"He put a new song in my mouth, A hymn of praise to my God.
Many will see...and put their trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:3
 
 
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  Here is a site where people can gather together in their desire to share the love of Jesus. Inspired by a Christmas song, "Who Needs To Know?", written by Mary Latona and sung by Jim Dunmire, this has blossomed into a ministry with a DVD of the same song, to encourage people to reach out to others with the love of Jesus. As we find ourselves in "these final days", there is no better time than now to ask yourself, "who needs to know, and who needs to hear" the good news of the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. [Read More]  
 
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Journey Of A Song


Birth of a Song

This wasn’t the first song that I wrote. There were others. Some were never heard by anyone but God and me. And then there was one that I will always remember as being one that helped others who were grieving. ‘Footprints in the Sand’ came to me while I was pet sitting for a man going through chemotherapy treatments. It seemed so appropriate at the time, as he was going through something very traumatic, not knowing the outcome, and needing to know that there was a Jesus who was walking right beside him. The inspiration came from the well known poem. I gave him a copy of the lyrics. Later, I was able to sing it at a memorable service for a family in Brockway who lost their home and family members in a massive fire. I was glad that I had something to offer them in their grief.

Shortly after that, I was shopping at my local shopping center as it was around Christmas time. A particular lady caught my eye. She had a shopping cart filled with clothes, toys and gifts. I don’t think it could hold anything more! Christmas music was playing, and decorations were up. But she appeared to be tired and somewhat burdened. It made me wonder if she, like so many of us, have made Christmas into a materialistic holiday instead of the worshipful celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Was she aware that Jesus came for her? She seemed to be wanting to make this Christmas the best one ever for her family and friends, but come January, there would be huge bills waiting for her in the mail.

In the following days, the song came to me. “Who Needs To Know?” was born, and the lyrics and melody just seemed to flow. I am the keyboard player for the worship team at First United Methodist Church in St. Marys, and I presented the song to our worship leader, Jim Dunmire, at the following practice. He has a great voice, and I wanted to see what he thought of it. As he was singing it, Pastor Dwayne Burfield walked in. He listened to the song, liked it, and requested that it be sung during the Christmas services in the coming weeks. So we did. It was very well received by the people, and a few asked us if we would record it onto CD. That had never entered my mind! But I felt it was my calling from God that there are people out there who need to know. The journey had begun!

The Recording

In the months that followed, Jim was able to locate a producer in Nashville, TN who would work with us. The recording process was about to begin! I applied for a copyright for the song, and Jim sent down a demo. Professional musicians were hired and a CD of the melody was sent to me for approval. Once that was done, then it was Jim’s turn to supply the vocals. We and our spouses flew down for his recording. It was an awesome experience for me; one that I had never aimed for. Yet here we were, recording a song that I wrote! The producer was great, and walked Jim through the whole process. I trusted his expertise since he had been in the recording business a long time in the Music Capital of the World, Nashville! Of course, all the glory was going to God, who gave me this song, so that people could receive His message of love and salvation.

When all was finished, I received the master discs. The next step was to have it replicated and a jacket designed so it could go out to the people to enjoy. I chose Disc Makers, sent them my photos and ideas, and they worked with me to come up with a finished product that I am very pleased with. I will never ever forget the day when the boxes arrived through UPS! Slowly, yet eagerly, I opened a box. I reached in and saw rows and rows of red cases, wrapped in cellophane. I pulled out one and just stared at it! I couldn’t believe that I was actually holding one of my CDs! After awhile, I opened it and played it. Beautiful! Awesome! I must have played that thing five times! I’d crank up the volume, since I was the only one home at the time…wow. I kept saying to myself…Wow….Wow!
In the days that followed, I shared them with my family and the worship team, and of course, Jim and Pastor Burfield! They joined me in my excitement and were happy for me too. The journey was about to get even more exciting as the song would go out to those who need to know.

Radio Play


The Christmas season was soon approaching, so I found myself busy trying to figure out how to get this song out to the people. A dream of mine was to have it played on the radio. I sent several letters out to different stations. A friend in my church was able to get it played on three local secular stations. One even interviewed Jim and me on the air! I will always remember the evening that I was pulling into the church’s parking lot before our music practice. I had the radio station on, and the song started playing! On my radio display were the words “Who Needs To Know?” Jim Dunmire Mary Latona, flashing through like a ticker tape! Another Wow!! I wondered if anyone else I knew had seen that. I went in and told everyone, “Guess what!! ……” I think they were getting a little tired of my excitement. ‘Get back down to earth, Mary‘, they probably were thinking. But I couldn’t help myself.

In the weeks that followed, many people bought the CDs to give to their family and friends. I decided to give all the proceeds from the CDs to my church for its building fund. One was sent out to the state of Washington. I will never know the impact it has made on people. Only God knows, and I believe He has a purpose for that song. As the song says, time is running out to share His message of love and salvation to those who need to know Him. Music can be a powerful tool, and this is one of the many ways He uses to reach people. I am so glad He decided to use me, for this has been a remarkable journey.

The following year, after the Christmas season was finished, I reviewed the progress of the song. Though getting radio play locally was great, I had wanted the song to be aired on Family Life Network. It is a Christian radio station located in central New York state, with a listening audience of not only New York and Pennsylvania, but all over the world through its internet site. Thousands and thousands of people listen to its inspiring music and programs. I know I do. They hadn’t responded to my letter the Christmas before, so I thought I would try again.

