Mazatlan: January 21 - Day 4

by Rebecca 21. January 2015 22:13

The Colonial

Today was the first day that Grandma Kay was able to join us out in the field. We had been told earlier in the day that Estero, The Colonial, would have more rough kids. All of us were more concerned with clowns. The last couple clown events Grandma has participated in were "Hope Fests" and she usually participated for about 90 minutes. So, Uncle Andy and I told the team that she needed a "body guard" or someone to be with her. Help her get out before she became tired and to help protect her from any rambunctious kids. However, once we started, Lolli kicked in & Grandma was a bundle of energy. At one point, her body guard (Lou) stated that he couldn't keep up with her. In fact, she didn't really need someone with her because she seemed fully able to take care of herself.



Again, I went with a team to help announce the free medical clinic would be starting shortly. Daniel, our new clown team member, seemed to have a lot of energy and he had clowned previously (not with us but in years past). So, he went with one team and I went with another. Most of my neighborhood was construction shops so very few kids. However, it was amusing to see the men in their machine shops walk out scowling and smile upon seeing a clown or receiving a smiley face sticker. On our way back, a white truck stopped to see the clown. I gave each passenger, an older couple, a couple stickers each. The driver had me watch as he placed his stickers carefully on his car and then he walked with us back to the Colonial.

Photo Notes: Jorge (on the left in the above photo) was inspired by "Pop" to become a clown years ago and is an active part of the clown ministry here (his team has grown to 6 or 7 clowns). Daniel (on the right) was a clown years ago, (I think he said about 15 years ago), but he was humble & impressed Grandma w/ his kindness. He is the pastor of Renato Vega.

Upon returning, Daniel worked with Grandma to learn balloon animals and I painted faces.


Grandma had the opportunity to brighten so many people's faces. It was precious and wonderful to be united with my teacher. At one point there was a little old lady who walked in and as soon as she saw Grandma, immediately hugged Grandma tightly. Saying over and over in Spanish how precious Grandma was to her.

Photo Notes: This sweet woman saw "Lolli" and immediately hugged her; blessing Lolli and calling her precious.

One of today's precious moments for me was a little boy who refused to smile. Absolutely and completely. He was brought in by an older sibling and I don't think anyone was able to give us a clear name and we don't know where his parents were. Originally he only wanted to look apathetically (almost angrily) at everyone. However, as the day progressed, I noticed he was extremely entranced with the long as he thought no one was looking for him. So, my goal became to get him to smile. At one point, I looked over and he was turned away from me but his baby cheeks were big like he was grinning from ear to ear. I called out to a team member and asked them if he was smiling and they exclaimed that he was. So, I immediately gave them my camera to get a quick shot. (I don't think we ever found out his name or where his parents were...)

Another precious moment for me was a little boy whom I had just finished painting started talking to me and pointing to his arm. I had been telling kids for the past ten minutes that two was the maximum for face painting. So, I kept saying he could only have 2 as a response not understanding him. Finally, I got a translator and it turns out what he had been trying to say was not that he wanted another one but that he loved the lizard that I painted. That he thought it was absolutely beautiful and he wanted to make sure that I knew that. His picture is below:


Ulises, the newer clown from the day before, called everyone he knew as soon as his school was over, excitedly trying to clown for the afternoon. He was able to find a ride out to the colonial and apparently when he arrived his face paint wasn't done yet. However, he refused to leave the car because his face paint wasn't done. Apparently, something Grandma had said during Monday training about not going into public until your face being done, stuck out to him. So, he was terrified of breaking the rule, I guess Grandma had really put the fear of God into him (LOL). So, his driver (Pastor Dave) told him to hide behind a truck to finish the face painting. As soon as it was complete, he walked up.


About that time we had just started the show and just finished the "Chicken Dance." I saw him standing in the back and immediately had him begin the first "silly skit." In total, we had 5 performers today and each were amazing. I had recruited "Troy" an American from another team, Ulises (who had several parts throughout the show after watching everything once - yesterday), Daniel (who learned everything, essentially on the fly and with broken English and explanations from translators who had not seen the show), Jorge (the clown I mentioned earlier and I had trained the show on Monday), and myself. It was a fun show.


The feedback that we got from the free haircuts stated that the kids couldn't sit still. They all wanted to watch the show, so at one point they gave up and told the kids to watch the show and come back. The medical team stated that it was perfectly timed because we started the show right as a huge flood of people arrived wanting to check in and get in line for the clinic. I loved it, because aside from explaining the different parts, I wasn't needed. It was all of the reasons we came - to tell kids they are special, to entertain while they wait to be served through haircuts and free medical check-ups, and to train clowns to continue on without me.

