Music matters. Music creates relationships, and opens up new opportunities.
In God you can do everything, and my vision has been to unite the best singers and musicians from different cultures in order to lift up Jesus name.
- Minister, Tom K.
Because of music, we can reach others who truly need a helping hand.
Tom K., or Tom Jarle Kristiansen Istad which is his full name, has always been interested in music. In his home country of Norway, he has distinguished himself as both a choir director of several choirs and as a songwriter.
However, it was when crisis struck him hard, that his music career took off in a completely new direction.
“Adversity can also lead to something good”
In 2010 he struggled with depression. The depression was choking him for two years. Life seemed so dark. Tom K. prayed, just as he has done all his life. Then one night things changed. God met him, strong and genuine, the way He can meet us all. Images emerged of what music can mean, that music can be a door opener based on verses dealing with how God meets us when we need it.
“That very night I got up and began to write and I have been writing ever since then”
A number of new songs were composed, songs that have meant a lot to those who have heard them.
Gospel music deals with receiving help and getting out of the pain through the consolation that music can bring. To have success as a musician, it is not about making as much money as possible. It is about having priorities other than making as much money as you can.
“Music gives us opportunities where I can use what I have, in order to help others”
Several years ago, he made contact with some black Baptist churches in Chicago. This resulted in many visits to that city. The songs - and the lyrics have reached many people. Many have experienced that the songs gave them hope.
His success opened up opportunities. Tom K. could see for himself the reality of how many (orphaned and) abused children and young families were living in Chicago.
He decided to help in close cooperation with the Baptist churches. His work caught on. Several people in Norway joined the team, where money is collected to give families, children and young people, parents and people who are alone, the opportunity to experience a little bit of hope every day. Food, clothing, someone to talk to, and an encouraging pat on the back are among the most important things. To provide opportunities so they can see joy where there is frustration, because children being killed, domestic violence, gang activity, unemployment and poverty.
The songs that he wrote after God met him so strongly, will provide the starting point for the CD that is being launched now. Along with his choir, The Norwegian Gospel Singers, and all his friends in Chicago, the album "The United Gospel Project" has now become a reality. The album was recorded in various studios in both Norway as well as in the United States.