In the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak, the Thompson family took to Facebook live to stream worship from their home. Steve, Velveta & Esther connected with their Facebook friends in order to worship, pray and simply share encourage the viewers. With many having to self-isolate or simply navigating through the horrendous news reel and world perspective, the Thompsons responded by encouraging the listeners not to fear, but to remember that ‘… the earth is the Lord and the fullness thereof …’.
After the live broadcast, the multiple phone calls, text and facebook comments reeled in relaying how encourage the viewers were with the timing of the online worship. ‘Mankind is in need of hope … Col 3:ff Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’
Each year, the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary (UETS) host a worship conference ‘Music In Worship ‘
7 – 9 May 2020 will be the seventh annual conference which sees multiple individuals from Ukraine and a few other neighbouring countries attending this vibrant event. Some of the delegates will travel over 14 hours to attend this 3-day conference. This year, Steve Thompson will again be attending this conference, delivering several workshops and seminars.
All the lecturers including Steve will raise their own support as Music In Worship relies on the regular financial support of friends, partners and other organisations. Even to run the Seminary itself, 25% of the school fees are paid by the students and 75% is covered by the generous financial support of donors, especially those from other countries.
The conference serves the purpose of developing, challenging, resourcing the growth of the attendees. Many would not be able to afford to attend the multiple conferences and events held in other parts of the world
BMI Mission to Serbia 2020
Most of us are unfamiliar with the name ‘Roma’ also known as Gypsies. The response is often then, ‘Oh, these people!’ However, the gipsies themselves are the people who have given themselves this name. ‘Roma’ is the meaning of ‘people’ in their language. They were originally the lowest ‘Pariah’ in Northern India, which has been moving west for more than 1,000 years, Diaspora in different areas, and today around 1,2000 million have settled in Europe. There are novels or movies which often described them as a group of dancers, shows a portrayal of their lives across Europe. Though the people of Europe are impressed by the Roma, they will definitely say not to get close to them, beware of them stealing, abduction, etc. The impression of Roma to the world is generally negative because most of them are not integrated into the local areas, suffer discrimination and exclusion, live hard lives, low education, high unemployment, and generations are at the bottom of society. There was an article in the Christianity today
news column, an article written by a Melody Wachsmuth in Croatia, The Title is “God among the Roma” (God is among the Roma). This was an eye-opener for many. Up until the invitation to travel to Serbia last year, I was totally ignorant of the term Roma, although the name, ‘Gypsies’ is known to most of us. Last year, 9 – 12 April, 2019 BMI took a team of worshippers to Serbia to facilitate a worship conference. Many travelled from far to be a part of this unique worship conference which drew Pastors, worship leaders, musicians and singers together.
So, on 21 – 27 September 2020, Steve Thompson will be returning with our BMI Mission team to ‘The Hub’ (a Bible College established in Serbia). As well as ministering at the conference, they will also be leading worship in a few of the local churches in Serbia
PRAYERS FOR MISSION TO SERBIA
Even though the Roma lives are still suffering and being bullied by society, there is peace and joy in their hearts. BMI count it an incredible opportunity to support the needs of the Roma community and would appreciate your help. First by praying. Here are a few prayer points from one of the leaders:
Please, God – help us to further know the Roma people, with the God’s help – calling for the nation to return to God:
1. Roma is also created by God and are the objects of the Lord Jesus redemption. The Roma are with you and I – also created in the image of God. Many are born into the Roma community, not by their choice, but of God’s sovereignty, because there is no one who can choose the nation they belong to, as you and I are born as British, American,
2. Roma is a kind nation, they.. The Roma are from Northern India, who have been wandering around the world for more than a thousand years. In fact, after the second world war, the European State Map was re-organised, and they could have asked for statehood, but chose not to. On the other hand, the Roma have also been slaughtered by Germany in the second world war, but today we only honour the massacre of Jews and little mention of the massacre of 500 million Roma.
3. Roma is an optimistic nation, despite being bullied by many. Many countries in Europe are eager to drive the Roma out of their countries, in fact, most of them are born in these very nations, and by law, they are nationals of the country, but they are not able to enjoy the welfare and treatment as nationals; however, they rarely fight, just.. They steal because there are no jobs for them.
4. Roma music talent is the grace that God has given them, and with this, they can entertain people. A few Roma get together, with their simple instruments and form bands, choirs. With minimal practice and little rehearsals, there is still a high level of performance, and it is a real envy of others! During a particular ‘Roma Dawa seminar’ there are many people who walked on stage, worked with the band and lead the congregation to sing ‘poetry’ and songs without any preparation. There is a real passion as they create their music.
