Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Living Out His Purpose - Minsky Delmonte

steel drum, gospel, life purpose, music, Christian
I am delighted to share with you this interview with Minsky Delmonte.  He and I went to high school together, many moons ago.  It had been over 20 years since I'd last spoken to him live.  But when we got on the phone last week, his familiar jovial manner was still evident, as he teased me about being a "bootleg blogger", since I had to reschedule our interview twice.  I told him to reserve judgement for after I posted his story!

Anyone who knows Minsky, knows that he is an avid steel drum player.  But what you might not know is that he is also an avid warrior for Christ.  He shares his story here...

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm from the island of Trinidad, and I come from a big family.  Though I have two brothers, we grew up in different households, so for the most part, I grew up as an only child.  My grandmother had 16 children, so there were always tons of cousins around me, and I was surrounded by a lot of love by uncles and aunts. 

I would characterize my life as one that's been filled with happiness, and extensive travels through being in the military and also working for a major airline (I work on the ramp-- you know those guys with the orange wands?)  My life is also defined by spirituality-- knowing what it is to have a relationship with God.  I've had a lot of positive experiences that have helped me to keep a happy demeanor.

What would you describe as your God-given life purpose, and how did you discover it?
My God-given life purpose is not so different from everyone else's.  In the scripture it says that "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). You have to shine your light, like a beacon on a hill.  The great thing about God is that He's not a respecter of persons, so He gives us all the ability to reach and touch and to serve Him.  You don't have to be in a particular office to be in touch with Him.  But, when you do reach for Him, He reaches back to you, and blesses you, and puts things along your path.

Growing up, I never really had an interest in music.  And though I was familiar with the steel drum, an instrument created in Trinidad, I wasn't interested in playing it back then.  I left Trinidad when I was 5 years old, and moved to the United States.  Years later, when I got to high school, I was reintroduced to the steel drum through a music class.   That was the first time that I got hands on experience with it.  The class had such a positive impact on me, that it made me want to discover more about the history of the steel drum.  Identifying with the steel drum made me proud of my Caribbean heritage.  In playing it, I discovered my culture, and I also discovered that I had a musical talent-- a musical gift from God. 

steel drum, gospel, life purpose, music, Christian
Being able to apply that talent helped me at a time in life when I needed to find my space as a growing teen.  Going through high school, you have a lot of peer pressure, and you try to see how you fit into the puzzle.  Playing the steel drums is where I fit in. 

Playing the steel drums is also what got me into college.  I didn't read music, I started playing music later than most others, I didn't have a strong academic program, and I was 25 years old--  BUT, I got into a division one music program because I could play the steel drums. 

While there, I was blessed to bump into a grass roots college ministry.  That is when I developed my whole spiritual life.  Growing up, I had followed a patterned and structured religion, in which we'd follow a script on how to respond to what the priest said.  But I thought to myself, "There's more that I want to say to God".  So I joined a Pentecostal church, where I found a more open style of worship and praise.  There, I actually felt more connected to God.  In that environment, I found it a lot easier to ask the desires of my heart,  and to ask God who He is, and what it is He asks of me.

My pastor welcomed me to play the steel drums in church as part of the service.  When the members welcomed it, it was like getting a pat on the back from a parent.  I had a purpose in playing the music.  While playing in that church environment, I was continuously learning.  At first, I was learning the songs just to play them at church.  But over a period of years, I realized that my music was a ministry, because of the way that it affected people in and outside of the church.

My approach is to have a light where I can touch other people.  I learned this through being around other spiritual people, getting involved in the church, and reading and having a desire to want to know God personally.  I started seeing in myself that my purpose is to be a light unto others-- not necessarily to be an evangelist-- but just to continue seeking Him, and consciously representing Him.  I know that if I keep consistent in my walk, then people will keep watching and recognize that God is in my life.

