The Creative Arts Service Team (CAST) hit the ground running the moment we returned to territorial headquarters from commissioning weekend. While the other summer mission teams were preparing to depart for their locations, CAST began rehearsing a choreographed drama, “Jesus Theatre: Balloons.” It shows a creative and fun view of the gospel and the power of God’s love through acting and dancing. The second show we’ve been working on, “The Kingdom of God is…,” will show what the Kingdom of God is and who is welcome there. It features a variety of our team’s artistic and musical talents and different ways to praise the Lord.
CAST is quite a diverse group. We come from all over the Central Territory—Minnesota, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Illinois—and one of us is even from the Philippines! We range in age from 18-24 and have different experiences in sharing God’s word. We were able to spend an evening with members of the Bill Booth Theatre Company before we left. It was very cool to be able to fellowship with people who spread God’s Word and love through the arts, as well.
We still have some final touches for our show but are ready to go! We’re so excited to get out and show what we’ve been rehearsing. Of course when we preform, it’s not for our own glory, it’s for God’s glory.
The last two weeks were quite a ride for CAST. Our first stop was the Wisconsin/Upper Michigan Divisional Music Camp at Army Lake Camp in East Troy, Wis. CAST was participated in their Wednesday evening program and presented several pieces from the Kingdom of God show. The kids were very receptive and thanked us for sharing the gospel in such a powerful way. The next morning CAST sat in on their dance and drama electives. We wish we could have stayed longer.
On Friday we traveled to Minneapolis Temple Corps to participate in the corps’ day camp. We spent the majority of the day leading Bible lessons, teaching crafts and playing recreational games. We also taught the kids a dance from our show, which they absolutely loved. It was amazing seeing kids worship God through dance. We had a wonderful and refreshing afternoon playing water balloon games at the park with everyone. If only we could have stayed longer.
Friday evening we arrived at Northwoods Camp for the Northern Divisional Music Camp. We, alongside Joe Caddy, were the special guests of the week and were part of the music camp faculty. We were busy teaching music theory and electives, such as dance (Mikal, Ed, Sandy), drama (Jacob, Brianna) and timbrels/ribbons (Keziah). Sandy led the Spruce Chorus with Ed as the piano accompanist and Keziah as the manager. Brianna was the manager for the Cypress Chorus. Mikal was the assistant leader in the Northwoods Chorus, and Jacob was a helper for the “mighty” Oak Band. We also were part of the faculty band/chorus.
Our host this week was the Northern divisional music director, José Sanchez. CAST found him inspiring; he spreads God’s love through music and is passionate about helping others grow in their musical gifts. CAST performed Kingdom of God during the evening program on Tuesday night. The finale was such a big hit we repeated the dance number with José.
Later in the week we did a second show during the evening program. This time we worked alongside the Northwoods camp staff to do Jesus Theatre. After the show was over, we prayed with several campers who decided to follow Jesus.
This week we’ve been in Eleuthera, Bahamas, with the Central Team. The teams arrived on Sunday and drove south to Palmetto Point, the location of the only Salvation Army corps on the entire island. We met Joseph Deal, the corps sergeant-major; he was such a gracious host, helping us out with whatever we needed.
The corps members and the community of Palmetto Point were very welcoming and happy we were there to lead VBS. They presented us with water bottles, a dozen pineapples and around 80 mangoes. Several home league ladies helped prepare the lunch meals for the children and the staff. We couldn’t have done VBS without their help.
Our theme was based on Ephesians 6:10-18 regarding the armor of God. The children seemed to really understand Satan will try his hardest to break them down, but with God all things are possible, and He will never put them through anything they can’t handle.
Each day we averaged about 50 children ranging in age from 2 to 16. We had four different age groups: The Warriors (age 4-5), The Snappers (age 6-7), The Pink Conch Shells (age 8-9) and The Panthers (age 10-16). Each age group had at least one or two counselors from the CAST or Central teams, and we had four stations: Bible, craft, recreation and miscellaneous activities. We took the children to the beach after the VBS program was done for the day. The teams and volunteers had a wonderful time playing with the children and trying to teach them how to swim. For some it was their first time visiting the beach.
