Yes please to puppets!
By Christy Mast | Bolivia in South America
“Why don’t we form a team?” That question was posed to young mission worker Sara Hart more than 35 years ago.
Her “yes” and the enthusiastic participation of Bolivian young people has led to a wonderful gospel puppet ministry which now spans the world.
The group began by presenting puppet and clown shows in busy public places and at special events. Children loved the shows and large crowds would stop to watch. In addition to funny and light-hearted skits, the team also tackled stories concerning deeper issues, like good versus evil and substance abuse.
From there it has grown and grown, to the point where the group now partners with local churches to reach communities without Christ.
The full puppet team numbers around 40 and includes adults and children. Indeed, there are married couples who met through the ministry and whose children are now putting on shows!
Sara, who is sent by SIM USA, said: “It is exciting to touch people’s lives and see them now as full-time Christian leaders.”
While many are persuaded to follow Christ as they watch a
performance, Sara believes that the greatest ministry impact is happening in the lives of the team
One young puppeteer from a difficult, abusive background was inspired to seek counselling after the show he was performing triggered emotions about his past.
Another man who felt ‘on the borderline’ as a teen, flirting with the idea of pursuing worldly activities, found meaning and purpose on the puppet team. He felt accepted as part of a family. He credits the puppet ministry with keeping him on the right path.
The ministry has adapted well to developing technology, never more so than during the Covid pandemic. The shows were recorded (photo above) and put online, opening them up to a wider audience. Some of the videos were translated into Quechua, which is spoken by a large number of Bolivians.
Sara has been thrilled to see the ministry inspire some people to serve overseas, with puppet teams now putting on shows in Spain, Italy, France and Argentina.
So many lives have been changed through this ministry, and that all started with a simple, but enthusiastic, “Yes!”
• For young people who are part of the programme to grow in their personal faith in Christ.
• For those who see these presentations to have open hearts to truth and be drawn to Jesus.
• For wisdom for church leaders and puppet and clown ministry leaders to work together in designing outreaches that will be effective in reaching many people with the gospel.