Romania: July 11th

by Rebecca 11. July 2014 21:53

After completing everyone’s make-up we had to reassign parts before leaving for the park due to different clowns ability to attend the day. The new clowns again picked up the skits quickly before we piled into the car. We tried to budget time assuming that we would be asked to leave every ten minutes or so. As we walked into the park, an official walked towards us and the team began to groan believing that we will be asked to leave before we did anything. So, I walked up to him and said “Buna” in my sweet clown voice and he began to talk really fast in an authoritative voice. So, I had to ask what he was saying… turns out he wanted a picture with all of the clowns. We immediately agreed and posed for the picture before slowly moving to where we would perform in the park, making balloon animals and distributing stickers and candy along the way. I assumed he would still shut us down at any second so, I had the team do the short show and then begin to make balloons. After 10-15 minutes of waiting to be asked to leave and not seeing it happen, I turned the clown music back on and had clowns begin to do magic tricks. When we still weren’t shut down, we did the haircut skit and when we were still in the clear, we did “You are special.” We were able to spend the whole morning in 1 park. Lost count on which miracle we are at for this trip.

Following that, we went to a local orphanage. Up to this point, the clowns had completed 1 event a day and this was their first time with multiple events in one day. I was incredibly proud of them for making it through both. We arrived and the clowns began the coupled Christian songs before we began the show. It was a hard show in that the kids seemed to have different mental and social developmental issues. We had a child that was determined to steal the props and I had to be a grumpy clown saying no if he even walked near me. It felt like we were on the border of chaos through the show. For the clowns, it was a good final show before I left as I had weeded myself out of the show. They performed the skits, they performed the magic, they led the songs. They made today’s show. I think that for their first show it was good (okay I did get my hair cut but they did everything else). Following the show we made balloons for the kids but I think they enjoyed popping the balloons more than having them. Which isn’t bad as the clowns were able to practice and learn new balloons. I did try to clean and up the broken balloons to keep the little owns from choking on them. An adorable little boy, watched me do that, so he began to help. Anytime he saw a piece of garbage, he would pick it up and put it in my apron. Through this trip I have learned that as a clown you can make bizarre noises to communicate humor as a clown. The orphanage was no different. If it was a balloon near my face, I would cry like I was afraid. If a balloon hit me, I welped in pain.


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Following the clown show, we were invited upstairs to visit the babies. We visited the 1 year olds first and a couple of them weren’t sure about the clowns. One was incredibly happy to see us and kept throwing toys to get me to play fetch for him. But the baby that stood out the most was in in infant area. There were two adorable babies that the girls immediately ran to and I was told that there was another one next door. I walked in and a clown stated that the staff stated he was severely deformed. He was the only baby in his room and above his crib was a mirror so he could see himself and possibly a bit more than what his deformity allowed. The clowns stayed with me for another moment before going back to the infants. I sat by him and he struggled to look at me so I changed position so he could look at me better. He would smile up at me and giggle as I brushed his cheek with my fingertips. And I can’t type more without crying really hard about him. In the end, he stole my heart and reminded me in so many ways why I live and love clown ministry.

edited IMG_1583I did get to see Marian and give him a bag filled with supplies for Costin, Marian, and Ilinca (Marian’s daughter). At one point he asked me how it feels to be Pop’s legacy. I shrugged or said something stupid. But in reality, the Lolli and Pop legacy are all of the “first generation clowns” – Jorge, Robert, Marian, Costin, Peter, Jeremiah, Amber, Brandon, and me and the “second generations” – Felix, Christa, Uncle Andy, the Seattle team, the Maranata team, and whoever Amber trains in Tucson/Thailand. The Lolli and Pop legacy isn’t resting on one person.


A final definition of clowning, we are usually that first step. Spreading seeds. We are rarely the harvest. We rarely see the long term fruit. All we can do is hold on to the snapshots of smiles we treasure in our hearts and fragments of stories people tells us  through teary eyed smiles. Clowns remind us how to smile and teach us to imagine… clown ministry shows God’s joy  and love is available and waiting to wrap you in a giant hug.


