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Singing a New Song

Published on June 24, 2019 by Karen Miller

“Wherever you are, be all there.
Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

Jim Elliot

This was our collective intention as we, eleven music therapy majors and two faculty from Indiana Wesleyan University, boarded the plane and headed for Zambia. Our aim was to be consistently present and focused on the people we were meeting, the lessons we were learning, and all we were encountering during our trip. As it turned out, that was not difficult to do. Upon our arrival at Poetice, we immediately found ourselves welcomed into a family – a warm, joyful, loving group of people who were ready to invest in new relationships and partner with us in new ventures for the cause of Christ.

None of us knew quite what it would look like – this combination of mission, immersion, and music therapy service learning – but we all embraced the vision and worked to spread hope, truth, healing, and the love of Christ through music and human connection, and the results were more than rewarding. From the Mwapona compound to the Poetice base, to a local special needs school and a hospital, we encountered overwhelming need, and in many cases, overflowing joy. We connected with people of all ages and ability levels through the universal medium of music, whether that meant spontaneous dance parties or structured songwriting sessions. We sang and prayed for children, parents, and hospital patients, and even when our songs and prayers were not understood by those we were singing and praying over, we were united with them. We were encouraged by stories of transformation and we were struck by the abundant joy of the Zambian believers we met. Students stretched themselves continually to build their skills while being salt and light to those around them. We had been forewarned that we would come back changed, and we did.

Seeing music therapy intertwine with ministry has been such a beautiful experience.


During this trip, not only did God use this team to minister to the people of Choma,
but He also used Poetice to minister to us. I experienced God in new ways in Zambia
and will forever be impacted by how I’ve grown as a music therapist and a follower of Christ.


This trip helped me grow immensely,
not only as a music therapist but also in my faith.


We were impacted by the people we worked with during our sessions, but God also used Poetice to speak life into us.

My eyes have been opened and my heart as well, to God’s justice.
While I may have made a small impact on those of Choma,
my life will never be the same. I felt so poured into and loved!


We encountered God powerfully through worship and testimony. We learned that God longs to be with us, then we experienced what it’s like to walk alongside Him rather than just work for Him. We received the great fulfillment that comes from communing with Him and allowing His Spirit to overflow and touch those around us, and we felt that same touch from others. We learned that, although needs are overwhelming and we are inadequate, Jesus is enough. My prayer as we prepared for the trip had been simple: God, please let us do something that matters. In the end, He did something that matters – in Choma, and in us – and we are eternally grateful.

Personally, this trip has stretched me, strengthened my faith, and helped me
be more aware of those around me. I am so blessed to have had the
opportunity to get to know the Choma community and to minister to them.
Zambia, you captured my heart, and have blessed me immensely.



Karen Miller is the Associate Professor of Music Therapy at
Indiana Wesleyan University and went on an immersion trip
to Zambia in June 2019.