Blog Tour

Elisa Morgan for Re-spon-si-bil-i-ty


1. accountability
2. blame
3. authority to act

I pick all definitions. They all matter. I learned this in Kenya this summer, but I’ve been learning it for a long time before.

When the ONE Campaign sent ten of us mom bloggers to Kenya as the first band of ONE Moms, I’d already been to four other impoverished countries. Kenya was number five. To be honest, I didn’t expect to see a whole lot I hadn’t seen -– pain, poverty, suffering, hell. In the weeks before leaving, I winced while imagining what was in store.

But I did expect to learn much that I hadn’t learned, and to receive more that I hadn’t received, because I’ve come to understand that’s what happens when the third world crashes smack into the face of my “first” and familiar world.

Continue reading at's blog →

Melissa Fitzpatrick

Melissa_FitzpatrickTen years ago, before transferring to Moody and moving to Chicago ever even entered my mind, I was a little sophomore at Baylor University. One fine central Texas day I went down with a friend to a place cleverly called Waco Hall to listen to an increasingly well-known “upcoming” musician. All I knew about the musician I had gleaned from the signs scattered on walls around campus: he had really good hair.

The musician was Shaun Groves. And if I remember correctly, he had just released his first big record Invitation to Eavesdrop. I knew, even then, after just a few minutes listening to Shaun sing, that he had a special voice. Something about him was unique. I sensed that he was a person who both thought and felt deeply about faith and the world. What I most certainly did not sense is that in less than a decade I would be bouncing around East India with a tiny group he was leading.

But in the third world together we were destined to be.

April 2009 to be exact.

On one of those blistering 125-degree days in Kolkata, Shaun and I got to talking.

Continue reading at the Living Proof Ministries blog →

Mary Ostyn: Orphans, Poverty, My Place?

Mary_OstynI first met Shaun Groves in a waiting area in the Miami International Airport. We were on our way to spend a week together in the Dominican Republic along with several other bloggers, where Shaun (who’d invited us) would be showing us the work of Compassion International. I hadn’t really met a ‘real’ recording artist before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my overwhelming impression after the week with him was one of humility and heart. OK, and a good sprinkling of corny humor. The trip was an amazing experience for me (more here). I ended up so pleased with what Compassion is doing. They’re headed in the right direction regarding this orphan crisis: supporting families so that there will be fewer orphans in the world.

I’ve been a fan of adoption for years, obviously. But adopting our older girls, and seeing the tremendous pain they’ve experienced losing family and country all in one fell swoop has given me a more nuanced view of adoption. Yes, it is a good solution for some (many?) children. But in many cases, a better solution would be to support the families who would parent their own children if they could afford clothes and food and school. We in America are not ignorant to the poverty in the world. It exists even here. But to walk into a shack and literally see the lives that people lead…well, it gave me a whole new understanding.

The picture above is of Shaun and our awesome photographer Keely, pounding the keyboard late at night, getting words out to describe the days we spent in the Dominican Republic. Boy, that was hard for me– wanting to come up with exactly the right words to bring others there with me.

Continue reading at Mary's blog →

(in)courage: How Not to Get Lost in Translation

incourageFor two years I lived in a country where most of the time I couldn’t understand what was being said around me.

They call Russian God’s language because it takes an eternity to learn. I found this to be true while we lived in Ukraine. And on Sundays we would sit through two hour services catching only a word here or there that made sense to us.

It was humbling. And also frustrating.

But some Sundays there would be a worship song I recognized. A tune that was familiar and had drifted across the ocean from English and been translated into Cyrillic. When that happened I didn’t need to be able to read the words. I knew them by heart. And my happy voice would sing the English alongside the Russian and rejoice in the familiar as if I’d just bumped into an old friend from home in the sanctuary.

Continue reading at (in) →

Southern Savers: Third World Symphony (Huge Discount)

southern saversI’m excited today to a part of something big: a Blog Tour for Shaun Groves and his new album Third World Symphony.

