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Watoto Children's Choir presents 'Beautiful Africa'

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Performance is Thursday at Valley Creek Baptist Church

By Becca Owsley

The Watoto Children’s Choir visits Valley Creek Baptist Church on Thursday for a music and dance performance.

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The group previously performed in churches in Hardin County, including a performance at Valley Creek.

“We are excited to have the Watoto Children’s Choir at Valley Creek for the second time,” worship pastor Josh Brown said. “They travel through our region every two years, alternating between the eastern and western parts of the United States.”

Watoto, Brown said, means “the children” in Swahili.

“Watoto is a holistic care program that was established as a response to the overwhelming number of orphaned children and vulnerable women in Africa,” he said. “It is positioned to rescue an individual and raise each one as a leader in their chosen sphere of life so that they in turn will rebuild their nation.”

Through this program, children are cared for physically, mentally, emotionally and morally, Brown said.

They are cared for physically through medical intervention including treatment for HIV and AIDS; mentally through formal and vocational education; emotionally through counseling; and morally through spiritual development.

This type of program typically is classified as an orphanage, but Watoto is different, Brown said.

Homes are built for children who lost their families or are vulnerable and each Watoto family consists of a mother who takes care of as many as eight children. Children younger than 2 are cared for at Baby Watoto.

The choirs have toured internationally since 1994 as ambassadors for the program through music and dance presented in a combination of contemporary gospel and traditional African rhythms, Brown said.

Valley Creek welcomed the choir back to Elizabethtown because it is an “amazing concert to experience that is family friendly to all ages and very engaging,” Brown said.

“It is also a unique evangelism effort to reach people in the community that may not normally attend church or even be interested,” Brown said. “This event helps to address issues of global significance with our congregation and community and also helps to fuel the efforts to care for the orphan and the widow.”

The tour this year is called “Beautiful Africa.” It’s designed to celebrate the beauty of the continent and show how the love of Jesus can transform lives, he said.

The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Valley Creek Baptist Church, 4685 Springfield Road in Elizabethtown. Doors open at 6 p.m. The concert is free, but donations will be taken to help the choir with expenses.

The Watoto Children’s Choir returns to Elizabethtown on April 27 to perform at Memorial United Methodist Church.

For more information about the concert, go to www.valleycreekbaptist.org or call the church office at (270) 737-9282.

For more information about the Watoto Children’s Choir, go to www.watoto.com/the-choir.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.