and Michael Gott as they shared a message of hope and forgiveness. Sadly, even the aisles became so overcrowded that more than 100 people had to be turned away. Those who had given up their seat, remained outside the concert and prayed for the salvation of their friends and neighbors who were inside. The band, moved by the energy and emotion in the room gave their all. Michael Gott called the lost to receive the forgiveness offered by God through Jesus and the response was amazing, with almost 300 decisions being recorded!
Before the start of the 4th Concert the support staff did what they do before each Texas Country Boys Concert. They fanned out through the 1,200 seat hall and as they touched each seat, prayed for the person who would be seated there. Despite an unexpected change in the concert start time, the band remained flexible and delivered a high energy, high quality musical performance that was both entertaining and evangelistic. With the hall near capacity, the crowd joined in and participated eagerly. When the responses were tallied, one card in particular caught the attention of the staff. Instead of simply checking “yes or no” as to whether he had opened his heart to Jesus, a young man wrote “I can’t. It’s not that easy. If you have questions here is my phone number.” Upon seeing the card, Michael Gott immediately called the young man and after a brief conversation, the young man agreed to periodic phone conversations with Michael to talk more about God. The next morning the band received an emotional phone call from the local host pastor. The sound engineer from the concert venue had come to Sunday morning worship and during the invitation he responded and told the church that he had been at the Texas Country Boys concert the night before and now wanted to live for God. The pastor said that although they had not even begun to start contacting people from the concert, they were already seeing the fruit of the clear and loving message that had rung out in their city.