I learned that the letter had never reached the person it was intended for. I contacted the Program Director and told him about my song, and its popularity in my local area. He granted me an interview that summer. This was definitely God opening a door that doesn’t open for many people. He told me he receives many songs and tapings each week from people who are trying to get into the music business, and most of the time, they aren’t playable due to various reasons. But he told me that he felt he needed to see me and to let me present this song to him. I watched him as he was listening, and could tell he was liking it. When it finished, he told me that he would definitely use it in the Christmas programming and that it not only was professionally done, but it had a great message. I must have been in his office for an hour. My husband was waiting out in the car, wondering where I was! I was elated, to say the least.

Starting in mid-December, it was sure enough given air time. The Program Director sent me the days and approximate times that it would be played, since the programming is automated. So all of us were able to tune in. There were many times when people would stop me as I was out and about in town, telling me they had heard my song on the radio! The local secular radio stations also played it again. This was an added blessing.

After the Christmas season was over, the Program Director told me that the song would be played again the following Christmas, and more often, as it had ‘been established’. This was confirming to me that God still has people out there who will be at the right place and at the right time, within earshot of the radio, to be able to listen to the song. God does work in marvelous ways, and He knows who needs to know!


Television Time

Besides sending letters to radio stations that fall, I also sent letters to Christian television networks who I thought would be interested in the message of this song. Cornerstone TeleVision from Pittsburgh, PA responded by inviting Jim and me to come down and record the song for their Focus4 program. That Program Director hadn’t even heard the song, yet she was interested in having us! Another door opened by God! I sent the CD down to her, and several weeks later, Jim, I and our spouses drove down for the taping. This was to be another unforgettable experience! As we were arriving in the parking lot, we couldn’t help but notice the tall towers that reached into the clouds. I reminded Jim that he would be heard by people all over the world! Butterflies were beginning to flutter! Once we entered the building, we were met by the Program Director and led into the ‘Green Room’. We were beginning to feel important! It was my turn first to go into ‘Makeup’. While I was turning into a glamour girl, Jim was led onto the stage area for sound measurements, etc. When I was done, it was my turn to be interviewed and I was to tell what inspired me to write the song. Jim was being made up at that time. Then, all of us went into the stage room to record him singing the song. The room was large, with several sets along the perimeter, each set belonging to one of Cornerstone’s shows that they produce. I recognized ‘Arlene’s Kitchen’. To see a set in person and compare it to what I had seen on television was neat. Above us, the high ceiling was black. In fact, the area behind the cameras was very dim. Jim was positioned on stage, surrounded by props of a boat dock with scenes of Pittsburgh behind him. Bright stage lights were above him. He was standing in front of a microphone, probably wishing he had his guitar to hang onto. There were two cameramen and three cameras, that swooped while the song was going on, to get different angles. The producers were off to the side, managing everything. We were very quiet, waiting for the countdown to begin. Looking up into the monitors, we could see him, and realized that this eventually would be on the program. Then, 5...4...3...2...1, and the music began. He did a great job, and we were so proud of him. I felt like all of this was a dream. I was appreciative that he was willing to do this for me, so the song could reach even more people.

I was given a probable date that this song would be aired, but was told that it could change if needed. Well, that’s what happened! Jim and I were at music practice when a phone call came in that he was on! We missed it! I contacted the producer the next day, and she, being a very busy person, had forgotten to inform me. But it would be in their archives on their internet site. And my interview was never aired. She paraphrased what I had said, to save time, before Jim sang the song. A friend videotaped it, and shared it with us through Facebook, so all could see it. Later, the producer sent Jim and me copies of the hour long show for our enjoyment. Again, I marveled at what God was doing in getting this song out, to people who need to know.

Video Play

One of the things the Program Director at Family Life Network had suggested for me to do was to produce a video of the song and put it on YouTube, for greater exposure. At that time, I wasn’t that familiar with what is on YouTube, or the process of doing a video. I contacted a friend of mine who owns Paradise Videos. He was excited to help me do this project. In the weeks that followed, I sat down and while listening to the song, jotted down scenes and locations. Little by little, everything came together. Almost effortlessly! This was fun! And one of the things that God has blessed me with are wonderful friends who go to church with me, and who were willing to help me out by being the actors. I contacted store owners, a police chief, and church personnel, as I wanted to use their property in the video, and everyone was very cooperative. When we filmed in Brookville, the temperature was way below freezing. But it was perfect for filming purposes. I chose its Main Street area because of the beautifully decorated storefronts, and the life sized manger scene that the Christian Book and Gift store was going to have displayed in its storefront window. We had a great time that day, and there was anticipation among my friends as I explained to them what I wanted them to do. They were born actors and didn’t even realize it! We filmed shoppers walking by a manger scene, a homeless man and a lady who needed help with her shopping bags. At the end of the video shooting, in the distance, a man can be seen, pulling a cart as he went through the garbage containers along the sidewalk. Real life here. Scenes at my church were done next, involving the band, the Christmas tree decorators, an injured man in the wheelchair, a mother and her child, and a lady being served at the Bowls of Love food ministry that we do. Throughout the video, there are also still scenes. One is a beautiful wall mural of Jesus, which is in the sanctuary of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Ridgway. Another is the stunning stained glass panel of Jesus with children, found in the sanctuary of St. Marys Catholic Church. Outside scenes were captured of the festive Christmas lights that line the downtown area in St. Marys.

The final filming is perhaps the most dramatic in the whole video. This was done at my church, and it involved Pastor Chris Kindle and the congregation. This scene is played out during the Bridge in the song, and reveals what the Bible says will happen in the near future. The first time I watched this scene, I gasped. Even though I knew exactly what was about to happen, it still touched me in a way I can’t explain. A friend who participated in this scene later told me it was the worst thing that she can think of that could happen to anyone.

The Bible tells us that God doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to believe in Him and to accept Him as Lord and Savior. The Bible also tells us that we are in the end times, and very soon, things are about to change that will impact men of all nations. So, the question that still remains to be asked is: Who needs to know?

 

 

 

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