EUGENE ZUTA: MY MUSIC MINISTRY JOURNEY (Part 5)
#TAKE ME DO- FaMeY3-(USE ME)
So the journey from Cape Coast to Accra was uneventful, apart from the “Boodoo” (literally meaning “Bread” in Fante) and “Bayir3 hyiw” (meaning “hot fried yam”) merchants at Winneba junction, who explode into uncoordinated chants at the sight of an approaching car to draw the attention of prospective customers to their supposed nutritious wares. (Hmmmm. may the God who shares His blessings, such that even the ant has its portion, come to the aid of all such people.) However, today is not a “Boodoo” or “ Bayir3 hyiw” matter. Far from that.
A first born son to his parents, a first grandson to a doting grandmother is returning home with a degree Hmmmmm! The weight of the task ahead was such that I could easily have been carrying the car whiles sitting in it.
One of the questions I needed answered as I was wrapping up my final year was, “What does the Lord want me to do with all these years of preparation and training?” My personal conviction which was also confirmed by prophetic messages received, all pointed to one thing: That God has called me in that season to be one of the many Davids. NOT THE ONLY ONE, OR NECESSARILY THE BEST ONE, but one of the many He is raising in the nation to be a part of a worship movement (worship as a wholistic activity, not just musical) that was to sweep across the generations.
So I knew what my focus was going to be. I was going to pursue the music ministry to the best of my abilities and trust God to be God. This decision became the reference point for everything else in my life. It has been a source of great impact and influence and also a source of great pain and sacrifices.
I chose to pursue the teaching service so I could have time to do ministry and also some funds to support my family. I thank God for all the students I have taught over the years. It’s been a great privilege. As for my perspective on how teachers are treated in this part of the world, I will save if for another day.
Even before I released the debut album, most of my friends the friends I worked with on campus, and my mates started inviting me to their churches to minister. Being part of Rev Nii Okai’s music team was also such a blessing. I served on the then Virtue team (then the music ministry of Rev Nii Okai before NOM) for 5yrs( 2003-2005), and had the opportunity to serve alongside ministers like David Osabutey, Glenn Barnes, Naa Mercy, Eva, Kofi Karikari and Nana Yaw Boakye (MOG), among others.
When the Lord laid the burden on my heart to record an album, I was scared. My issues with inferiority kicked in and my fears screamed louder in my ears than my faith. Eiii see how Ataa Nii can sing! As for Papa Danny Nettey (MHSRIPP), who we had access to because of Min Nii Okai, I don’t even want to go there.
The the Lord asked me to take a look at Papa Don Moen and Pas. Donnie McClurkin. He then told me this. ”You will be tempted to say Pas Donnie is more skillful than Papa Don. But your judgement will be wrong, because they both have skills suited to the calling I have given them. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WILL BE ONLY REACHED BY THEIR RESPECTIVE AND UNIQUE GIFTINGS” From that encounter the Lord taught me, that there are people who MAY not be reached if I don’t obey His call. From that day I started putting together songs I had received for the album and the Lord added the ‘FaMeY3’ song in 2006 at UCC, which I received during a ministration with the National Prayer Foundation ( NPF).
I never recorded an album because I felt I was good, and wanted people to know. If anything I am a great critique of myself and won’t put my inadequacies out in the open to be ridiculed. (so much of pride and rotten ego, that we mistake for humility sometimes). I was not looking for applause or accolades. I had no interest in the commercial music industry. All I wanted to do was to produce an album that brought glory to the Lord and draw people to Him.
As if to confirm His word, the Lord touched the heart of my brother and fellow Olivet Voices member, Mr Ayifah Baah and his wife Sister Linda, who together sowed a generous seed into the album (when they had not heard a single track from the album). My roommate, Rev. William Nana Danso (who covenanted to support my ministry when were in school), also gave me a seed. I also saved a portion of my monthly National Service allowance and added it to the project. I still could not raise enough to settle all my bills at the studio. That was when my sweet spirited brother KODA, graciously gave me a credit facility which I paid back in full. We should not take people for granted, especially close friends and family.
Let me chip this in here, that it hurts when people start asking questions when it comes to giving honorarium to the music ministers (depending on how you view it). The song or ministration is freely given. However, most of us will not receive the songs and people in their raw unpackaged state. So time, energy, and other resources go into processing the work into a presentable and accessible product. The value added is what makes the product expensive. For example, Cocoa beans might be free gifts of nature. But a lot went into the making of the chocolate which we pay for.
I am definitely against the over commercialization of the products of ministry and what looks like the extortion of exorbitant sums of money from the Kingdom for self aggrandizement (it is not what our Lord taught us). However, the beneficiaries of the ministry must help sustain it so it will last long. This is scriptural ooooo.
There are also those who will compare you to our brothers in Nigeria, but will come and ask for a free CD just after the launching of the album ends. Ebei ooo Kumawood’s Lil Wayne will say, ”I can’t think far”. Let’s support our own wae.
I had great support from brothers Emmanuel Afum (PapaNyame Esuon), Kweku Antwi (Senku Papa) and Kofi Ogoe, who stayed up all night with me to record the demo of the first album in 2007, which was sent to Nii Okai for verification and assessment. I then leveraged on my network with friends in Echoes of Calvary and UCC Mass to do the BVs on the album for me. (of course you will pay back later in many ways eg weddings, church ministrations, meet and greet parents etc) I am still paying. hahaha.
The FaMeY3 (Use Me) album was launched on the 8th of March 2008. TGBTG that project was 15yrs in March this year. With support from various individuals like MD Henry Datsormor who raised a band to play for the day, my Dansoman ministry family, and many more, we had a very successful album launch and settled all bills by 15th of March. (Some of the expenses were on credit)
I was pleasantly surprised to see all my friends from UCC and places I had ministered around (same came from Takoradi, Cape Coast, Kumasi and even Sam Arthur Ayoberd came all the way from Tamale, my students from Mt Olivet and many more.
I am grateful to the Lord for the leaders of Mt. Olivet Methodist Church and Olivet Voices, for every support for my ministry it’s home. It was at the launch of my first album that my brother MD Kofi Martinson Gyimah, and few others invited me to be part of the leadership of a new music ministry they were putting up. My involvement with E’mPraise Inc. would account for 8yrs of my music ministry journey: a period of character and leadership formation for me (an adventure which deserves a book). I learnt lessons that have defined my ministry philosophy till date.
Music is a tool for ministry. It is a means to an end and not an end in itself. That end is to help people to experience God’s divine reality at any point in time using music as a vehicle. Thus when we hype how good a song we have written is, how beautiful our voices are and how famous we are for what we do, over who we are representing or the people we serve, we choose self importance, over God’s importance. I pray for myself and all who are called into this ministry and all others, that we will conduct ourselves in such a manner that the Lord will not say this to us.
Matthew 7:21-23 (MSG)
I Never Knew You
21 “Knowing the correct password – saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance – isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience – doing what my Father wills.
22 I can see it now – at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’
23 And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.'”
God richly bless you and thank you for taking time to read. I take responsibility for any error in these write ups, but every good in it is solely ascribed to The Lord Jesus, who died to same a wretched soul like me.
Note: To Be Continued in 2024
Edited and published by: Clement Afreh CBCInc Hypes @clementafreh