Saturday, September 14, 2013

Taking Puppetry, the Arts and Creative Ministry to Panama

From August 31 through September 8 I had the incredible opportunity to return to Panama City, Panama, with Ministerios IR and Hands of Peace, to train children, youth and adults in the art of puppetry, sign language, hand mime and drama.

This year, I was asked to direct a team of 19 youth from the host church, Comunidad Evangelica Monte De Sion (COEMONSI) to prepare a program in 5 days to take out into the community for children's crusades. As daunting as the task seemed, I felt prepared and optimistic with the musical I prepared, titled "I AM" and was dead set on using all 19 youth in all 4 songs.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived and learned I now had 23 youth to work with! We went straight into a team meeting Sunday evening and began our rehearsals on Monday morning. For the next 4 days, I worked relentlessly with youth from 9 to 21 years old on "I AM" with rehearsals beginning at 8:30am (with some time for prayer, team building and devotionals) and ending around 3:00pm. I'll admit, there were moments of "What was I thinking!?"

This, in addition to teaching performance workshops in the evening for conference attendees, created a very busy and tiring yet rewarding week. Thankfully I had the support of the other artists and people that were volunteering on the trip, including Gene Cordova (a talented Christian ventriloquist, balloon artist and much more) and Judy Buch (a wonderful Christian ventriloquist, puppeteer and author). They taught workshops on puppet construction, puppetry, ventriloquism and other topics.

My team’s dedication and hard work impressed me though; as was their willingness to sacrifice their weeklong vacation to serve their community and the God they so dearly love. Work was so hard in such a humid environment (what I would’ve done for a rehearsal space with AC). Their effort paid off as they nailed all 4 songs.
Songs included Spanish versions of:
  •  "Indescribable" by Chris Tomlin (featuring blacklight hand mime)
  •  "In Christ Alone" by Owl City (featuring human video)
  • "Superhero" by Hillsong Kids (featuring blacklight puppetry)
  • "Don't Let Me Miss The Glory" by Gordon Mote (featuring dowel rods, sign language and flags)
This all wove into a story about a little girl's curiosity about God as she and a woman admire the stars of the heavens. Together, they learned about God the Creator, the Redeemer, the Father and the Promise.

All in all, this summed up into an incrediblly blessed week. My team grew closer together and many of them called it #LaMejorSemanaDeMiVida (translation: #TheBestWeekOfMyLife) on Facebook. More importantly, several little ones turned their hearts over to God and these little lights returned to their dark homes. 
It’s always a true pleasure to be able to pass on to others what we are passionate about and to share this in another country was tremendously rewarding. Passion, pass it on. Your artistry, your faith. Pass it on.
You can view photos and videos from this trip by visiting:

→ If you are interested in the script and director tips for this musical, please feel free to e-mail

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pushing Creative Ministry to the MAX at Ministry Arts Xtra

I just returned from another week of incredible blessings, inspiration and fellowship at Ministry Arts Xtra (MAX), an international festival sponsored by Creative Ministry Solutions at Grove City Church of the Nazarene in Ohio. Again, all I can say is “Wow! Thank you God!”

If you aren’t familiar with Ministry Arts Xtra, it’s an amazing 4-day conference that dives into a variety of creative ministry topics through workshops, performances and competitions. The Creative Ministry Dream Team is a select group of 15 attendees that audition to be part of the team and come together for the 4 days to put together a program to present as the finale of the conference.

This year I had the blessing of being able to fill a support role for the Dream Team’s directors, Christy Watkins and Carrie Murphy, as well as the Dream Team as they worked to bring together an ambitious program set in “Heavenly Street."

The program followed this year’s festival theme “Whatever,” inspired by Philippians 4:8. “Whatever” tells the story of Max, a pack rat that fills his trash can with the junk of this world, while his friend Sally shows him there’s much more to life than just trash when we set our sights on God and “whatever” he has in store for us.

