When I woke up this morning and walked into the kitchen, I was greeted by the dirty dishes that I left in the sink last night. For a few hours I had blissfully been able to forget about them, but there they were, reminding me of their incessant need to be washed. I wasn't disappointed because someone else hadn't done them or that they had not magically evaporated. It's just that I hate to do dishes. Doing dishes is one more of those mundane tasks -- like taking out the trash or sweeping the floor -- that I sometimes wish were someone else's responsibility.

For {{Rebecca St. James}}, however, the chance to do dishes is a welcome -- and even an exciting -- opportunity. Recently, Rebecca took a break from her normally hectic schedule of recording and touring to spend seven weeks in Romania. While she was there, she spent the majority of her time working with an organization called City of Hope, which operates three programs: a girls home, a boys home, and a rescue center for the street children of Bucharest.

According to Rebecca, this trip was a chance for her to take a step back from life in the spotlight and practically show the love of Jesus to children who desperately need to know that someone cares. This was a place where few knew who Rebecca St. James was. It was not a place where she could speak from a stage about God's love, as she is used to doing, or even a place where she could communicate much at all because of the language barrier. She just quietly went about being Jesus' hands and feet by serving food, cleaning out a basement, and evendoing the dishes.

The desire of Rebecca's heart for some time had been to find a ministry reaching abandoned children with whom she could become involved. She read an article about City of Hope in a magazine that excited her. A few weeks later, while in Holland, she met someone who had just been to Romania and interviewed the people at City of Hope. She was offered a chance to be a part of an upcoming trip to Romania, and she jumped at it.

Leaving behind her family, who usually travels with her, Rebecca made this journey only with a friend. Dana, whom she met about a year ago, was born in Romania. She was able to teach Rebecca some of the language and help her acclimate to the culture. They stayed in an apartment in Bucharest and spent most of their time working in one of the City of Hope programs.

Knowing that she only had seven weeks in the country helped Rebecca to stay focused. She wanted to make a difference in the lives that God allowed her to touch even in the short time that she had there. During her preparation for this trip, God had spoken to her heart and challenged her to "be bold and courageous enough so that you leave with no regrets." Keeping that in mind helped her make the most of every moment.

The best memories of the trip for Rebecca were created during the time she spent in one-on-one interaction with the kids. It did not matter that they were dirty and smelly, or that they had lice, or that they were high from sniffing glue. They needed love, and Rebecca was more than willing to give them a sandwich to eat and throw her arms around them to show that she loved them--and Jesus did, too.

She taught one young man to play the keyboard. A group of kids worked hard with her to learn the rendition of "Joyful, Joyful, Lord We Adore Thee" from Sister Act II, complete with the rap and dance moves, to perform for the ministry leaders. The most significant times were the ones when she could just hang out with the kids, talk, play, and become their friend. Those are the memories that tug at her heartstrings now and make her feel torn between two worlds. She is planning to go back as soon as she can.

Rebecca was determined to make the most of every opportunity while she was there, and she has brought that attitude back with her. Now her desire is to "seize the day" and take every chance that comes along to practically show someone God's love, whether that means singing, praying with someone, or evendoing the dishes.

God also taught Rebecca during her trip to learn to find rest in Him alone, and not to depend on the people around her more than she trusts God. That is one lesson that Rebecca is planning to put into practice this coming year as she once again begins the process of recording a new album. It would be easy for her to get overwhelmed at the responsibility of having to write and record all the songs, and the pressure to live up to what her previously successful albums have done. Yet she is trying to apply what she learned about trusting God and laying down her fears, so that she can leave it all in God's hands.

A long form video has recently been released with live concert footage, a behind-the-scenes look at her tour, and interviews with Rebecca and other Contemporary Christian artists who share their views on Rebecca's ministry. Rebecca says that the content of the video is pretty serious. Her hope is that youth pastors and families will use it as a discussion starter to talk to kids about the issues they are facing today.

The video is packaged with a single of her newest release, "Yes, I Believe in God." Rebecca wrote this song for the Center for Reclaiming America, an organization dedicated to encouraging young people to be bold and courageous about sharing their faith, and teaching students about their rights as Christians at school. They provide packets of information to any students who are interested in knowing more about how to stand up for their beliefs.

-- To hear a clip from "Yes, I Believe I God" --

Real Audio format: click here
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When approached to write the song, based on Cassie Bernall's words before she was gunned down in the Columbine High School library, Rebecca was in the midst of a busy touring schedule. One night, after a concert in Florida, several CRA staff members approached her and told her that they were praying for her and the song. She went back to her hotel room, sat down, and in an hour had the whole song written. Rebecca calls that a miracle, and says that it has been a blessing to see the song released and how it is already touching lives. It is yet another example of how God can take a horrible situation and turn it for the good.

Rebecca's time now will be consumed with the new album, which is scheduled to be released sometime next fall. As she dives into the process with her new attitude of living to have no regrets and trusting God for all of the outcomes, her heart's desire is for the people of God to keep her in prayer. She wants this to be an album that is led by God in every area and that will be life-changing for all who hear it. There is little doubt with all she has behind her now that it will be.

To get more information on the "No Secrets" video, click here or on the video cover and you'll be taken to amazon.com!