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Fine Arts winner makes it to Hollywood

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 - 3:55 PM CST

Luke Edgemon
Edgemon

"American Idol" premiered its Hollywood Week on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, showcasing 181 contestants that survived the initial auditions and were back to prove themselves deserving of a spot on the hit television show.

North Carolina singer Luke Edgemon was one of those contestants sent to Hollywood after his Orlando audition.

"When I first realized that I'd made it to Hollywood, I felt like I was imagining it," Edgemon says. "Standing in front of the Idol judges and Kristen Chenoweth was surreal enough already."

Edgemon, who won first place in the Male Vocal Solo category at the Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Festival in 2006, says making it to Hollywood felt much like the first time he made it to second and third rounds in Nationals. "Something I had been trying to achieve for so many years had finally been attained ... I couldn't have been happier," he says.

"Being a part of National Fine Arts played a part in almost every aspect of my journey on American Idol," Edgemon says. According to Edgemon, little things throughout the competition reminded him of Fine Arts, such as the constant adjudication and calls to the stage.

Although sent home during American Idol's Hollywood week, he learned some valuable lessons from his Fine Arts experiences that prepared him for this situation.

"Rejection is also something that FAF taught me to deal with," he says. "While most people don't like to associate a negative word like that with the amazing things that come from Fine Arts, it is unfortunately an emotion most of us who participate have to deal with and overcome." 

"I am thankful to have learned, at a young age, that no matter what dismissal we face, we are still destined by God to walk in our calling. I focused on this particular bit of knowledge when I was released from the American Idol competition during Hollywood Week this year, and I have the 6 years I participated in National Fine Arts Festival to thank," Edgemon says.

Edgemon learned another lesson while preparing for his auditions that may come as a surprise to some - he gave up soft drinks and coffee, which could harm his voice. "I had a meeting with a local speech pathologist before going to Los Angeles, and she taught me that caffeine is extremely harmful to the vocal chords, as it dries them out significantly, and doesn't allow them to work to their fullest potential," he says.

Since his release from American Idol in January, Edgemon has secured a few singing opportunities: singing in churches throughout the United States, performing the national anthem at sporting events, and judging the district level of the Fine Arts Festival competition in a number of states.  He has also started recording a few covers for fun.

During his journey through Fine Arts, Edgemon attended Glad Tidings Church (AG) in Dunn, North Carolina. He does not attend the church anymore, however, sees himself as a member of quite a few AG churches throughout the country while he travels. "I travel as much as I can, ministering through songs that Jesus has blessed me with," Edgemon says.

As for season 10 auditions, Edgemon says he would definitely try out for American Idol again. "The entire process is insanely fun and interesting. From the travel, to the constant immersion in song, to meeting the most amazing people; the experience is like no other," he says.

"Right now, I am hoping that God brings me to something much bigger than American Idol in 2010. However, I walk through every door that I feel He holds the key to; and if nothing significant has taken my journey one step closer to the tremendous calling He has ordained for my life, then you can definitely expect to see me in those long lines again this fall."

Wherever Edgemon is singing, he is sure that his faith plays a part in his music. "My faith holds an esteemed role in my music. Before I sing a note, or even take a breath, I challenge myself to remember where my giftings and talents came from," he says. "Making music is my calling, and I cannot ever allow myself to forget that."

To hear some of Edgemon's music, visit his Myspace page.


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Luke Edgemon
Edgemon

"American Idol" premiered its Hollywood Week on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, showcasing 181 contestants that survived the initial auditions and were back to prove themselves deserving of a spot on the hit television show.

North Carolina singer Luke Edgemon was one of those contestants sent to Hollywood after his Orlando audition.

"When I first realized that I'd made it to Hollywood, I felt like I was imagining it," Edgemon says. "Standing in front of the Idol judges and Kristen Chenoweth was surreal enough already."

Edgemon, who won first place in the Male Vocal Solo category at the Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Festival in 2006, says making it to Hollywood felt much like the first time he made it to second and third rounds in Nationals. "Something I had been trying to achieve for so many years had finally been attained ... I couldn't have been happier," he says.

"Being a part of National Fine Arts played a part in almost every aspect of my journey on American Idol," Edgemon says. According to Edgemon, little things throughout the competition reminded him of Fine Arts, such as the constant adjudication and calls to the stage.

Although sent home during American Idol's Hollywood week, he learned some valuable lessons from his Fine Arts experiences that prepared him for this situation.

"Rejection is also something that FAF taught me to deal with," he says. "While most people don't like to associate a negative word like that with the amazing things that come from Fine Arts, it is unfortunately an emotion most of us who participate have to deal with and overcome." 

"I am thankful to have learned, at a young age, that no matter what dismissal we face, we are still destined by God to walk in our calling. I focused on this particular bit of knowledge when I was released from the American Idol competition during Hollywood Week this year, and I have the 6 years I participated in National Fine Arts Festival to thank," Edgemon says.

Edgemon learned another lesson while preparing for his auditions that may come as a surprise to some - he gave up soft drinks and coffee, which could harm his voice. "I had a meeting with a local speech pathologist before going to Los Angeles, and she taught me that caffeine is extremely harmful to the vocal chords, as it dries them out significantly, and doesn't allow them to work to their fullest potential," he says.

Since his release from American Idol in January, Edgemon has secured a few singing opportunities: singing in churches throughout the United States, performing the national anthem at sporting events, and judging the district level of the Fine Arts Festival competition in a number of states.  He has also started recording a few covers for fun.

