Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Ireland Chronicles: Entry Two

Tour is now underway! I will be on the Big Red Bus more than I will be at Lacken House! In the next three weeks, we will present to Gospel to over 700 young children! It's exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. After four schools already, I feel like I'm getting the hang of things. Enough to tell you a little of what goes into each one of these programs.

The Departure

Early in the morning, the team gathers and boards the Bus. There are eight of us in all. There is our beloved driver, our two fearless leaders, our three craft and game people, and me and my fellow puppeteer. Together, we pray for the coming day. We pray for the children we are going to see. We pray that God will plant seeds in their hearts and see these precious children come to Him. We pray for the teachers and for the parents. We ask God for protection on the (very small) roads and for unity as a team. Then, as the bus cranks to life, we are off!

The Journey

The road trip itself can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Everyone has to ride on the lower level instead of the much more fun upper lever. Since this new Bus is not considered vintage, we have to be "safe." Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either. As we travel we usually listen to music, catch up on sleep, or play card games. For me, it's still so easy to become engrossed in watching the Irish Countryside fly by through my window. I've never seen so much livestock in my life! Sheep, cows, and horses roam in every field. And many of them have young with them. So I've seen little leaping lambs, cute calves, and adorable fuzzy foals! 


Anywhere the Big Red Bus stops there is a commotion. People love to come and take pictures of it! When we arrive we park in front of the school. We can see the kids inside, faces pressed against the windows as they watch us pull in. But we don't start the program right away. You see, no one has had tea yet. In Ireland, nothing is ever so pressing that you can't stop for a cup of tea first. The teachers will usually invite us in and we sit for tea for a few moments. I'm still a beginner at drinking such hot tea so quickly. I wonder how anyone still has taste buds after drinking it so fast! But there are always biscuits (cookies) so that helps!


At the signal, we all head to our stations to set up before the show. My job is to head to the upper level and set up the puppets. I call the area behind the stage curtain the puppet pit. A small mountain of puppets and props await my organization. In minutes I've set up the radio, speakers, placed props and all the puppets in order of appearance. By the time my fellow puppeteers join me, we are ready for the show!

The Show

The entire program happens in rotations. Groups of children rotate through the games outside, the crafts on the lower level, and then up to the puppet show on the upper level. The best part for me is when a group of kids comes up the stairs. Their wide-eyed excitement and smiles are infectious! It makes me so happy to see it, and I always can't wait to perform for them. But they only see my face for a few brief minutes. Once introduced, I drop down beneath the curtain into the pit. For the next 30 minutes, I will be kneeling on a mattress, lifting and voicing five separate puppet characters. I get to hear the kids giggling and singing along, and that makes up for the soreness in my knees and the fiery cramps in my arms and hands. We use the puppet show to tell the story of Jonah, telling the kids we can't run from God but that God can forgive our sins if we ask Him. After the show, I get to pop up again and wave as the kids leave.

We can do as many as three shows back to back before the end of a program. Then we have a break! Sometimes that's it for the day. Sometimes we have another program later in the day at another school. At the end of a program, my knees make me feel like an old woman and my arms are like limp noodles. But, I am so proud of what we've done. And I can't wait to do it again.

Packing Up

Once everything is done, it's my job to go back to the upper level and pack everything up for travel. Everything comes down and back into that little mountain of puppets that I started out with. With everything tied down, the bus doors hiss closed and we start the journey home. We may be exhausted, but, with some sleep we'll be ready to do it again tomorrow!

Your prayers are still needed! Please keep the team in your prayers as we spend the next three weeks ministering to the young children of Ireland. Please pray that hearts are made as fertile soil for the Word of God. And pray my arms don't fall off! Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. Wow this sounds so cool! :D It looks like you're have a fantastic time. ^ ^


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