"Come To My Altar is that Jesus said ‘Come to me, ALL you who are
weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’
He is inviting us ALL - saved and unsaved – to come to Him for
rest and peace in a world of turmoil and confusion"

AWOE: Kinship is such a unique name! What does it mean and why was it chosen?

Jackie & Melissa: Kinship simply means family. We’re really an eclectic bunch - different nationalities, from different neighborhoods and different generations (sorry John LOL!), just different in so many ways. As different as we may be, God has brought us together. And just as a family does, we laugh together, cry together, but most importantly, we worship together.

AWOE: Who are the band members of Kinship?

Melissa: Well, I sing and play keys - or I try to at least! Doing two things at once has never been a skill of mine. Jackie, vocals & guitar, has undeniably been called to be a worship leader, she’s awesome. Plus, she’s really organized and all the rest of us have A.D.D. So we’d never be able to get through a rehearsal without her. John, lead guitar, affectionately referred to as Charlie Brown, brings in his rock and roll style and some really cool guitar riffs. He is seriously one high-energy dude, no Red Bull required. It’s cool though because his energy is contagious. Nancy, drums, at the very young age of 15, keeps the group really youthful. She’s very gifted actually, she can tell you about 50 different ways to fit the word, “Wow”, nto a conversation.

AWOE: How did the group begin?

Melissa: Wow, let me just say that this is exactly why evangelism is so important. Ok, I actually met Jackie at work. I thought she was a little weird because I always saw her reading her bible, preparing lessons for her youth group and she talked to me about church a lot. After many invitations, I finally gave in and visited her church. I continued to go every week thereafter and the Lord just began to bless us by turning our prayers into songs. Jackie had met John and Nancy a while back at an evangelistic retreat and she felt led to ask them if they would be interested in forming this ministry with us. So yeah, evangelize! Invite your friends, your family, your co-workers, your pizza delivery guy, everybody, to come to church. You never know what God has in store.

AWOE: What two languages do you sing in?

Jackie: English & Spanish

AWOE: Why is it important to you all to relate your message in both?

Jackie: Our church is located in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. And aside from having a love for our language and culture, we thought it was very important to be able to reach our community.

John: I don’t speak Spanish but the Gospel says to go to all nations. If we could, we would worship in every language.

AWOE: On your demo - tell me a bit about the making of it.

John: I remember most that the studio was freezing and we were there forever. We didn’t have any idea how long it would take to record and we really didn’t know what we were doing. But when God says to step out onto the water, you step out onto the water, no questions asked. At one point, when we were listening to the final cut of, “ Come To My Altar, as¯ I looked at Jackie and we just started to cry. We just knew that God was beginning an amazing work in us. So, after a couple of late nights, a lot of Pepsi and a couple of dozen donuts, we had our demo.

AWOE: Undivided is a beautiful song, could you explain what an undivided heart is?

Jackie: As Christians, we often struggle with the distractions of the world. Our desire is to continually draw closer to Christ. Having an undivided heart means having a heart that doesn’t compromise when it comes to our walk with God. A heart that places God first and doesn’t allow the distractions of this world to remove our focus from him. In your life, if you don’t allow him to be Lord OF all then he is not your Lord at all. The song is drawn from Psalm 86:11, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name...”

AWOE: Come To My Altar and In Every Way apply to the lives of the saved and unsaved?

Jackie: The message we were trying to get across in Come To My Altar is that Jesus said ‘Come to me, ALL you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ He is inviting us ALL - saved and unsaved – to come to Him for rest and peace in a world of turmoil and confusion. Whatever you’ re struggling with, you need to let go and let God! We know from experience though, that sometimes it’s really hard to let go, and that’s where In Every Way comes from. We had a desire to surrender our lives to Him in worship but we needed help letting go of all the things that were holding us back. We know that life comes at you pretty hard sometimes. We challenge those who are struggling now to push forward, surrender, and allow God to draw you closer. True rest from the chaos of this world can only be found in Him.

AWOE: Needless to say, I thought it was really cool that you guys mentioned having a radically tattooed Pastor! Tell me a bit about your pastor and what you mean by a recovery-based church?

Jackie: This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many things we would want to say about our Pastor. His name is Raymond Ramos and he is an inspiration to the band and to each of us individually. He has taught us not to limit the church to the four walls of a building. Yes, he has tattoos, and Nikes to match all his outfits, but more importantly he loves God’s people and believes that a church should do life together. The mission statement of our church reads, ‘To reach those in recovery, their families, and their friends¯. Yes, our pastor is a recovering addict and has a burden for those people in the throes of addiction but he also teaches us that all of us are in recovery from something and in need of a Savior.

AWOE: How has your church life inspired the band?

Jackie: Each of us are members of the worship teams at our church and believe strongly that our gifts are first to be used in the house that God has placed us in. This is where our spirit is fed and where God has revealed his will for the band. It’s really important not to get caught up in the whole band mentality and forget about the worship part of it all. The band would not exist without the guidance of our Lord and the support of our church family. Also, our pastor has shown us the importance of taking the Gospel to the streets, so we play at block parties, street fairs, wherever we can play without getting in trouble for not having a permit.

AWOE: What from the Word have you guys learned about worship?

Melissa: We’ve learned that worship is a lifestyle. True worshipers worship God in Spirit and in truth (reality). It’s not about the voices or the instruments, it’s about living your life in a way that honors God.

AWOE: How have you applied the Word to your music and in ministering?

Jackie: When we sit down to write it is with an open Bible before us. We look to the Word for the message that God wants us to convey. As for ministering, God is opening doors for us not to entertain but to encourage, and what better way to encourage than to speak the Word of God into someone’s life.

AWOE: Now I know you guys ministered in music at Advance 2007, tell me what that was about and what did you witness God doing through the souls there?

Jackie: Advance 2007 was an event sponsored by the First Baptist Church of Flushing to raise funds for a mission’s trip to Ecuador. We were honored to be part of such a great event for a great cause. The other artists that ministered were amazing men and women of God. Their humility in His presence was inspiring, to say the least. The missions trip to Ecuador was a huge success. They were able to provide medical care, dental care, food, Bible education, etc. They spread the Gospel and the love of Christ through their service in a poverty stricken city in Ecuador.

AWOE: Also, I find it awesome that you guys traveled all the way to Connecticut to minister in song at the Fusion Youth Center! How important is it for you all to reach young people not only in song, but with your testimonies also?

Jackie: I love this question because this band has a burden for young people. Our drummer is 15 years old and her life is an inspiration to what God can do and what a young person can accomplish in Christ. John and I have both been involved in youth ministry for several years and we carry a special burden for them. Obviously, they are the future of the church but more importantly they are part of the present church. They are members of this family and they have callings upon their lives NOW. They need to be encouraged, loved and guided.

AWOE: When all is said and done, what do you guys want the listeners to remember most?

Melissa: That hell is hot, don’t go there! No, on a serious note, we really want people to know that Jesus loves YOU. No matter who you are, no matter where you are. He will meet you right where you’re at but He just loves you too much to leave you there.

Kinship Page 2


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