By ANN WALLACE • The Leaf-Chronicle • November 22, 2008
Some people might think of Mike Ritter as a man of few words, but he has
a passion for music that speaks volumes.
And, Ritter is a man of faith, convinced that his musical talent is the
gift God intended for him to share.
Ritter returned from Cuba last month after spending 10 days in Havana
with a group of musicians sponsored through Global Missions Project, a
5-year-old ministry outreach designed to use music as an avenue to touch
people's hearts around the world.
"The universal language of music cuts through cultural barriers. Global
Missions Project concentrates on places where missionaries are really
needing help ministering to people," said Ritter, who spent 31 years in
the U.S. Army and retired in 2006 as bandmaster for the 101st Airborne
The Cuba trip was a mission of faith for him and others in the group
from across the U.S.
"They have such a desire to learn and were so completely absorbed by it.
They are such an incredible group of people," Ritter said, referring to
Christian instrumentalists and ministers working within the churches of
In a country where the government determines so much within the private
lives of its people, the fact that Global Missions Project was able to
coordinate the musical outreach experience might be considered amazing.
The timing could be said to be God-perfect for the husband of Patty Ritter.
"The Lord has given me this gift. He's developed it through all of these
"He's taken all that experience and now I'm retired to directly minister
to people in a way I never imagined," Ritter said.
The Cuba journey was Ritter's third mission trip for Global Missions
Project, preceded by trips to Russia and Guatemala.
It was during the Guatemala excursion that Ritter realized his life was
"but a note in a masterpiece planned by God."
With a Spanish-speaking crowd nearby, Ritter said he was stunned by the
revelation "of how the Lord could use music as a tool and do it right in
front of your face."
"I mean I can play a whole bunch of notes. I've been playing my whole
life, but now those notes can have an eternal impact," he said.
Typically, Christians meet in house churches in Cuba, just like in the
New Testament. Ritter's mental images of sharing worship with the Cuban
people he encountered are snapshots of viewing pure joy in the faces of
so many believers.
Those images stir awe in the man who spent his boyhood in Allentown, Pa.
"The people in Cuba I saw had so much vigor about serving the Lord,
particularly in the way they worship. It was so heartfelt, so innocent.
They were so completely free to serve the Lord — it just permeates their
being," Ritter said.
He may not have slung a hammer or picked up a saw, but as a servant
focusing on obedience, Ritter has found a way to strike a major chord
for Jesus Christ, others and for himself.
Ritter hopes to join another GPS musical entourage to Finland next year.
Anyone wanting to support Ritter's musical ministry can go to the Global
Missions Project web site at www.globalmissionsproject.com to make a