Caedmon's Call has recently spent a month to visit India, Ecuador, and Brazil to do ministry work with local organizations. During that time, the band also incorporated local Christian artists and music for their fall 2004 release. They hope that this album will raise awareness to today's churches of the injustices that still take place all over the world.
The band captured the experiences of the native people on their visit, and wrote songs based on the stories of their lives and experiences. "We went to the top of a building and all you could see for miles were slums," recalls percussionist Garett Buell. "It was incredible to see such immense poverty. We'd take a child outside and he'd point to a blue door amongst the rubble and say, 'That's where I live.' Despite their poverty, the children were happy and devoted to music. They had the best time playing instruments and we all jumped up to join in with them."
Caedmon's Call worked with two organizations in India: Peace Gospel Ministries and the Dalit Freedom Network; and in Brazil and Ecuador: Compassion International.
From March 12th to 30th, the band traveled through India and experienced firsthand the injustice of the Hindu caste system, and the lives of those considered outcasts who are forced to live in poverty. They are called the Dalits, and typically, they spend their days doing the most difficult of labors. Many women are even forced into prostitution. And a Dalit can face death if going beyond the caste boundaries.
Timothy Kasbe, a leader of Dalit Freedom, an outreach to the Dalit people, served as a guide for Caedmon's Call while in India. "Their fate scripted by the Hindu law, Dalits would be lucky to earn $1 per day to load thousands of bricks from dawn to dusk," explains Kasbe. "Caedmon's trip to visit the Dalits in India and to be with them at this time will be remembered for generations to come. Practical outreach like this gives them hope for survival in the midst of their plight."
During their trip, the band led worship for crowds of more than 8,000 people. They also recorded the local music and culture, and purchased native Indian instruments to be used in their fall release.
Caedmon's Call spent the rest of their travel in Brazil and Equador, where they saw several Compassion International sites. They were able to aid in Compassion's ministry which focused on working with local churches to care for the spiritual, physical, economic and social needs of impoverished children. By visiting local families and places overwhelmed with destitution, they saw the necessity for the people of this world to give aid.
"On these trips, we've really been able to see the impact of what sponsorship means and how important it is to make a difference," remarks Buell.