Portrait of the Week
Ben and Vanessa Klein - Surrey, BC, Canada
“I’m so thankful for the talents and abilities He’s (God’s) given me to use for Him. I sometimes wonder “why Elvis, Why this?” I wonder it all the time. And there’s been a lot of times where I say “Lord, I’m laying the thing down. I’m just going to stop doing it if you want me to.” And every time I’ve had a success, God’s always kept me humble. Because it’s not about me, it’s about him working through me. Giving me the talents and abilities to bless other people through it. It’s funny, it doesn’t have to be a Gospel song that can touch someone’s life. If you sing ‘Love Me Tender” and it reminds them of a time when their husband was alive or their wife was alive, when things were good in their life, if you can take them back for five minutes, or ten minutes, or whatever, so they don’t have problems, you’ve done a good deed for someone. You’ve used what God has given you to bless that person. You don’t always have to force God down someone’s throat. They can see that through your life, through your being… That’s the whole thing about it. I just want to be used by God.”
I travelled to British Colombia at the invitation of my friend Sue Black to interview First Nations (Native North American Indians) for Portraits In Faith. Little did I know that not only would I meet people from First Nations but I would also go to the Penticton Elvis Festival and meet an award-winning Elvis tribute artist, Ben Klein. I said to my friend Sue that I wanted to interview an Elvis and she said “how will you know who to interview” and I replied “I’ll just know!” Sure enough, the last singer on Saturday night said “Y’all be sure to come to the Sunday morning Elvis Gospel concert! You’ll be blessed if you do!” And I knew that was my man! So I went to the tent next to the stage and introduced myself to Ben. He was elated to share with me that he was a born-again Christian and that his father was a pastor and an Elvis Tribute Artist. So we made arrangements for me to interview Ben and his wife Vanessa (they met at the Penticton Elvis Festival!). My understanding of Ben’s mission in doing this performance work and in understanding the two of their spiritual journeys touched me greatly. It taught me once again that each person’s ministry looks different but has the same objectives—to heal and to share hope.