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Jan27FriThrough their musical witness, the Fernandes family testifies to God's faithfulness January 27, 2012 by Julia Hosking
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- Territorial News
When I was a teenager, I was a guitarist in a rock band with my friends called Bronze Axe,” says Robin Fernandes. “We started the group together, but after several years, they wanted to replace me. I held on to those feelings of rejection for a long time.”
Fernandes later married Milly, became a Christian and had three sons, Steele, Jamie and Nathan, who, as they grew, were taught to play different instruments by their father. In 2005, they formed Cornerstone7177, their family band that plays slow rock and blues with a biblical message.
“The name was inspired by 1 Peter 2:7 (NKJV): 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,' ”
explains Fernandes, now a soldier at Toronto's York Community Church after emigrating with his family from Kuwait two years ago. The “7177” represents the birthdates of Fernandes' three boys.
“Being part of a Christian band is having a great impact on my sons' lives,” says Fernandes. “Not only does it give us a sense of belonging together as a family, but they are maturing as Christians and are not ashamed to testify about Jesus to their friends.”
Fernandes is York Community Church's family services outreach co-ordinator, and is also responsible for organizing monthly outreach concerts for the youth and young adults of the surrounding area. These roles allow him the opportunity to pursue his passion of reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ through music.
“I'll bring out my guitar at the food bank and just start praising the Lord,” he says. “I testify that God has saved me, transformed my life and is capable of doing the same in other people's lives. Then I've told them to check out my family band at the outreach concerts or on Sundays, and little by little, people are starting to come.”
Cornerstone7177's ministry extends beyond the church. This past summer, the band participated in the ecumenical Voices of the Nations concert along with 40 other Christian artists in two Toronto locations.
“It was one of the best moments in my life,” reflects Fernandes. “I could stand in the heart of Toronto and witness that I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were not free to do that in the Middle East. Since coming to Canada, life has become more meaningful because I believe I'm on a mission to testify about the transforming power and grace of my Lord and Saviour.”
Written in Prayer
Whether Cornerstone7177 performs at a school, festival or outreach event, many of Fernandes' original compositions
“The Lord has been so faithful and he's given me a new song for every concert,” Fernandes says. “One month, the theme was 'Back to Basics' and I wrote a song with the same name about getting back to the message of the Bible.”
Although Fernandes says he doesn't have a formula for writing music, his songs are all created during time with God.
“I can't tell myself, 'I'll write a song tomorrow.' It doesn't happen that way,” he shares. “Rather, when I am sad, feeling the hurt in people or wanting to thank God for the joy I'm experiencing, I'll sit down with my guitar and start strumming or fiddling around with chords until a tune comes into my mind. That's when I express my testimony to the Lord through music. There have been other times when, as I'm reading Scripture, I start singing what I'm reading and soon I've written a song.
“It is amazing that God can do such awesome things through a simple person like me,” continues Fernandes. “I give him the glory for every song I write. In the way that pastors are called to preach the Word, I believe the Lord has called me to sing the Word.”