Tuesday morning we had a show at an elderly home for 300 people near Bishkek. We performed in their large dining room which had a nice stage. The smell of fresh baked bread greeted us when we first walked in the door. Some families with kids came to watch the show, as well. Thankfully Chris was well enough to perform and his operatic voice was a hit. Erin debuted a classical clarinet solo which was also well received. Dustin shared the Gospel, gave an invitation and several indicated they had prayed with him to receive Jesus for the first time! We met a Christian resident who had been persecuted for her faith in China years ago. She challenged us to be strong in our faith and resist temptation. We received 2 of those wonderful smelling loaves of warm bread as a thank you gift before we left.
Tuesday evening we had a show at Jesus Christ Church in Bishkek, the church who organized our big event in the park the night before. We arrived and had to wait over an hour to begin setting anything up because our performance area was in the parking lot just outside the church and lots of cars were still parked there. The pastor who hosted our park event was busy so our event was passed down the chain of command several notches with seemingly token efforts. We were surprised to learn there was a service scheduled in the church at the same time as our show just outside and they were concerned our outreach would hinder people from attending the service. The church was off the beaten track and we wondered if anyone besides church people would even come. We proceeded in faith and again to our surprise, over a hundred people turned up from somewhere. We know that some did come as a result of our park outreach the night before. Though the event felt semi-awkward overall, we know God used it and a number of people indicated decisions to surrender their lives to Jesus!
We were almost giddy as we all settled in together at our nice Bishkek apartment which our translator found for us. We had checked the place earlier in the day and all seemed great, except for an unattached toilet seat, which Dave said could come in handy and started carrying it around the house. But they fixed it before we returned. One thing we didn't notice in our excitement until just before bed was that there are no doors on either of the bedrooms. The living room (which we are using as a bedroom also), kitchen and bathroom have doors, so that's a plus. We've only paid half the rent for our stay so we have some leverage to motivate them to give us some doors. We were told that they will glue doors in tomorrow but the smell will be strong. We suggested scentless screws.
Wednesday we had our best and worst venues, but both were great events. Early afternoon we performed in a church with a great sound system, stage and even special lighting. The show was for university students who are strong Muslims. Even though it was in a church, we couldn't share openly because only the pastor is allowed to talk about Jesus. Dustin shared his story about how God has changed his life and the pastor shared more in-depth at the end. The students seemed to really like the show and took many photos with all of us afterward.
In the evening, we were at a different church where the only place to perform was in a grassy field. Not ideal for unicycling, but Dustin did what he could on the rough surface. We were told the show started at 7p and when we arrived at 6p, many kids were already sitting on benches in the field and had been waiting since 3p. Since it was mostly kids and Dustin couldn't do as much, Natasha, our tour organizer's wife who has been singing Russian songs in the show, did some games with the kids throughout the show and had them jumping around during her songs to keep things lively. Chris, by popular demand, sang the usual "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" in Turkish, but this time in a cartoon voice. After he sang "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables, a lady came up and gave him a big bunch of roses. By the end of the night we all were gifted a few roses and now have a beautiful bouquet sitting on our kitchen table. The kids were a great audience and made it a fun show. We could be totally open with the Gospel and many said they accepted Jesus for the first time tonight! Afterward we signed many t-shirts and papers and even our Muslim driver was signing autographs.
Thanks for your prayers! God is at work! Thanks for praying for growth for those who have chosen Jesus. We have 3 more shows in the next 3 days so we'd love prayer for endurance and effectiveness for those, too!
Kudaiym batasyn bersin sizge (Kyrgyz for "My God will bless you"),
TACO Kyrgyzstan Team