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I first saw Aaron Shust in concert a few years back in Westerville, Ohio. He was touring with.. Nichole Nordeman, I believe.

Well.. he is currently on tour with Chris SlighMeredith Andrews, and Andrew Witt.

He is always doing something creative with his youtube, tour, etc., and this tour is no exception. For this particular tour, Aaron Shust has been taking auditions to play with his band on stage during the show. You post a video of yourself playing his song “Matchless” and then leave him a comment that your video is up, and let him know which date/city you’re auditioning for.

My brother and I made a video of him playing his drums and posted it… for the Alton, Illinois show. Yes, I do know how far away that is, but.. the date worked better than any of the others, and it was at least one of the semi-close shows. Unlike the Florida shows…

I went to Aaron’s blog a few days ago to look for some tour details and ran across this post, in which he linked to the videos of a couple of people he’d had play.. and saw that he made the comment that he’d had a guy audition to play the drums and that that would also be a lot of fun.. and he linked this statement to my brother’s video!

Really, there weren’t any other auditions for the so-close-to-St.-Louis-you-might-as-well-call-it-that show, but still. Just the fact of getting the opportunity to play with him.. is amazing and so much fun.

And so.. that’s the story.

We left sometime around 11 Thursday morning and made the drive to Alton, Illinois. After finding the church and picking up our tickets, we went down the road to use up the extra hour before we needed to be back for the meet-and-greet and pre-show acoustic concert. We found a Goodwill store.. which turned out to be the absolute most absurd Goodwill any of us had ever been in. (What secondhand store sells VHS movies for $2 and up?!)

Anyway, so we went back to the church and it never failed that whoever started talking to us.. “So what brought you to the show tonight?”.. “Where are you from?”.. each person’s eyes got SO wide and their jaws dropped.. “You’re playing with him tonight?! And you came from Ohio?!” 😉  It was great.

So at the meet-and-greet.. when we got to Aaron, he looked at Timothy and said with a smile, “Little drummer boy?” You should have seen his face when he heard that we’d driven 6 hours to come that night.

The show started with Andrew Witt, who reminded me just a bit of Matthew West. He was good.. a newish artist who I am waiting to hear more from.

Then came Meredith Andrews.. I’d heard her music online a couple of times. Another semi-new artist that I’m looking forward to hearing more of.

Okay, so I might be the only person in the whole world who doesn’t watch American Idol and didn’t know who Chris Sligh was. I tend to stay away from trendy stuff though.. (and besides, the only television I really watch is old stuff. Really. Like Andy Griffith and Leave it to Beaver. Good old stuff like that. It’s amazing.) I knew one of his songs due to hearing it on K-Love, but that was it. He was good though, and there is nothing quite like his hair.

Intermission came after a live Compassion International commercial where they told stories about their sponsored kids and about going on Compassion trips and that included a song by Andrew Witt. I love Compassion International.. and the kids.. and really wish I could sponsor every kid that needs it. I can’t, though, and that was what his song was all about — “I can’t change the world, but I can change the world for one”… and I am. 😀

Aaron Shust was next.. just the same as on cd, only even better. Live music just has a completely different dimension to it that recorded music can’t ever have. Spontaneity, for one thing.. but just something else too that I can’t quite put my finger on..

He called Timothy up partway through the show.. He’d told him it would be right after “Give Me Words to Speak”, but they don’t do soundchecks with the guest musicians because it adds to the excitement if they don’t. 😉  I’ll apologize ahead of time for the shakiness on the video… holding still with your arm in the air for that long with your camera zoomed all the way is way harder than it looks. Trust me. I think most of it is very fixable, but it is going to take me a good long while to get it to the point where I’m really happy with it. So stay tuned for the better version to eventually come!

For anyone interested, pictures are on my facebook..

At the very end, everybody came back on stage and led some worship songs together.

When it came time to leave for home after thanking Aaron again and saying goodbye to all the friendly people of New Testament Fellowship (I love friendly people in churches!!) we made a couple of stops (such as Taco Bell..) and then got going.

By the time we actually were on the road headed home, it was midnight Ohio time. We stopped for just about 45 minutes somewhere around Vandalia, Illinois for a little rest and then were back on the road shortly after, at about 2:45 a.m. Ohio time. The ride was full of lots of great “stay awake music”, like the Newsboys and the Beach Boys. A large semi truck in front of us was weaving all around the road and after calling it in only to find that there were no police in the area to do anything about it, my dad finally went around it very quickly. We got a good length of road ahead of it, a little at a time, to the point that finally we couldn’t see anybody behind us. It stayed that way for a little while until.. all of a sudden, this same truck came up out of nowhere and cut us off. Watching in your mirrors after outrunning a large, vicious truck a second time is enough to keep you pretty awake for the entire rest of the way home… and we made it home just before 7 a.m.

And so that was our trip out to St. Louis for Timothy to play with Aaron Shust. I wouldn’t miss it.

Please, please, please keep on praying and believing and praising for Jon and his family. Be praying for his upcoming MRI, that the doctors will find the tumor completely gone, never to return. God is so big. Also be praying for an opportunity that they have to share with others how big God really is, thank them for praying, and to ask for continued prayer in these next couple of weeks. If you haven’t already, please catch up on their story!