After you discovered your purpose, what did you do to bring it to fruition, and what has that experience been like?
I developed the technical side of my music.  I got gigs, performances, and invitations to play.  It was easy to practice, improve the repertoire, and learn a bunch of new songs, and be ready to play.  On the flip side, however, I didn't continue to read or study the Bible as much, or make a conscious effort to reject un-Christian behavior.  For a while, that lifestyle worked for me, because I could just show up and play the music and no one could see what was going on in my spiritual life.  But eventually, I thought to myself, "These playing opportunities are coming because of the opportunities to minister.  God has blessed me.  And without His blessing, I wouldn't be getting all of these playing opportunities".  

I recognized that God had been showing me favor in opening doors for me.  Anyone can get a gig.  But the way that I was getting the gigs is what showed me that it was His blessings.  I would be invited to play in places like Florida, where steel drum players are a dime-a-dozen.  Yet I would be invited from out of state to play.  At different churches, they would have viable music departments, but still God would open up those doors and people would receive my music ministry there. 

steel drum, gospel, life purpose, music, Christian
I decided that I didn't want to be a good musician, while being a bad Christian.  I've found that in building myself up spiritually, I am able to excel more musically.  I believe that He guides me in where I play and what to play.  I approach performances thinking "this is ministry".  I'm not looking for a reaction from the people that are hearing my music.  I'm just opening myself up for God to use me.  I make a conscious effort to live in a way that is pleasing to Him, so that others won't question whether or not I believe in what I say I believe.

What's the next level to which you'd like to live out your purpose?
I want to produce a gospel steel drum album.  

So far, it seems that everything that I'll need to bring this effort to fruition has been landing in my lap!

For example, all of the musicians that I'm going to need to play a part in this album are co-workers that I found at my job.  I've known them for years, but until we started talking music, I didn't know that amongst them were singers, bass players, drummers, and keyboardists that all performed gospel. 

There are a lot of Christian musicians out there that play the gospel, but don't want to live the gospel.  So as I approach this, I want to grow in my spiritual life, so that it transfers into the music that I'm producing.  In a lot of churches that I play in, people tell me that the sound of the steel drum calms them and puts them in a very reflective mood.  If in playing the steel drum I can glorify God and celebrate God and help His people get into a mindset in which they'd like to reach out and embrace Him more, then by all means, I'd like to do that!

Putting out a CD is a way of using the gifts that He gave me.  I'm a big supporter of people being able to attain financial increase through their gifts and talents, so that they can use the increase to help the kingdom of God.  So far, I've been using the money from playing to help different ministries in church.  I've made a conscious effort to sow in the direction that I want to grow.  I sow in my  tithe and in my time.  In addition to performing at church, I also help with video editing.  You take care of the kingdom of God and "all of these things will be added unto you".  I stay involved in church, helping to build God's kingdom, and along the way, He blesses what I'm doing.  It all works out together. 

What words of encouragement do you have for others who are still seeking out their life purpose?
Build a spiritual relationship with God.  If you do, then you won't get discouraged as easily when things aren't flowing as fast as you think they should, because you'll have the peace of mind and heart that comes with that relationship with God.  You can feel confident in approaching God in Jesus name, asking Him for the desires of your heart.  You'll find guidance and direction from Him.  Even if you already  have a life goal,  your relationship with Him will help you discover if it's truly a goal worth pursuing.  When you have a spiritual connection with God, you recognize that there's nothing you can do that will catch Him by surprise.  So, even if you continue in a given direction, and it ends up being the wrong direction, you trust that He'll help you get back on track, guiding you down the right path.

steel drum, gospel, life purpose, music, Christian

Minsky Delmonte is a festive,energetic, solo steel drum musician whose repertoire draws from original compositions and a wide variety of musical genres. His friendly and lively stage presence will uplift you, make you tap your feet and bring a smile to your face.  For more information about Minsky's music, visit

Thanks so much for sharing your story here at Unstuck and Unstoppable, Minsky!

We pray for continued strength in your walk with Christ, and in your efforts with music ministry.

To everyone else, thanks for visiting!


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