Love Does Romania Highlights Video


Romania 2014

Romania: July 10th

by Rebecca 10. July 2014 21:48

The goal of the day was to visit as many parks as we were able too. Several of the kids who were unable to come with us to the cancer hospital arrived to participate in the park ministry day.

In the middle of the morning hecticness, a local girl (Mihaila) stood in the middle of the room watching everyone get ready. She lives in the area, in the Gypsy (or Roma) section. Her story is that while she has a mother, she raises her siblings. They are four  kids ranging in ages  from eighteen months to maybe 8 or 9. She wandered into the church and liked it so much she brought her siblings. When I saw her at church, as me not Bella, last night she spent the whole service staring and smiling at me. As soon as service was over she ran up to give me a big hug. This morning as the clowns were getting ready this morning, roughly 12-13 kids, she stood in the middle of the room watching the transformation in awe. So, at one point I took off my wig and let her wear it. She lit up and my heart breaks for her because she has such a beautiful amazement at life and it is hard to know that she lives abandoned. But beautiful to know that she has Jesus.

At the first park, we did the Chicken Dance and a couple magic tricks before I was told we need to move to the next place by the pastor’s wife. I asked if we could do a quick ministry skit and she agreed so we did “You are Special.” Thought it was weird that we were in a hurry but went with it. So, we drove to the other side of the park before beginning the show again. We completed the silly skits and the magic tricks to a large audience. Suddenly, Pastor Nelu told me we needed to move on. I mentioned we had just started and hadn’t done any of the ministry skits and he said we were just asked to leave by park officials. Additionally, he timed it and we have about ten minutes to do the show before being asked to leave. Then he told me to not worry, because the non-clown adults were able to distribute a lot of Bibles and Christian coloring books for the kids.

So, armed with the knowledge that I had ten minutes, I announced the new show schedule to the group: Chicken Dance, Bible Coloring Book, and then Jesus fill the hole in my heart. We parked the van and started walking through the park, asking kids and their families to follow us. So we got to the other side and began the song as the clock started. We had a large crowd as they watched the clowns. Following the show, I asked Pastor Nelu to translate my explanation and then he led the kids in prayer. It’s interesting talking to the people of Maranata Church because they area always thinking how to minister more. We finished the 3rd show when one of the non-clown teenage volunteers told me that I need to be mentioning the service times at the end of the prayer, so that they can continue to grow. It is totally true and I am so glad that people are so devoted to evangelism at that church.

We went to one final park. Announcing to passerbyers that we will be at the park. We arrived and started making balloons. A man in a uniform asked me for 3 balloons which I started making immediately. And it was a good thing because apparently he had asked us to leave before we did anything. But he liked that balloons I was making. About that time, I noticed that there were kids leaving so I sounded “Magic, magic!” in Romanian to get them to come back. Everyone turned and looked at me like I said the wrong thing. So, I clarified if I was using the right word. They explained that I had but we had been asked to leave by the official man that I had just completed the balloons for. So, now that I announced magic, I just made him several balloons, and now he has several hopeful eyes staring at him, he agreed to let me do one skit. Instead of letting the clowns do this show, I took over because I kinda knew that I had control of the situation and I am a hard clown to say no to. So, did the silly coin die box magic trick. Once completed, I asked him, again in front of several hopeful eyes, to do one more magic trick. The entire small audience was now staring at him. He agreed to let me do one last magic trick. So, I did the magic coloring book (as an encouragement for the kids to go through their Bible story coloring books we distributed). As I started, to say draw your favorite Bible story, he gave me a stern look knowing that I had essentially set him up. But we had a couple moments to plug that bit of Gospel to go home with them.


Romania 2014

Romania: July 9th

by Rebecca 9. July 2014 19:43

Trained the clowns on the remaining magic tricks, silly skits, and ministry skits this morning as they put on make-up for the day. Because it was the same place two days in a row and because I received the green light from the main individual who ministers with the kids in that hospital, the clowns learned “You are Special” and “Jesus fills the whole in my heart.”


