Street Music Again
I have always loved music, and as I was growing up I loved to sing and play the piano. I even wrote songs. When I was 16 I started playing guitar, and a year later I found myself away at college—in Jerusalem. Being so far away from home, I often found comfort by singing and playing to myself.
While I was in Israel I met another singer/guitarist who told me that we could sing and play and make lots of money at the same time if we sang in the streets. I had seen street musicians before in San Francisco and New York, and I was curious enough to give it a shot.
When we went out to sing, I was amazed that people were stopping to listen, and they liked it! I wrote my mother about that time, telling her how much I enjoyed my new vocation.” I was singing my favorite songs and making money, too. I felt that every evening under every lamppost there was an open stage available to me. The lifestyle of a street singer seemed romantic and intriguing to me, and I ended up traveling all over Europe and North Africa. During the next three years I sang on the streets and in clubs in Barcelona, Paris, Athens, Zurich, Munich, Amsterdam and many smaller cities.
Because I was a street singer, most of my friends were other street people, and my competitors were mostly self-important, scruffy fellows in their 30s who started every day with a beer. It was a very hard life for a teenager. My moral standards were declining, and with them my spirits. Eventually I grew tired of the street politics, the backbiting, and the advantage-taking attitudes of those around me. At some point I realized that I was no better than they, and that I was quickly heading toward becoming a very “old” and hard-hearted 20-year-old.
That third year “on the road” I wrote my mother, “I once felt that the street was my stage, and now I feel like I’m just singing in the gutter.” A few months later I went home, but things didn’t get a whole lot better. Whenever I saw a street musician I would turn away. Now I hated them, and I despised the streets.
Then I came to know Yeshua. He lifted me out of the depths of my sin arid changed me radically. Yet even with this new love in my heart I still had disdain for street musicians and street people. I especially hated the fact that once I, too, had been one.
I married Arturo, and when he and I joined the Jews for Jesus Liberated Wailing Wall mobile evangelistic team, I had a big surprise coming. Part of our ministry was not just handing out tracts, but singing and playing in the streets!
We were sent to England on an evangelistic tour. As we did our first “walk-on” in Birmingham, England, all this emotion welled up in me as once more I found myself singing in the streets. This time, however, it was different. It was for the glory of God. In Leeds we had water thrown at us from a window for Jesus’ sake; and I remembered another time four years earlier when water had been thrown at me on a Paris street because someone thought I was singing too loudly.
Then the Liberated Wailing Wall went to Israel. On the streets—Dizengoff in Tel Aviv and Kokar Zion in Jerusalem—where it had all started for me, we sang in Hebrew and in English about our Messiah. Many people saw us, and I even met some who had seen and heard me sing in the streets years before. But now they were hearing a different message from me—and I didn’t hate the streets any more. Now I loved them, because I knew that I was called to be there. I was no longer singing in the gutter. I was proudly proclaiming Yeshua. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).