5. Some Roma youth are also smart, but no one is willing to care about them and cultivate them. Most of the Roma are only in the fourth grade of elementary school. Because some public school teachers are not willing to have Roma in their classes, so this hurts their self-esteem and self-confidence and hesitation as in trying to enrol their children, as they do not want to go to school. Even on possibly graduating from secondary school, it is difficult to find a job because few companies are willing to hire them, leading to their inability to flow to the upper level of society.
The Roma needs the gospel, but also need us to help with developing their skills, improve life and providing food for their families. We are looking for to this particular mission, where we will be able to encourage the Roma Church, to launch long-lasting relationships with the brothers and sisters, even reaching out to other Roma communities in different countries of Eastern Europe. Please help us pray!
How can you help?
Just a thought … whilst having our devotion together this morning, I suddenly received a revelation/vision reminding Vel and myself of this beautiful fact – there is much activity in Heaven – even whilst we are sleeping or otherwise engaged. Activities that would blow our natural minds.
My prayers today are that we can catch a clearer glimpse of that which is happening in the spirit-world as this will probably draw and paint a clearer context to some of the things we are wrestling with here on the earth -even the arduous situations and circumstances we simply cannot grapple or understand.
Know today my brothers and sisters, we have a hope in Jesus and our heavenly dwelling place which will far transcend any experience here on earth. 1 Cor 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”. The experiences of heaven will far surpass anything experienced here on earth. However, today my mind, heart and spirit are reminding me not to over-focus on the earthly activities. To make sure everything we do or not do, is aligned with getting the earth and ourselves ready for the return of our Jesus Christ.
Whilst praying I had a sudden reminder that my thoughts were so consumed with all the things I need to do today (lots and lots of ‘things’. Let’s make sure everything we do has ETERNAL VALUE. 😀 – so a few things I thought were urgent, have now been placed on hold or bunsen burner – a few other things I will not be doing and a few events I may or may not attend (we don’t need to attend every event we are invited to). We so want God and Heaven’s timing to umpire our today’s decisions! Be blessed as together, we seek the Father’s heart concerning ALL THINGS!
Grace Adelakun writes …
So grateful to have been able to work with BMI, for the National Television Awards 2020. For me, it’s a experience that I will not forget any time soon. The opportunity to work with so many gifted artists – from diverse backgrounds and unite in sound was something truly special. I am very grateful to the BMI Executive Team for their constant encouragement, love and support of the choir every step of the way- everything from the communication, studio rehearsals to the actual musical arrangement was done with great professionalism and excellence. The experience was seamless from beginning to end and the clear focus from the very start, was that Jesus would be exalted in the opportunity and in our sound….The real high point of the experience was not the stage and lights (..albeit a phenomenal production), but working alongside people with a similar heart and mind- I am fuller and richer for that!
Debbie Oso writes …
I still can’t quite put into words what yesterday meant. But here goes. This moment was not about our few minutes of being live on stage and broadcast to 12 or so million people I believe they said. It was bigger than that. For some of us, buried confidence arose. For others it was the opportunity to rub shoulders with experienced vocalists. For most, the atmosphere of unity and getting to do what we love alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ, brought great joy and a reminder of the great privilege we had been given. What Uncle Steve and Aunty Velveta did was help create a come as you are atmosphere. All felt accepted, all felt loved and all felt safe in their hands to boldly use the gift that God had given them. Different ranges, textures and tones were all carefully chosen by their sharp ears (and I do mean sharp), to create a beautiful sound to minister far and beyond what was asked. For someone like me who is still till this day trying to understand what my voice can do and not be afraid of it because it doesn’t quite fit into someone’s idea, being part of this meant the world to me. Uncle Steve and Aunty Vel are SPECIAL. I have NEVER met anyone like them. They are the real deal! I am so thankful and honoured. For what they have poured out and continue to pour out, I pray they receive it back tenfold!
Sonia Lynch writes …
It was both a priveledge and pleasure to work with Steve & Velveta on the Admin and Operational side of this great project. Behind the scenes there was a lot of emails and contractual work to to be dealt with but Steve and Vel handled all of this with professionalism and ease! I wasn’t able to get down to see the studio recording of the song on Saturday but when I heard it – it was plain to hear the unified voices. I had to listen to it again, it sounded heavenly! Each and every person selected for the choir was gifted, humble and in unity with each other – Steve & Vel’s selection was anointed!
