Two students have recently found a unique way to combine music and ministry.
During the fall of 2005, juniors Natalie Cisternas and Bailey Pretak thought of founding a group called GODCHA.
Since they were both music majors, they wanted to find a way to do music ministry after college.
“I was trying to find a way to combine all my passions together… I didn’t know how to make them all work,” Pretak said.
While Cisternas had never really thought about doing mission work, Pretak said she has always wanted to be a missionary and has a heart for orphan ministry.
As it turned out, “God gave us the same vision,” Pretak said.
As Cisternas put it, “She got the orphans, I got the music, and we made a sandwich.”
They established GODCHA, which stands for Global Outreach Drama Company and Homeland Associates.
GODCHA is a missionary organization whose purpose is to preach the gospel through music, theater and dance, their primary focus being orphans around the world.
They hope to have a group of people stay in the United States (they would be the homeland associates) to lead GODCHA and to send out groups of performers who will tour the United States giving benefit concerts to raise money for GODCHA.
Cisternas and Pretak hope to then use the money raised by the benefit concerts to send teams to orphanages around the world. They would perform and teach the orphans performing arts, “all the time sharing God’s love,” Pretak said.
GODCHA has started to put on benefit concerts here at Eastern. The first performance was in the spring of 2006, when 10 actors and a keyboard player performed musical numbers.
According to Cisternas, both she and Pretak felt called to donate the money they made to Invisible Children, another outreach program for orphans.
They had great help from a number of people: Josh Landis, choreographer; Julie Dunkelberger, pianist; Chris Funari, drummer; Dani Mione, technical director and Megan Janczyck, costume designer.
“It was really powerful and beautiful to me the way our friends wanted to help with our dream,” Cisternas said. Their latest performance was April 29.
Both Pretak and Cisternas agree that these people are a huge part of helping their shows come together.
Cisternas cannot believe the response that they got from the community here at Eastern. “We’re blessed that the community embraced us,” she said. Pretak agreed.
“Neither one of us ever dreamt of running an organization … so we know it’s God’s will,” she said.
They hope to continue to see the group expand both on campus at Eastern, and as an organization.
“It’s wonderful that people keep adding, volunteering and making this something great, something that’s so much bigger than we are,” Cisternas said.