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