Faith Matters for Feb. 25, 2012

Local musician says music has kept him rooted to church

By Terry Robinson

Advocate staff writer

If Remiah Trask cannot recall the time he actually joined the church, it’s just because church and a relationship with God have always been part of his life.

“I’ve been in church since I could remember,” said Trask, the music minister at World Shakers Church International in Baton Rouge. “I can’t really say there was a time when I got out of relationship. I think maybe my senior year in high school and my first couple of years of college was a little bit of testing the waters, but I remained rooted.”

The music of the church helped Trask stay rooted, he said.

“I was a church musician before I went to college, so that kept me kind of connected to God,” said Trask, a native of Walker who played in the band at LSU. “I always kept my place and also believed that God was God.”

Trask’s faith and his love of music have served him well. In addition to becoming a sought-after musician, Trask also has found success in producing and writing songs for such artists as Micah Stampley.

Trask, 31, said he tries to glorify God in all aspects of his life, from his music to his work as owner of Design Baton Rouge web company.

“Basically, God is everything,” he said. “Without him, I am nothing, but with him I am everything as well. I give him credit for every accomplishment that I’ve made and everything that I do.”

Trask also gives credit to his wife, Nikyla, who joins him as a worship leader at World Shakers.

“We both grew up (Church of God in Christ) which has very strong, traditional roots with the music, so it’s kind of in us,” he said.

“Later in life, we got very contemporary to a point where we got away from traditional music, but it was rooted in us. So it’s fairly easy to go back to the old-school songs and pull them out every now and then and even blend a more contemporary-based song with an older song.”

The Trasks also work closely in helping the community with the Gospel Cafe, which started in August at different locations and focuses on the arts, music, dance and poetry.

“Basically, the purpose of it was to give youth and young adults a place to go in the Christian world to do something. We wanted to create a Christian night-life culture in Baton Rouge,” Trask said.

For more on the Gospel Cafe dates and locations, call (225) 615-0582 or go online to http://www.gospelcafe.com.

In the ‘miracle’ business

Co-owner Billie Sykora said the Bible and Book Center would need a “miracle” to stay in business.

That was 1½ years ago.

Sykora, 79, was still thanking God as she worked this week in the store at 4242 Government that has been a part of her family for more than 30 years.

“It’s like the Lord said, ‘Nope, not at this time.’ The world said we should (close) and that’s kind of what we were going by. But he’s kept us and here we are,” Sykora said.

Sykora said business has picked up some and a part of the store building is available for lease.

“People assumed that we were closed and the hardest part has been getting the word out that we are still here, and we’re trying to stay here,” she said.

The store’s biggest items remain Bibles (with same-day imprinting available), devotional books, gift items and music.

The music inventory has been slashed significantly after the store obtained a system that allows it to burn to CD music most requested by customers, Sykora said.

Any other requested music or special Sunday school or Bible studies materials can be special ordered, she said. “It’s just a great need in this city to have a store that’s willing to work with the people and so that’s we’re trying to do.”

The store is open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, call (225) 383-5168.

‘Grab My Hand’

Being called ‘peculiar’ was a compliment to Christine Z. DeWitte.

The author and women’s Bible study leader from Florida writes about that moment and others in her delightful, new daily devotional ‘When I Fall Please Grab My Hand” (CreateSpace Publishers).

The 234-page book is a collection of 89 of DeWitte’s devotions on life lessons and her spiritual growth.

“I teach a ladies Bible Study class and started sending them a daily devotional to help everyone apply the Scriptures to our daily living. It seemed there was such a big disconnect between learning and applying the Scriptures. The email group kept expanding all over the country and the need for encouragement to so many was apparent. A missionary asked me to make copies of them all so he could distribute them to other missionaries and one day someone suggested I put it in book format.”

DeWitte’s stories are honest, practical and often told in a humorous way.

An example of DeWitte’s wit is found in the chapter titled “She’s a Little Weird.” This after a sales associate called her “peculiar.”

“I have heard that word before — peculiar. It immediately made me so thankful that he used this word in response to me,” she writes.

She based on her thoughts for that day on 1st Peter 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

DeWitte adds: “Being peculiar means that when someone is ugly to me, I can love them because (God) loves me ... I want people to look at me and see the light of the Father who saved me and not the darkness of my flesh.”

DeWitte, 49, lives in Rockledge, Fla.

Email DeWitte at timein456@aol.com

Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Reach Terry Robinson at (225) 388-0238 or email trobinson@theadvocate.com