Actually, to back up for a second, George (the man who leads the ministry to reach kids in the cancer wing) gave me his card yesterday saying that he hoped the clowns could visit again. I put it somewhere safe. I mean really safe. So safe, no one would lose it. Except me. When we finalized this week’s plan, I needed to call him but couldn’t find the number. So Simona and I had to walk a few doors down to talk with his cousin to get his number. As we talked with his cousin, she brought out coloring books for the kids. Stories full of puzzles, pictures, and Bible stories. This morning, as I was about to leave I found the card. If I found it last night we would not have the books for the kids to entertain them while they are in bed or unable to move. Miracle #2?

Anyway, again they learned quickly. Upon arrival, the staff immediately started sitting the kids down for the show. Some of the kids were the same as the day before but most were different kids. So, we handed out the coloring books and some crayons to each child waiting for the rest to arrive. I turned around to have the clowns start singing children’s songs when I realized several disappeared. More specifically, all but one.



So, I gave “Bob” the clown a book and said “Pick a story to read.” No idea which he read but his inflection was good and they seemed engaged. While he read I found the clowns. They had picked up that clowns clown with everyone all the time. So they were all playing with kids outside the room, giving stickers to everyone who passed by, picking on each other to make adults waiting in hallways laugh… it was precious. But I still had to move them back into the playroom and rescue Bob. We walked in just as he was wrapping up the story. They sang 2 Sunday School songs and got the kids to do the motions too. Following the songs, we started the skits beginning with the “Haircut Skit,” where a clown would cut off all of Bella’s hair. while it was originally 1 clown, it felt like all of them participated. They moved along with the magic tricks and they helped each other by shouting out wrong colors and heckling the magician clown, which was something they improvised. I love it when clowns naturally do things they should without needing me. With each magic trick, they worked amazingly as a team and the kids really enjoyed the clowns playing off of each other.

The last 2 skits were “You are Special” and “Jesus fills the whole in my Heart.” It begins with 2 diva clowns awarding each other stars for being talented and beautiful. A clumsy clown falls into the scene and would like a star but he is not talented and awarded nothing. The divas leave taking the stars with them and leaving the clumsy clown alone and sad on stage. The compassionate clown motions to ask what is the matter and he explains that he is untalented. The compassionate clown offers a Bible but the clumsy clown refuses. The compassionate clown leaves the Bible and leaves the clumsy clown alone on stage again. He decides to read the Bible and discovers that he is loved which is worth more than being talented. Following the skit, I explained what the scene was about as it was performed to music and without words. It’s always hard for me to not cry as I stand on stage telling kids that they are loved and that they are special because it is such an important message to me.

Following that we performed “Jesus fills the whole in my heart.” The team learned it earlier in the day and performed it without me. The kids seemed to respond well. Following the skit, we led the children in a salvation prayer and then made balloons. After a few minutes, we were asked if a couple of us would go upstairs to the 7the floor to visit children in rooms that could not make it down. So a couple of us went upstairs and made balloons for the children and their mothers sitting with them. We distributed stickers to everyone on the way. And even found as all cluster of children in a corner waiting for something. I don’t know if it was for treatment, a doctor, or what but they each looked glum and serious. So, we made balloons for each of them to keep them entertained as they waited. I really enjoy handing out stickers, especially to the angriest or most stern individuals. Because you literally see an entire transformation as they look at it. They never just smile, but they light up. Their shoulders go back and they walk taller than they did before the sticker. It is one of my all time favorite things in the world to do.

Today was harder for those of us who went upstairs or maybe just me. You see more of the treatment, the cancer, and the effects when you are by their bed. The playroom you see some effects but it also shields you in that you are seeing the kids strong enough that day to make it to the room but not everyone can do that. It was a beautiful day and this is an amazing team.


Romania 2014

Romania: July 8th

by Rebecca 8. July 2014 23:34

Today was the day we visited the children’s wing at a local cancer Hospital. It was a hard day for the new clowns to be initiated but they made it. We were expecting 4-5 clowns to go with me, instead 6 clowns arrived and numerous local children to get their faces painted. I had to send several home because we didn’t have time to paint their faces and no room for additional clowns in the car. A couple stayed and had their faces painted by the teenage clowns about to go out with us.