I was excited when I arrived with Velveta, Steve & Esther on Monday the 27th for the first rehearsal day. As we were led to the dressing room it felt surreal! The first rehearsal with Matt was about positioning all the choir members and working out the dance sequence! The choir all looked so beautiful in their different outfits (the Stylist’s did such an excellent job as if they knew each person personally!). Tuesday 28th was the dress rehearsal and a run through on the main stage. Sitting watching this I was thinking Wow they look & sound spectacular!
During the two day there was lots of time for the choir members to practice their singing, steps and turns! The most memorable times for me was when everyone was in the dressing room. There were lots of conversation and stories to share about faith and life; singing, joking and loads of laughter, there was much Joy (that real deep down Joy when you know who you are and you shine for Jesus!) and an overall peace.
I guess the highlight for me was standing by the side of the stage with Steve, Vel and Jermaine (my son) watching the live proformance! The atmosphere was electric and I felt proud (not for the first time) of every single member of the choir, they looked and sounded so amazing and their professionalism was second to none. Thoughtout the few days, Steve & Vel had time for everyone. They encouraged, nutured, supported and prayed – what a pleasure & honour to be part of this journey with them. The key words throughout the few days was Unity, Joy and professionalism. Jesus’ name was definitely Glorified in all of this!
As one of the singers, Molly Baldwin reflected on her experience singing in the BMI choir, she painted the above picture.
Singing for the NTA’s was an immense privilege! I am so grateful for the opportunity to sing with some incredibly gifted singers & share our love for Jesus together! Everyone was so professional, welcoming and encouraging!
God blessed us with an amazing opportunity and fellowship so that we could bless the production team by shining His light and sing to His glory in this unusual and special place.
I had an amazing experience with the BMI choir and team. Happy for photos to be used and shared as BMI wishes to do so.
For the second time, Indigo Television contacted BMI, commissioning them to create a choir, arrange and perform the song ‘You raise me up‘ for the opening of the 25th Anniversary of the National Television Award 2020. Immediately Steve & Velveta handpicked twenty-five vocalist from very different cultural, musical and ethnic backgrounds. The script was to create a ‘slick’ yet humorous performance. While the choir is singing, the idea was for the host for the evening, David Walliams to be hoisted-up above the choir.
Over three weeks, Steve consulted with Indigo Television and devised a plan to prepare the selected singers for a live performance at the prestigious o2 Arena. The end-results were phenomenal as the 25 singers surpassed and exceeded Steve & Velveta’s expectation, receiving high praises from the Executives and Producers of the Awards show.
You can read about the Singers’ Reflection, as they share their own experiences.
What an awesome privilege to work alongside so many gifted professionals all brought together by Indigo Television. We are thankful to Andy Bates, the senior producer who believed in my work over the years, in particular, the vocal arrangements for the 2016 National Television Awards opening with Gloria Gaynor and Revelation Avenue.
In particular, we are thankful to Antonio Castle (Daughter of the late Roy Castle), a family which we have worked with and loved over the years. As the stage manager, and liaison personnel along with Producer, Lauren Gallen, she made our task so much easier and enjoyable with an eye for details. That is quite true of the entire Indigo Television team.
Again, BMI is thankful for the opportunity to collaborate and work to such high standards, learning so much throughout the entire project.
~ Steve Thompson
The BMI Choir
It has been a great honour, blessing and opportunity to be involved in the NTA ITV 2020 award show.
When Steve was approached to put a choir together and arrange a song for NTA, we had no idea the journey we would be on.
When Steve was contacted and to put a choir together and arrange a song for NTA, we had no idea the journey we would be on. First, we prayed about the choice of choir members as individuals needed to represent Christ by having a good heart as well as their gifting.
Well, this turned out to be the best representation of the unity of the body of Christ, as each individual’s personality & character spoke ‘volumes’.
From the recording studio staff to the stylists, the stage management, the Choreographer, Make-up team and stylist, they all commented on how easy it was to work with the team. Two of the stylist so enjoyed hanging out with the singers, after the choir’s performance, they stayed in our dressing room and came to our suite to watch the rest of the Awards. On leaving the suite, they hugged us all, expressing once again how blessed they felt to be around us.
This demonstration of unity is Christ in motion. To be a Christian is to be Christ-like.
‘We are the light of the world…’ is what the Bible says.
The BMI choir made heaven proud. Steve, Sonia and I, as the executive team, was overwhelmed at the fellowship and heart of our team. Thank you, BMI Choir!