Today had the outlook of being a rough day - while it was not an easy was an amazing day.

Mazatlan: January 20 - Day 3

by Rebecca 20. January 2015 20:54

San Antonio Colonia

Uncle Andy "Paco" the clown, Ulises (one of the new clowns) and I went to San Antonio Colonia with the team today. San Antonio is a colonial where roughly a 100 families moved to escape the drug wars. It’s essentially a small town of refugees. Several of the kids had previously been sponsored by several of the team members so several team members were excitedly looking forward to meeting the kids that they sponsored. When we arrived at San Antonio, I was not aware of the situation of each family. So, it amazed me to see that each house is creatively put together with found things as people do their best to create a livelihood out of things they can reuse for other functional purposes. An example would be old wooden wheels were included as part of a fence.


As soon as the clowns disembarked the vans, kids started pouring over to the Colonial (essentially a blue tarp with folding tables and plastic chairs under it) and became excited to see the clowns. One of the little girls that us when we arrived stuck to me like glue for most of the day. As I was reviewing pictures after the day, you can see her in almost all of my pictures.


Another little boy in a red shirt was pointed out to me by the American doctor. He is 2 or 3 years old but lost his mother suddenly due to an illness that took her in less than a day. He watched the clowns in a kind of awe, almost suspicious, but he was definitely interested in the clowns.


Anyway, part of the team went through the streets to help advertise the free medical clinics and the activities. The food truck was due later in the day so we did not announce that to people. Ulises went with me to hand out stickers and to invite people to the clowns and clinic. As we would go through various streets, kids would pour out from all over to see the clowns. I would look across the street to see kids watching the clowns pass by. A couple of the families that stuck out were a group of little boys clear on the other side of the street who were waving at the clowns. I did a silly clown run down the street (making other people watching laugh) and then gave both little boys and their mother a smiley face sticker. As the translators explained what was occurring I was about to run over to the next house to distribute stickers when the kids called me back to say good-by. I said good-bye and blew them a kiss which one of the little boys reciprocated. So cute. So, when he arrived at the colonial, he would call out "Payaso, Payaso!" and come over to me to have a mustache painted on our touched up before engaging in other activities. But every time he would call out "Payaso, Payaso" I would return the greeting with "Mi Amigo!" (My Friend). His picture is below:


Anyway, another of the kids that stood out as we were inviting people, was a house we stopped by with an open door. The translators were shouting at the house (at the invitation of the neighbors who stated they would like clowns). A little boy answered and saw the clown. He immediately shouted "Aaah" while smiling....clearly pretending to be afraid of clowns (and possibly surprised by seeing a clown outside the front gate). So, I shouted that I had a sticker for him. He responded by saying "Oh" before doing his most "cool walk" down the lane to get his sticker. The rest of my time on the street, he would shout to get my attention and to wave at me. The other family that stood out is a bit more humorous in that we were walking as a group when our translator realized that he was turned around and forgot to take a turn. So, we had to turn around as we were walking towards a dead end. However, as the group turned around a couple kids came up and wanted stickers. So, the clowns and a team mate provided the stickers and then walked over to find their parents & invite them. The American team mate & myself can speak enough Spanish to be dangerous. So we said a lot of words - no idea if it was the right one. Apparently, Ulises thought it was close enough because the only thing he added was "It starts at 11 am" in Spanish. As we turned to join the group, we realized that we had lost the group and it was just the 2 Americans who can barely speak English and my "clown-in-training" who can understand some English but couldn't really communicate with me. We decided to keep walking straight & luckily Danae realized we were lost and came and found us. But it did make me laugh.

When we returned back to the Colonial, I painted several kids' faces. Unfortunately, I left a mirror for the kids to see their faces at the hotel. So, I had to resort to taking pictures of every kids face and letting them see it on my camera. Good news is, I got a picture of almost every kid that I met today. We did a bit of balloons and face painting before starting our show. The kids got into the clown magic tricks but not so much into the "Chicken Dance."

Following the show, the clowns left with a group to visit a gas station for a bathroom break. While I was in the bathroom, I had managed to get my wig caught on a screw which, luckily, only cost a couple strands. However, a later bathroom group visited the same gas station. About every person came to tell me that their bathroom visit took a bit long because everyone wanted to see where Isabella accidentally left a couple strands of wig hair in the bathroom.

