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Musician stirred to action by video showing Sudanese horrors

COSTA MESA, Calif. (BP)–It was just another benefit dinner, or so Ken Tamplin thought. He told his wife they would go, make a donation and be home in time to tuck their two children in to bed.

But what he saw that night changed his life.

“Raiders went into a village, murdered parents in front of their children, then forced the children to make a 30-mile trek on foot,” Tamplin recalled about a video depicting the persecution of southern Sudanese people. Since civil war began in 1983, more than 2 million people have died and 4 million people have been tortured, raped and sold into slavery. The war pits Arabs in the north against Africans — primarily Christians and animists — in the south. Tensions are rooted in attempts to impose Islamic values on all Sudanese people.

“One 2-year-old boy was crying, and he couldn’t keep up. The toddler’s captors beat him to death with the butt of their guns. They sold girls no older than 15 into prostitution slavery; they were raped repeatedly by about a dozen men every night. One man tried to buy back his daughters, but he only had enough money for one.”

The images and stories haunted Tamplin. “What if I ever had to ask myself which child would I leave?

“I said, ‘Lord, there’s no one I know — Christian or not — who can sit back and allow this to happen if they have any compassion and ability at all.”

Tamplin — a three-time Dove Award-winning songwriter who also has written music for “The Perfect Storm” and “X-Files” — set to work on a project called “Make Me Your Voice.” Released by Spring Hill Music Group in Nashville, Tenn., the CD compiles songs written with the persecuted Sudanese in mind.

Spring Hill’s president, Scott Chancey, said, “We have a responsibility as Christians to speak out for those who cannot — to be a voice for the voiceless. Ken Tamplin has assembled some of the top worship leaders from across the U.S. to participate, and we have provided listeners with not only a way to help this war-torn nation, but also with a great worship recording as well.”

Fifteen worship leaders from such churches as Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago, Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., and Church on the Rock in St. Peters, Mo., wrote songs and performed them for the project. Other artists on Make Me Your Voice include Andrae Crouch and Charlie Peacock.

Church on the Rock worship leader Kyle McCarty co-wrote a song with Tamplin, who is part of the worship team at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif. “‘We Love You, Lord,’ just came to me at a time when I was at the piano worshiping the Lord,” McCarty said. “Christ says, ‘If you love me, feed my sheep.’ We want to touch the Sudanese people and help them any way we can. There aren’t a lot of opportunities to be a music missionary, and this is one route that makes it possible.”

All artist royalties from the recording go to three relief organizations active in the Sudan — Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Samaritan’s Purse and Safe Harbor International Relief. CSW’s international president, Caroline Cox, wrote in a statement to Tamplin and Chancey, “Your support for our work will be of enormous help in raising awareness, which may help to encourage President Bush to do the right thing as well as help us with resources to continue our ministry to save lives, heal the sick and free the slaves.”

“Make Me Your Voice” is the first in a series of such worship CDs aimed at assisting the Sudanese people and raising awareness about their plight. “I felt God tell me to make this solidarity worship record to bring people together — blacks, whites — all worshiping together,” Tamplin said. “The Lord’s hand has been on this. He wants to see this carnage stopped. He wants to see Christians come together to stop this.

“We all say that what happened in Nazi Germany could not happen again,” Tamplin continued. “But it is happening. Sudan is the biggest country in Africa. If we turn our cheek now, I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that couldn’t happen to us.”

For more information or to order a copy of “Make Me Your Voice,” go to www.makemeyourvoice.com. The CD also is available in Christian bookstores nationwide.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: MAKE ME YOUR VOICE.

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  • Stacey Hamby