Dearest Friends,
Last night, we had an amazing time sharing with the men at the Helping Up Mission. I know what you’re thinking. There is no way you can share puppets with grown men and expect it to work. However, nothing is impossible for God. Often, this is what I tell children.
Last night, all of us were awed as we watched God touch the lives of many men. For the first time, they gave us all of the residents as well as all the homeless men who spend a single night at the facility. As the men were entering the chapel, you could see their look of shock and surprise when they saw the puppet stage. We have been to this place many times before; therefore, I had confidence that God could do this work.
Still, it was especially sweet to see their response. They absolutely loved every part of the program. They smiled, they laughed and they gave us a standing ovation. They cheered and clapped for so long that I wondered if they were going to stop. Best of all, I heard some of the men praying, asking Jesus to rescue them. All of us left the show absolutely praising God. We knew that we had seen God do a great work and we knew that He alone was responsible for all we had seen.
One of the most precious shows we do every summer is at the Christian Community Center. I have been working at this place since my own sons were in the puppet ministry. Some of you may remember reading about a little girl named Mercedes that I wrote about in the last couple of years. She always gets very excited when I come. For two years she took the pictures I drew from my stories and used them to decorate her room.
Mercedes has an older brother named Omar. Their mother died about ten years ago and their father is not in the picture. Their grandmother loves them and has done her best to raise them. Both children have grown up going to the Christian Community Center and have participated in so many activities that they have there.
Omar was shot and killed two weeks ago. He was only sixteen years old. The director of the center and I began to talk about the life of this young man. He believes that Omar knew Jesus as his Savior. We talked about the struggle that we as believers face to forgive someone who does such a terrible thing. Finally, we concluded that there is a greater question that we need to answer. Do we trust God? Even when it is difficult, are we willing to rest in God’s love when we do not understand the circumstances?
 Both the Director and I believe in the power of a sovereign God. We know that God could have chosen to spare Omar’s life even as he could have chosen to have someone pull my husband Mike free from that burning truck. There is so much in this world that we will never understand but we must walk in trust. We must hold to the belief that God’s plans are always the best plans, even when it hurts. We must wait for Him to redeem the hardest things that happen to us because God can use anything to show people His love and His mercy.
The director and I agreed that we would begin to pray for a specific event. We are asking God to give the director the opportunity to meet with the young man who killed Omar. He wants to tell him about his young friend and more, he wants to tell him about Jesus Christ. Please pray with us and ask God to make this possible. Also, please pray for the children at the center as they must struggle with their own questions about God and forgiveness. Pray for the little ones who came to faith yesterday. Ask God to make this place an even brighter light in the community.
It is very hot and often we are too hot and too tired as we are working. As a group, we were a bit grumpy when we arrived at the second show yesterday . There was nothing really wrong. We simply took our eyes off of Jesus and began to look at our circumstances. It was interesting to see what we saw among the children who had gathered to watch the show. They were also grumpy and picking on one another. All of us agreed that we needed to repent and let God change us. As quickly as we stopped being grumpy , a sweet spirit began to spread across the room. We could all feel the difference, and we saw the difference in the behavior of the children.
It was a wonderful show where we saw children put their trust in Jesus. A big thunderstorm came as we were loading the equipment and all of us got soaked, but no one cared. Our attitudes had changed so no problem was a problem. God is very good to us. Each day we begin with prayer and some scripture. With all of our hearts, we want to serve Jesus and be a bright light for the cross. Please pray for the children who came to this show and please pray for us.
Our puppets are getting some interesting responses. Today when the Snow White puppet appeared, one of the children yelled, “She has split ends!” When the natives were chasing Indiana Jones in the skit, one little boy yelled “Use your whip! Use your whip!” We have a puppet that looks just like me. We dressed her and fixed her hair, so when the children see her, they think it is me. When the children see her, they always laugh. However, the other day we got a response that we did not expect. One of the children exclaimed, “Look… its Lady Gaga!” We have a very entertaining life. Hold us in your prayers! We will spend the next two days doing more shows in inner city Baltimore.
In Jesus, Linda for Heather, Paige, Mykayla, Daniel, Seth and Jared