Monday, July 26, 2010


Lottie Moon

Recently Virginia and I had the unique experience of spending a week with the organization known as Campers On Mission in their annual National Rally. The program title theme was LINCOLN UP WITH JESUS. In the "land of Lincoln" what a creative thrust! The setting was the State Fair Grounds in DuQuoin, Illinois, one the only places big enough to park enough RVs to house 300+ Campers, most of whom spend the greater part of the year traveling from one mission site to another to minister in a hundred different ways, while sharing the good news of the gospel.

George Mueller

They had originally slated us to stay in a rented RV, but determined that a motel next door would better meet our needs for space and convenience, particularly with the number of costumes and quick-changes required. You see, we were to be a part of the program each day, providing dramatic dialogue presentations and other leadership at each of the sessions throughout the week. It was the most challenging engagement of our Living Portraits Ministry to date and we thoroughly enjoyed the test of our creative "mettle".

Fanny Crosby

For those of you that have not heard of our ministry, let me share a brief explanation. Since 1996 Virginia and I have been building a repetoire of historical characters and their period dress for dramatic presentations in a variety of venues. We have "played" before many elementary schools in Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, and Arkansas, in the characters of George and Martha Washington and Mark Twain and his wife, Olivia. Conventions, conferences, churches, nursing homes and a variety of clubs, professional and civic organizations have had historical visitors from the past, as well. We've had them appear to groups in Massachusetts, Illinois, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri, and our home state of Arkansas. To name a few beside the Washingtons and Twains: Missionaries William Carey, Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and Luther Rice; Hymn writers like Fanny Crosby, John Newton and Horatio Spafford; and other greats like George Mueller often appear from the past. Many times we've been given assignment to develop a specific character of interest, and when sufficient time is given to prepare the script and costumes, these have been delightful visitors to portray. One such early missionary named Elder James Philip Edwards was a significance influence on the American scene in the early 1800s, as he started some 30+ churches and was instrumental in beginning 3 associations of churches in Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri. His work produced the first Baptist church in Arkansas. Needless to say, our preparations for these have given us a rich sense of our Christian heritage and we are blessed as much as we pray those have been who witness these "visits from the past".

Now, back to the COM Rally in Illinois in June. The characters chosen to appear during the week were arranged to lend themselves as program highlights amid the music, speakers and a variety of training conferences. Lottie Moon and Luther Rice appeared in a sawdust covered pavilion as a part of morning Bible studies based on the Acts 1:8 missions call of our Lord. I, as myself, had the privilege of delivering two of these Bible studies to lay a foundation of challenge to the campers.


Other programming included presentations from a Horse "Whispering" missionary and his steed, a singing cowboy and the sharing of a modern day motorcycle ministry. During sessions inside the exhibition hall during the days of meeting George Mueller, John Newton, Fanny Crosby and even Mark Twain and Olivia made visits. It was in the conference sessions here that I was asked to lead two workshops on Storytelling, which I found to be a rewarding addition to our drama ministry. Helping others to discover ways to share and convey the message of Christ through such was a rewarding challenge I look forward to repeating in the future as a part of our ministry.

Mark Twain

On Wednesday evening's session we met in the large arena and were blessed to see an equestrian group perform on horseback, bearing flags that represented the basic parts of the Christian plan of salvation. Sharing by others included a welcome by the local Mayor, awards to outstanding campers and a program of music by a family trio. At this, George and Martha Washington appeared and lent their recollections of their own Christian heritage to the gathering, with its added patriotic atmosphere, displayed beautifully by another equestrian group. A challenging and rewarding time was enjoyed by all.

John Newton

At week's end, as we packed our own "OUR V" Dodge Caravan (did you get it?) and headed north for St. Louis, then south to northwest Arkansas, we reflected on a week of busy ministry, but one we would never forget. These people serve, and most that are retired, and they are passionately carrying the gospel around our nation. We pray that what we did was entertaining, inspirational, and perhaps, gave them an ideal of how they, too, might share the gospel in a creative way. That certainly is one desire we have in doing it.



Amber said...

Hey...these pictures look EN.TIRE.LEE too familiar to me!!! :)

Very proud of you and Mama. Y'all do great work!!

Mich said...

Aren't you guys too cute all decked out in your costumes. I think it is great you have a hobby that you share and so many enjoy.

Love ya!