Studio Time: It was just last week that I was able to be in the studio once again “And why…” you may ask “…has it taken so long to let us all know you were there?!” Well, the simplest answer is just the plain fact that not only has life been its usual busy (and we hosted a five-family garage sale this last wknd.), but what happened has also taken some time to sink in…I have so much swimming in my head since being there and, hopefully, now I can let you know all the details…once you hear, you will understand my spinning head and full heart!

My appointment for the studio was at noon on Saturday, April 10th. Shortly after arriving, as was typical, Randy and I sat down and figured out what needed to be done and what we were going to work on, and then we got started. We knew that the only thing left to do at this point was the background vocals, but I think it still took Randy by surprise that I chose to go ahead and do them on my own…there are several reasons for this, the main one being a combination of convenience and, this project being my first, the lack of knowledge about how all of it was going to go and be put together. I truly learned a lot about the whole process of adding background vocals and re-learned the fact that this whole process has been by God and through God and ONLY with Him. It was truly the hardest part of this whole project, period. BUT God was gracious and, little by little, as I laid the stress and fear and feelings of incompetency back at His feet, He gave me the peace I needed to relax, take a deep breath, and press on…and that was all in the first two hours! J Once that first song was done, (yes, that first two hours was just one song), things began going smoother and I got the hang of this part I originally thought would be the simplest part in this whole process…ironic doesn’t even cut it, but again, very rewarding and exciting as I went from thinking that we might get three songs done, to seeing that God had other things in mind. When we arrived, Kate and I had prayed that God would help me get as much done as HE wanted me to get done and we left it in His hands, knowing that, so far, He has helped us get SO much more done than we thought possible every time. It was at about ten o’clock that night that I began to get a little more tired… and then realized that we only had about 6 more songs to do to be completely done. That’s when I asked God to give me strength if He wanted me to keep going…and He gave me my second wind! What a second wind it was too, because I didn’t look up at the clock again till we finished the last detail of the last song and it was ten minutes to midnight!!! I couldn’t believe it! I was completely done and it had taken just under twelve hours! After praising God and then promptly realizing how tired we both were, we got out of there and headed back home, arriving at Kate’s at about 1 and my house at about 1:30 A.M. Kate was a trooper, to sit through the hours and hours it took, listening to parts and pieces over and over again, and still smiling and praying for me, it was absolutely a God-send to have her there! This also brings me to one of my other biggest thank you’s ever for that day: to Lauranna Havens, or ‘Ranna’ as the kids affectionately call her, who stayed at home with my babies all day long and into the night just so I could be free to stay as long as I wanted to; what an amazing blessing! The day was a success because of who God provided to do and be and pray for me, so thanx to all of you who continue in this journey with me as parts and pieces that God has used to “spur me on toward good works”!! Prayer Requests: All of what is mentioned in the “Next Steps” portion is what we need prayer regarding and so I would ask that as you read through that section, you would pray through it as you read. We are so excited to see what God has done so far and, by way of a praise that you can offer up to our gracious God with us, I wanted to share with you something that I just realized on the way home Saturday: From start, the very first thing, to finish on Saturday, it has only taken 5 studio sessions…yeah, it amazed Dan and I and Randy as well to realize this process has been that efficient. That realization was yet another chance for us to give God the glory in front of Randy and, if there’s one thing that I could ask you to continue to pray for, (beyond the “next steps” and to praise God for the incredible efficiency of our studio time) it’s the salvation of Randy! We have had amazing conversations (Dan, I, and Kate) with him, and are seeing God continue to bless in front of his very eyes! We know that every time we’re there, it’s a major opportunity for God to work in his life! Interesting Tidbits: I had a hard time even keeping the Saturday appointment at first because I knew Dan was going to be gone to Arkansas and, as I laid awake one night asking God how I was supposed to know who to bring with me (for both opinions and company J ), God reminded me that the best source of direction that He has given me is my earthly authority, my husband Dan. So I drifted off to sleep that night confident that God would confirm who I was already thinking or would give me a new idea. The next morning I asked Dan who I should bring with me to the studio when he was gone and he, without hesitation, said “You should take Kate with you…and you should call her right away before she gets booked for work since it’s a Saturday.” So, as shocked as I was that his first response was the same as my initial one, I immediately picked up the phone and called her…yep, you guessed it, when she answered she was actually just getting ready to call in to work and let them know she could take a shift Saturday because she was free! To say the least, I felt really blessed that God had put together the details of the day before I even knew how crazy the day would truly be! Next Steps: Between now and the end of May, Randy will be setting aside time to work on doing the final mixing of the CDs. Once he is done, Dan and I will go in to listen to each song individually to see whether we have any preferences for particular details that we need to change before the CDs are finalized. During the next month and a half while we’re waiting for Randy to finish, we will be finishing the CD inserts (design, pictures, lyrics, & credits), researching who to order the CDs through, and planning for a CD release concert (date and location). To say the least, we have much to do and need your prayers, ideas, and support now more than ever as we press on! After the steps to complete the CD, we will hopefully be putting more work into the website. The main part of our website will be through Apprentice Ministries, Inc. and then my website and information regarding the CDs will be from there; our goal is to use it to not only begin marketing the CD beyond word of mouth, but to also provide sound bytes, updates, and schedules. We’re excited to see what these next phases of growth will bring, not only growth of the ministry, but in our lives as well…we know that each step of each growth will bring about new and different changes in our lives and new ways for us to realize our need to keep our eyes on our Heavenly Father! Continue to pray for us, for Apprentice Ministries, for our family, for these next steps…above all for God’s will to be done!! Thank you for your prayer support and all the little ideas, comments, replies…it all means so much!! ~With eyes fixed on Him~ Gretchen Jester & Family