1st World – Meet 3rd World
Earlier this year I was invited to co with Samaritian’s Purse to Haiti to distribute Operation Chirstmas Child boxes. This was my first 3rd world moment. I’ve done missions trips with church in the town next door, but have never left my comfort zone and entered what appeared to be a war zone.

Haiti was incredible and life changing for me. From the moment we got out of the airport pretty much all we saw are tents. The earthquake in Haiti made millions of people homeless in seconds and most of those people remain homeless now.

Continue reading at Southern Savers →

Simple Mom: Neither Poverty Nor Riches

Simple_MomSo… You might remember that I went to the Philippines in May with Compassion International. They have this brilliant idea to take bloggers to countries where they serve, where they play with the kids and listen to the hearts of Compassion volunteers, and then ask the bloggers to write each evening during their trip.

All these trips are the fault of a guy named Shaun (who also happens to be a SM contributor), and in my life, he’s gone from a faraway musician with crazy hair who moonlights as a mommyblogger—to a friend.

Continue reading at →

Brant Hansen: Going Where God Lives

Brant_HansenI hope you’ve heard Shaun Groves.

I don’t mean that you’ve heard his music, though it’s outstanding, and has landed him on the cover of the old CCM Magazine and blah blah blah. Or even his incredible new, indie stuff, from “Third World Symphony.” When I say I hope you’ve heard him, I mean, I hope you’ve HEARD Shaun Groves. Really heard him.

What he has to say, particularly with regard to God’s heart for the poor, the marginalized, the weak, and the vulnerable, is wonderful news: for them, and for us. As Shaun is fond of saying, we are not merely saved “from”, we are saved “for”, and that’s to do the work of the Kingdom. We GET to do this. It’s way more exciting than a teaching. It’s a mission.

So I hope you’ve heard Shaun, loud and clear, even if you didn’t know he was a big-shot Christian pop star-feller. Or is. I don’t know, or care. I’m not sure he does, either.

Continue reading at Brant's blog →

Melanie Shankle: Third World Symphony (Video Performance)

Isn’t that the best title?

I only say that because I didn’t come up with it. But, oh, I wish I had.

It’s the title of my friend Shaun Groves’ new album. And today is my day to host him (hostess him?) on his tour of blogs. Right after he was featured on Pioneer Woman’s blog on Monday and Michael W. Smith’s blog yesterday. So basically I’m here to tell the last three remaining people on Earth who haven’t heard about Third World Symphony.

Ree? Regularly featured on The Today Show and The View. Has her own show on Food Network and millions of blog readers.

Michael W. Smith? One of the greatest Christian artists of our time. Known by millions. Has performed for Presidents and Billy Graham.

Big Mama? Drives carpool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Can occasionally be seen in line at your local Starbucks and maybe at Target if she’s feeling adventurous.

Continue reading at the Big Mama blog →

Michael W. Smith: Third World Symphony

michael_w_smithFirst… as you read this post click “play” on the below player… and start listening as you read. You’ll be listening to Shaun Grove’s new album: Third World Symphony – available TODAY. After you’re done reading we’ll have one thing we’ll ask you to do – so make sure you read the entire email.

How ’bout a little reintroduction? Back in 2001, Rocketown Records released a debut album from a singer/songwriter named Shaun Groves. In the years since there have been more records… but nothing has impressed us more than watching him use those albums as a talking piece for his ministry through Compassion International.

To understand Shaun’s passion for Compassion all you have to do is go back to something that happened on a trip to El Salvador… here is an excerpt.

Continue reading at Michael W Smith's blog →

The Pioneer Woman: Third World Symphony

the_pioneer_womanAlmost three years ago, my husband and two daughters went on a trip to Dominican Republic with Compassion International, a child sponsorship organization that ministers to children living in poverty around the world. How this trip came about is a long story.

1. I was asked to go
2. I decided it wasn’t a good time for me to go
3. My husband decided to go instead
4. And take our two daughters

At the time they left, I wrote about how unsure I felt at the time about sending our two girls to another country so far away from me. Even though I knew they’d be with their dad, I couldn’t help but feel that tug that comes any time we humans take a step outside of our comfort zone. I’d tried to avoid entering that zone by deciding not to go in the first place. Then, all of a sudden, half my nuclear family was on a plane headed for another country.

