New Mercies: Colton Dixon
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Singer, Songwriter, Mercy Ships Partner

Colton Dixon is a Christian artist and former American Idol contestant who is partnering with Mercy Ships to help share the mission of bringing hope and healing to people in need. Colton felt an immediate connection with Mercy Ships through his new hit song, “Build A Boat,” so he teamed up with Mercy Ships to create the music video which includes footage of the Global Mercy being built and features the transformation of twin patients Assane and Ousseynou on board the Africa Mercy. You can watch the video here.

In this episode Colton shares the inspiration behind the song “Build A Boat”, choosing faith over fear when one of his twin daughters was born without a pulse, and his hopes for his partnership with Mercy Ships. Colton’s words will encourage your faith and give you hope that God is for you!

Looking for a way to join our mission of bringing hope and healing? Partner with us through a giftvolunteering with us, or by joining us in prayer.

New Mercies Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the New Mercies, a podcast by Mercy Ships, where we’ll take you behind the scenes and on board our incredible hospital ships that are transforming lives all over the world. We invite you to join us each week as we sit down with our crew, patients, volunteers, and partners to hear their stories of life-changing hope and healing.

Raeanne Newquist:

Colton Dixon, welcome to the New Mercies podcast.

Colton Dixon:

Thank you so much for having me. This is going to be so fun.

Raeanne:

Colton, you are a musician, singer, songwriter, husband, father, and now you can add partner with Mercy Ships to that list as well. So we’re excited to hear a little bit about that partnership and I know that it came largely out of your new song, “Build A Boat.” So Colton, why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about this song and the inspiration behind it?

Colton:

Yeah, this song, it’s about the story of Noah and it’s about stepping out in faith before you see the outcome. That’s what faith is, right before you see the miracle. And I was so inspired by the story of Noah, who when God asked him to do something that was just absolutely crazy and unnatural, his response was, yes. It challenged me to be more like Noah in my own life. I know God to be faithful, and I know his word to be true. And he’s never let me down, not once. So I want my posture to be that of a yes. Whenever he asked me to do something that doesn’t make any sense, because I know that his plans are to prosper me, not to harm me, to give me hope and a future. So that’s what this song is. It’s just a big anthem for you to sing along to if you’re in that dry season, and you haven’t seen the miracle yet, start singing this song and just watch it start to change you. It’s really amazing. So I’m glad you’re liking it.

Raeanne:

Yeah, it’s a great song. It is a great song very catchy, too. I have to say my kids are kind of saying, mom tone it down, you’re singing all the time, but they’re singing along too! so it’s awesome. In the chorus, the word say, “I will build a boat in the sand, where you say it never rains, I will build a boat in the desert place.” It makes no sense, like you said, when God asked Noah to build a boat in a place where it had never rained before — it didn’t make sense. But he radically obeyed. Colton has there been a time in your life when God has asked you to do something that made no sense but required radical obedience?

Colton:

Many times. I’m sure we could all answer the same thing. But something that was just quite a big thing in my life in the last few years was I got dropped by my record label and that was a tough. That was just really tough for me, because I without realizing it, so much of my identity was wrapped up in the security of a record label. And I applied that to being a musician because that’s what paid the bills and all those things, and learning that God is not only our source, but he’s our provider as well. It’s not in our job title, or what we do for a living or any of those things. So that was Lesson number one, but two, having to step out in faith and build the boat in that dry season, so to speak, because I knew that God wasn’t finished yet with music, he made that very clear to my wife and I and so that meant stepping out even when people around us didn’t understand it. And I think that’s the hard thing for so many people. I don’t know, if you’re an Enneagram person, I’m a three, so I care way too much about what people think about me. So that’s kind of the thing for me, it’s like, this is going to look really weird or this is not going to make sense to anyone else but doesn’t have to because God didn’t speak to that person he spoke to me. So it’s my job and responsibility to carry that out and to be obedient and to be faithful with whatever God has given me or promised me in that moment. And sometimes that means stepping out in faith, but I’m so glad that we did. We continue to work and to do what we knew to do in the natural and God brings the supernatural and partners with it. It’s really blown our minds what he’s done since getting dropped by my record label.

