We left early this morning headed for Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. While we are in this area, we will be doing shows in seven different cities. We will be doing programs for hundreds and hundreds of children, many of whom are in very difficult places. Last year, we had a little boy tell us that he could not forgive his father. As a small child, he had witnessed his father try to kill his mother and had to help save her. I told him that God sees, God knows, and God cares. I explained to him that if he put his trust in Jesus, he would be forgiven and could forgive others.
This little boy’s story is very sad, but many of the children we are serving have very sad stories. Please pray for these children and please pray for all of us as we seek to show them the love of Jesus.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Last Saturday, two of the puppeteers and I did a closing program for a local Vacation Bible School. Since there were only two other puppeteers, I had to help do puppets. This presented several problems, as I am without a doubt the worst puppeteer out of any of the puppeteers we’ve ever had. I know how to teach the skills, I just can’t seem to work my hands fast enough. It didn’t help that I put on the big bear puppet and put his hands on backwards. Also, I am very short, so I was using a ladder, which was a poor decision. After nearly falling off the ladder and almost collapsing the entire puppet stage, the puppet team decided that I am not allowed to do puppets again. The good news is that more than ten children indicated to us that they had put their trust in Jesus, despite my bad puppeteering. I read a quote the other day that I really liked. It said that faith was more important than skill in ministry. I thought about the truth of these words as I considered my lack of skill with puppets. I really believe that children can make life-changing decisions for Jesus Christ. I have faith that God can meet all their needs. However, I have no faith in my skill as a puppeteer.
THE FREEDOM FESTIVAL
Each year, my town does a big celebration the week before the Fourth of July. This year we partnered with one of the small groups in our church and did three shows for hundreds and hundreds of people. It was an amazingly effective outreach, especially since our friends passed out free lemonade and popsicles to the crowd. They also handed out hundreds of invitations to Vacation Bible School.
One lady came up to me at the show and told me the most incredible story. She is now in her mid-twenties, but has been coming to see the shows since she was five years old. Once, her parents even drove one hundred and fifty miles to see a show. The first time she ever saw a program, the team included my two sons and their friend Aaron Rapier. Ironically, Aaron was standing beside us handing out lemonade that day. Years ago, I gave her a drawing from one of the stories which she still has on her living room wall today. She was so happy that her children could come and hear me tell them a Bible story and watch the puppets.
This sweet story would not have been possible without the help of our good friend, Dr. Charles Bishop of Subligna Baptist Church. Our trailer hitch broke as we were getting ready to go to the shows. There was no way that we could get the equipment to the park without having our trailer. Because his church is only two miles from my house, I called him to ask for help. Within five minutes, he had a deacon and another gentleman at my hour to fix the trailer. I am so grateful for the kindness of the two men that helped us. I am especially grateful to Charles who was actually on vacation at the beach. I did not know that he was out of town when I called him. He never told me that he was on vacation, he just helped us. We had a really amazing night, and I am so thankful for all we saw God do.
Linda, Drake, Mary, Billy, Kelsey, and Leslie