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May 28th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

MercyMe inspired by trip to Dominican Republic

The members of MercyMe visit a slum in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

I was interviewing Bart Millard of MercyMe for a story about the Generous Mr. Lovewell when he told me about a visit to a poor area in the Dominican Republic in 2009 that helped inspire the new album.

"We assumed that no one knew who we were, and they didn't," he said, referring to the fact that the band was there as a sponsor of children through Compassion International and not as a music group. So there they were, just observers of the work being done by the aid organization, when they were asked to do a few tunes for a group of Domincans.

"We sang a song and they just kind of sat there looking at us like we had a horn growing out of our heads," he said. "Then we did 'I Can Only Imagine'."

As soon as pianist Jim Bryson began to play, the mood of the room changed.

"They flipped out. Women were crying," he said. "We've never really left the country to do much. We were dumbfounded they knew that song."

For the rest of the trip, wherever they went the band would sing the song as the Dominican people - churchgoers and non-churchgoers - would sing along, Millard said.

Millard said it showed them the effect their music has on people they haven't met and how far-reaching their music goes. The band started to talk about how it was cool to see the effect they have on people.

They also saw the love the people shared despite their hardships and lack of material things.

He said the band came back to the United States believing the new music should motivate people to be the body of Christ and not wait for catastrophes like earthquakes or hurricanes to show the love of God

"It's not necessarily about being in the spotlight, it's about making a difference every day," he said.

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Music • Uncategorized

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    June 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
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