Raeanne:

That’s really encouraging. I think this song is also a declaration of strong faith. Some of the lyrics say — every word you say is going to come true. You will lead me to the Promised Land. Everything you say is going to happen even though I haven’t seen it yet. There is just this confident, bold declaration of faith in these lyrics. You just alluded to it a little bit with what happened with your previous record label, but what has happened in your life that has caused you to have such a strong faith that allows you to make these bold declarations?

Colton:

You know, I don’t know that I could point it back to one specific instance, I would say that it’s been just a gradual building up of my faith along the way. The Bible says that God will never give us more than we can handle. So I think he starts us off small. And as we’re faithful, he continues to give us more and more and more and sometimes that requires more and more of us. But it’s never, like I said earlier, it’s never to harm us. Like, he has the best option for our future in his hands. He just wants us to reach out and take it. Something that I love about that pre-chorus as well is you will lead me to the promised land, but some of that is up to us. What should have taken the Israelites, you know, less than a couple weeks to reach the promised land took them 40 years because they wanted to do it their own way. And they wanted to take what in their head was the easy way, which was really the long way around. So when we build that boat in the desert place, we’re saying God, we want your way. In Noah’s story, God said rain was coming. So Noah knew, alright, this is the best option for me, no matter how long it takes, no matter how hard it is, no matter what any of those things, I’m going to be better off by doing what God has asked me to do. So yeah, like I said, I don’t know that I could point to one thing. But I’m so thankful that God has proved himself faithful time and time and time again, in my life, I’m 30 years old and I can look back and point at all the different areas that God was faithful so that I can go into even harder seasons. I can look back and go, he was faithful then he’s going to be faithful now.

Raeanne:

Absolutely. Well, you’ve teamed up with Mercy Ships to create this new music video for Build A Boat that includes some footage of our new ship, the Global Mercy, being built, but it also features two of our patients, twin brothers Ousseynou and Assane, from Senegal. These two little boys came to us with very deformed legs. And my family was on board the Africa Mercy when these twin brothers came to us and so we got to watch their journey, having their surgery, getting their legs straightened and these little boys were a riot! I called them the mayors because they walked around like they owned the place. Everybody knew about the twins. But their story is highlighted in this new music video, which is awesome. And as you know, on our ships, we treat a lot of babies and children for all sorts of different conditions that they have.

Now I understand that you as well have twins. And when your daughters were born, there were some medical difficulties. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Colton:

Yeah, it was a great pregnancy but kind of at the last second we were at the hospital, trying to get some babies out for a while and we had to go to emergency C section. The twins names are Athens and Dior and Dior was the first one out. But she had already begun that birthing process. So I think she would just spent too long in the birth canal. So her body kind of shut down, didn’t know how to handle it. So when she came out, she wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse. And so fear set in really quick, right, but we had a choice to make — Do we continue riding along with fear? Or do we choose to have faith and take God at his word. And so we started to pray right there in the operating room. And we’re so thankful again for the medical help and doctors and nurses that we have here in America. So whether God worked through them and brought things to their remembrance at the right time, or he reached out directly and touched our daughter, our daughter is good, happy, healthy, we’re so thankful. But all that to be said, I think we take for granted some of the things that we have access to here in America. So partnering with an organization like Mercy Ships just really hits close to home. And obviously the connection with the twins. I love that so much. I saw some of the footage but I didn’t know how they were going to put it all together until it was done. So seeing it for the first time I just wept. It’s just beautiful. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. But I’m so thankful to partner with people who are like-minded who are just doing amazing things all across the world. It’s amazing.