There were a few times when both teams were asked to assist in evening events at the corps. On Monday night we went to a home league meeting to teach them a craft. On Tuesday we were part of the evening meeting. The Central team joined us in doing Jesus Theatre. Although the message is primarily geared for children and teens, the adults were moved and blessed to see the gospel acted out.
On Thursday both teams did Jesus Theatre during the VBS opening meeting, followed by a time of prayer and an altar call. Most if not all of the children came forward to pray and many stepped forward to accept Jesus as their Savior. Afterward we talked about the show in Bible class and what it meant.
On Friday evening, we had a wonderful time of fellowship with corps members. They prepared a delicious meal for us as a way to express their gratitude for our ministry. That night, everyone exchanged stories and said, “Until next time.” This week in the Bahamas was such a blessing for all of us!
Because she was unable to travel to the Bahamas, CAST member Keziah had her own mission trip to Grand Forks, N.D., where Lts. Matthew and Rona Beatty were very welcoming to her. Keziah volunteered in the food pantry, talked to many different people, helped with Sunday school and met the mayor of Grand Forks. Although the rest of the team was in the Bahamas, we were able to video chat with her during our nightly team devotions.
We started our Monday bright and early at the Fort Wayne, Ind., Corps. There we met Captain Luis and Lt. Linda Acosta and their daughter, Andy. We also were introduced to Cadets Vatthana (Na) and Donna Thammavongsa and their family who are at the corps for their summer assignment. Right away we began prepping with the cadets for the corps’ traveling VBS program. We went to various local parks to share God’s word. One day we had VBS in the morning and another day we had it in the afternoon. We helped with Bible time, crafts and music. One afternoon, Cadet Na asked us to share our testimonies.
We also helped the corps prepare for a silent auction fundraiser. We stretched our creative muscles to design backdrops and other decorations for the fundraiser and painted several pieces that would decorate the hallways. While we waited for the paint to dry, we also labeled 1,000 water bottles that the corps would be passing out at an upcoming parade.
On Monday night we were invited to a young adult fellowship dinner at the Acosta’s home, which was very fun. On Wednesday night we participated in the corps’ Bible study, which was led by Captain Luis. Later that night, we were invited to the cadets’ home for ice cream and devotions. On Thursday the CAST men participated in an outing for the men’s ministry group, while the CAST women ministered with Lt. Linda and Cadet Donna.
On Saturday night the team presented The Kingdom of God at an evening program for the corps and the local adult rehabilitation center. Team member Mikal shared his testimony and Captain Luis provided a devotional. On Sunday, we joined the teen and young adult Sunday school class and helped out in the morning worship service. We led praise and worship, Jacob played the cornet for preliminary music and the offertory, Kish played the guitar, Ed played piano, Mikal played the drums and the rest of us sang. We also shared a selection from our show for special music.
CAST had a fun week at the Warren, Mich., Corps. Our hosts, Captains Andrew and Melissa Shiels, were very welcoming. There were many things for us to do, and we couldn’t wait to get started. During the week we ate dinner with the Shiels family and also spent time with Accepted Candidate Amanda Passmore. We toured Detroit (the first time for most of us) and were able to see many different parts of the city in a fun way.
The Warren Corps’ summer day camp has at least 75 children in the program. On the first day we performed Jesus Theatre for the kids and in devotional times during the week we spread God’s Word through dance, drama and music. CAST assisted with classes, meal times and field trips, such as a day at the beach.
We also helped out with a senior luncheon event during the week. We served lunch to more than 100 seniors and performed The Kingdom of God. They connected with what we were saying in the show. On Sunday morning the team helped out with Sunday school and took part in the worship service.