Guitars For Glory Is Putting Instruments In The Hands Of Schools & Orphanages Around The World

 

The founding friend group of Guitars for Glory (GFG) puts faith and music first. Their goal to, “put guitars and instruments in the hands of churches, schools, missionaries, and orphanages” has become a reality with the donation of over 130 instruments in 25 countries since their formation in 2013. Their key partners are organizations across the world with the greatest presence and understanding of local communities who can identify sites most in need of a donation. In addition to these partnerships, Guitars for Glory seeks relationships with churches, corporations, and even charitable individuals. Financial support from donors is the means by which they can further their operations, expand to serve more communities, and offer additional technical support and training for those in need of music lessons. Donors can also shop the online store for GFG merchandise or subscribe to a monthly coffee delivery to benefit the GFG mission.

 

 

Below is a Q&A with the team at Guitars for Glory.

 

Tell us about how you got involved with your organization. What inspires you most about being a part of a positive force that impacts lives every day?

 

 

Guitars For Glory was started in 2013.  It was during a youth missions trip to Peru where we encountered a lady in her 50’s in a small rural village.  In the part of the village where she lived, the majority of people are suffering from AIDS or HIV.  Her name is Sister

 

Rosa, and she and her husband also suffer from this awful disease.  The people in this area are treated like outcasts and are often left alone to die.  When we arrived and sat down with Sister Rosa, she shared that her calling in life was to take her guitar, go from home to home, and sing songs over the sick, to provide hope, comfort, and encouragement.

 

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During this conversation she shared that someone had climbed in her kitchen window and stolen her only guitar.  It would take her almost five years of savings to replace it.  Anyone who’s been on a youth missions trip before knows that there is always at least one guitar that accompanies the group.  It made perfect sense to quickly hand over our group’s guitar to Sister

 

Rosa.  In all honesty, it seemed easier to leave it than to bring it back on the airplane.  She humbly accepted the gift, and we didn’t think much of it until about six months later.

 

We received an email from Sister Rosa stating that her ministry had grown exponentially and her faith has strengthened tremendously.

 

In that moment, we realized that if there was one person who had the simple need of just one guitar, there has to be thousands more people just like her.

 

There are many charity based organizations that provide items essential to survival.  Some would say that a guitar, or the ability to create music is a non-essential item.  Some cases, this may be true.  In other cases, we couldn’t disagree more.  Many of those essential items are quickly consumed and gone, where music gives a person and a community a sense of value, the ability to create and give back.  This is what inspires us.

 

Tell us your favorite story about how your organization impacted a life or lives.

 

Two years ago we went to Belize to help start a local music school.  20 of our team members hopped on a plane and spent a week putting together a program with a local church and their Music Director.  While we were at the school, we asked the Pastor what his hopes were for the week that we were there.

 

He said “That you would help awaken the gifts of our youth”  One story in particular is about a 17 year old boy.

 

He had been struggling with suicidal thoughts and deep depression.  The first three days of the school, this young man barely spoke, picked up an instrument, or even attempted to assimilate with the group.  But, we could tell he wanted to be there.  On the fourth day during one of the vocal training sessions, he finally opened his mouth and sang.

 

What came out was inspiring and beautiful.  This young man did not know he had this ability.  Our team looked around at each other in disbelief.  We left the day after to return to the states.

 

Exactly one year later we returned to a different part of Belize to start a second school, approximately two hours from the previous year.  Half way through the week, this young man surprised us by driving up to see us.  As if that wasn’t enough, he surprised us even further when he and his band got on stage to lead the church in some songs.  He shared that it was our team’s investment in his life the summer before that helped pull him out of his despair and allowed him to find his identity through music.

 

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When someone asks what your organization does, how do you explain it to them? What makes your organization unique?

 

Guitars For Glory strives to partner with organizations who have a local presence and deep connection with communities around the world.  It is through these partners that we are able to identify guitar placements.  Through a number of different avenues and fundraising opportunities, GFG raises funds to purchase new instruments to be placed with recipients who have a deep need to rebuild, inspire, encourage, and create authentic music aimed at bringing glory to our Creator.  We believe that we need to give our best, and have a GFG motto: “We won’t send what we wouldn’t play ourselves.”   We believe that along with the tangible needs there are for instruments, there are also great needs for both technical training and training of the heart.

 

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How can everyday people help and support your organization? 

 

People can start a campaign on our website to raise money to place a guitar with someone in need.  By leveraging their social media network.  Once they’ve hit their goal of $300, Guitars For Glory will place a guitar with someone in need around the world and let the supporter know exactly where it went, and who it went to.  We’ll even connect those people if requested.

 

People can also support us through monthly financial contributions.  People can make one time donations on our website.  Supporters can donate gently used instruments that they feel called to give, or maybe they’ve been sitting in a closet collecting dust and are in need of a new home.  We also have a coffee subscription program where people can sign up to receive Guitars For Glory coffee every month.  The coffee is single-origin, whole bean artisan coffee that not only supports GFG, but also supporters coffee farmers and local roasters.

 

People can buy GFG merchandise on our website.  We’ve got some really swag and some awesome designs.  Because we are a fully volunteer based team, all proceeds go directly towards placing instruments, and not towards salaries.

 

Lastly, people can just spread the word on social media about who we are and what we do.  Awareness is always a great need of ours.

 

How has being part of your organization changed your life from a personal perspective? What has it taught you? 

 

GFG has taught us that we are so incredibly privileged.  What we’ve found here in the states is that we have so many choices.  One of our co-founders who leads music at his church often says “Our biggest struggle on a Sunday morning is deciding WHICH guitar to play.

 

Where people around the world are wondering if they’ll ever own an instrument of their own”.  GFG has also taught us that if we aren’t using the gifts we believe God has given us to encourage the world, than our gifts hold no value.  Our large team of about 30 people have been changed through music, and music and worship has shaped our faith.

 

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If you could wake up tomorrow knowing that one global issue had been solved overnight, what would you want it to be and why?

 

This is a hard question, because there are so many issues that we’d love to have a hand in solving.  However, if we’re sticking true to OUR calling and our passion, we’d love to see entire communities transformed through the ability to create.  We see music and the arts as something that is slowly being devalued here in the US and around the world.  We think it serves as one of the most dynamic vehicles for a person to take back ownership of their mind, body, and soul. Or to get technical, giving their mind, body, and soul back to the original Owner, the Creator of the mind, body, and soul. In all intensive purposes, We believe music activates and engages the human soul in a profound way.

 

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Stephen Garten

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