For the second time, Touring Choir alumni gathered over the summer and presented a benefit concert to support the work of former choir director Jay, and his wife, Sheri Hartzler, for their work in Romania. More than 30 people sang in the program on August 11 at Park View Mennonite Church.
The event was a high point of the summer time in Harrisonburg, wrote Jay to participants. “I am honored and humbled that you gave your time and voices to help us in our fundraising efforts. Please keep us in your prayers as we return to Romania and work with the folks there.”
The Hartzlers will return to Romania in September to begin their sixth year of service to several ministries in the cities of Sighisoara and Tigmandru. They first went to Romania with a Touring Choir group in 2008 and again in 2010 and ’12. Jared Stutzman, current EMS music teacher and choral director, took a group to visit the Hartzler’s in Romania as part of their Europe tour in 2014.
Sunday’s program included reflections and stories on Jay’s woodworking shop where he teaches skills to create beautiful furnishings. Sheri shared about her ministry with the Nazarene program serving children and a group of adults with physical and mental disabilities.
They both participate in music ministries with Jay conducting an adult choir, Sheri leading children’s music and both singing duets — much to their surprise! — in worship at the small Nazarene church in Tigmandru where they worship. Their experience with music in Romania has made them particularly grateful for opportunities to sing and lead singing again with EMHS “family.”
“I think we often take our musical talent and heritage for granted,” wrote Jay to choir participants. “Cherish your ability! There are few in our culture able to do what you did.”
“You will be blessed throughout your life,” he concluded, “as you sing with others in whatever situation you find yourself in. Keep spreading the love of God with your voice.”
Watch a video of the concert.
You can read more about the Hartzler’s work on Facebook. Support the Hartler’s in general (travel expenses, health insurance, personal expenses) by donating through their home congregation Community Mennonite Church. Click here and make your donation to the general fund with “Romania ministry” in the memo line.