When we arrived back from the bathroom break, we pulled up to the Colonial to see a giant crowd of kids and as we piled out, the kids all began to cheer for “Paco” the clown. It was pretty cute to see Uncle Andy’s fan club. We finished the rest of the day with face painting and balloons. At one point, my shadow, the first girl I had mentioned, called to me from a house literally right next to the Colonial. Turns out that's where she lived. I missed getting a picture of her waving at me from the window - but it was super cute. Instead, I was able to catch this picture where she is standing in front of her house, sticking her tongue out at the camera. :-P

girl behind fense San Antonio

Mazatlan: January 19 - Day 2

by Rebecca 19. January 2015 23:07

Clown Training

Day 2 began completing that last bit of prepping for the week - combining the stickers, balloons, & pumps Grandma had brought and adding them to the various bags in preparation for the classes, the week ahead, and which would be left in country after we leave on Friday. The character bags under the table were filled with supplies for clowns during the week. The boxes filled with make-up kits. And the rest of the table is filled with odds and ends necessary for the class.

Once finally completed, went out with part of the team to "El Centro." Instead of shopping like the other tour, we essentially bounced in the back of Dave (main local contact)'s truck from one local street taco shop to the next. Essentially, I had cow intestine tacos, pork tacos, and chicken tacos. Nothing beats Mexican tacos...although it was a little unnerving to have pigeons eating the sewage under your feet as you try to focus on eating your taco. That happened today.


Anyway, at one point we noticed that Dave seemed to be driving in large circles and essentially giving us a tour of Mazatlan (without having to deal with all of the tourists). So, we asked Rego, our translator sitting in the bed of the truck with us, if we were indeed going in circles. Turns out that we were indeed driving in circles as Dave was killing time before bringing Krishna, a team mate, to a surprise party. She had lived with them and volunteered with the local partners and they wanted to welcome her back with a surprise taco party. The nice thing about that is that since we were killing time anyway, I was able to ask to run to a Wal-Mart to get the couple things that Grandma and I needed for the clowns that we either forgot or broke in transit. Which also enabled me to get a couple funny pictures of Lou on a four-wheeler outside of Wal-Mart.


So, we finally dropped Krishna off to meet someone before driving to the nearby colonial, under the guise of the guys needed to look at the scaffolding they would be fixing. We walked in prior to her arrival to then take pictures of her as she walked in.


The humorous thing is when you are a gringo with a digital camera, you are instantly popular with the kids. I had a little boy who kept shouting "Foto, foto!" as he rode around on his bike wanting me to take his picture. His older brother also wanted his picture taken, wearing his sister's belt around his head like a ninja. The oldest of the three siblings, gave me a hug soon after I arrived and essentially adopted me for the rest of the time that I was there. At one point, I was sitting near the team and she took my hand and pulled me to the other side of the room prior to giving me tacos and juice. What was even more amusing is she would sit with me, talk in extremely fast Spanish to where I couldn't understand, and then skip off. Then she would skip back and sit with me for a couple minutes before skipping away again. It was endearing to say the least.




We arrived back at the hotel with just enough time to get the clown supplies and go to the class. The intermediate clowns had all arrived but not all of Grandma's beginner clowns had arrived. So, I distributed the clown books and clown make-up kits to the beginners and Grandma had the beginner clowns start drawing ideas for their faces while waiting for the class to start. I then gave the intermediates their books but their kits I had designed a little different. Each of their boxes had more of the 3 main clown colors and then I left them pick which additional colors they would like. Two of the intermediates had been trained by Felix (from my first trip, two years ago). The third intermediate was a clown who had met Grandpa T (Deedah) 5-6 years ago and was inspired to become a clown. So, he essentially taught himself initially but has been kind enough to participate in our classes and be a clown with us last year & this year. Which is especially impressive because he took some of the team on a jungle tour that started at 8 am this morning and lasted all day until arriving for the clown class. Anyway, as I showed the clowns Felix had taught their color choices, they were like kids in a candy shop. They were so sweet and excited to have options. They had been using whatever was donated to the church over the past couple years but didn't have their own. Aside from giving the intermediates their books and make-up kits, we didn't spend any time with make-up. We spent our entire 90 minutes focused on magic and skits. They picked up quickly and now have roughly a 15-20 minute show.

Early on in our practicing, Grandma ran over to me a bit worried. It seems that instead of 6 beginner clowns, 8 of them showed up (I think that it may have actually been 9 as I had another guy who realized there wasn't any clown make-up kits or books available to him, so he decided to join the intermediate class and learn skits and magic). Apparently, clowning sounds lame until the day it starts when several will unexpectedly show up. It happened in Romania and now in Mexico. I find it interesting but it feels accurate. It is such a beautiful thing to bring joy and it's contagious. Anyway, Grandma was a little worried. However, she said that my reply helped her calm down & then get through the class. Unsure why really. What I said was, "Do the best you can, because that's all you can do" before shrugging. Anyway, I checked in on the clowns as she progressed but she did fine. They ended up needing the full two hours but considering it was a full group with one teacher, that's impressive. Grandma was a little nervous in that she had not taught in a while but it came back to her pretty quick.