That’s what I got for trying to stay comfortable.

Continue reading at The Pioneer Woman's entertainment blog →

Kristen Welch: When First World Meets Third (Video Chat & Giveaway)

Kristen_WelchMy life radically changed 19 months ago.

God used two people who played a significant role in turning my world upside down. And today, I’m talking to both of them together (for the first time) since we all stood in an African slum.

Shaun Groves, the man who prayerfully invited me to Africa, my first experience in the third world. (By the way, he is so good at his job).

And Maureen Owino, the girl I met there who has become my “daughter” and co-founder of Mercy House.
I talk to Maureen at least 5 days a week via Skype. It’s a regular part of my day. It’s one of the highlights of my day. Last week, I had a surprise for her…here’s a glimpse into our conversation:

Continue reading at We Are THAT Family →

Sophie: Third World Symphony (Video Performance)

boomama_sophieSo here’s the thing that I’m a little bit embarrassed to tell you: for the longest time – for most of my life, really – I would see pictures and videos of people living in extreme poverty in this country and in other parts of the world, and my first reaction would be to fight my inclination to care. Honestly, I was scared to care. I was scared of how caring would change me, of how it would wreck my priorities, of how it would take everything that I’d always thought I’d wanted and render that stuff absolutely meaningless. So I would look at the pictures and watch the videos and nod my head and occasionally feel a tug at my heart, but that was as far as it went with me. It wasn’t that I was callous, but on some level I was pretty dadgum obstinate about not wanting to get pulled outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes it’s just easier to stay insulated in our shiny happy suburbias, you know?


In the spring of 2006 our pastor invited a group of men from the Sudan to speak at our church. And that Sunday, as I listened to the stories of how the people in their village had been persecuted for their faith, how they’d risked their lives so that they could worship together, how they’d suffered in ways that I could not fathom, some of my resistance and reluctance started to give way. In fact, as a result of that particular Sunday, my prayers eventually started to change. And by the beginning of 2007, I had stopped saying “God, am I supposed to go?” – and started saying “God, show me where to go. Show me how to go.”

Continue reading at Sophie's blog →

Kelly Stamps: Third World Symphony (Video)

Kelly_StampsSo………..probably about 8 or 9 years ago I loved this Christian song called “Welcome Home” by an artist named Shaun Groves. I still love that song. I remember he came to my then church in concert and I would say it was a great concert (because I’m sure it was) but I mostly remember that Laurie was busy trying to get us to sit so we could see this cute guy named Steve. So future husband hunting took priority that night (which obviously paid off).

And then two years ago – that same Shaun Groves who I had heard on the radio – emailed me and asked if I would want to go on a Compassion trip with him to El Salvador. It was a very surreal moment for me. But I went on the trip. And it changed my life. But being around someone like Shaun changed me almost as much as staring poverty in the face.

Continue reading at Kelly's Korner →

Carlos Whittaker: Sing What You Know

carlos_whittakerAs I’ve been writing and collaborating for my next album, I am reminded that writing music is tough.
It sucks. I have been struggling for melodies, fighting for words that penetrate the heart. Wrestling with the music…
And then I remember I can only write, I can only sing, what I know.

What is real. What is truth. What I have lived.

My friend, fellow Compassion Blogger, and silver haired freak, Shaun Groves, knows this. Lives this.
I was blessed to be able to go to Uganda with Shaun a few years ago and literally saw his heart beating in the shape of the unloved.

Continue reading at Carlos Whittaker's blog →

Angie Smith: Third World Symphony


I love that I’m sandwiched between Jon Acuff and Carlos Whittaker on this blog tour stop, because their wives happen to be two of my favorite ladies in the world. On most days, you’ll find us hanging at the pool together and listening to our children have conversations like this:
“When will we see your kids again?” {Whittaker kids asking}
“Tomorrow.” {Me}
“Good. But I mean how many hours from now?” {Whittaker kids, with lots of Smith and Acuff nodding}
Kelsey has named our group the “Smackwhits,” which I think has potential if we ever decide to go Hollywood with it.
We live a couple houses away from the Acuff’s, but we wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for Shaun Groves. Seriously.

