This post is part of the series Follow Your Dreams
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I am honored to share a new interview in my series of interviews with featured bloggers, entrepreneurs, and independent ministries. Today I will be chatting with Jessica and Sam Cyiza of Cyiza Music, a non-profit music ministry.
Welcome to A Heavenly Home. First of all, please tell us a little about who you are.
We are Cyiza Music Ministry (pronounced chee-za), a full-time music ministry dedicated to sharing the love of Christ through word and song. My husband, Sam, and I started the group six years ago when we got married. Prior to marriage, the two of us had individual music ministries. We instantly connected based on our mutual interests in music, fell in love, and married in 2012.
Sam is the vocal coach for the group and a music producer. Sam’s brother Daniel, a graphic designer and audio engineer, joined the group in 2015. The three of us, all being songwriters, have dedicated our lives to bringing people to Christ. Our motto is “Saved to Serve.”
As a part of our ministry, we are excited and humbled to be living out that motto by partnering with the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s North American Division of Adventist Refugee and Immigrant Ministries in bringing awareness to the struggles refugees are facing today. Daniel puts it so well, “We want to minister to anyone who has lost their home or been displaced.”
You mentioned that you and Sam had separate music ministries before you married. When did you discover that your love of music could become a ministry?
We all had a love for music and participated in various music ministries in our home churches; however, we never thought that full-time music ministry was possible. It was only by the Holy Spirit’s leading that we realized God’s call for us to enter full-time ministry.
So how did Cyiza Music come to be?
Cyiza Music was born the moment Sam and I said, “I do.” We both had a passion for music ministry and strongly believed in the power of Christ-centered music to convict the soul. A few years ago, we had no idea where the ministry would be today. But with each step of faithfulness and trusting in God, we slowly built our repertoire, our experience, and our sound system. Cyiza Music is a product of purposeful commitment to the commission of Christ to spread the Gospel to the entire world.
Through your dedication, hard work, and prayer, your ministry has transitioned into a full-time ministry. In the earlier days, how did you balance family, work, and your ministry?
Sam often says, “If you value something, you will have enough time for that activity.” A passion is turned into a discipline and an everyday practice that enables us to improve. This is Cyiza Music’s mindset. In the beginning, the three of us were in a constant balancing act with different shifts at our respective workplaces and limited time to practice.
It was at this crucial time where our dedication was tested. No matter our responsibilities, we always made sure we set aside time for Cyiza Music practice. It is often in these moments where character and perseverance are tried in the fire. Praise God, we all emerged with a stronger conviction of God’s calling. Everything in life has its proper place.
We learned that by making the ministry a priority, God blessed us in overcoming the stresses that everyday life brings our way.We learned that by making the ministry a priority, God blessed us in overcoming the stresses that everyday life brings our way. - Interview with Cyiza Music Click To Tweet
Have you experienced any challenges in your ministry? If so, how have you overcome them?
As with all endeavors, there were challenges we faced in our ministry. One of the challenges was keeping the dream alive as we all juggled work and then jumped into the ministry in the evening time. Our schedules were all different and for a while, we did not know how to solve this problem. We had to make a choice to either continue the ministry or focus on building careers outside.
There were long nights, intensive practices with no available air conditioning. And in the midst of the pain, there were harmonious breakthroughs and moments of joy. With each successive program and concert, the sacrifices we made began to turn into blessing others through music. We say to each other now: “It was worth it.”
What advice would you give someone who wants to follow their passion but might be nervous to do so?
This question instantly makes me picture the helpless Israelites at the Red Sea, washing its rough waves up against their feet. God told them that He would not leave them to die in the hands of the Egyptians, but even so, they still heard and saw the Egyptians rapidly approaching. It was not until Moses placed his feet in the water that God parted the sea to enable His people to cross.
There are times when God calls us to be brave ambassadors for Him, to step into uncertain waters and allow Him to bring a good work through us. When God calls us to do a specific work, we sometimes retract either due to the belief that we lack the skills and knowledge required to succeed or we simply fear the repercussions if we fail. But these fears are placing the responsibility of success on our shoulders. God does not call us because we are able. He calls us because we are not able. We are not able to fulfill His mission on our own merits. God gives us the privilege to learn at His feet, to learn His ways and His character, and to serve others.
To fear the unknown is to be human. But I would rather follow God’s calling for my life and step into those stormy waters rather than navigate the world on my own path without God’s leading. Pray for God’s guidance. Pray for God to show you what His plan is for your life. If he wants you to be in full-time ministry, step into the stormy waters. If He calls you to be a doctor, step into the stormy waters. If He calls you to stay in your current job position and bless your coworkers, step into the stormy waters. As you take that first step, watch how God calms the sea and guides your next step forward.Pray for God’s guidance. Pray for God to show you what His plan is for your life. - Interview with Cyiza Music Click To Tweet
That is wonderful advice! I am sure my Readers are very interested in learning a little more about your music. Do you have any music available?
We are very excited to announce that on July 14th, our debut album entitled “I’ve Been Redeemed” will be released for CD purchases and downloads on the following platforms: iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Google Play, and iHeartRadio, and many more platforms. The CD will also be available on our website, which will also be unveiled on July 14th. This album features seven original songs and three cover songs. We can’t wait to share these songs with the world in the hopes of bringing people to Christ.
We would like to invite your readers in the Phoenix area to come out to the CD launch concert at Camelback Seventh-day Adventist Church (5902 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018) on July 14th at 6:30 pm. Bring a friend and enjoy an uplifting concert with songs that warm the heart and bring joy to the soul.
Cyiza Music performing live at Camp Yavapines, Prescott, Arizona, in June 2016. The song, “I Will Serve Thee”, is copyrighted by Gaither Music.
As musicians, where do you find the inspiration for your original music?
The inspiration for our original music is cultivated from each one of our Christian experiences. There are moments where we are struck by complimenting lyrics and tunes; however, much of the creativity is born through intentional songwriting sessions.
It has been great getting to know you. Before we say farewell, is there a Bible verse or passage that encourages and motivates you that you would like to share?
From the very infancy of Cyiza Music Ministry, Psalm 34:8 was already the proclamation that we wanted to share with everyone who listened to our music: “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.”
In this world, there is so much pain and suffering and injustice, but with God, we can have peace. We can see His goodness even in the midst of the heartache of this world. We need to only have a small taste of the Lord, to see just a glimpse of His character. When we turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full into His wonderful face, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
And remember, we are all saved to serve.
Thank you, Cyiza Music, for spending a little time with us and sharing how the Lord has blessed and guided your journey and ministry. Friends, you can learn more about Cyiza Music Ministry and their upcoming album release at their website and social media.
Special Giveaway Offer: Signed copy of “I’ve Been Redeemed”
For one week only (from July 8-15), I am running a very special giveaway. I have had the honor of receiving an advanced copy of the new album “I’ve Been Redeemed” signed by all three members of Cyiza Music. Produced by the Gaither Studios, this album has three familiar favorites and seven original songs. I co-wrote one of the songs with Jessica Cyiza, who happens to be my sister.
The giveaway will close Sunday, July 15th, so enter today! The winner will be randomly selected and notified afterward. The winner must provide a valid mailing address in order to receive the signed album.