Feb 13, 2009

REAL on the Road

"J" leads in "The Machine", an attention-grabbing improv that we use to start off our Street Market shows. Thanks to former REAL director, Grant Graves for the idea!

REAL Christian Theater is on the road for it's ninth season. It's hard to believe we've been doing drama ministry for that long now! Our youngest members of the team were only one year old when we first started out.

The team is at full strength this year--twelve actors ranging from grades 5 to 12, four directors, a hard working sound/lights/props tech, and our manager Carol Paez. We've been touring on and off since November; our most recent shows have been performances at the Thursday night Garapan Street Market, pictured here, and an hour long show at the Friday night Youth on the Rock service at Grace Christian Church.

Currently we are working on our dinner show fundraiser, a play called Meet Me in St. Louis, which we expect to stage in April. My senior class when I was in high school produced this play and it was so much fun. It was cool to go over all those familiar lines that I learned when I was a student, only now, it's my students that are going to perform.

I know I've got a few REAL alumni who read this blog--former directors and actors--so Xian Xian, Mai, Bev, Vero, Grant, Aya, and all the rest. . .this one's for you!

Our Street Market shows are all about short, funny skits with lots of action, corny gags, and few lines, anchored by our "message" pantomime to music. Here we present a skit called "The Ticket Line."

That's me, the consumate front man.

Team members perform a skit called "The Mad Reporter."

Our version of "Everything", the pantomime set to a Lifehouse song by the same name. That's me and "Little Sister." You can find many versions of this popular Christian sketch on Youtube. This is one of the best, in my opinion. As soon as I can figure out how to convert my avi files to mpegs, our version will be on the web too. I believe former director, Mai Rhea Odiyar also performed this sketch with her Mission Life team this past fall.

"Little Sister" and "M" as the drama kicks in in "Everything."

Here's the whole skit.

The Bible Study

Our strawberry shortcake, made at The Bible Study, Wednesday, February 4, 2009. Our most recent dessert, made last night, was a cherry cobbler.

". . .sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb."
--Psalms 19:10b

That's the way the Word of God is described in the Psalms, and it's around that theme of something sweet that our recent youth Bible study developed. Each week on either Wednesday or Friday several of my middle school and high school students meet at our house to make a dessert and study the Bible together. While the one satisfies the sweet tooth, the other satisfies the soul (and is a whole lot healthier too!).

On Wednesday, February 4, 2009 we made a strawberry shortcake and studied what the Bible has to say about human nature and the concept of sin. We made the cake first, then studied while it baked and cooled, then ate at the end of the study and after a tasty spaghetti and garlic bread dinner provided courtesy of Babs.

The desserts have been good, but the studies have been even better. The kids have been asking a lot of really good questions. We couldn't cover all of the issues that came up on the topic of sin, so we continued the topic at our study last night, where we went into even greater depth. As it stands, our next topic will be on magic, a topic that branched off of last night's study, that we wanted to explore in more detail. The use of magic of all kinds, including black magic, is quite common in this part of the world, and my students, some of whom have dabbled in it, want to know what God has to say about the topic. Pray for me, as I prepare for the study--I need wisdom in navigating this subject.

I believe the most important thing I can share with my students is a clear conception of God and His love. If they can find a real and meaningful relationship with Him, then everything else that truly matters in life that I want them to learn will, I believe, fall into place as well.

Our Bible Study group. We usually have 3 to 6 kids attending.

Super Bowl Monday

Kids and teachers watching the Big Game at our house, Monday morning, February 1, 2009.

Monday morning, February 2, 2009 we crammed 45+ kids into our living room to watch the Super Bowl. That's right, I said Monday morning. The Super Bowl is one of very few programs that is aired live in Saipan on our local cable channel, and Super Bowl Sunday is actually Monday morning here in Saipan. Thus on Monday morning the island's sports bars are full and the public school system usually finds a way to dismiss classes so that everyone can enjoy that American football classic, the Super Bowl.

At the SDA School we have school but it's hardly what I'd call a "regular" day. When we first moved to Saipan, we watched the game at the school, back when the school had cable service. Now, we bring all the students in grades 5-10 up to our house to watch. For one day out of the year, our student body, which normally leans more towards basketball and volleyball or soccer for our Korean students, suddenly cares deeply about football. The kids and teachers pick a team to root for and to hear the trash talk you'd have thought we were avid fans,closely following the regular season this past fall. The truth is, many of the students have only heard of the two teams the day of the big game and they often choose their teams based on nonathletic criteria such as which team has the better looking uniforms.

Nonetheless, the kids cheer enthusiastically for their team, and during close contests like this year's Steelers-Cardinals nailbiter, they even get excited about the game itself. Of course, the game isn't always exciting--particularly when all they're doing is running the ball and no one is getting any touchdowns, the kids get a little restless. It's even worse that while we get the game itself, we miss what many call the best part of the Super Bowl--the commericals. Instead we get a handful of local commercials repeated ad nauseum, the very occasional Budweiser commerical slipped in, and awful lot of plain station identifications screens with generic rock and roll riffs looping in the background. Still, everyone's grateful for school day free of school work, and everyone manages to have a good time until the game ends, usually around 1 in the afternoon.

Look at all those shoes! We take off our shoes in the house and so the kids did the same leaving with us this monster pile of shoes.