In the last 4 weeks, we have done puppet shows in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville TN. Then we drove out toward Stone Mountain and did shows in Snellville and inner city Atlanta. In between, I enjoyed a sweet two-day visit with my children and gave a report on Peru at my home church.
Then, we traveled to Atlanta to work with Tim Cummings at Whirlwind Ministries, doing street shows in immigrant communities and in the inner city. We partnered with two churches who had brought teams from Arkansas and Florida to share with the children. It was awesome!
We spent a week sharing in seven cities around my home and at Camp Cedine. As I write these words to you, we have just finished a week of shows in Baltimore, Maryland and are now in Hanover, Pennsylvania doing 4 shows today, sharing with children in 2 parks. We are working with my oldest son’s church, so I am blessed with another visit with Josh and Teresa!
We have never had a better summer of ministry! I have so many good reports to give you. Please read the following list and rejoice!
Please hold us in your prayers as we leave early tomorrow morning to drive home. We expect to be on the road for 16 hours. Also, please ask God to especially bless the members of my summer team, Heather, Ali, Pablo, Mykayla, Jon and Katie. They are amazing and have been such a joy to travel with this summer.
A Baltimore policeman stood in a church on Sunday and thanked them for being such a good witness. He said that their love for God and their willingness to serve Him had really encouraged him. It has been a great joy to serve with them this summer, sharing with thousands and thousands of children that there is hope. I praise God for their love for Jesus!
WONDERFUL AND HEARTBREAKING STORIES:
1. A little girl in inner city Baltimore talked to me after a puppet show at a daycare facility. She said, "God can’t love me. I’m bad." I spent the next ten minutes, until the little girl got on a bus, explaining to her how dearly God loved her and how she could know Jesus Christ as her Savior. I have not been able to stop thinking about this child. How will other little children who believe like her learn the truth and find true love unless we leave our churches and seek out these children? Who will tell them the truth?
Maybe you could volunteer to read a story to children at a daycare facility or at a school, bake cookies for them, and ask God to use your presence there to open a door to share Jesus. Your city or town is full of children like this little girl. If you do not go where she is, who will tell her about the love of God?
2. At the Helping Up Missions, we set up in the chapel with the room full of homeless men, gathered to hear the Gospel. You are probably thinking, "How could you do a puppet show for adult men who have seen so much?" Remember, when God pours His spirit on something, "the foolishness" of puppets, chalk, and balloons can be used by Him. The men loved the puppets! They laughed and smiled. At the end of the program, many men prayed out loud asking Jesus to be their Savior. Praise God!
They also thanked us with loud applause and a standing ovation. Several men helped us load our equipment. One man insisted that he had to do something more to thank us. We all joined hands, standing on the sidewalk, and he prayed for us. A homeless man showed each on of us what gratitude should look like and gave us a great gift as he asked God to bless us!
3. On a small patch of grass in front of a church in Baltimore, around 70 people gathered to watch a puppet show. Most did not go to church and many walked over from the gas station next door. When is the last time that you took our church outside to all of the people who will not come inside? The church was very wise and provided free snow cones for everyone.
4. At a street show in Atlanta, a teenage boy brought his two sisters. He said, "I am a Moslem, but this was a good show. I am glad I brought my two sisters." He was telling me all about Islam, but stopped suddenly when I told him that I had read part of the Koran. I told him that I wanted to respect his tradition. He was shocked. I asked if he had ever read my holy book, the Bible. He dropped his head in shame. I had shown respect by reading part of the Koran and now he felt honor bound to show the same respect to me. Before he left, he said, "On my honor, I promise you that I will read this book of John. I can go to the library and get it. I keep my word." I had offered him my Bible, but he was not allowed to bring "the Christian book" into his home.
In Arabic, his name translates as "pious". Please pray for him to discover what the one true God says about being pious. Since I met "pious", a single question has plagued me. How will a Moslem young man hear about Jesus Christ if someone does not go into apartment complexes and do shows where he lives? I have a second question for you. Have you read part of the Koran so that God could use you to speak to a Moslem?
5. While walking through a neighborhood to invite children to a vacation Bible school, the team met many children. That night at VBS, they met even more hurting children who came from many surrounding neighborhoods. Ajah and her older sister both looked hurt, especially the older sister. Both came to VBS and heard about Jesus who heals all hurts. Please ask God to call these two sisters to faith in Jesus.
Each day, I meet children like Ajah and her sister. Each day, I miss Mike, but I am committed to letting God heal my heart, for the sake of these children. How can I tell them that Jesus heals the broken hearted if I do not let him heal my heart? If I refuse, then I will make God’s promises lies by the way I live my life. By His grace, I will not do this.
Last Friday, August 3rd, I would have celebrated my 34th wedding anniversary. The puppet team knew I was sad and showered me with kindness. I thought that I was hiding my pain. They bought me flowers, a card that each wrote sweet notes on, and lots of diabetic sugar-free treats. I am so blessed to call these young people my friends!
6. There are many more amazing stories! Watch for another email in a couple of days.
I want to express our deepest thanks to the wonderful churches and ministries that we worked with this summer. Through their prayers and financial help, they enabled us to share with so many children. Please ask the Father to bless them and enable them to continue! Pray for all of them to be bright lights for Jesus. The Father knows their names. Please contact us if we can help you to be a bright light in your community.