When we first moved back to the US 3 1/2 years ago, we had absolutely no idea what the next steps were. We just knew that we needed to be here.
So, we moved into my parent’s basement, and watched God provide everything we needed in His timing.
One of the most important things was for Leo to find a job. Unfortunately, his degree in Jazz Composition and Improvisation doesn’t really count for much here, so his desire to teach music wasn’t going to be an option.
He decided to fast. He knew that God had brought us here, and that He had a plan for us that we couldn’t see.
Through those days of job-searching and prayer, the Lord kept bringing him back to Guitar Center’s website; but there were never any job postings listed. So, Leo decided to just go to the store and check out the situation. As he walked around the store he realized that they didn’t have anyone who spoke Spanish, let alone any other international diversity on their staff.
So, he found the manager and introduced himself.
The manager posted a job opening that day, just so Leo could apply.
And, just like that, my kind, humble, ESL, pastor’s heart man was thrown into the world of retail.
I suppose there were some good days thrown in those first few months, but most days were grueling.
In Colombia, it is terribly rude to not introduce yourself and say hello before starting a conversation. In the US, it’s common.
It’s also, apparently, common to say “No, I want to talk to someone who speaks English” when someone with an accent answers the phone.
There were so many times Leo would come home absolutely mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted.
And that was before winter hit, and he had to drive 30 minutes from my parent’s farm to the store in the freezing cold, snowy and icy roads. (something he had never done before).
But, every once in a while he’d come home with a story from the day that didn’t include people being rude, and those were precious.
There was one day when a widow came in and wanted something that would help her read music, as she was almost blind. Leo took his time showing her different things, talking with her and making her laugh. By the time they were done, she had tears in her eyes and told him that he reminded her of her husband who had passed. She was so grateful that he had taken time with her.
There was another day that a man came in and started talking with Leo about all different kinds of things related to sound, and then the man just paused, put his hand on Leo’s shoulder and said “Brother, are you a Christ-follower?”. Leo lit up, so grateful that the man noticed! As it turns out, that man was a pastor, and Leo has continued to help their church out with sound over the years.
Eventually, the Lord provided a place for us to live, just 2 miles from the store. And, it seemed like every time we went out for a date around the area, there were people who knew Leo.
Then, as we built our recording studio, people he had made a good connection with in the store started coming over to the house and recording beautiful music. In the last 2 years, he has recorded and produced songs and albums for people from the Bahamas, Kenya, Peru, Colombia, the Congo, South Africa, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and good ole’ USA.
He started finding purpose beyond just selling stuff and making commission (2%, if you were wondering). He started connecting with immigrant pastors, and offered his help to install their sound systems and train up their media teams.
I think he has been to every immigrant church in the city… African, Asian, Latino… and even one of the new Lesbian churches downtown. That is a story for another post. 🙂
He has taken such good care of people, that now, even on Sundays, he’ll facetime with a church or two when they are in crisis, in-between his own worship practice.
He is one of the hardest workers I know, taking advantage of all the different opportunities that the Lord has given him.
And now, we are stepping out on a new adventure: He quit Guitar Center on Friday. It is time for him to start doing more of what he loves, and the time he was putting in at the store just didn’t allow for him to do that.
So, spread the word! Leo is available for installing sound and training up media teams, recording projects, latin jazz gigs; guitar, bass or recording lessons, etc. We are so excited to see what the Lord is going to do!
We will always be grateful for the 3 1/2 years that Leo spent at Guitar Center. It is where he learned how to communicate not only with Anglos, but with all different races and economic levels. It’s where he put to use his amazing people skills, and built lasting friendships with other musicians here in the city. It’s where he spoke value to Spanish-speaking pastors and worship leaders, hearing what their struggles are beyond just a sound system.
The employee prices on sound equipment and instruments didn’t hurt either. 🙂
On to the next season!