When our driver George arrived we surprised him with a large group of clowns and we were unsure of we had enough room for everyone but it ended up being just enough room. We arrived at the hospital and began distributing stickers everywhere. It brightened numerous faces to see the clown smiley face stickers.

We performed the magic show and the new clowns participated in the magic show doing the recently learned magic tricks. Additionally, they learned the flower and the sword balloons on the fly.



I was really impressed because they learned new things, entertained the kids, performed what they learned last night, and they did it all at a tough event. Too make matters more harsh, they did it without air conditioning. While the rest of the hospital had the air conditioning, the play room’s had been turned off. But in all they did really well.


This little guy really touched my heart. He would watch the clowns learn the flower balloon, a more advanced balloon, and then ask for long balloons to try to make them himself. His mother came to pick him up and he presented her with a bouquet of flowers that he made just for her. it was sweet to see how hard he worked to learn it and then to proudly present them to his mother as a gift.


Romania 2014

Romania: July 7th

by Rebecca 7. July 2014 20:35

This morning Bella the clown went to a local preschool and did a basic magic trick show and balloon animals.

The kids were so amazed as they saw the clown. They loved the stickers and treasured them for the rest of the day. As I performed the magic tricks, they would exclaim, “Wow! It’s real magic!” One of the girls came up and told me that I am not a clown but a fairy following the show. There was an adorable little boy who cried when he first saw me and they told me that he was extremely afraid when Spiderman came as well.  But as the show progressed he decided that he liked me but kept  trying to hide it. He would peak around a corner and smile at me until I would catch him looking them he would hide his face and giggle.

This evening was the clown training class. The word got out around the neighborhood, so it was 3 churches instead of 1-2 and all ages of kids, teenagers, and 1 adult pupils. I had a little over 2 hours to teach what I normally teach my adult class in 6 weekly sessions. But God was faithful and provided what I would consider a miracle: they learned how to put on clown make-up, make a dog balloon, and 2 magic tricks. Needless to say, about to pass out.


Romania 2014

Romania: July 6th

by Rebecca 6. July 2014 19:30

Went to Maranata Church this morning and we walked in almost immediately after the service started and as they started the music. They sang a couple songs, had a public reading of Psalm 122 and then broke into small groups for prayer. During that time, I was introduced to Pastor Nelu Tone who stated that I would give my testimony and talk about “Why clowns?” Followed by going to the kids’ area to lead a craft or something. The service continued and suddenly Simona, my host family,  told me that she had to sit with Brianna, her daughter, and couldn’t translate for me. I said ok and realized that the service had stopped and I was being beckoned to the front. I was so confused that I left my notes at my seat as I walked up front. So, I gave the highlights about clowns; that clowning is an opportunity to show God’s love and joy to all people and it’s beautiful because you can see transformation occur. I then thanked the church for opening their doors to me. Following my couple minutes, the kids were all brought on stage to sing a couple songs.



Around 11, it was time to go to the kids class. I was told to do a craft so, I semi-taught and semi-made fish balloons for each child. In hindsight, I should have paused everything and told the Bible story prior to making the balloons because by the time it was finished, they were so excited by the balloons that the story of Peter and Jesus and the fish was kinda lost. But the kids were all excited and loved the balloons.

As a humorous side note, during the sermon today I found out that in Romanian, Jezebel translates to Izabela or Isabella. Due to that fact Simona and I have decided it would be best if I adopt another name while in country. So, we shortened it to “Bella.” Also humorous, the wig that I brought was all wrinkled and a mess. So I decided took trim it. While it looks better that it did (it really looked that awful; water and hair spray just weren’t working and it had been shaken out and sitting out for over a day and still looked awful), there is a new bald spot in the back. Okay so more than a trim, but still definitely better looking than the original wrinkled mess.


Romania 2014

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Why Clowns?

Whether it is in a hospital, memory care facility, at a charity event, or walking down the street, that moment when most individuals see a clown they smile, regardless of age or culture. Clowns almost universally help create smiles. There is something about the gift of a smile and laughter that helps improve our spirits, relieve tension, and can inspire us to hope.

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