Last year during literature club one of the mothers suggested we look for ways for our kids to serve the community. When we lived in Tyler, TX our family participated in Drama with a Point, lead by Becky Clayton. The plays she writes have a Christian message, a point. I miss our time with Becky and all our friends in Drama with a Point and the sword fighters in The Fellowship of Christian Swordsman. The intersection of the need for a service project and longing to be with our friends gave me an idea for our literature club. Maybe the kids can learn to sword fight and put on a play this summer at one of the hospitals. I called Becky and asked if she would share one of her scripts with us. She graciously said yes.
I worked on costumes for our plays in Tyler, but I have never directed a play before and our literature club only had ten students who had no sword fighting experience and the play had 23 actors. “Oh, well,” I thought, “it will either work out if this is a plan God sees fit for us or it won’t.” I threw the idea out to the mothers of the club and they liked it. We prayed and began asking around. Several weeks passed. Three days before the cast was supposed to meet at our house to read the script so parts could be assigned, we still lacked six actors. At the last minute I received two phone calls and two emails from mothers asking if their children could participate. On the day of the reading we had just enough people to do the play. It was exciting. God provided the first step in the process. Yeah!!!!
I created a schedule for sword practice and play practice just like I had observed Becky doing all those years before and we met for the first practice. James took sword fighting for five years but he had never taught it before much less 23 people at once! A hurdle for him to over come. Another hurdle was the weather. We live in San Antonio and the temperature in June this year was 90-100. We were in the park for three hours the first day of practice. We had lots of water, but I thought we would melt. We continued to pray for an air-conditioned place to meet. Day two, three more hours in the sun. That evening one of the mothers contacted me and said we were offered the facilities at Grace OPC church. God provided. Amazing!
Each practice day began with James, the fight master, teaching the kids the basics of theatrical sword fighting, then they shared a snack, and the last hour and a half was when we worked on the script. A couple of the kids had acted a few times before and my son, James had a lot of experience thanks to Becky but he rest of us were rookies. The kids had to learn how to move, talk, and convince an audience about the story that is being acted out and I had to learn how to instruct them. It sounds so simple when I write it here, but we took hundreds of baby steps to arrive where we are today. I think the neat things is that we all accepted each other. I was fine with their skills and they didn’t seem bothered that I had never directed before. We decided to work hard and rely upon God for our strength and to teach us what we needed to know.
Our first practice was June 11 and tomorrow will be the 17th day of practice and it’s our last day before the first performance on Tuesday. This morning at practice we had a dress rehearsal so the kids could get used to sword fighting in their costumes. My eyes filled with tears as I witnessed God’s handiwork. These kids worked, laughed and and shared meals together as they worked for a single goal. Today, I saw a play performed with excellent skills, but I also saw a beautiful bond that had emerged among them. We began as greenhorns who shared a few common traits: desire for friendships, opportunity to work in theatre, willingness to receive instruction, work hard and trust God for the outcome.
What I loved most
Making new friends with the mothers and their children
The actors trying new things
When they thought they couldn’t, and then did
The actors’ humility to take instruction from less than an expert
Laughter ringing though the building
Older actors having patience for younger ones
Mothers who poured their time into the process
Isn’t this a picture of the Kingdom
God taking little clumps of clay,
something that many would deem unusable,
and molding into the image of Christ?
That ought to be an impossibility, but with God all things are possible.