Nicole:  The first time I went to Africa, I went with the mentality of, “I’m gonna’ want to put all the kids I see in my suitcase.” (Laughs) But when I got back, it was the opposite. I really wanted to pack up all of my kids and send them [to Africa]. They have tapped into something spiritually that is foreign to us. They had to trust God for help because there were no other options. It was definitely the upside down kingdom where the rich are poor and the poor are rich. It put a mirror to our face.

CMP:  At some point there is discovery of the common denominator of humanity, which is slavery, I think. What forms of slavery do you think we ignore but are still prevalent here in the States?

Nicole:  We are slaves to our pleasures, to different addictions and to ourselves. We have slavery in status, in classes, in the “haves” and “have-nots.” We have systems that are set up to keep the poor, poor—to keep them dependent upon the handouts of the “haves.”

But the more we take note of it and decide “I can’t change the world for all, but I can at least change the world for one,” then we go after one; and we allow that one to become two. And then two becomes three. I think it is our mandate to give and to love and to show Christ’s hand.

CMP:  Each of your records explores the subject of race. On the new album, I hear it addressed specifically in the songs “Look Like Me” and “Still a Dream.” How should we respond to the continuing issue of race in today’s society?

Nicole:  Many of us want to reach out, but we don’t know how. I feel like part of what I have been called to do is encourage people to have the courage, take that risk and find people unlike you and learn to love them.

I live racial reconciliation. We, as a family, have been intentional about it with our children, with our friends, with the church we attend and with the schools our kids go to. Because it’s not a black world; it’s not a white world; and it’s not a tan world. It’s God’s world.

According to the Scriptures, people from every nation, every tribe and every tongue will be worshipping at the throne. Let’s not be culture shocked when we get to Heaven and say, “Oh, I didn’t know y’all were gonna’ be here!”  Let’s learn to love each other now while we’re here on earth. Christ prayed, “Thy kingdom come ... on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 5:10). We need each other, and I think this album is a reminder of that.

CMP:  So how do you encourage dreaming?

Nicole:  It begins with the Scriptures. When [a dream] stems from Christ and His Word, then what we are called to do will be worth doing and not just something that looks good to man, putting a Band-Aid on the problem but never addressing the root. That is the litmus test of any dream that is worth believing in. What does it do in the end? Will it establish us as a great name? Will it make us rich and famous? Or will it actually be a catalyst to bring glory to God, pointing people to Him?

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*This interview first published on August 13, 2008.