In the late ‘80’s, at the age of 10, my parents moved our family from a small town in Texas to China as undercover Christian missionaries in the city of Changsha. Following the Tian An Men Square Massacre in the summer of ’89, we were "asked" to leave the country, instructed never to speak of what we'd seen or heard, and told never to come back. There was just one problem: my mother believed God had given her a divine mission to organize the ﬁrst-ever Christian concert in Communist China, where Christian activity of any kind is highly illegal and strictly forbidden.
Upon returning to the US, she set out on a decade-long journey to (1) vaguely familiarize herself with the ins-and outs of the music touring, booking, and promotion business, (2) contact and convince a world renown Christian act to visit China for no pay, and with no guarantees of a safe or even certain return, and (3) somehow convince the Chinese government to not only allow all of this to take place, but to sponsor and promote the entire thing themselves.
Through a series of synchronicity, miraculous occurence, dumb luck, chance encounters, divine intervention, serendipity, kismet, coincidence, a pinch of duplicity, and sheer audacity, a deal was reached, and a series of dates were booked for October ’99 with the multi award-winning Australian Christian rock band the Newsboys. And then, two weeks before the concert dates – after 10 arduous years in the making – the Newsboys backed out.
Not one to a let a little thing like “not having a band” get in the way of throwing a concert of global proportions, my mom hastily improvised: she found a local church drummer, bass player, and lead singer where she was living in Pittsburgh; enlisted me (in Florida) as the keyboardist, and told me to go ﬁnd a guitarist. Our mission (should we choose to accept): with the ﬁve of us living in different states and unable to rehearse together, become a uniﬁed band in under 2 weeks, prepared to go to China under threat of arrest and/or possible death, and masquerading as the real Newsboys with all of China none the wiser.
With potentially international consequences, what unfolded was one of the most improbable, harrowing, exhilarating, often-hilarious, and ultimately triumphant tales of courage, resourcefulness, teamwork, perseverance, mental toughness, creativity, the power of intention and positive thinking, faith, and a steadfast refusal to let obstacles or fear stand in the way of the mission.
Shane’s adventure has been called “the best story since Argo” by Hollywood insiders, and is now the subject of a major motion picture. He is available for speaking engagements at your company, school, church, or corporate events.