As husband and wife music duo Brad + Rebekah prepare for the Feb. 16 release of their new worship album, “Sound of Heaven,” the singers are openly sharing their heart and love for a transformative Ugandan ministry that saves orphans.
Brad and Rebekah Bichsel, who have ties to Bethel Music, exclusively spoke with Faithwire about Watoto, an organization that offers spiritual, emotional, educational and physical care to thousands of children in Uganda.
The duo are so passionate about the charity that they have chosen to incorporate the Watoto Children’s Choir into their new worship song and music video titled, “Never Alone.” Brad Bichsel told Faithwire that he and Rebekah decided to bring the choir into the song after realizing the deep connections that the lyrics and message have to their own stories of abandonment and rescue.
“When we heard the students singing, ‘You and I cannot be separated, nothing can come between us, I’m never alone, not for a moment alone,’ we were overcome with the realization of the fullness of God’s love. It was a moment that won’t soon be forgotten,” he said. “After hearing the voices of 1,000 children that had been left, abandoned, or lost their parents and family declaring that they will never again be alone, but are found in God their Father.”
Faithwire is exclusively premiering the song and video below:
Here is our full Q&A with Brad about the duo’s music, work with Watoto and plenty more:
FAITHWIRE: What is the aim of Sound of Heaven? What are you hoping listeners think and feel?
BRAD: The “Sound of Heaven” is a collection of songs intended to remind us to not only receive God’s love and salvation, but to also respond accordingly by the way we live our lives day-to-day. Our everyday actions can function as a visible sound of Heaven declaring His glory and speaking of His name! We, the people of God, are His hands, His feet, and a light to a world in need of Jesus. We can be both the visible and the audible sound of heaven — God’s Love — in every situation and place we go.
FAITHWIRE: What’s it like to tour, travel — and work — with your spouse?
BRAD: Its an adventure! We’re currently in our 10th year of traveling as worship artists. I love to fly and Rebekah would prefer most days to stay on the ground. The first five years consisted of more driving, but the last five years required a lot more flying. We also added two stowaways in the process — our kids.
Most days, it’s just a wild adventure of watching ministry happen, getting work and homeschool done, and finding fun things to do or see on the road. It’s not always easy, but we get to be together and see things as a family. We would never trade those moments!
FAITHWIRE: Not that long ago, you embarked on a journey to speak with pastors about what was needed in worship music. What did that effort yield?
BRAD: We did and it was incredible. The wealth and depth of information we were able to gather has yielded so many great thoughts and ideas to write about. It made the co-writing process so productive because we were able to share these notes prior to each writing session. The biggest topic that continued to surface was our identity in Christ.
When we understand who we are in Christ, it gives us the confidence to walk in the fullness of His calling on our life and to respond to that calling declaratively. Other themes that came from the pastors included: following Christ in our daily lives, acknowledging the mighty works of God, declaring the story of salvation, and living in peace, knowing He is with us.
FAITHWIRE: What is Watoto and how did you come in contact with the group?
BRAD: Watoto is a holistic child care program in Kampala, Uganda, whose mission is to give orphaned children a place to call home. Watoto currently cares for over 3,000 children that used to be orphans. A branch off of Watoto Church, started by Gary and Marilynn Skinner in 1994, Watoto has legally adopted and cared for over 4,000 of the country’s most vulnerable.
We learned about Watoto when our friend and the producer from our second record, Wayne Thomas, moved to Uganda to work for them in the middle of our project. He then called a couple months later and asked if we would donate finances and instruments to help these incredibly talented students learn a way to express their heart through music. Since then we just kept falling more in love with the people of Watoto and Uganda. Our first trip was in 2011 and shortly after, we went back to record a song with the Watoto kids called, “The Heart of the Father.”
When we came home, we brought back paper bead necklaces made by Watoto and since then, we have been able to raise a large amount of funds for the kids. It has helped us be able to put on worship camps specifically for the kids of Watoto. We have been blessed to be able to invite amazingly talented professionals to work alongside the students of Watoto and facilitate exponential musical growth. More importantly, however, its given the students a way to express their stories of restoration and hope through singing, song-writing, production, dance, instruments, preaching, and video.
It’s honestly the most surprising thing we’ve been part of. The only plan we had when we started working with Watoto was to do what Jesus instructed in Scripture – to take care of the orphan and the widow. A small idea that God has blessed. We had no other plan. But watching what God has unfolded has been amazing and life-changing.
FAITHWIRE: Why did you decide to work on “Never Alone” with Watoto?
BRAD: “Never Alone” was written shortly before our third Worship Camp with Watoto. We were in the song-testing phase during our trip and had our producer, Joshua Silverberg, with us. He is also one of the writers on the album. When we heard the students singing, “You and I cannot be separated, nothing can come between us, I’m never alone, not for a moment alone,” we were overcome with the realization of the fullness of God’s love. It was a moment that won’t soon be forgotten.
The song wasn’t specifically intended for Watoto, but there was no question after that moment that we wanted to work with Watoto on this song; After hearing the voices of 1,000 children that had been left, abandoned, or lost their parents and family declaring that they will never again be alone, but are found in God their Father. It was a simple look between us and the producer when we knew this was written for them, as well as for us.
FAITHWIRE: What have you learned through your involvement and investment in Watoto?
BRAD: That God loves the widow and the orphan and when you take care of the things God loves, there is provision for that effort. We are continually amazed at how God has allowed us to pour into this community and time after time, provided in the most unique ways. We had a little idea to sell some necklaces that has yielded great finances to do incredible things for Watoto, but it was God’s plan that we followed. It’s amazing what can happen when we choose trust over control. God has always provided with each and every bigger step of faith. So we press on and continue to watch as He does what we cannot do for his children.
Find out more about “Sound of Heaven” and Brad + Rebekah here.