~ Velveta Thompson
BMI Choir at the NTA 2020 VBlog
This season has to be the most challenging for Velveta, myself and the family, healthwise. However, amid the ups and downs, we can also testify to the fundamental lessons we continue to learn. By placing our trust in the incredible acts of love and compassion of the Father, we continue to experience ‘my grace has been made sufficient in our times of need’. We were indeed not promised a garden of roses as our aboard, but it is amazing when you see the most beautiful flower budding in the centre of the dry, water-absence ground. Then you know that flower is part of a colossal miracle works of the Father.
With these thoughts and deciding to stand on the word, I am often inspired to compose and record music as a reflection or simply as a means to say thank you to Abba Father. We continue to experience ‘Heaven in our hearts’ and the peace of God surrounding our family. From that standpoint, I felt another urge to compose a particular piece of music, this time for my darling wife, Velveta. The instrumental music composition is title ‘Triumphant Victory’, declaring ‘Your praise proceeds your victory’.
During November 2019, saw us introduced to a beautiful couple from Asia. They were dealing with great ‘difficulty’ in the homeland. Again, I had an urge to compose a piece of music for them, which we decided to title ‘Springtime’. We all experience ‘winter seasons’ in our lives, which often seems so much longer than other seasons.
As we shared the word the Lord had given us for them, ‘The winter season has passed, Springtime HAS NOW come’, they communicated that a year previously, they had received the same word. This new journey serves as a reminder to continue praying for our brothers and sisters in other nations.
Would you continue praying for Velveta as she continues to believe God for full healing to her body.
- With the aid of crutches, she is just about able to walk
- Pray for the ministry ‘Beracahmusic Ministries International as we continue to serve the nations
- Please also pray for the family as we navigate providing the best care for Velveta.
Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org simply to share your personal testimony or even your own prayer request.
Let’s continue standing together raising ‘a hallelujah’ to our King who saves, delivers and extends his arms of love to all mankind.
Music in Worship 2019 – Become a Voice, Not an Echo
This has to be the most successful Music in Worship conference to date. From May 9-11, 2019, Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary (UETS) held its 5th international Music in Worship conference. The conference saw over 300 people from all over Ukraine gathered together to deepen their understanding of worship. It’s such a privilege to be a part of an International team led by conference founder Fred Heuman. Music in Worship also gathered Musicians and singers from USA, Ukraine and United Kingdom. The host of the conference Maryna Yarmolenko leads the music department at UETS and has done a superb job in directing the general development of music students who study at the college for three years. Though this is the fifth year and much help impetus has always come from outside, this year saw many Ukraine worship leaders ‘rising up’ and taking their place.
This year, ten well-known Ukrainian writers, composers, performers, worship leaders, project coordinators and teachers, such as Bria Blessing, Andrey Chmut, Hryfel Andriy, Vladislav Budeev, Anna Kindzerska and Sergei Lvov, contributed to the event by conducting seminars or workshops. Steve was amongst the several speakers delivering seminars and workshops throughout the conference as well as leading worship along with the International team.
This was a special Music In Worship conference for Steve as his friend and the head of London School of Theology music Department, Jeremy Perigo, joined the International team.
Again, a few delegates had to leave early as they had travelled (not by plane) over 12 hours in order to attend the conference. Amazing!!!
On 1 – 6 October 2019, BMI will be returning to Ukraine to record the several songs written by Ukraine songwriters at the Songwriting Consultation. (More information to follow!) We are thankful for these key, significant open-doors to minister to our brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe.
~ Steve Thompson
Gospel Xpression Presentation
Steve spent a few days preparing, delivering and facilitating a consultation on Gospel Music in Ukraine
- The plan is to record an album with a mass choir or with New Life Gospel Group, band and orchestra
- The history of gospel music was shared with a small audience
- All songs to be used has been written by Ukrainian songwriters
Not many gathered at this presentation as it was an ‘invite only’ event (though we believe this should have been a more open event). However, this was an outstanding event as New Life Gospel Group kicked off the evening with some golden Gospel numbers then the presentation of two new songs written at the Songwriting Consultation on March 2019.
Steve then lead some worship and quickly moving unto sharing the ‘history of Gospel music’ starting from the plantations in Africa, developing in the USA and eventually Europe. The vision of recording many of the new Ukrainian written gospel songs was then shared by Steve, the evening ending with New Life Gospel Group.
Where is God in Suffering?
Vel on Radio
Does God still heal today?
From the ashes the Father brings life. From disappointment and helplessness, He brings comfort and hope. From Coma, meningitis, bleed on the brain & septicemia the Father releases healing. God has done it before and he can do it again. However, we need to trust in his everlasting love, goodness and mercy.
‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…’