A highlight early on the evening for Grandma was when Jorge came over to give her a big hug. Grandpa T was so special and inspirational to Jorge. So, he seems to always go out of his way to hug Grandma and to show his appreciation to her.

As we ended the class a few moments occurred that meant a lot to us. The intermediate clowns ended a half hour early as we didn't have the ability to go into the balloons and at first we were hoping to review the basic balloons with the beginners. However, the beginners needed that extra half hour to work on their faces (which is totally fine). Anyway, as the clowns went to leave, I was able to shake their hands and while they couldn't communicate - the excitement and joy that I saw in their eyes and in their handshake was encouraging. I love seeing people light up about their passion and I saw it in their eyes. For Grandma, she was talking with one of her "beginner" clowns who turned out to not only have clowned previously but was also the pastor of Renato Vega and he does a lot of stuff with children's education. Not to mention that he assists a lot with a local free charity hospital, including taking a group of kids to brighten up a local hospital two weeks ago. However, he was kind enough to patiently go thru Grandma's beginner class instead of insisting that he join the intermediate class. Plus, it helped Grandma to have an example to show off to the other clowns.

Finally finished with the day, I was re-organizing and getting prepped for the week (yes, again - that's a clown leader's life sometimes is all of the prep work before and after any &every event lol) when a miraculous thing happened. Before leaving Jorge asked if he could have a clown nose, one made out of the squishy material that isn't a glue on or use a string (suddenly can't remember what the material is called). Anyway, I told him that I would bring one next time. However, when I was reorganizing, I opened a spare costume I had brought and inside was the exact nose he had described. So excited to give him the nose tomorrow as it was something I had not intended to pack but it arrived as it needed to be here.

At this moment, I might have 2-3 recently trained clowns tomorrow. However, we know that Uncle Andy will be a clown and I recruited another team member to participate in "You Are Special."

Mazatlan: January 18 - Day 1

by Rebecca 18. January 2015 23:53

Travelling to Mazatlan

I arrived in Phoenix at 1 am, and in my sleepy haze believed United to be the same as US Airways, which ended up being a good thing as there is a lot more room in United's terminal. Anyway, went to sleep alone in the terminal and woke up around 4:30 am with roughly 20 people in the general vicinity. Each face looking a little irritated that I had managed to hog 4 chairs. Feeling slightly awkward and quite groggy, I decided it best to get up & get ready for the day. During that process, I realized that I was in the wrong terminal.

Still quite dazed, as I am not really a morning person, I went to a TSA representative as I could not figure out how to get to the correct terminal without having to leave the secure area of the airport. The TSA representative informed me that I did indeed have to leave the secure area, walk around the airport, get on a tram, go through security (again) and then I would get to my correct area. Flabbergasted by what seemed a bizarre system and still quite sleepy, I asked him several times to confirm the fact that I did have to go through security again. At my third time questioning the madness of the system, the TSA individual stated "Are you on dope or something? That's the third time you asked me if you have to go through security!" At that, I turned to leave and he yelled, "You're welcome!" after me. Unsure why I should be grateful for being belittled, I did not reply.

I did make it to the correct gate around 6:30 am, still plenty of time for my 9:45 am flight to Mazatlan. So, I went to get coffee. In the process, the staff at the coffee shop helped me laugh and find the amusement in the event. Then they did the extra thing of writing a smiley face on my breakfast sandwich wrapper. That moment was a great way to start the morning and the trip.


Note from baristas

Grandma and I made it safely to Mazatlan a couple hours before the team. We have a team of 36 individuals, which made loading the team, luggage (filled with medicines, glasses, shoes, and clown supplies... not to mention personal effects), into a couple vans amusing and team building.

What impressed me was how the team opened up and welcomed us back in. Like we had never left the team. Their sweet natures and kind hearts are wonderful. I am always amazed how I feel like I truly belong with this team, not like the "outsider from Seattle." That's a rare gift for a team to have. I felt it most at dinner as we laughed, watched cheese get lit on fire, and excitedly talked about the skills that each person would be sharing in the week ahead. I am so excited to be here and to be a part of this team.

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.


edited IMG_1584

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

Powered by BlogEngine.NET

Automotive Theme by Car Leasing Experts


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.

Month List