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Kirby making music with mission

The words, “global missions” bring a smile to David “Doc” Kirby’s face and joy to his heart.

Global missions are something that Kirby is dedicated and committed to and something that he is passionate about. He doesn’t even try to hide his excitement about his upcoming month-long mission trips with Camp Kirkland’s Global Mission Project to the Ukraine and Finland.

The mission trips will feature Kirkland’s All-Star Gospel Big Band of which Kirby is one of the “seasoned” musicians. Kirkland is widely known and highly regarded as the ‘Father of the Church Orchestra’ and brings together musicians who want to share their love of Christ and the Good News of the gospel with others through music.

The mission trip to Ukraine will be Kirby’s seventh musical mission trip and the trip to Finland will be his eighth.

“Actually, the mission trips are back-to-back with a week in between,” Kirby said. “ Some of us will be on both trips and others on just one or the other. Camp puts together players with a high level of musicianship and I’m just lucky to be along.”

Kirkland’s music missions are described as “instant magnets” that connect and build relationships in international settings. Music has the ability to transcend cultural and language barriers and Kirby said his other trips have proven this to be true.

“The belief is that a first mission trip shows that we care but, if we go back, that shows real love,” Kirby said. “We went back to Cuba and were able to visit with some dear friends that we have made. Some of them knew Christ already and others have become Christians. That’s what these trips are all about. Becoming brothers and sisters in Christ.”

The music mission team is made up of five trumpets, five saxophones, five trombone players, a rhythm section and a female singer.

“In Ukraine, we will take our ministry to orphanages and orphanage camps each day,” Kirby said. “We will play for the kids and give them hands-on opportunities with the instruments.”

The kids will have an opportunity to try to “make noise” with each instrument.

“The sax is the easiest instrument for them to make music on, other than the drums,” Kirby said. “Almost all of them can make a noise on the sax and that excites them and gives them confidence.”

The musicians will lead craft activities and play sports and games with the children.

“The purpose of this is to show the kids that we care and also tell them who we play for,” Kirby said.

In the evenings, the music mission team will play public and church concerts for the purpose of connecting with the people and sharing the “Good News” of the gospel.

“The concerts are also to encourage the Body of Christ there to be strong for the Lord and share their faith,” Kirby said. “I have not experienced Ukraine yet so I don’t know how open the culture is to public sharing of the gospel. But I do know that the pastors in the cities where we will be are excited about us coming and have requested permits for our public concerts to be evangelistic in nature.”

In Finland, the team will play the Imatra Jazz Festival where they will connect with non-Christian musicians. They will also play for the Lutheran communion service at the castle in Olavinlinna.

“Playing for the national conference of the Evangelical Free Church will be an encouragement to the Body of Christ there,” Kirby said. “At other church evangelistic concerts, we will share testimonies and music to draw people to Jesus.”

The music mission team will also play public park concerts where they can share brief testimonies and connect with the people during intermissions and post concerts.

“Finland is a more open culture and our sharing should be that way as well,” Kirby said. “We want to be bold in our presentation of the gospel in this affluent country that is somewhat apathetic to the gospel.”