Villas: January 23

by Rebecca 24. January 2016 20:10

It was a half day of ministry and the team broke off into 3 smaller teams. I had the opportunity to visit Villas, which I had not been to before. It is a nice colonial with 2 stories and probably one of the older colonials. When you walk in, you get a sense of a sweet spirit in the colonial and a kindness about the people. We were going to host a Bible’s study for the women, led by Heidi, and at the same time put on a kids’ program. There would not be any food trucks or medical clinics – which gave an opportunity for the feeding team and the medical team to serve in other areas.

The pastor, I think it’s Juan Carlos, began by leading worship before splitting off. I did not realize until just before worship began that I would be leading the entire program. The children’s team for that day consisted of Katie our translator, Amy the nurse, and her daughter Caitlyn. Debbie, Uncle Andy, and Aunt Sharon did watch and I had to use them as plants because the kids were a little shy. But they were great at helping the kids understand it was okay to be a bit silly. Amy turned out to be a natural in clown-like behavior. We did the “Your Special Gift” to open up the ministry portion of the program which led into the parable of the talents. While Katie read the story in Spanish, I helped the kids act out the roles of the various servants. I got a lot of laughs with the 3rd servant in hiding the coin and then looking for/digging up the coin. However, the room was crazy hot so we switched to an old song I know from the “Dramatized” drama team called “Akazumba.” I had been teaching it to the team as we waited for boat rides, car rides, etc. So, they were able to help me teach it to the kids and get some of the wiggles out. We went back to the “Jesus Fills the Hole in my Heart.” Following the skit, I asked the kids if they had Jesus in their hearts. All of them did, so we prayed that Jesus would show us all our special gift and teach us how to use it for Him.


La Vina Golden Zone: January 22nd

by Rebecca 24. January 2016 20:10

Pastors Andy and Sharon were asked to lead a marriage conference at the Mazatlan Vina. Katie, Mitchell (both of the American team), Ulises, and I were asked to help watch the kids. We had about 15 or so kids in a small room for roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes. Entertainment for the evening included clapping games, face painting, teaching them new songs, and a skit. We did the “Your Special Gift” skit. We couldn’t do it inside the little children’s room area, so we performed outside where the staff and guests of “Taco Time” were able to watch us.

At one point during the evening, I did have a few moments to present the supplies to the pastors of each colonial that have clowns continuing to grow (Jorge with the main Vina, Dona Chonita, Modero, and Stone Island). I was able to share the vision of clowning and a couple verses that talk about Jesus’ joy available to people and used through clowns. We then presented each supply bag to a pastor. It was short and sweet…but a moment that I will treasure always.


San Antonio: January 22nd

by Rebecca 24. January 2016 20:10

Today, was different in that I convinced my roommate, Krishna, to be a clown (which meant that I was a clown as well).

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It is the only day that we are clowning and it was an impromptu decision with pieces of costumes instead of full costumes. However, it gave me the opportunity to clown with Ana (Anabanana), Ulises (Tomasito) and Jorge as well as Krishna (Sassie).


We visited numerous houses and Krishna and I were both swarmed with kids (something that I have missed from previous colonials) as we moved from street to street.

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More than that kids would shout for us to go visit their friend’s house and tell us where they are at. We visited a house with 5 kids who wanted the last of my stickers. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough so we told them to come to the colonial. However, their mother was working until 5 pm so they couldn’t leave the street. It was hard because the only thing I could give them is taking their picture – but they wanted balloons, stickers, and medicine for parasites.

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Jorge performed his show today and included Krishna. The kids were absolutely captivated. It was wonderful to see his show and to see the kids giggling throughout. I did practically nothing, which is the way it should be.

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We had a time for face painting but I asked that Ulises assist me instead of someone from the American team because Ulises would be (hopefully) using it moving forward. At one point, I was able to tell Ulises that I was glad that he was able to come to the colonial to clown with us. I told him that he was very special – which made him grin from ear to ear.


There was a moment as I was face painting where I was painting something small on a little girl’s hand. Something in my spirit just could feel something deeper and I wanted to cry for her. So, I gave her a big hug, which made her stiffen up. It was overwhelming. I spent today (because of how heavy this colonial weighed on me) not only praying over kids in my mind as I painted them but tried to find ways to give them healthy loving touches – patting their hand, hugging them, tickling their sides….just loving on them.

