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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Heart-Healthy Faith

I didn't' realize that it had been four months since I've posted here, but that's about to change. We are emerging from a time in the wilderness and preparing to climb a new mountain with new goals and opportunities to participate in an even greating calling from our Lord Jesus Christ. It's a season of blooming where we're planted -- in short, I'm excited.

During the past year, I've envisioned two significant things: (1) a Fellowship of Christian Artists, and (2) a Christian Arts Center -- in that order. It's not a build it and they will come calling, it's one that encourages others who have a heart to serve the Lord through his or her art to gather together and encourage one another. It's about recognizing the arts calling whether it's as a writer, a storyteller, a papercrafter, a dramatist, a musician, a vocalist. a photographer, a painter  -- whatever God is calling you to do. It's not about recruiting others into one ministry or another; it's about building a dream, looking for the possible rather than being stimied by the perceived impossible.

As we gather once a month over a meal or at someone's home, I feel confident that the Lord will lead us and guide as we lay our resources at His feet. No, I'm not talking about taking up a collection. I'm talking about embracing heart-healthy physical and spiritual lifestyles in which our Lord is at the center. I suppose it's a heart healthy faith.

Our first fellowship meeting will be on Tuesday, January 15th at 6PM at Countrie Eaterie in Dover, Delaware. Please call and let me know if you can make it -- 302-734-0572 or email dcookwrites@cookworkshop.com.

May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He shine His face upon you and give you peace, good health, motivation and energy to follow the path He has for you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fame's Flames Debuts Outside the Wall


Diane (on the left), Cathi (on the right) and Dave are dressed in black while the purple shirts are some of the men from the Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing residents who participated in Fame's Flames presentation at Trinity Wesleyan Church in Dover, Delaware on May 20, 2012
About 15 men from Dover (DE) Interfaith Misson for Housing a.k.a. homeless shelter joined us at Trinity Weselyan Church yesterday morning to minister through audio theatre. Five of the 15 held speaking parts in "Fame's Flames" -- a 40-minute audio play involving two women in a prison family support group who held distinctly different opinions about a television crew's plans to chronicle their stories on film. When the film crew entered the prison, the husbands' viewpoints effected significant changes on the outcome.  During the one-hour presentation (opening comments, song, audio play, song, and closing mime) there was absolute silence. That can be a bit disconcerting because you're not sure how to read the audience. Not even a chuckle during the amusing bits! The inmates laughed . . . but the congregation was as quiet as a mouse. As the final notes to Go Light Your World faded, the congregation stood as they applauded. After the pastor addressed the men and presented a donation to the shelter, a woman rushed down the aisle to meet us. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. "My husband robbed banks," she said. "I've been there. I was right there with those two women in the play . . . "

Monday, February 20, 2012

DIMH at Eagles Wings Church of God, Dover

Has it really been more than a month since we joined men from Dover Interfaith Missions for Housing to present an audio play? The audio play is titled Clean Slate and the men performed flawlessly on January 15, 2012 at Eagles Wings Church of God on Denny's Road, Dover, DE

Cathi Kopera joined five of her guys to present the story of men who found themselves homeless but managed to find opportunties to get a fresh start at Clean Slate Homeless Shelter for Men.

Of course, we closed our program with our newly revised Go Light Your World. WWM's CTM Players performers are clothed in black while the Shelter guys are wearing their purple shirts with a DIMH patch on the front.

One of the most telling moments in this mime is our call to be a beacon, the call to evangelism.

And an element that we enjoy most is the fruit -- when our core of four more than double their numbers represented by additional DIMH residents as they return to the front and encourage others to Go Light Your World.

Now the men are eager to raise awareness of the homeless situation to more churches. Please pray that more doors open sooner than later.







www.wordwarriorministries.org

Friday, December 23, 2011

View From the Bridge

sThese last two days before Christmas seem surreal. My cards are made, but not sent; gifts purchased but not wrapped; commitments noted but dangling for that magic moment that propels us into a new year filled with the promise of grand opportunity and expanded parameters of success. These last nine days before 2012 is like standing on a bridge between 2011 and 2012. Looking back, I can clearly see the steps that brought us to this place of transition. God's nudges from one path to another are clear but fading as time propels us into this new season -- a  season is, in many ways, requiring us to pick up the mantle He placed on us almost 10 years ago, one that was laid down when we couldn't find a replacement for our prison outreach. But this 2012 path is different; one tempered by time and experience. Now, for our ministry to survive after we no longer inhabit this earth, we must find and train new people; our replacement.

So, where do we begin? In the homeless shelter.

Already we have dates on our calendar for our new DIMH team -- January 15 at Eagles Wing Church of God in Dover, DE. We have dates for our men's prisons, for solo ministry, and a request to join the Garveys in North Carolina for several men's prison performances. It's a beginning. As we prove faithful here, the Lord will open new doors.

I am also committing to a new project for 2012 which begins January 1st. I will be completing faithbooking challenges with Patter Cross -- 26 entries focused on traditional hymns and scriptures. While I am expanding my scrapbooking business, Christ remains at the center where He belongs.

