BURNHAM - Through the slums of Cape Town, South Africa, a clear, strong sound of hope called out to those who would listen.
First, the children ran out of their ramshackle homes eager to see what the noise was. Soon, the adults peeked out of the windows and doors with critical, curious eyes. Then they, too, stepped out to join the growing crowd.
In the center of the group were two men, oddly dressed. One was blowing a trumpet.
His name is Randy Stahl, a pastor's son from Burnham who founded a ministry more than 20 years ago to share the Gospel through trumpet music.
For many years, Stahl said his ministry consisted of events around the east coast and Canada; but in 1991, God opened the doors to expand his work to South Africa.
Stahl remembered playing in a large church in Toronto when an elderly woman sitting in the balcony caught his eye.
"She grabbed a hold of me," Stahl said. After the concert, "she looked at me and said, 'Never put your trumpet down. Never turn your back on God.'"
She told him that God would use his ministry locally, nationally and across the world, Stahl said.
But it was not until 2006 that he first traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, he said. He went there again in 2007, then this May.
With the help of missionary Dirk Wood from Rise and Shine Evangelistic Association, Stahl said he travels throughout the Cape Town area to play and share his testimony with Christian groups, businesses and poor communities.
Stahl said he chooses to minister in some of the roughest, most crime ridden neighborhoods in South Africa.
Dressed in eye catching, specially-designed suits, he and Wood drive into the flats, get out of the vehicle and begin playing the trumpet, he said.
"When they see that we're not a threat, they come out," Stahl said.
Stahl said he plays his trumpet for the crowd, ministers to them, prays for them and often hands out bread.
Stahl is no stranger to street ministry. His father, Jim Stahl, worked with one of the most well-known contemporary street evangelists in the United States.
Jim Stahl was friends with New York City evangelist David Wilkerson during some of his first mission efforts to the city gangs, he said.
As told in Wilkerson's book "The Cross and the Switchblade," Jim Stahl played his trumpet to call the neighborhoods out to hear Wilkerson's message, his son said.
Jim Stahl played in some of the roughest places in New York City, and Stahl has followed in his father's footsteps in Cape Town.
"I know what my dad was feeling," Stahl said. "But I'm not afraid. I felt the protection of God at all times."
The South African culture is "dark with witchcraft," but the people are receptive to the message of Christ, he said.
Most have heard the Gospel message before, yet they welcome the ministry more than Americans would, he said.
"It seemed like the doors just opened in Cape Town," Stahl said of his recent visit. "We got calls from all over (asking me to play)."
Even businesses welcome Christianity, Stahl said. During his month-long stay, he played for the Old Mutual Insurance Co. in Cape Town, a business complex that holds weekly praise and worship services for its employees, he said.
"Where in America could you have that?" Stahl said.
Personally, Stahl said the trip opened his eyes to see what God has planned for his ministry.
"I've only just touched on what he has in store for me ministry-wise," Stahl said. "... he knows where I'm going before I do."
The trumpet player said he plans to return to Cape Town in two years to continue to preach and play his trumpet there.
Meanwhile at his home in Burnham, Stahl said he plays concerts occasionally. Stahl said he produced one self-titled CD, and he is working on a second.
"Psalms 98:4 says, 'Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,'" Stahl said. "That's what I'm doing. This is not about entertainment. I'm out to minister."