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Stone Island: January 21

by Rebecca 24. January 2016 20:09

Stone Island is the vina that the Virginia Beach has a special heart for. They have been working with Stone Island for years and been a big part of the continuing spiritual growth on that island – despite the spiritual darkness that they have been facing.

Initially, I was part of a different team but (again) I know this blog is for clown and clown related adventures. As the day progressed, I did move out to the children’s team to help with face painting as we waited for the food to be served. I helped with the food team for a couple minutes but the nurses took charge (which was great because I had the opportunity to serve with the food truck at the dump the day before).

The other thing that the team does annually is distribute the shoes to the kids. Prior to the distribution, we got all of the kids in the church to do a brief show. It was amusing how quickly I went into “clown mode” (my alternative to beast mode), even without the make-up. I was able to incorporate other members of the ministry team to help with the magic tricks and the skit. The “Your Special Gift” skit had been performed by clown team members and Krishna (my roommate). However, Krishna was able to minister to the women with a Bible Study and could not help me with the skit. It was great to utilize other team members and have their comfort levels pushed a bit as well. It was great to make the kids laugh and the new skit has been doing really well in Mexico.

Finally, we wrapped up the day by shoe distribution. My favorite moments were the little ones who held onto their shoes as though they were precious treasure. It’s always hard in ministry though when kids aren’t as grateful as we want them to be, aren’t as polite as we want them to be…or whatever. However, it’s always a joy to serve and necessary to hold onto that joy and those faces that are able to recognize Jesus’ love. Because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. Not me, my talents, what I brought or did…but simply reflecting Jesus’ love. It might get recognized or it might get rejected – either way, it’s my job to love.


The Dump: January 20th

by Rebecca 21. January 2016 06:53

You arrive at The Dump and the stench doesn’t really get you at first. It’s when you leave the “Vina” and start walking through the neighborhood that it starts to hit you. Even at the “Lower Dump” (point further away from the actual dumping ground), you can see the garbage everywhere and water flowing down the dirt streets that smell like god-awful fecal matter. You see bugs, birds, dogs, and stray cats everywhere.


I guess what surprised me is how much humanity I saw. You would walk by houses that have all of this garbage and sewage surrounding it but women furiously cleaning their house or men working to repair their house. They were not content to be lazy and really worked to clean their houses. It makes me think of Dallas houses – beautiful on the outside and dirty or empty on the inside. All about appearances. In the dump, they work to clean from the inside out. They know their priorities.

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It’s interesting how my first reaction is to act like a clown – to yell at people all the way down the street, hand out stickers, or to goof around if I feel that we are losing the attention of the audience. It’s in my nature but it feels like there is a missing element without the clowns. Missions is possible without clowns but man, they sure bring a lot of people.

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We did the show and Jorge and one of his clowns had the opportunity to perform the new skit the “Your Special Gift.” Jorge began by filling a cup of water and then began to “cook” as he had the part of the baker. However, he worked in splashing the water all over the kids – which of course made them squeal and giggle. Krishna played the construction worker who could not find their talent until the end. We actually did the skit without music (and without words) but all of the kids were able to grasp the meaning.

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The rest of the day was more of an opportunity to serve in other functions, to pray, and to observe. If I had to end this with an observation – I would say that I was glad to have seen it out of make-up and to serve in other ways. It gave me a way to see beyond the swarm of kids around the clown but to see the people. These beautiful people that I respect, working hard to survive.



Clown 201 & 301: January 19th

by Rebecca 21. January 2016 06:52

We had 8 clowns arrive for the 201/301 class. To be respectful of the clowns who had already completed 201 or were trained in the field last year (like Ulises) – we did the 301 class first. It was amusing as Ulises (whom everyone was convinced was miserable as a clown during his first day) protested when I made him the “sad” clown in 2 different skits during the class. I love seeing how much he enjoys clowning.

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The clowns Felix trained last year were there again (father and son). They told me that they built a larger version of a magic trick I had shown them last year and it’s been a huge hit with kids. They got into the “If I only had a green nose skit” a lot. They were a lot of fun to watch them improvise with the ideas.


Jorge was, as always, so engaging to watch. He pulled me aside at one point to show me a picture that he had of the clowns he trained. I was so glad to have brought several items that he was able to use for himself and his team.


We actually moved through the material incredibly fast. We not only completed all of the “301” in about 55 minutes but we were able to review/learn 201 for the older and newer clowns before doing a brief clown supply divvying up. As I opened up each bag and then opened up each space saver bag, the comment from the translators and Krishna who met me at the airport was, “No wonder customs pegged you to be interviewed.”


