Loving the Part

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 bond that formed among the cast

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

Younger siblings toddling around

Older actors having patience for younger ones

Mothers who poured their time into the process

Shared meals

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.



9 Comments Filed Under: Blog

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  1. how delightful:) glad it is going so well. we just finished vbs week. it was an interesting and positive experience.

    • Ali Dent says:

      Delightful is a good description. I felt like my main job was to say yes to the Lord in the beginning, rely upon him to teach me what to do and then sit back and watch his spirit work. I would love to have a conversation with you about all that I observed. It is fun being part of this theater community and it is exciting to see the Lord interact with the all of us in very personal ways.

  2. Ali, you are such an incredible woman. I always enjoy reading about your Faith. I just wish I was in San Antonio so I could see the play! I’m hoping you’ll put up more pictures of it ~ I thoroughly enjoyed these and want more. Congratulations on everything!

    • Really? I love writing about my faith but I have wondered if I communicated well enough in writing on that subject. I’m comfortable talking in person because can hear the heart of the person I am talking to. I pulled back from writing about it, not because I am ashamed of the gospel, but just not certain if I was getting a point across. It is my favorite thing to write about. Second, is the classics and the families we read and act with. If you EVER get to San Antonio, please, please call me and let’s get together.

  3. Wow–what a fun summer adventure! I’m sure all the hard work will pay off, and what a great way for all the children to see God working directly in their lives!

    Thanks for linking up at Family Connections!

    • Ali Dent says:

      The mothers wanted a way for their kids to look at the needs of others instead of just themselves. They play is fun and exciting because of the sword fighting and what kid doesn’t’ love pirates! But the treasure in the play is the Bible and so the real beauty is watching our kids share the gospel with others. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. This looks like an incredible event. My boys (and probably my girls) would definitely love it. Thanks so much for linking up.

    • Ali Dent says:

      Lisa, it is a great thing. The theater troupe was birthed out of our literature club. We accomplish a lot with the books we read, but so much flows from this like using a play to encourage the kids to share the gospel with their talents. If I had time I would love to share some stories about what God has done among the families in literature club and now the theater troupe.

  5. Ali!! What an amazing testimony 🙂 I have to tell you – I’ve been praying for you and for the sword fighting practices and the play. I am so glad to see how God has provided just when you needed it and then some! I hope you’ll post some of the video here so we can see it!

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