Raeanne:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, Colton, I actually have twins as well. I have twin daughters. It’s I know it’s the twin show! My daughters are 16 now and it only gets better! But when my twins were born, they were premature. And they spent the first five weeks of their lives in the NICU. And when they came home from the hospital, the bill did as well. And two babies, five weeks in the hospital, you can imagine that bill was exorbitant. Yeah, we were so grateful for excellent medical care, but I also was really thankful for good insurance. And as you know, the families that come to our ships, a lot of them do not have access to affordable and timely medical care. And if they did have medical care, they could never afford it. And that’s why we provide free, life-changing and in a lot of instances, lifesaving surgeries, to our patients that come on board. But it is a reality that there is not medical care that is accessible to the whole world. And in these developing nations, people are dying from treatable diseases and conditions. Having gone through what you did with your daughter, what does that mean to you to know that there are parents who don’t have the resources to care for their children?

Colton:

It’s absolutely heartbreaking. It really is. Again, that’s one of the connections I had with Mercy Ships having daughters of my own, one being thankful for the medical care that we have, but also realizing there’s so many who don’t have it. And you’re right, little Dior spent a week in the NICU and when that bill came, we were both like, wow, that’s crazy. We’re, again, thankful for many things like insurance. But yeah, what you do, it’s missions. It looks different in different areas, and can be applied to a lot of things, but medical care and health care — sometimes the smallest of things that would make a world of difference, or things like even a cleft lip, or cleft palate, or seeing those transformations, even within the video, it’s just like, wow, the difference, the confidence, and just how proud these people are young, old, it doesn’t matter, who have had a deformity or have had something that has just made life a little harder. You guys come in and say, hey, let us make life a little easier. And I just think that is the coolest thing in the world. So thanks for what you guys do. It’s amazing to partner with you.

Raeanne:

Well, it’s, it’s an honor and a privilege to see the transformation of the lives of our patients. But also, any person that steps foot on one of our vessels is never the same again, I can honestly say that from firsthand experience living on board with my family of five, and every single one of us will forever be changed for our time being on board. And a lot of that came from interaction with these patients and watching their lives change. As you mentioned, some of the smallest things, some of the smallest conditions have radically altered their lives, to the point where they’re shunned in their villages, they are outcasts, they’re unable to work, some kids are unable to go to school, because they’re so severely bullied and made fun of, and it’s just a small condition that can be changed. And when we do bring them on board and repair that cleft lip and palate, or we repair their legs or release the burn contractures it almost like releasing the person that God has always created them to be, they’re already known, they’re already loved by a savior, but these deformities or conditions have bound them. And it’s so awesome to see them released. And it is an honor and a privilege to be a part of it. We’re so excited that you as well now are a part of Mercy Ships with what you’re doing. Colton, what are you hoping to see happen from your partnership with Mercy Ships?

Colton:

You know, that’s a great question. I would love for more people to know what you guys do and how they can get involved. Personally, I want to go on a ship! I want to go take a trip and see it for myself. So we’re going to have to figure that out and schedule that. It was important to me to partner with someone who was like-minded, in faith and all of those things, but who are doing something that is bigger than themselves. And it’s easy as an artist to get wrapped up in your own little bubble in your own little world and you have new songs come out and sometimes you miss out on opportunities, how that song can really affect or change the trajectory of someone’s lives by partnering with an organization like yourselves. And so yeah, I’m hoping that this partnership, with the song and with what you guys do, building ships to reach the world, I hope it just it opens people’s minds to what they’re capable of doing, and the people that they’re capable of partnering with, like yourselves.

Raeanne:

Well, Colton, thank you so much for sharing your gift of music with the world and encouraging us and pointing us to Jesus through your songs. We are so excited to see what God does with this new partnership. So thank you for teaming up with us. And thanks for sharing a little bit of your journey with us.

Colton:

Oh man, you’re so welcome and absolutely honored.

Mercy Ships has brought hope and healing to those who need it most for over 40 years. Using hospital ships, we are able to provide safe, free surgical care to those in need and bring medical training to healthcare workers living in the countries we serve.

For more information about Mercy Ships go to mercyships.org and to keep up with the guests on New Mercies, follow us on Instagram at NewMerciesPodcast.

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