Smiles and tears were the dominant expressions on the faces of those gathered for the special patriotic music service held at Capri Christian Church.

The music and the lyrics to the medley of patriotic music captivated the audience and held them in awe as they participated in the song and video presentation provided by the church praise team under the direction of Steve Dawes, associate pastor and music pastor.

Saxophonist Rick Grootsveld gave the service an added compliment as he played a number of familiar patriotic songs and accompanied the praise team during the Armed Forces medley that recognized those in the audience who had served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines.

Grootsveld is a Florida native, born in Homestead. He began his saxophone career at the age of 12, but had to put it aside to help his family after Hurricane Andrew hit their home in August 1992. He did not return to his music career until two years ago. The audience raved about his talent and clapped loudly for his performance.

"You have to wave the flag given to you as you came in this morning, and you have to wave it during the whole service," said pastor Curt Ayers at the opening of the service. Being faithful stewards, most of those gathered did just that. Attendees were often on their feet without being called to stand, and flags were waving for the duration of the service.

Many messages were delivered through music and video to pay tribute to military service personnel in commemoration of the approaching Fourth of July weekend.

Diamond Rio's "In God We Still Trust" video brought home the message that there is no separation where church and state are united under God. Evidence presented was that we are asked to swear on the Bible before making statements in our courts. Every great and historic place in our land has God written in indelible ink, and the words "In God We Trust" is imprinted on our money.

"It is not too late if believers will stand up and make their voices heard," said Ayers. Using the Bible scriptures from 2 Chronicles 7:14, Ayers gives God's method for renewal and healing.

"We have to humble ourselves; ask for forgiveness from our sins; pray for help and guidance; and then do what it takes to make the changes needed in ourselves," said Ayers. "If we do just that, God promises to heal our land, restore our freedom and save our nation, but we have to keep God in our public consciousness.

"I do not put my trust in the courts, legislature, politicians, or in anyone here on Earth for that matter," Ayers said. "Promises made by people get broken. There is only one whose promises can be totally trusted, and that is the promise of the living God. Our liberty and life are found in him. He will never let us down. I love this country and I want it to prosper, but I also know God has a plan and can work miracles that will bring about changes.

"Just remember, change begins with us and it begins in prayer and trust in God. We need to be the people of faith," Ayers concluded.

Capri Christian Church regularly hosts a summer student intern seeking a degree in the ministry. This year, Patrick Sanga, born in the Philippines and living in Joplin, Mo., is working under the guidance of the pastors to fulfill his internship requirement at Ozark Christian College.

"My passion is leading students in worship," said Sanga, who added he wants to do his part to bring about change that will heal the nation.

Contact Ann Hall at

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