DALLAS - A pint-sized gospel-singing phenom is expected to bring a tiny glimmer of light Friday to what will likely be a solemn service marking one year after the mass shooting at Fort Hood.
Rhema Marvanne recently turned 8 years old but sings with a voice well beyond her years - as evidenced by her angelic rendition of "Amazing Grace."
Rhema's dad Teton Marvanne taught her the song when she was 6 years old, shortly after her mom Wendi lost her battle with ovarian cancer in 2008.
"I can see a lot of Wendi in Rhema, and I really feel Rhema picked up where Wendi left off," he said.
But it wasn't always that way.
"I used to tell people that Rhema was tone deaf because she could not hold a tune," Teton told CBN News.
On a trip to Nashville, after her mother died, Rhema's dad asked her if she wanted to sing like her mom, who loved gospel and country music.
"And so once she made that decision, 'Yes, you know what? I want to sing,' all of the sudden everything changed," he recalled.
After recording "Amazing Grace" and posting it on YouTube, Rhema became a hit, recording two albums and even traveling to Korea to sing on television.
Rhema said she believes her gift came from her mom, who taught her to love God.
"Now that my mother's in heaven, I can still feel her in my heart," she said. "And I got my voice from my mother."
Rhema's desire - at least for now - is simply to "show people that God is the light, the way and the truth," she said.
It's a message she's sharing through music and in memory of her mom.