Puppets For Preaching

This week, I made a trip over the mountains and down to Villavicencio. It had been quite a while since my last trip and there was much to do. But along with my normal work with the school, on this trip we held a workshop in puppetry. An intern, Ken Gardner, who had been to Colombia some twenty five years ago, had often expressed an interest in returning. During that time, he had become involved in puppet ministry and had become quite an expert in the subject matter. He now works with one of the largest companies involved in training and materials for puppet ministries. So when he spoke about returning to Colombia for a visit, I asked him to prepare a workshop for using puppets in ministry. He was happy to do so.

For months as he prepared for his trip he gathered materials and prepared his workshop notes in Spanish. He sent box after box of puppetry supplies to use in his workshops and during his time in Colombia. When he arrived last week, we began to prepare for this program. Our first workshop was held this last weekend in Villavicencio. I carefully explained the risks involved with traveling there to make certain he understood them and was willing to travel down there for this ministry. Since he had lived with us for a summer in Villavicencio, he was actually quite anxious to see the place again and had enough faith in God’s watch-care to quickly agree to the trip.

We left Friday early and headed down over the mountains. That afternoon was taken up with meetings and errands. The next morning I made a trip to a nearby town of Restrepo, to visit a blind Christian who Ken had met during his first time in Colombia. We ate lunch there and then returned to Villavicencio. The entire afternoon was a whir of activity was we had our workshop and time of sharing. That evening I had a school board meeting.

The next morning I preached at the church there and Ken had a demonstration with the Sunday school teachers and the kids during the lesson time. He was so popular that the children’s worship went much longer than the adult worship service for a change. After church we were invited out to eat and shared an enjoyable time of fellowship with many of the Christians from the church. Once that was over, we began our long trip back up over the mountain. I had a class to prepare for on Tuesday and needed to get back to Bogotá.

We arrived late in the afternoon and were both very tired. But it had been a great weekend and there was great interest in using puppets to more effectively teach children there in the Villavicencio church. There was so much interest in fact that several of our teachers that could not attend because they had classes in the university are planning on traveling to Bogotá next weekend so as to attend the seminar when we hold it up here. God blessed us with a great trip and the church in Villavicencio with a renewed enthusiasm for teaching children with an ever increasing effectiveness.