The script and songs were woven together beautifully and the program featured puppetry, ventriloquism, sign language, dowel rods, dance and much more. The story drew delightful references to Sesame Street, such as Yip Yip Martians discovering the audience and “which of these is not like the other?” Everything came together to create a charming, humorous and meaningful program that was a joy to be a part of.

Songs included:

·         “Heavenly Street” (Sesame Street Parody) by Mark Bradford – featured out-front puppetry
·         “Where I Belong” by Building 429 – featured chair choreography, sign language and dowel rods
·         “Hold Me” by Jamie Grace – featured live actors, puppet choreography and umbrellas
·         “There Is A Way” by NewWorldSon – featured blacklight Stringbean puppets
·         “When He Saved The World” by Mark Bradford – featured hand mime
·         “I Surrender All” by Crystal Lewis – featured flags
·         “Feelin’ So Fly” by tobyMac – featured dance choreography
·         “Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory” by Gordon Mote – featured dowel rods, sign language and banners

Rehearsals were long, lasting up to 12 hours a day, to polish the hour-long program in time for the end of the week. The hard work paid off though as the Dream Team presented a beautiful, diverse program that not only made the audience laugh and smile but also applaud the glory of God.

The opportunity to work with the Dream Team again but on the directorial side was also an amazing opportunity to learn from the example of the two very seasoned directors. Their servant leadership, creativity and humility was a wonder to watch in action!

All in all, I’m grateful for the wonderful opportunity I had to jump back into creative ministries after 10 months of sabbatical. We are going to start gearing up the ministry team soon for the 2013-2014 year and I have come back not only eager to serve but also inspired and blessed!

For more information about Ministry Arts Xtra and the Dream Team, please visit

Monday, May 20, 2013

Celebrating 2 Years of Faith, Hope and Love with Iglesia Jesucristo Es El Señor

It’s incredible when you pause and realize how time passes like sand between our fingers. We are thrilled that our home church, Iglesia Jesuscristo Es El Señor (Jesus Christ is Lord Church), has had 2 beautiful years of celebrating faith, bringing hope and sharing His love.

As a church, we decided to seize this opportunity to shine by inviting our friends, family and community to celebrate with us over the weekend. On Saturday the 18th we hosted FESTiFAMiLiA (FESTiFAMiLY), a family-friendly festival featuring music, food, tournaments, carnival games, prizes and a program by Create, Minister, Teach (CMT).

Despite battling the wind, the event was a wonderful time of fellowship and also sowing some seeds in the hearts of those attending. CMT’s teaser program featured a few illusions, a human video and testimonies that highlighted what we’re all about: His love.

On the 19th, we held a Celebration Sunday service that featured praise and worship and a new program by CMT titled “With(out) Jesus.” The program wove together illusions, puppets, blacklight, sign language, painting with testimonies and stories that shared the power of life in Christ.

We are so grateful for having had the opportunity to work together as a church to Shine and are looking forward to another year of spreading Faith, Hope and Love in the San Francisco Peninsula!

To view pictures from the event, please visit our church’s Facebook.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013! | Resource Spotlight: The Crayon Kingdom by Jennie Bishop

Happy New Year everyone! We are grateful for all that has happened in this past year and look forward to a new year.

It was a little over four years ago when we stumbled upon a wonderful story by Jennie Bishop, “the Crayon Kingdom,” in the midst of development of a new production for a New Year’s event. The story is charming and thoughtful, and, at the time, just felt right.The decision was made to scrap our current developing production and to adapt, record and produce a Spanish puppet musical of the Crayon Kingdom (with only 6 weeks until show time)! Little did we know just how beautiful this production would turn out to be and now, years later, we are more than happy to recommend this book, whether for pleasure reading/learning or production material.The Crayon Kingdom tells the story of the trouble that ensues once Green feels underappreciated and decides to work only with other Greens instead of his colorful friends. Join the Crayons as they learn the necessity and beauty of working together to make a masterpiece.

The Crayon Kingdom is available from PurityWorks.

Listen to our Spanish adaptation on YouTube.