Beyond the Song by Jantina Baksteen
I reached out to the Chitans who are a family group from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Members are: Layne, Karen, Kaiziah, Kayandra, Jessy L, Jayden and Karlainah.
They have a wonderful family harmony sound. The new song “Set Apart” made me want to learn about them.
Jantina Baksteen: Please share with us a little history of how your ministry got started?
Chitans: From the time we were born, all we ever heard in our home and van was gospel music. We started singing and learning to harmonize in family worship. We eventually began singing in churches and nursing homes. People started inviting and referring us to different churches and events. Thus the growth began.
JB: What is it like to travel full time as a family and being on the road on a bus where space could become crowded at times?
Chitans: It might come as a surprise, but we actually don’t travel around in a bus. We travel around in a 2008, nine-seater conversion van.
We enjoy being in full-time ministry, but at times it can be very hectic when we have to travel 10 to 12 hours between appointments. For example, Saturday in Connecticut and Sunday morning in North Carolina or Indiana. It can get a bit tense (there’s no such thing as personal space), but we have learned to survive..
JB: How do you find a little privacy on those long hours?
Chitans: There is no privacy. Headphones are all that’s needed.
JB: Who’s the joker in the family?
Chitans: Jesse is the joker in our van.
JB: As you travel full time, how do you match this with your fulltime study?
Chitans: We’ve always been homeschooled. This has been our life. We minister mainly on weekends and sometimes during the week, but like any other student, we do our school work Monday to Friday.
JB: In your Bio, I read that you have shared the stage with many different groups. Could you share with us what that is like?
Chitans: It’s quite something to watch and admire ministers of the gospel, (singers and preachers) while growing up, and still at a very young age find yourself on stage ministering alongside them. It’s rather humbling. But we believe that God has orchestrated our path and will lead us to places that we have not yet even imagined.
JB: You are originally from Toronto, Canada, but you travel all over the United States, and even abroad to Europe and Kenya. Is there a story from your travels that is close to your heart that has impacted your life?
Chitans: Seeing the deplorable condition of schools in Kenya and just thinking about how children in North America take school facilities and education for granted.
Our family embarked on a project to renovate The World Light School in Thika, Kenya and to also put in water tanks and bathrooms for the first time. We still have the lunchroom, two more classrooms and an administration block to put in, but Covid-19 happened and put everything on hold.
JB: Your current radio song is “Set Apart;” what’s the song about?
Chitans: “Set Apart” is about a deep desire to be the vessels God want us to be. The first verse in the song describes the specific use for the vessels in the Temple. They were consecrated and sanctified to be used for worshipping God. God has a plan for our lives. We are made for a specific purpose. We are not mistakes. We are not casualties of some experiment that God was doing. We were made with purpose. He has blessed us and set us apart for that purpose. King Belshazzar thought he could use the vessels of the temple for his own purpose, but like our parents taught us, once God sanctifies something, no man, no time, nor devil can change that.
JB: How do you practice standing bold in your faith, in your daily life?
Chitans: Trying to live our lives the way God expects us too. We want others to see Christ in us daily.
JB: Who does the lead on this song?
Chitans: Kaiziah and Kayandra.
JB: How does the crowd respond when you’re on stage?
Chitans: People usually say they are blessed by our songs.
JB: What is the message of hope you would like to bring, especially in this turbulent world we live in today?
Chitans: That Jesus is still in control and He’s willing and able to save anyone and everyone who will call upon His name.
JB: On your website, you quoted Mathew 28: 19-20, where it says,
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
Why is this verse so special to you?
Chitans: We have seen Him fulfill His promise at the end of this great commission. He said, “If you go… I will be with you always,” and He has been with us. He carved paths, opened highways, calmed the storms, provided food, transport, accommodation, protection and finance. We have made His work our priority, so, He has made our upkeep His responsibility.
JB: To wrap up this interview, how can we get in touch with you when a church or event wants to book you for a service?
Chitans: You can reach us by email at: email@example.com Phone at 929-360-8328 (US) or 416-839-3488 (CAN). Our website is www.thechitans.com and you can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube @TheChitans
We hope you enjoy this song by the Chitans called “Set Apart:”
https://youtu.be/ytxTlxElpKg link to ‘’Set Apart
Thank you to all the Chitans for sharing your ministry with SGNScoops. Many blessings on the road, sharing the gospel to a nation who needs to hear the message that brings peace and comfort.
By Jantina Baksteen
Jantina Baksteen is a gospel music writer and regular contributor to SGNScoops magazine and website.
Jantina Baksteen – biography:
I live all the way overseas in the Netherlands. I’m married and I have three adult children.
I grew up in a Christian home and knew in my early years that I wanted to belong to Him. I surrendered my life to Christ was baptized one day before I turned 11 years old.
Somehow, the seed of loving gospel music was planted by the style of music my parents played at home. Around 2006/2007, I was listening to Gaither homecoming music that I found on the internet. The song, “Oh, What A Savior,” by Ernie Haase hit me with the so-called Southern gospel bug.
From there, I’ve been reading /studying all I can find. I found the digital SGNScoops Magazine.
As I was spending so much time reading and listening about this industry, I started praying for God to please give me a job in the Southern gospel industry. Sometimes, I commented to Lorraine Walker on her posts. How could she know the longing of my heart?
But last year she asked me if I wanted to do something for SGNScoops: the Wacky Wednesday posts online. Now I do the “Beyond the Song” article that really has my heart as I am reaching out to artists, asking about a current song and having a sneak peak behind the scenes.
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