The theater form improvisation isn’t common in Bolivia. Well, as far as we can tell, it didn’t even exist here, at least until June 5th.
As we told Bolivians that we wanted to get an improv theater ministry started here, most were confused. “Improvisational theater? That just sounds like a poorly done drama, when the actors didn’t rehearse their script.”
Not quite. We made a video to try to explain improv a little better, and started with a group of a dozen jovenes Saturday, June 5th.
Using Lindsay’s experience with The Troupe at Michigan Tech, we started teaching this group improv games.
Toward the end of our first practice, we moved on to trying out scenes.
Since this first practice, we met one other time; only four guys showed up, but they really started getting the hang of it. Please pray for this group, as it just gets off the ground. Pray that:
- There would be a consistent group, faithful in attendance
- Confidence would be developed in the group
- We would be able to communicate and teach well
- We could identify leaders to disciple and ultimately take ownership of the group
- This group would have a strong testimony in and out of the church
Sunday we attended the first anniversary party for Project Bless, a sports ministry that started with volleyball and has recently expanded to court soccer (played on a basketball court). The ministry was started by our team leader and Ariel, a Bolivian college pastor with a passion for God and volleyball. In its first year of existence, the volleyball teams have become self-sufficient, with hopes of the soccer team doing the same. The vision is to see college students grow as Christians and bring the love of Christ to the court.
The name Bless comes from Genesis 12:3, where God tells Abraham “and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” The team chose “Bless” (in English) as their team name, as they want to be a blessing to those around them, on and off the court.
We’ve been actively supporting these teams for the past several months by cheering at games and showing up at practices and meetings, and it has opened up some great friendships for us. Please pray that these relationships would continue to develop and mature.
At the anniversary party we announced a new venue of Bless: Improv. We’ve been planning and preparing for a while for this new side of Bless – not just sports, but now also starting in the arts.
We will hold our first meeting for a new improv comedy ministry on May 22, and are excited to see the vision of Bless spread to the theatre. Please pray that God would bring the right people into this ministry, with the right mix of skills and abilities for improv.
BLESS is a volleyball team that is part of the sports ministry run by WorldVenture Bolivia. Currently there is a men’s and a women’s team, and this year there are plans for more!
For four days, 20 college students and 7 WorldVenture missionaries attended sports camp to worship together, hear from God, and (of course) play sports. It was a great week!
Murder. It happened at the BLESS Volleyball Camp we attended this week. And I (Lindsay), was involved. Gasp!
Two months into my freshman year of college, I auditioned for the Michigan Tech Troupe, an improv comedy ensemble, because my friend Matt asked me to. Not expecting to be accepted into the group, I agreed and had what I thought was a horrible audition. Little did I know, the group was excited about my audition and I was in.
The more I learned about improv, the more I grew to love it and Troupe playtimes soon became huge stress relievers during my crazy semesters. But as I continued Troupin’, I started to wonder if God wanted me to be part of the group. There were many opportunities I had to turn down with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship because I didn’t have the time, party because of my involvement in Troupe. I worried that I wasn’t being a good witness through the choices I made while improv-ing. I wondered if I had made a mistake when I joined the group. I hadn’t prayed about it, asked anyone about it… I had just done it…
The Plot Thickens
The year after I graduated from Tech, I received a phone call from my close friend Christina, who told me Brandon (one of the guys with me in the Troupe) had just become a Christian! He later came up to me, gave me a huge hug, and thanked me for the example I had been while being part of the Troupe. I was stunned.
A few months later another member of the Troupe (one who joined after I had left the group) became a Christian, partly due to Brandon’s testimony. I began to wonder if I had missed the work God was doing in my life…
The Plot Thickens Even More
We moved to Bolivia as missionaries. I started having the desire to perform improv again; I didn’t really understand it, but wished we were still in the U.S. so I could start a Christian improv ministry. Then I started dreaming about using improv as a ministry tool right where I was, in Bolivia. But the dream died as I continued studying Spanish. I couldn’t speak well enough to teach Bolivian college students how to improv, could I?
Well… it turns out I can. At the BLESS camp, four students and I played Murder and God re-awoke the passion I used to have for improv.
My dream is to form BLESS Improv – a group of Christian college students that use improv as a way to share the gospel and to grow in their faith. I used to wonder why I was part of the Troupe and if I should continue with it. Now I’m excited to see what else comes from my experience!
Murder, She Wrote
For those who have not had the pleasure of attending an MTU Troupe show, here’s how the game of Murder works; it’s a lot like the game of telephone. One person knows what’s going on (specifically, where the murder occurs, the murderer’s occupation, and the murder weapon). This person conveys the information to a second person – but there’s a catch – no words are allowed, only gibberish. After the second person knows all of the information, he “kills” the first. This is repeated with a third person and the game ends when the third “kills” the second and each person reveals what they thought was the location, occupation, and weapon.
In my opinion, murder is one of the hardest improv games to play (in fact, I used to avoid playing it when part of the Troupe) but the students did a really good job – especially because they had never improv-ed before!
And yes, the murder was committed by a flight stewardess, in the bathroom of a gym, with a Coca-Cola flavored lollypop!