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Where We Serve

International Ministry

Twenty Years of Friendships - The BONIFANTES Mens' Chorus Tour

In July 2022, during one of our mission trips to Central Europe, while in the Czech Republic, we reconnected with Jan Misek, a very gifted choral conductor and the director of a world-class boy's choir, the Bonifantes. In fact, we were blessed to perform a public concert together in their home city of Pardubice as a benefit in support of the Ukrainian refugees. The concert was amazing and at the end we got to share Christ with the audience and hand out dozens of Czech Bibles. Here is one of the songs we sang together:

In December, we welcomed the Bonifantes Mens' Chorus in Florida for their first tour (December 1-13, 2022). This group has a very impressive resume that includes international awards, work with international symphony orchestras and opera companies as well as their own educational and operational structures. Over 350 boys, teenagers and young men participate in this multi-level musical body. This time around, we are brought only the older members of the group, ages 16-28. The tour started in Naples and ended in Vero Beach with seven other cities in between - all together ten wonderful concerts. We worked together with churches, schools and cultural organizations that provided not only the singing opportunities but also many volunteers to help with housing and food.


For me personally, the best part was not only to sing with the Czech choir (along with my wife and daughter), but to once again have the platform to share Christ and present the gospel to hundreds (cumulatively thousands) of people in the audiences. We premiered a new song called "Turas" (Gaelic word for "Journey"), which was based on old Scottish folk song, but supplied with new lyrics that in the five verses of the song shared all the main events of the earthly life of Jesus, from birth to the resurrection. The song was also a great tool to introduce the Czech students to the message of the gospel in addition to a couple of good Bible studies we did with them, sermons they heard during worship services in various Christian churches and many personal questions and answers about God.

We spent two great weeks traveling with the Czech singers in Florida and then followed them to Europe for ten more days presenting six more evangelistic concerts, two in Germany and four in the Czech Republic. Sixteen concerts in December was a lot! We returned home quite exhausted, but rejoicing in how the Lord used us to glorify Him and make him known to many who desperately need His salvation! Praise God for this mission work - we love every minute of it!

A Gift Beyond Music 
(An article about the visit of the Czech student group, "The Smiling String Orchestra")

They returned back home on March 15, 2022. Twenty gifted teenagers from the Czech Republic led by a great director with a vision. "There is a reason the group is called the Smiling String Orchestra," said one of the partnering producers after a performance that brought the audience out of their seats several times during one of their outstanding concerts.


If you know us, you also know that this is one of our signature ministries at Vertical Fellowship: bringing Czech student groups to the USA and taking them on tour. But that’s barely half of the story. Music comes and goes, but its greater purpose as a vehicle for the gospel, overture to God’s Word, testimonies of salvation and friendships that last is the part that remains.


Since 1995, many students who traveled here become teachers and mentors who now bring their own groups to continue this legacy. They love giving the students the same opportunity they received – not only to sing or play abroad, but to live with Christian folks who house them, participate in the church life, hear the Word preached and realize there is more to life than the elusive center-stage spotlight.


Here is a classic example: Four years ago, a fifteen-year-old violist named Jakub visited the first time and became a Christian. He returned as one of the oldest in the orchestra and a true mentor to the younger students. It was amazing to watch him share his testimony from the stage or witness to other students in the van during the many hours we drove around South Florida. He even composed a piece of music for the orchestra called Almighty God. "I just wanted to glorify the Lord," he said… He will graduate in May and go on to study at the Czech national conservatory. He will take his faith and God’s power with him to his new environment. Perhaps one day, he will return leading his own group to help us continue the good work.


They returned back home, exhausted from the tour. Nine concerts heard by close to three thousand people in seven cities! We know that some of them recognized that God Himself is the source of the joy they tasted and experienced - a joy that cannot be denied by a sceptic or taken away by a government shutdown.  God willing, some of them will come back the next time as mentors to help the younger ones to receive the fullness of this gift beyond music.


Many thanks to all who support us prayerfully and financially and in prayer to keep this ministry going!

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