An undercurrent of passion for the lost flows through the voice, music, and ministry of Perry LaHaie.
“Since I started following Jesus in earnest, He put in my heart a desire to share the good news – not just for people around me, but to other nations,” said Perry, 52, from his Allendale, Mich. area home.
And in his roles as a local Christian radio co-host (on 89.3 Moody Radio West Michigan), singer-songwriter and recording artist, and his work with the Frontiers mission agency, LaHaie continues to live out that passion.
His connection with Frontiers, a mission group with an outreach directed to Muslims, has been of particular interest to LaHaie.
“I started a radio podcast that tells stories about how God is working in the Muslim world,” said LaHaie about “Cast Yourself In,” a one-minute feature that airs on more than 300 radio stations and web sites, including on Moody Radio West Michigan.
The Cheboygan, Mich. native grew up involved in music and pursued it right into college – where he also fell in love with radio and majored in communications. After marrying his fiancé Teresa he began a 20 year career in Christian radio, most of that in Midland, Mich.
But there was another stirring within him to which he finally yielded.
“We have so many opportunities to hear the gospel here, but there are places in this world that have yet to have their first Christian worker – that really moved me,” LaHaie said.
He resigned his position in 2007 and sought out a mission outreach agency that could use his gifts to share their ministry and vision.
What he found was Frontiers (www.frontiersusa.org), a 30-year old, Phoenix, Ariz.-based ministry with Christian worker-connections in 50 Muslim nations. LaHaie happily signed on.
He and his family moved to Arizona where he released his debut collection of songs (“Endless Fields”) in 2008 and began his outreach radio podcast.
“God blessed me to be able to lead worship at various Frontiers events, including one in Thailand,” he said.
He’s also performed in Europe, Russia, and Turkey.
BACK TO WEST MICHIGAN
But LaHaie admitted he and his family weren’t exactly in love with life in the great southwest. And they missed extended family back in Michigan.
He realized he could complete many of his Frontiers duties from another location, but was still uncertain.
“When we moved down there we thought we’d be going there for a long time,” he recalled.
“There were questions, but God gave the green light.”
In 2010 the LaHaie’s moved to West Michigan and Perry found a studio where he could continue to record his “Cast Yourself In” segments.
That happened to be in Zeeland at Moody Radio West Michigan - where LaHaie realized he missed live radio.
Just three months later he officially joined with co-host Scott Curtis to form “Perry & Scott in the Morning,” a show heard on 89.3 from 6 to 9 a.m. weekday mornings.
Station manager Jack Haveman encouraged Perry to bring his passion for reaching Muslims to his on-air presentation.
“It’s not like I’m crusading for Frontiers, but the great commission theme is part of the DNA of the show,” LaHaie said.
“I’ve had the chance to do a lot of interviews about reaching the Muslim world - with authors and even with Muslims who have come to faith in Christ.”
He continues to travel doing concerts and Frontiers-related events at least once a month.
THE MUSCIAL ROAD
Meanwhile, LaHaie recorded and released his latest CD “Ahead.”
The theme of the new songs borrows from a Dawson Trottman quote: “When you can’t see very far ahead, go as far ahead as you can see.”
“God gives us light for the next step – that makes sense to me,” he said.
Written in LaHaie’s folk-pop “Americana” style, the songs focus on both God’s grace and His heart for the nations. Among them is “Unualified,” a tune which emphasizes that God is the one who - despite our scars and shortcomings - qualifies us to serve him in small and great ways.
Although most of his concerts are out of state (in October he visits Pennsylvania for a TV interview and several concerts), he occasionally performs nearer the home front.
He has a concert on Aug. 24 at Lifestream Church in Allendale in which he will also share stories of work in the Muslim world. (details at www.lifestreamweb.org).
THE WORK AHEAD
LaHaie says the challenges in reaching the Muslim community are substantial. Some are of our own making.
“We tend to think that all Muslims are terrorists – that’s sort of the way the media portrays them,” he said.
“But like you and me they want a good life for their families, they are very warm and open to friendships.”
He admits many Muslims have their own misconceptions about Christianity. Jesus is mentioned 93 times in the Koran, although not as God or Savior.
“I’ve found myself caught up in something that’s bigger than me and not about me,” LaHaie summarized of his roles.
“It’s about God’s work among the nations.”CONNECT:
Perry LaHaie - www.perrylahaie.com
WGNB-FM - www.moodyradiowestmichigan.fm