The Christian singer Carman has always been an important part of our lives.
I’ve listened to Carman since the early or mid-80s, but in January of 1988, Murray and I saw him live on the University of Missouri campus. Murray accepted Jesus as his Savior that night.
We listened to Carman in the car a lot when the kids were young, and they knew and asked for his songs—“Jesus is the Way,” “Addicted to Jesus.” When Rebecca was in her teens and we’d hear “the Champion,” she said, “That’s my favorite song ever.”
Murray, with different members of the family at different times, has seen Carman in concert six or eight times over the years, from large arenas to small churches.
Last Saturday night, Murray, Ping-Hwei, and I drove two hours down to Marion, Ohio, to see him again.
We had a lovely time. Carman sang some old favorites, such as “Lazarus, come Forth.” There were one or two new songs I’d never heard. We sang some old-time hymns—“I surrender All,” “My Jesus, I Love You,”—and we had church.
Carman talked about the cancer he found out about back in 2013 and went through nine months of chemo therapy for. He said when they first told him he had cancer, he said, “Wait. You don’t know who I am. I’m the ‘I love Jesus, yes I do’ boy.”
He praised God that he is now cancer free, though in 2013, they thought he had only a short time to live. He said, “No matter how much other people might say you’ve done for Jesus, Jesus said, ‘Unto whom much has been given, much shall be required.’” (Luke 12:48)
There was no charge for the concert, and he didn’t take up an offering. He gave attendees the opportunity to participate in a ministry to support children in poor parts of the world.
We signed up, so we got to meet Carman and his wife and have our pictures taken with them. Murray had the opportunity to tell him, “Kathy and I saw you in January of 1988, and I gave my life to Jesus that night.”
Ping-Hwei and I each bought a shirt, and we got several new CDs, or “records” as Carman called them.
Murray said, “Well, that was fun, getting to say hey to Carman.”