Continue reading at Angie Smith's blog →

Jon Acuff: Third World Symphony (Video Interview)

jon_acuffDid Hillsong United acquire the David Crowder Band in some sort of merger like situation? That’s just one of the many topics I talked about with Shaun Groves in a video interview. Who’s Shaun?

Well, Shaun Groves is a musician/humanitarian/Compassion International Guru/good friend. He just released a new album called “Third World Symphony.” He’s doing a blog tour and recently talked to the brilliant Ann Voskamp. Today, he’s talking to us. For some reason, when I talk on this video, the audio cuts out a little. In the first few minutes I kind of sound like Lil’ Wayne on the Video Music Awards where every other word was bleeped for profanity. Just imagine that I’m swearing. A lot. But of the two of us, I’m glad Shawn’s audio is perfect because he’s got a great new album and a great message to share.

Continue reading at Stuff Christians Like →

Compassion International: Keeping Jesus The Main Thing

Compassion_InternationalCatching up with Shaun Groves is a thrill ride of deep emotion, spontaneous wisecracks, and purposeful passion.

In a conversation that touched on his own struggles with doubt and surprised me with his renewed focus on treating vegetables with respect, I am left with this singular impression of the singer, songwriter, speaker, blogger and artist — Shaun is on a journey to keep Jesus at the center of his life and to change the face of poverty.

And he welcomes us to come along. Here are a few of his great answers to my poor questions:

On the dawn of the release of your latest album, Third World Symphony, how does a busy dad, husband, speaker and artist find the time to make a record?

The record is six years in the making, featuring my struggle straddling the First World and the Third World. Being angry, and disappointed, and elated, and full of joy and gratitude all along the way. It was a slow process, based on my actual experiences with Compassion kids and reflections on scripture.

There are things I have seen that made me doubt whether God is good, whether His plan to help the poor through the Church is effective. I have some intense struggle there. I am human, I have not arrived at the destination, and the struggle continues. The album captures all of it, from despair to joy.

Continue reading at Compassion International's blog →

Emily Freeman: Third World Symphony With Shaun Groves

Emily_FreemanShaun and I followed Kat up the ladder into the dark, one-room house made of cardboard and tin. Shaun was our team leader and he walked these streets and climbed these ladders in India and Guatemala and Kenya. But Manila was my first undoing and the grief came tsunami heavy. We crowded together in that small space, and the first thing I saw when we got there was toddler AJ asleep on the floor. He was so small and so like my son. I tried to hide my face behind the door, behind my camera, beneath my hand. Kat slipped me a tissue and I willed my body to stop shaking.

We stood silent as the Compassion volunteer sat with AJ’s mama and read from the Bible in Tagalog. I tried to distract myself by looking around the little room. That’s when I saw the matchbox car. My son has the same one. But this one here in the Philippines had no wheels. Grief.

Continue reading at Emily's Blog →

Ann Voskamp: What The Poor Give The Rich

Ann_VoskampSo it rains the day after he leaves.

The day after he walks out of the wheat field, packs his guitar into that beat up, duct-taped case and heads south again, music on his mind.

But his songs stay behind. Playing loud on the stereo here the next morning, the washing machine spinning and the kids all singing.

Songs with bars of music coming out of a hurricane in El Salvador, a garbage dump in Guatemala, a tin shack in Kenya, music bars that bust the captives free.

A whole album of music releasing, all about humanity’s release — the poor from poverty, the stuff-burdened from blindness.

Is this what can happen?

When music touches the face of the needy — and beholds the face of God. Beholds the beauty ache of its own real need…

Then this — a trio of transformation, God transforming us and us transforming each other for the glory of God —

This third world symphony…

Continue reading at Ann Voskamp's Blog →