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experience of singing. All four giggle as she explains. “I was three years old in the fellowship room and we were singing ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ (The pastor) came in, knelt beside me and whispered, ‘Don’t you ever stop singing.’” She thought the pastor was Jesus and it’s apparent she took his advice. DeJong, from Tripp, SD didn’t have athletic ability and like most small-town kids who find an interest in a school activity, she found that music was her path. Hansen, from Lennox, SD grew up singing with her family. Her mom and dad gave many performances as a family with their five children. Ostrem moved here from Minneapolis, MN for a teaching job. She fell in love with and married a farmer and planted her roots. The ladies were all previously part of a Sunday night worship night called SNL, Sunday Night aLive. They and other members of the group created this program that involved a casual night of worship, music, a skit and a message. The four continued to grow a closer and closer bond with each other and now feel like they have a special alliance. Ostrem explains, “It’s a sisterhood, a friendship. I think that’s what makes the music go together. That and the Lord.” Their close bond was apparent through my interview with them. I watched the group prepare for practice, laughing and joking before they fell in a focused trance as they began to sing. Their perfect harmony gave me goosebumps, leaving me in awe of how the voices of four people could blend so well together. I admit, I can’t sing (not in public, anyway) and it gave me a moment of longing for that talent. Since they’ve started the quartet, they’ve performed at approximately 20 venues at various places in the Midwest. They announce upcoming performances in their local paper and on their Facebook page, “Mosaic – Making Our Souls Alive in Christ – A Women’s Quartet”. They don’t seek out appearances but rather just follow along the path that they feel is chosen for them. Most of their performances are from word of mouth and recommendations from audience members. They each have their own role in the quartet; Ostrem plays the keys and sings melody while Hansen sings bass, Christiansen sings alto and DeJong sings the high notes. Christiansen explains their unique style of music, “I think part of the songs that we kind of lean towards are a contemporary version of an old hymn.” They randomly find the songs that they perform, most often it’s a song that has moved one of them. Hansen explains, “We pick a song and we run through it and run through it and run through it and everybody finds their part.” They put their own twist on each song, molding it to what fits best with them. Though they each have busy lives, they set aside Tuesday nights for practice, either at church or Ostrem’s beautiful front porch on her farm. They all feel that practice nights are so much more than that, it’s a time to rely on each other for support, advice and insight on daily successes and challenges. They feel that they keep one another grounded, offering support to lighten the burden of another while learning how to lean on each other. Ostrem, an independent person, is learning about dependence and leaning on her support group for wisdom and help. She smiles, “It’s just been so good to know that these guys have my back,” and the others nod in agreement. DeJong comments that when they perform, they explain to the audience that they are not there to entertain the group but instead there to help worship. With God’s guidance, they prepare what they want to say during each performance but often end up saying what comes from their heart. DeJong continues, “It’s funny how, as much as we want to give (the audience), we always receive twice as much, with stories that we hear from them.” They are often seen as prayer warriors, helping others ask for strength in difficult situations and they feel tremendous honor from this perception. They each have special performance memories held in their hearts. They smile while recalling their program from Easter last year. The children in church were invited to sing along with them and they found it heartwarming to see children standing and joining in their song. Ostrem recalls her special memory from a recent performance. “We led worship with these ladies at a retreat. They were singing with us and we were just singing a worship song about God being king of our hearts and being there for us and, it might sound strange, but sometimes it’s like you can feel that God is with you and He was there that day. If we can go somewhere and invite the Lord to come and if he can do work in all of us together, there’s nothing better in the world.” The others agree. They’ve encountered some challenges on their journey. Their biggest challenge is time constraints, balancing this journey along with their family and jobs. They are learning that they can only do so much and feel disappointment when having to say no but are thankful that many will contact them again later to get on their schedule. Their most difficult performance was the funeral they first sang together, trying to find their harmonious blend to perform the song perfectly. They feel that their first performance really brought the group together. They found that their program at the Turner County Fair was the most nerve-wracking. DeJong admits as they all laugh, “we might have prayed an extra time before we went out there.” After starting that program, they began to relax when they spotted many family and church members in the audience. The ladies are consistent with their pre-performance routine, finding that the performance doesn’t go as well if they stray from the routine. They begin by wrapping their arms around one another, taking a moment for deep breaths, focus and a prayer. They always end each program with gratitude and in prayer. They’ve expanded ways of bringing others together by creating a Coffee Bar in their church on Sunday mornings. They arrive early to make coffee, tea and lemonade. The parishioners are invited to gather together, getting to know each other in a causal setting. The project, they found, has bridged the gap between generations. They enjoy seeing the results of their project, seeing others gather to talk and even hug one another. Hansen smiles, “It’s been interesting at how worship has become so much deeper since we’ve been on this journey together.” DeJong mentions their gratitude toward their family and church. “We couldn’t do this without the support of our husbands and our families,” Ostrem states. “They are the ones that make this possible and we’re very grateful for that.” Christiansen explains, “My faith has grown deeper and deeper because God has been so faithful to us and has put things right in front of us.” Hansen adds, “His path is very evident in all of this. There’s no doubt in that.” n Contact information: Facebook: Mosaic – Making Our Souls Alive in Christ – A Women’s Quartet.” Email - mosaicsingers4@gmail.com or Shelly via phone - (605) 660-0419. HERVOICEvMAY/JUNE 2019v7

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