Through the application of this wonderful, legacy-building genre, I expect to see significant breakthroughs both commercially. The sense the Lord empowering me creatively. I am eager to soar higher  than ever before through two art forms I love -- drama/audio theatre and scrapbooking. Please keep our ministry in prayer as we continue to move forward in His perfect plan for us. Pray that we consistently touch hearts and draw them ever-closer to Him -- the One who created each of us. That said, May your Christmas be filled with peace, comfort and joy and may your New Year offer a greater manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ in your lives and the lives of your friends and families.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Homeless Men Light Your World



I absolutely love those special times when the Lord calls and we make ourselves available. Sunday morning, December 4, 2011 at Trinity Wesleyan Church was certainly one of those times. Cathi Kopera, one of our CTM Players prison outreach team members, was instrumental in putting this together. She obtained permission for some men from the Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing to minister through  our signature mime at her home church. We decided to rehearse with the men at the church on the previous Friday night.

Now, our "signature mime" is Kathy Triccoli's "Go Light Your World." CTM Players has closed every program with this mime since 1999. Suddenly, a week before our Trinity Wesleyan presentation, I decided that we needed to make a change! I'm allowed to do that since I'm the director and the Lord actually gave me the blocking for our church drama team in 1996 or 1997.

Now, when we performed this mime last month in partnership with the homeless group, we had four men. Imagine my surprise when 12 entered the church with Cathi on Friday night! I looked at them, then at the performance space and then back at them. No way! Not enough room! But that wasn't what Cathi had in mind. We stationed the additional men in specific pews in the sanctuary for what promised to be an ending with a punch. Afer maybe 45 minutes, we were satisfied with the presentation.

Sunday morning arose cool and crisp. It promised to be a great day for fellowshipping with the body of Christ. Our first surprise came when I looked at the program and discovered that we were not at the end as we expected; we were positioned before the sermon. We found that most unusual, but that was the pastor's decision, not ours. We're nothing if we're not flexible. We are there to serve; not demand. So we seated ourselves in the back of the sanctuary and waited for the call.

The service started with greetings, moved into praise and worship, prayer for those in need, a report on their new youth program, special music, and then us! Oh! Did I mention that at the last minute Cathi asked me to cold read a "Night Before Christmas" parody that a DIMH board member wrote? The parody touched on the holiday plight of the homeless. So we positioned ourselves for the mime while Cathi presented some facts about the homeless in Delaware -- the most telling fact is that there are 39,000 homeless in the state. Two of the men offered brief testimonies. I read the poem. The music started, I began singing, and the mime proceeded as planned.

I love the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The men were perfect in their presentation. The "new" ending that we engineered with the extra eight men showed six (the four men, Cathi and my husband Dave) going out to share their light with the congregation and 14 coming back.



Then it was over, but the glow remained. The greatest impact for the men was (1) the accomplished something powerful, and (2) they were seen as something other than "homeless." They experienced the anointing and empowerment of the Holy Spirit that comes only with the setting aside of self and pouring out to others.

So, we returned to our seats and waited to hear the pastor's sermon.

"Well," he said. "That's the sermon. There's nothing that I can add. Cathi, please come here." At that point, he presented Cathi with a check to the homeless shelter from the church, made a personal commitment to the men, lit the second advent candle and dismissed the congregation.

 I was stunned. I couldn't recall that ever happening before. The men were delighted. One man expressed special interest in doing more. Sadly, before the next week ended, he broke a major rule and was out of the shelter. That's how the enemy works, isn't it?

This experience birthed something new that begs for additional prayer covering and it comes on the heels of our promise to be more available. We are going to organize a new audio theatre team at the shelter with men from the shelter. Our first ministry opportunity will be on Sunday morning, January 15, 2012 at Eagles Wings Church of God on Denny's Road in Dover, Delaware. But I must stop here and start writing scripts. I'll keep you posted. Please keep us in prayer.




Sunday, November 13, 2011

Renewing our Availability


A Day in the Life  debut, Trindad Sept 23, 2009

What a day we had yesterday. Dave and I awoke in Fredericksburg, VA to attend the second day of our district ministerial conference. Inspiring doesn't cover the half of it. I was scheduled to perform a short audio play right after our 11 AM break. The five-minute play was one I wrote during our last mission trip to Trinidad. It finally has a title: A Day in the Life: Unavailable. As only God can do, the script's theme tied in perfectly to the harvest message our keynote speaker, Mel High, delivered.

We had to leave right after lunch because earlier in the week I committed CTM Players to join Interfaith Missions homeless shelter guests at The Cross Church of the Nazarene in Dover, DE to close their JOY (Just Older Youth) fundraising program with our Go Light Your World mime. We also had the pleasure of meeting Ennio and Maribel Zaragoza, the pastors of Maranatha Christian Church in Dover. Pastor Ennio introduced a phenomenal singing group from their church called New Revelation.


I am convinced that there is  much more coming our way, so now is our time to build and grow; to train up those who will come behind us, to build our legacy for the futurepast. To all things may the praise, the honor and the glory rest in the Lord's hands as we strive to remain in His will.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

On the Road Again

After a two-year hiatus from short-term missions and traveling, the Lord has opened doors that we thought were closed. We will be teaching a week-long audio theatre workshop at the P&W Artreach International Summer Camp in London, England this August. Not only do we have the expense of funding the trip, but we also need to reconfigure our equipment to accommodate air travel. We've also been reminded that we have an open invitaiton to Africa and we've been asked to return to Trinidad. Other unexpected opportunites (for one, ministering through audio theatre at the GCMF Women's Conference in May)  have arisen in the opportunity realm that I will reveal in the days and weeks ahead. The steps of the righteous are ordered by God . . . our righteousness is only through him. Please keep our preparations in prayer as we move into yet another new venture for the Lord.