As we often say, volunteers are the lifeblood of Woodland and we appreciate everyone who pitches in to make this place what it is. This week we feature a Q&A with Yan Ashe, a volunteer in our Worship Ministry. Yan is a musician from Belarus who has brought his significant talents to serve our congregation.
What brought you to Woodland Hills?
Before coming to America, I heard about Woodland Hills from a missionary friend. He was talking about Greg Boyd and his teaching as well as how good the worship is there.
How did you get connected with the Worship Ministry?
I saw an inquiry on the website about volunteering and so I decided to reach out. I got a call back to set up a meeting with worship pastors Greg Wollan and Ruth Richmond, and that’s how I got connected.
What does volunteering look like for you?
I think it’s about serving people in what you’re good at. I personally receive a lot of joy serving while growing in my talent, it works in both ways. I even think that I receive a lot more than I give.
You have produced a worship album. Can you tell us about your process and what inspires you?
Over the course of two years in our church back in Belarus, Christ For The Nations, we were writing and singing our own songs with the worship ministry. Then we started a project of gathering most of these songs into this album of worship and released it in 2018. I’m always inspired by the idea of a congregation singing its own songs.
We sing your song “O my Soul” at Woodland. What’s the story behind this song?
The song was born from my musical curiosity. I was passing by my piano one day and I had this idea of a melody, so I sat down and created the whole song without the lyrics. The same day I had a rehearsal with the vocals from the worship team and I shared this melody. In the end, we just found good lyrics to fit. Right before I came to the States, I translated this song into English. When Ruth Richmond suggested singing my song in the services I was shocked. This is a big honor for me and an awesome experience.
You make a trip back to Belarus each year. What do you do there?
Above all, of course, I spend as much time with friends and family as possible. I also try to pick dates to visit when my old worship team is attending some sort of worship event so I can serve with them. I always try to record something in the studio in Minsk City where I still have good connections.
What do you do during the work week?
I’m a private music teacher. I really found myself in this type of work. I also compose music for certain projects.
What do you and your wife like to do for fun?
We do a lot of things together. Basically, every free minute possible we try to spend together. Our favorite is to take trips somewhere.
What is your next musical release?
I’m planning to release a single worship song soon. It’s called “I’m Surrounded.” Maybe Woodland Hills could hear it someday.