The Isaacs on Faith, Music and Travel
Sonya Isaacs is a beloved singer-songwriter both as a solo artist and as part of The Isaacs, a group that frequently performs on our cruises and tours. Despite the demands of a busy touring schedule, Sonya shared with us the role travel plays in her own life as well as its substantial impact on The Isaacs and their music.
What has travel meant to you?
Travel is the staple of everything we have ever known! Whether on a bus, in a car or on a plane, without travel we could never have reached the audiences God has allowed us to reach. We love traveling and experiencing all that different places and cultures have to offer.
But as you might expect, travel also has a significant family component for us. It has allowed us to meet and reconnect with family abroad. We have close relatives in Israel who we are able to see frequently thanks to travel technology. We have family in Australia who we look forward to meeting one day soon. We also have plans to visit Poland in the future to explore the history of our family’s Polish-Jewish roots.
What’s the best travel experience you’ve had?
Our favorite travel experiences are our opportunities to travel to Israel. As Christians, it is the location of the foundation of everything we love and believe. Our family has Jewish ancestors, so this also gives us another special connection to the Holy Land. Traveling with Inspiration Cruises & Tours has been life-changing for us. They have helped make our dreams come true so many times.
What are your most memorable moments while traveling?
The people who come along on our tours make our trips abroad the best. Sightseeing with them has allowed us to make lifelong friends with incredible, like-spirited people! Not only do we get to see new sites and experience the world together, but we get to remember them too!
What does travel do for you that you can’t get from anything else?
Traveling gives you a sense of freedom and adventure! It allows you to open your mind and your senses to enjoy all that God has created. When we travel to Israel, for example, it is amazing to see a culture in which our Lord grew up, even though it was many centuries ago. Generations of people have passed down food-preparation methods, religious customs, clothing, family traditions and so much more.
You feel as though you understand the Bible better when you have sailed on the Sea of Galilee, or been baptized in the Jordan River, or walked down the Via Dolorosa as our Lord did. I can’t think of anything more important than for that to happen for a Christian!
How has travel impacted your faith and your worldview?
It’s been incredible to see people of different cultures all across the world who believe in the same Lord that you do. They may have different traditions, but the Holy Spirit is the same. Once, when we were visiting the Garden Tomb in Israel, we noticed a group from China worshiping in one section. At the same time, there was another group from Italy singing “Hallelujah” in another section. Yet despite our differences, the Spirit united us all and affirmed our faith in one universal God Almighty. It was breathtaking!
How has traveling inspired your music or career?
Every time we get on stage to sing, we are carried away by our memories of being in the Holy Land! We have written so many songs that have been inspired by our time there. For those who have not yet been to Israel, the songs and stories help them catch a glimpse of what it is like to have been there. It’s impossible to be there and not feel Jesus closer to you.
Do you experience God uniquely in different places?
Yes, most definitely! Sometimes it is just a subtle, peaceful, quiet scene that causes you to respond to His magnificent creation. Sometimes it is meeting fellow Christians in different parts of the world, showing you the vastness of God’s salvation plan.
Your music changes lives. Is there an audience member story or interaction that stands out to you?
We try to be very transparent on stage. We share the hardships God has brought us through, including cancer, the loss of a child, a loved one’s addiction and other chronic illnesses. Night after night, we have fans come up and tell us how they related to our testimonies. It is the most rewarding feeling on earth to know that God gives purpose for the pain you have lived through and that we can help each other get through whatever life brings our way!
Have you ever been to a place that inspired a message or the composition of a song?
I wrote a song called “Carry Me” once when I was looking out the window of an airplane. I was inspired by the perspective, looking down, and how such a small world seems so big when you’re standing in it. We have also written many songs like “Your Cries Have Awoken the Master” and “Waiting in the Water” from our experiences in Israel! As a writer, nothing is more inspiring than being in that sacred setting.
What other specific places have inspired you and your music?
Once, we were singing in Canada on a big tour with the Gaithers. Along came an unexpected blizzard, which stranded a whole caravan of our buses along the route. We actually wrote a song about Canada that day and have performed it many times since.
It is also interesting to see how different parts of the world and even parts of America seem to prefer different styles in our music. Some audiences favor bluegrass sounds, while others like it more contemporary. Some like a cappella performances and others love hymns. We try to connect with each audience by leaning toward whatever musical tastes they have.
Where have some of your favorite conferences or concerts been? What made them remarkable?
We love performing everywhere, but some of our favorite concerts have been in Norway, Scotland and Ireland. The people there are just amazing and they really love gospel music! They also love the Lord, so you feel a kindred spirit even though you live an ocean apart and may have never met.
We have enjoyed being a part of the Gaither Homecoming concert and video series, and love performing on the Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville, Tennessee. Another one of our absolute favorite nights was when we had a free concert in Jerusalem sponsored by our nonprofit, The Fishman Isaacs Israel Initiative. We had 150 Holocaust survivors and 100 Israeli soldiers, along with other special guests, in the audience. We sang for them and blessed them all with gifts. It was incredible, and we look forward to doing it again!
Sonya Isaacs and the rest of The Isaacs frequently host tours to the Holy Land. Click below to learn more.