A new CD combines one missionary's experiences in the field and other stories he has heard with an old-time sound.
Williamsport singer and songwriter Chris Pick spent a decade writing the songs for "Tragedies & Miracles," using the "ragamuffin" sound he long has been a fan of.
"I use music to get my mission across," Pick said.
Chris Pick, left, and Rick Elias, together in Nashville, Tenn., in March 2010.
The name of the CD came from two of the songs with similar-sounding titles, "The Greatest Miracle" and "The Greatest Tragedy of All."
The latter song was inspired by the tsunami, that hit southern Asia in 2004. A missionary came to Pick's church from Indonesia to explain that the greatest tragedy "was not that half the nation was wiped out," but that millions of people died without a savior.
Many of the songs on the CD are based on songs by Rich Mullins and A Ragamuffin Band because Pick said he felt the need for the songs to have that sound.
Sept. 7 - 7 p.m. at The Well Coffee House, 363 Stamm Road, Milton
Sept. 13 (6 p.m.) and 15 (5:30 p.m.) - at the Antes Fort
annual Historical Days Celebration.
The project fell into place three years ago when Pick met with singer, songwriter and producer Rick Elias in Nashville. They had been talking about doing a project for years. Elias and Mullins both were the founding members of A Ragamuffin Band. The day they spoke happened to be the same day Elias had his first reunion rehearsal in 10 years with the band.
Elias, who worked as an arranger and instrumentalist on the project, said he could get the musicians needed for the project to recreate that sound.
The session artists featured on the CD were Nashville drummer Steve Brewster, Gary Lunn on bass and Elias on guitars and keyboards. Nathan Zwald handled all the engineering and mixing for the project.
As a missionary, Pick and his wife Michelle, an elementary school teacher, advocate for the native missionary movement and the persecuted church.
For the music ministry, they partner with Gospel for Asia, which focuses on reaching people who have never heard about Jesus.
Pick has been involved with several mission projects, including work in South America, Africa, Asia and North America.
In May, he traveled to India for six weeks with Rehoboth Ministries India to help train 25 national missionaries and assisted with work at an orphanage and school for children.
One of the songs on the CDs, "The Call," was written in 2003 after Pick returned from mission work in Peru. He had been doing mission training in South Carolina when the story of New Tribe missionaries Gracia and Martin Burnham inspired him. The Burnhams were missionaries in the Philippines who were kidnapped by Islamic terrorists and held for ransom.
During a rescue by the Philippine Army, both were shot and Martin was killed.
The CD ends with "Christmas in the World." The song was released last year and promoted on Christian radio.
Even though the CD was released at the end of June, he included the Christmas song for people who love celebrating the holiday in July.
The song's inspiration drew from talking to a pastor in Peru.
"Many people live with the belief that if Jesus really loved the world, 'why would we live like this?' " Pick said.
The other songs on the CD are "Through the Eyes of Jesus" and "Masterpiece."
Pick has not had a chance to hear his songs on the radio yet, but other people have and told him about it.
"A lot of people love the Christmas song," Pick said.