By Jenny Bennett, contributing writer, GospelMusicChannel.com
Originally a four-member gospel group, RiZen is now a duo, but sisters Adriann and Aundrea Lewis don't seem the least bit troubled by the change. A new album and a remarkable ministry give these down-to-earth ladies from Saginaw, Michigan a deep sense of purpose.
Free, released late last month, includes a mixture of traditional and contemporary gospel and is descriptive of what the Lewis sisters say has become a higher calling. In 2005, they were asked by some friends to do a concert for a women's prison in Phoenix.
"We were kind of hesitant at first because we didn't know what to expect," shares Adriann. "But as soon as we arrived at the prison, the Lord just began to speak to our hearts and our minds that this was what we were supposed to do."
RiZen has visited the prison each year since, and prays the ministry will expand to other parts of the country. Originally coming to share their music and extend the love of Christ, the sisters came up with a unique way of encouraging the women they visited with: shoes.
"We all know that all ladies love shoes – stilettos, boots, whatever kind of shoe it is," Adriann says.
Symbolic of a new walk with Christ, Adriann and Aundrea have given away 50 pairs of stiletto high heels so far.
If RiZen's unique take on ministering to "the least of these" leaves you asking yourself how you can get involved, Adriann and Aundrea say it can be as simple as giving someone a hug.
"Not everything is about giving somebody money," Adriann advises. "Maybe you can give somebody who's missing their family a hug or an encouraging word."
The Lewis sisters, who experienced the loss of several close relatives a couple of years ago, say it's especially important during the holidays to be a friend to those who've lost family members and others dear to them.
"It's important for all of us to connect with one another and show love, and most of all show the love of Christ," Aundrea imparts. "If you know anyone who has lost a family member or just a close friend, show love this season and let them know that God is by their side."
Aundrea also suggests donating to Toys for Tots or getting involved with your local radio or television station, and shares her experience getting to see the happiness of a young boy who received the bike she donated.
It really is the little things that make a difference, as RiZen has employed by providing a pair of high heels to those who've had shackles on their feet.
"The Bible says, 'who the Son sets free is free indeed.' We titled [the album] that not just because of what we've been through but because of the experiences we've shared with these women," says Adriann. "And we thank God for that."
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