Many of us feel like we’re in a ‘holding pattern’ even in this post-pandemic world. Our ministry hasn’t turned out the way we had hoped. Some of us have “hit the wall”. God is in the waiting.
I recall many arrivals at London’s Heathrow Airport when the captain comes on the PA system and says, “Well ladies and gentlemen, there’s a lot of air traffic this morning coming into London, so we’ll be in a holding pattern for a little while longer.” We then engage a figure of 8 patterns in the skies from 16,000 ft and slowly descending to 8,000 ft with the London Eye and Parliament in sight. Eventually, a corridor opens for us, and Air Traffic Control clears our flight to land. In the waiting, the communication between the Captain and the Control Tower is critical, avoiding other planes, and dodging weather patterns during hold. It’s really all about timing.
We’ve journeyed through a sort of holding pattern over the past few years. It’s been both challenging and rewarding. It has for most!
A Bit Of Backstory
“We also take small worship bands around the world on a mission to serve churches in the remotest and most repressed nations on the planet – places like North Korea, Myanmar, and Tibet.”
I was a worship pastor at a megachurch in Colorado Springs for 11 years, then served for 7 years in yet another large Presbyterian Church in the same city. We also take small worship bands around the world on a mission to serve churches in the remotest and most repressed nations on the planet – places like North Korea, Myanmar, and Tibet. I eventually hit the wall, [I’ll explain in another story] and was ready for some sort of change of atmosphere. You see, we’ve lived in four countries as musicianaries, and have equipped worship leaders in over 55 nations.
A little factoid: Through the years we’d become coffee snobs and developed a very snarky pallet for only drinking the best coffees around the world. Most people would agree that coffee and worship go together sort of like Build My Life and Lord I Need You. Up until recently, Italy held the #1 spot in our opinion however, Israel has surpassed our Mediterranean friends, and bumped Rome into 2nd position for all-round taste profiles.
Anyway, we left the mountains of Colorado in 2017, purchased 3 virgin acres of jungle on Hawaii’s Big Island, had it ‘grubbed and graded’, then planted 1875 Typica, Catura, and Geisha coffee trees on that land. We cultivated, watered, and fostered those little seedlings that, over two years grew to towering 8-foot trees producing two coffee harvests per year! The warm island breezes, combined with afternoon rains, and the black volcanic soil were the perfect recipe for brilliant coffee. Combined with an on-site AirBnB, and a little chapel that we had built for nights of worship, our tourist-caffeinated business was growing up and up…. then the pandemic! Our world came crashing down overnight, and all our investment, sweat, and tears, came to a screeching halt! Our small business was completely dependent on the tourist industry and the islands were shutting down rapidly.
Needless to say, we had to take a huge hit on the coffee farm and return to the mainland not knowing what was happening in the world. A generous supporter of Worshiplanet, our international ministry, donated a brand-new Toy Hauler, Travel Trailer for us to live in, as the nation was starting to lock down. Our mission quickly pivoted to the highways and country roads of North America. Not by choice but by providence.
Psalm 121:8 (NIV)…the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Serving Worship and Coffee
“We roasted fresh coffee every morning in the campgrounds, and led worship from the tailgate of that RV.”
We then began traversing this vast nation of ours in our RV, meeting and praying with people along the way in an assortment of campgrounds, National, and State Parks. We bought a small industrial coffee roaster and roasted fresh coffee every morning in the campgrounds and led worship from the tailgate of that RV. This worship leader learned a lot about camping in those three years! I can tell you how to install a grey and black tank valve unit, a propane regulator, a bathroom sink, and level an RV, and can tell you what brand of paint sticks to camper walls. We can direct you to the best “Harvest Hosts” in the nation, the KOAs that are family-friendly, and the best dump stations across America! You’re Welcome.
We have seen and listened to the heartbreaking stories of hundreds in campgrounds around America. Stories of job loss, death, divorce, mental illness, and family meltdown. These last few years have been priceless, and I wouldn’t trade the experiences we’ve had. We are very grateful to have been allowed to minister to people around the country, whilst in our own ‘holding pattern’ through our loss and uncertainty about the future.
Cleared To Land
“We will come to the crossroads of our calling at different times in our lives, often to see God’s bigger plan for us.”
A new corridor has recently opened to us, and we have been cleared to land a new vision – Israel. The holding pattern for us was God’s way of making us wait for His timing, not ours. We now can look back over the past three years and see God’s divine guidance and intervention in the lives we were able to touch for His glory.
The twists and turns to get us to this point have been miraculous, to say the least, given we knew no one in Israel until just a couple of months ago! We just returned from spending almost 8 weeks in the Holy Land, driving from city to city, meeting with over 45 local pastors, worship leaders, and artists from the Negev to Haifa, and from Galilee and Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We listened to their needs and heard the call from the Captain that it was time to board the plane for our next destination. It’s all about God’s perfect timing.
Proverbs 16:9 (NIV) In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
So, maybe you are currently in a holding pattern asking God why? The waiting can drive you insane! We will come to the crossroads of our calling at different times in our lives, often to see God’s bigger plan for us and a new path He’s carved out that is tailored to each of our unique gifts. So, live each day and look for the providence of God in talking to the Barista who’s pulling your next coffee. Text that musician who needs to talk to you. Pitch your tent in a campground and engage your camper-neighbor. Avail yourself on and off the platform. You’ll realize that your ministry goes way beyond the stage.
Mark & Carrie Tedder
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My wife and I are Musicianaries. We have had the unique opportunity over the years to lead small mission teams of musicians around the world. We have held worship events in Pyongyang, North Korea. We’ve sung in the coffee bars of Lhasa, Tibet. We have taken worship bands into Beijing’s Universities, High Schools, Radio Stations, Olympic Televised Concerts, and behind the walled Forbidden City. We recorded THE DOOR, the first and only “live” worship project in China. We’ve played in Muslim Cafés in Cairo along the Nile, French cafés in Rouen, Italian Pubs in Bologna, and a Sushi Bar in Salerno. We have entered some of the darkest and suppressed places on planet earth, witnessing evil spirits depart through worship. (1 Sam. 16:23) Not because we’re in demand, but because we’re available. I was born and raised in Arkansas. I am Carrie Jo’s husband, Benjamin, and Daniel’s Dad, Grandude to London, Lera, Oliver, Samuel, Caroline, Lucy, and Eleanor, a worship pastor/shepherd, musicianary, and former coffee farmer. Check out Tedder Travel Tales Substack for more great content. https://carrietedder.substack.com/