Life on the road but family still comes first
Gospel singer Ayiesha Woods prayed for an opportunity to take her family with her as she toured.
A renovated bus proved the answer for the contemporary Christian artist, who is the daughter of Bermudians Sandyanne Bean and Donald Woods Jr.
Sheíll take her husband and their three sons as she travels across the United States for All One Family ó the tour will include her popular songs Happy and Big Enough. Below, she talks about the next chapter in her music ministry and how people can show their support.
Q: When was the seed first planted to go on a music tour with your family, and why is this something important to you?
I have been a recording artist since 2002 and I took a sabbatical from touring and recording after I got married in 2010. The seed was first planted to tour with my family after we had our first son, Joseph II, in early 2012. This is important to me because family is important to me. In an industry thatís male-dominated, seldom are times that artists are on the road with their families. Yes, I am a female Christian music recording artist, but I am first a wife and mother. Itís important to me that that is understood.
Q: You mentioned that God has opened doors by providing a tour bus big enough for your family of five. How else have you seen God move to make this a reality?
Weíve seen God move on the hearts of people. Some who are unable to give financially have already committed to donating their time, gifts and abilities to the completion of this project ó plumbers, electricians, carpenters, drivers, etc. Weíve been offered insane discounts on almost everything we need for the tour bus and are experiencing Godís great favour all around. We also launched a GoFundMe page and have seen people donating steadily to that campaign.
Q: When do you expect the tour will start and what will be the major goals with taking your music on the road?
We anticipate multiple one-offs beginning in September, but an official All One Family tour will kick off in November after the American Thanksgiving holiday. Our management team is currently working out our route, but definite cities include Miami, Florida, Atlanta, Dallas, Columbia, Washington DC, Rhode Island and Columbus. Our goals for taking our music ministry on the road have always been to point people to a loving Saviour, Christ Jesus, and to bring hope. The only difference with having our bus is the frequency and the freedom to do it as God has specifically designed for us ó as a family.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges in making this a reality?
The biggest challenge has been fulfilling engagements traditionally designed to accommodate an artist and, sometimes, their bands. For example, last summer we toured multiple cities on the East Coast, from Florida to Massachusetts. We even headed out west, as far as Texas. And we did it in our Ford F-150! It was a challenge, but we made memories, shared the good news and I wouldnít trade those experiences for anything.
Q: Have there been any rewards?
The rewards are priceless. The greatest reward is that we get to do what we were created to do: love God, love people; serve God, serve people. Our family gets to experience the divine grace and provision of God while taking part in a master plan.
Q: What are you most excited about with the tour?
Iím excited to see the fruit of our labour; the transformation weíll see as lives are touched and encouraged by our ministry.
Q: Have you ever done anything like this with your three children? How do you anticipate it will be different from past tours?
Every booking we have, we do whatever we can to include our family. If it means renting a van or paying for extra flights, whenever itís in our power to do it, we do it. This time will be different from past touring in that our whole family can and will be accommodated ó band included ó as well as Granny Woods, who is the primary caregiver to our children whenever possible while on the road. Our bus, upon completion of the conversion, will sleep 12 comfortably. It is being tailored for our unique family ministry.
Q: What would you say to encourage people to help and support your ministry?
Iíd just remind them that this is kingdom work and what you help make happen for someone else, God will make happen for you. Your support and help is advancing the work of the ministry and promoting the importance of family at a time in society where emphasis is hardly placed on family and its importance any more. This is an opportunity to help encourage those values. Think about it. Strong families make strong communities, strong communities make strong cities and countries and therefore a better world.
Q: How have you seen lives changed through your music?
Iíve heard countless testimonies of songs of mine that have brought people through some of the darkest periods of their lives. I had the honour of meeting a young lady who was suicidal and about to take her life when she heard my music, recanted and found hope. For us, thatís what itís all about. Itís why we do what we do.