By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
The Watoto Children’s Choir, a group of 18 orphans from Uganda, performed its new production, “Oh, What Love” on June 21 night at the Tucumcari High School.
“This is the fourth children’s choir performance by the Watoto groups and each year it gets better and better,” said Derrick Owens, pastor of the First Assembly of God Church.
He said the children are only allowed to participate in one six-month U.S. choir tour.
Owens said he and several church members provided boarding for choir members during their stay in Tucumcari.
The concert featured worship songs that share the stories of the children and the hope that they have because of God’s love.
“We are so happy to be hear with you all in Tucumcari,” said Watoto choir member Richard Opio.
Opio said the main goals of the concerts are to convince people of God’s love and to raise money to make a difference in the lives of the children suffering in Africa.
“It has truly been amazing to have met and be around people as lovely as this and show us the joys of being in New Mexico,” Opio said.
Opio said the concerts also give the children an opportunity to tell people “God is a good and God is a good father.” He said the he and the children are not simply saying that because they have been told to or it has been written in a book.
“We say it because we believe it and each of us has had God our father come into our lives in a different way,” Opio said.
The choir’s production was based on the Bible verse 1 John 3:1 — “See what kind of love the father has given us, that we should be called children of God, and so we are.” “Oh, What Love” provides a unique worship experience that celebrates the urban African landscape and brings out the individual talents and charisma of the children.
The choir has performed before presidents and royalty in the White House, Buckingham Palace, the United Nations and many other national government buildings.
Since 1994, the Watoto Children’s Choir has traveled the world as advocates for the 18 million African children orphaned by AIDS. Each child in the choir has suffered the loss of one or both parents but they have been rescued and now live in a Watoto village. Watoto is described as a holistic child-care solution initiated to serve the dire needs of the people of Africa.
“After losing my parents, I felt alone, with no one to love me. Now I know that God is my father. He loves and cares for me. As I travel on the choir, I am going to show people that God loves them too,” said 6-year-old Jackie Nakku.
The Watoto Church founded Watoto Child Care Ministry, Inc., as an international holistic care program initiated as a response to the overwhelming number of orphaned and vulnerable children and women in Uganda. It is positioned to rescue an individual, raise each one as a leader in their chosen sphere of life so that they in turn will rebuild their nation. The model involves physical care, medical intervention including HIV/AIDS treatment, education (formal and vocational), counseling and emotional well-being, as well as moral and spiritual discipleship.
For a complete choir tour schedule and more information on how to sponsor or support the program, please visit www.watoto.com/choir.