Hello praying friends!
Our show Thursday in Tokmok city center was a little hectic before and during, but the response afterward was reassuring that all was not in vain. We had some confusion and tension about where to set up. We finally had to humbly set logic and artistic reason aside and submit to the local organizers wishes. Mid set-up the rain fell but was short lived and wasn't a show stopper, PTL! Because of laws, we couldn't be open with the Gospel during the show. Dustin shared how Jesus has changed his life but couldn't give an invitation. The show was a bit rough but the audience must have been forgiving. Katie's dance turned into a comedy act as she rolled into a little girl that darted onto the stage unseen behind her. The little girl, the translator who was chasing the girl, and Katie, all ended the dance as a trio on stage. One of Dustin's unicycles needed maintenance mid-show, stopping one of his acts so Chris quickly jumped in and sang a song to keep things rolling. The monitors kept cutting out because our equipment is under powered.
On a positive note, some local church members were part of the show, one sang a song in Russian, one in Kyrgyz and some teens did a dance. Many other church members attended the show and were blessed, encouraged and said they loved the show. They said that world champions never come to town. One Christian lady thanked Erin for coming and sharing in their community. A Bahai group from Kazakhstan happened to be walking through the park as we were performing and they stayed to watch. Afterward, Katie talked to the youth leader named Jenya who was very open to talk about his religion and listen to the Gospel. She prayed with him and he "prayed" a Bahia chant. Please pray that Jenya will understand that Jesus is the Way,Truth and Life.
Friday morning we drove an hour to Bishkek for an 11am show at an elderly home. There are about 220 people living here ages 24-96 (the younger ones have major disabilities). We were told that we could be totally open during the show since these people are really old and may die at anytime. We performed outside in front of the main entrance with the audience sitting in chairs. Chris was a hit and debuted an Italian prayer a capella, even drawing in some teens who happened to be walking by the street outside the gate. At the end, Dustin shared the Gospel in a creative way, connecting it to his own grandfather who lived 98 joyful years all for Jesus. We could hear many audibly repeating the prayer of surrender to Jesus. As Dustin was wrapping up his talk, encouraging people to read the Bible to grow in their faith, the home director came up, interrupted and told our translator that we couldn't share about Jesus there. The timing was perfect because everything was already said and done. She wasn't too upset because she proceeded to present our team with certificates of gratitude in Russian to "Dustin Kelm and his team" with the seal of Kyrgyzstan stamped on it.
The audience didn't want to go inside afterward because they liked the program so much. They said they don't get to go out to the circus but we came to them. One grandpa said everything was good but he wanted more opera (Chris). One lady told Dustin with tears in her eyes as she gave him a grandmotherly kiss, "You brought the joy to our day." Another grandma gave Dustin a mission saying, "It's good you believe in Jesus. Tell Obama he needs to love Jesus like you and stop doing bad things in other countries."
We all very much enjoyed Mexican food for lunch in Bishkek at a build-your-own-burrito stand where apparently all the foreigners go...for good reason! Saturday we have 2 shows at orphanages in Tokmok and Bishkek. Thanks for praying with us for seeds planted thus far and prepared hearts ongoing.
Blagosloveniyi (Russian for Many Blessings),
TACO Kyrgyzstan Team