Third of a series featuring the 10 student artists who wrote the songs for Canyon Worship 2021, scheduled to be released in September. Today: Elaina Marchegger.
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
God keeps opening doors for Elaina Marchegger, and she keeps walking through them.
Each time, she is filled with wonder and gratitude as she marvels at what’s on the other side.
He brought her to the Worship Arts program at Grand Canyon University. Even though she was filled with uncertainty, she soon discovered songwriting talents she never thought she had and was being chosen to perform for the Canyon Worship albums – including the 2021 version for “Forevermore,” with Nicole Raum.
She thought that would open the door to being one of the singers at Chapel, but that door remained closed. God had a better idea: She became a production coordinator, utilizing skills she had learned in high school and at GCU Arena.
The wonder of His perfect plan became evident last summer when another door opened: Rather than return to campus for her final year, she could take her classes online and be an intern at Cornerstone Community Church in Incline Village, Nevada, not far from her home in Carson City. There, those production skills came in handy.
As if she needed one final door to fully see His timeline, she was chosen to be the student speaker at Spring Commencement … when she wasn’t planning to attend … but her parents had hoped she would.
“Guess we’re going to Arizona,” she told them.
And then she gave the best speech of her young life. (Listen to it here; her talk begins nearly 18 minutes in.) It was humble. Extremely spiritual. And funny. It was so Elaina.
“I didn’t believe that God had called me when I got here. But then He opened incredible doors,” she told the audience.
In its own odd way, the pandemic was one of those doors. When she and Raum created “Forevermore” during a FaceTime call, they couldn’t conceive of COVID-19 turning into a plague that seemed as if it lasted forever.
They never had written a song together before, even though Raum was the first friend Marchegger made at GCU and they both were on the Worship team – Raum got the singing opportunity that Marchegger had craved.
“Nicole has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard,” said Marchegger, who needed only one trip to campus to knock out the “Forevermore” production. “I was just stoked that mine didn’t distract during the recording.”
She was being much too humble. She previously had collaborated on “Whom Have I” and “Has a Name” on Canyon Worship 2019 and had a solo, “Fights for Me,” on the 2020 album.
It was cathartic to finally perform “Forevermore.” They had pictured singing it at GCU’s Tuesday night worship service, The Gathering, or in a local church on a Sunday. And then, thanks to life as we knew it becoming life as we never knew it, The Gathering was canceled and churches suspended or curtailed in-person services.
But the song’s chorus lived on inside Marchegger.
You are the same yesterday, today, forevermore.
You never change yesterday, today, forevermore.
“Those words just really ministered to me through that whole year,” she said. “It just really struck a chord in my heart.”
The internship opportunity at Cornerstone created what she called “the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.” She decided to take it – but it nearly broke her heart.
“I always said I wanted to come back after college to work here and live here and then got provided an opportunity to do that sooner than I thought I would,” she said. “Initially, I was pretty frustrated by the thought of missing my senior year, but I just felt that’s what God wanted me to do.
“It’s been crazy to watch Him open so many doors and just be so faithful. It definitely was hard not to see everybody and to not be with my community and my church family down there, but I definitely saw clear evidence of God’s hand on the decision. When you follow God’s prompting and leading, you can rest at the end of the day.”
Sure enough, she was named the church’s worship leader earlier this year. And then God helped her work through the pain of being away from campus by putting the student speaker assignment in her path.
That pain was why she hadn’t planned to attend Commencement. “It was going to be so hard to be re-immersed,” she said. She already had paid for a trip to Hawaii.
The solution: She went through with her visit to the islands, flew back to Nevada and was on a plane to Phoenix less than 48 hours later. She nailed her speech even though she hadn’t done any public speaking at GCU.
“I think the Lord just takes over in those situations,” she said. “I got up there, took my mask off and it just kind of flowed out. I think the Lord just gave me peace and allowed me to speak clearly.”
It was yet another example of something she said during her talk:
“It does not matter if you are equipped. It just matters that you know The One that equips.”
The One who opens doors.
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].
Related content from Canyon Worship 2021:
GCU Today: The music of Canyon Worship is all grown up
Related content from previous Canyon Worship albums:
GCU Today: 'Amazing' Canyon Worship album released