During his journey through Fine Arts, Edgemon attended Glad Tidings Church (AG) in Dunn, North Carolina. He does not attend the church anymore, however, sees himself as a member of quite a few AG churches throughout the country while he travels. "I travel as much as I can, ministering through songs that Jesus has blessed me with," Edgemon says.

As for season 10 auditions, Edgemon says he would definitely try out for American Idol again. "The entire process is insanely fun and interesting. From the travel, to the constant immersion in song, to meeting the most amazing people; the experience is like no other," he says.

"Right now, I am hoping that God brings me to something much bigger than American Idol in 2010. However, I walk through every door that I feel He holds the key to; and if nothing significant has taken my journey one step closer to the tremendous calling He has ordained for my life, then you can definitely expect to see me in those long lines again this fall."

Wherever Edgemon is singing, he is sure that his faith plays a part in his music. "My faith holds an esteemed role in my music. Before I sing a note, or even take a breath, I challenge myself to remember where my giftings and talents came from," he says. "Making music is my calling, and I cannot ever allow myself to forget that."

To hear some of Edgemon's music, visit his Myspace page.


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Coins for Kids Giving Sees Results in Alaska

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 - 5:04 PM CST

Jim and Linda Schulz
Missionaries Jim and Linda Schulz.

Missionaries in Venezuela, South Africa, Alaska, Belgium, India, Bolivia, Romania and more have benefitted greatly from the $200,000 the annual national Girls Ministries Coins for Kids missions giving program typically raises each year.

Yet, with new annual focuses every year, past years' projects can sometimes be forgotten. But in the land of the midnight sun, Alaska, the Coins for Kids 2012 giving project to help build a permanent building at a camp for children, has come to pass.

But it was more of a miracle in the making than anyone ever imagined.

The creation of Camp "Agaiutim Nune," which means "The Place of God," and is also known as Camp AN, began with a miracle. The pristine property was donated to AG missionaries Jim and Linda Shulz to create a camp for children.

Camp AN David Huff
Volunteer David Huff with wood beams traveling up the Yukon River to Camp AN.

However, Camp AN may also be a dictionary's definition of "middle of nowhere." Located on the banks of the Yukon River in Western Alaska, with no roads in or out, and accessible only by boat, Camp AN's nearest neighbor is a small village 17 miles away . . . the nearest city is 500 miles away.

But not to be detoured, the Schulzes have been operating the annual camp since 1996. Their focus is on demonstrating God's love and compassion to girls and boys, who are mostly from the Yupik Eskimo tribe, and introducing them to Christ.  However, with limited resources, the camp has had to utilize tents for church services, cooking, eating and sleeping, which had to be shipped in, set up, taken down, and stored every year.

Middle of Nowhere
Where is the "middle of nowhere"? How about Western Alaska, on the Yukon River, 500 miles from the nearest city with the only access being by boat? That is Camp AN!

In a more temperate zone, tents may be the ideal camp experience. But at Camp AN, the temperature sometimes drops below 40 in the summer. The building of a permanent multipurpose building that would protect campers and staff from nature seemed like the best of plans.

Yet even the best of plans hit roadblocks. After the strong giving effort through Coins for Kids to make the building possible, the Schulzes learned that barges couldn't navigate the river to their remote location — there was no way to transport the large, heavy steal beams or other equipment and supplies necessary to the building site.

But where barges failed, God prevailed.

"The very logistics of this projected indicated that it was impossible," Jim Schulz admits, "but God gave us wisdom, creativity, and sheer manpower to move and handle extremely heavy pieces of building materials without the use of heavy equipment."

Steel floor supports
Wood beams and steal floor supports are in place, awaiting layers of decking.

Schulz says that with the help of many volunteers and using their two relatively small camp boats, they transported 80 tons of building materials to the project site. From the ground to the locked doors, it took just 32 days to put the building up.

"Many men and church groups from both Alaska and the 'Lower 48' worked extremely long hours to accomplish the task," Schulz says. "So many miracles happened before and during construction that a brief statement like this could never begin to enumerate."

Volunteer David Huff, who attends Central Assembly in Springfield, Missouri, learned about the Camp AN project through a Pentecostal Evangel article. He agrees with Schulz, stating that the miracles that took place for the building to be completed are too numerous to name.

Nearing completion of building
The building nearly enclosed.

"Even though I have a background in carpentry, this project was very unlike anything I had ever done, due to the remote location and lack of equipment," Huff recalls. "There were lots of challenges that seemed insurmountable, but God provided solutions at just the right time.  

"We had 10 very large and heavy beams and 26 large red iron trusses that we had to move by boat, and unload them without equipment," Huff explains. "At one time it seemed completely impossible, but God gave the answer how to move them." 

Huff even praises God for the weather, explaining that typically August is a very wet month in Western Alaska, but during the two weeks he was there, the building effort was blessed by only two short periods of rain. "It was really amazing and incredibly unusual," he says.

Enclosed building at Camp AN
Through the efforts of missionaries and many volunteers, the Camp AN camp building is built in just 32 days.

Schulz says that the new building will house the chapel, dining hall and kitchen. 

"We have used the tents for 19 years and they show much wear," Schulz says. "Now we will be able to continue with a safe, dry, warm facility to continue reaching and disciplining souls for Christ. Next summer we have some 'finish' work to complete — outside steps, windows, two side doors, electrical work and insulate. We are confident God will continue to help us with this as well."

To view additional pictures of the building project in different stages of completion, see the Schulzes' Camp AN Flickr pages. To learn more about Coins for Kids, click here.

 

Authors: Dan Van Veen

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