Estero: January 19

by Rebecca 19. January 2016 20:44

Estero is a colonial that previously was one of the rougher days in that the kids were extremely rowdy. It is the colonial that we were most protective when taking clowns, especially my grandmother, in years past because props would disappear or the clowns would be picked on a lot. However, today was different (and not just because it is my first time in the field without being a clown in 15 or 16 years.

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The day started off slow with a few kids wanting face painting – mostly because playdough was available as a craft (which with this age group, it was much more fun to play with playdough then sit still for face painting – lol). At one point I left to help another team and returned to find that Caitlyn (another team member) had started painting a boy who wanted about every design stencil I had available and was running out of arm, leg, and face space for paint. I think there might have even been a stomach lion at one point. He could not get enough face paint.

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As the day progressed it turned more into a steady stream, but still calm as kids waited and I explained in broken Spanish that kids without any paint or only 1 design needed to go before kids who had several. My favorite part is always face painting or doing anything clown related for more than just kids – for abuelas and mamas. Their eyes always shine when they are allowed to have the face paint too. Several mothers brought their infants over. It’s always difficult to face paint kids 2 and under but I learned yesterday making funny faces and sound effects keeps them engaged. Well, distracted might be a better word. They are so focused on trying to figure out what’s up with your face and the noises that they forget about the paint.

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It was also a great experience training other people on the team to face paint. Caitlyn had done face painting last year – but it was fun showing Nancy and Krishna what I was doing. The funny part is that after Krishna took over for Nancy, I continued to translate what the kids wanted from Spanish to English. Krishna had lived here for a couple years so she’s fluent in Spanish and couldn’t figure out why I kept translating. Lol.

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One of my favorite girls came up to me at the beginning and when I would ask her what she would like painted, she would say playdough in Spanish, which kinda sounds like the word banana. So I kept asking if she really wanted a banana painted on her face. Finally someone explained that she wanted the playdough more than the face painting. After we had wrapped up the face painting, I was hanging out with Aunt Sharon at the fingernail painting station and she came up to have another color added to her nails. I placed her in my lap and kissed her cheek which made her giggle. I love making her laugh and so kept making sound effects as I was painting her nails.

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Mazatlan: January 17th

by Rebecca 17. January 2016 20:27

It is hard sometimes to be brief in blogs – some might say impossible as II tend to include a lot of detail in blog posts. Today, I had the opportunity to work with Krishna and the Vineyard Team in the kids’ ministry.


It enables me to see other aspects of working with kids and provides the freedom to move where needed without the administrative aspect of being a team leader. However, as this was established as a collection of stories about the clowns, I will keep today’s blog limited to aspects of the clowns.

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At Modero, the team mostly led the kids in songs, prayers, and a story. They did allow me to lend my talents of singing kids’ songs, performing magic, and going through a skit. While a couple magic tricks completely fell apart, it actually was pretty good. One, because it enabled one of my clowns from last year (Ulises) to see that kids can handle a show following apart and still enjoy it. Two, it still gave me the opportunity to include kids that I bonded with in the moments leading up to the magic tricks. Three, it reminded me that the show is not about me. As people were wrapping up and going home, two little guys showed me a variety of coin magic tricks that they made up on the spot. With pride they would show the coin disappear or reappear. Moments like that are what it’s all about – to show the kids that they are special, valued, and loved.

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Mazatlan: January 16th

by Rebecca 16. January 2016 20:53

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Another year and another trip. Each first day of travel is a mixture of blessings and frustrations. Reminders that some things will never change. Something will go wrong as you travel – no matter how hard you plan or try to prepare for it – it’s the one thing that you can definitely count on. Landing in Mazatlan, it had been a full day of oversleeping, parking in the wrong part of the airport, just barely checking bags in time, 5 major arguments that co-passengers had (one that almost had us concerned as they ran towards the cockpit), delays, and customs interviews (which was a little difficult because what questions do you ask someone who has a bag full of “clown” supplies – I can’t imagine how they kept a straight face). The only thing you can do is laugh and just rest in God’s arms from moment to moment.


But then you walk through the gate and into Mexico and see the team. The second thing that I can always count on is how open and loving the team is. I am not the outsider or visitor from Seattle. I am a member and the smiles, love, support, and hope that we have for each other is beautiful! I am looking forward to each moment that is yet to come.


Mazatlan: January 22 - Day 5

by Rebecca 22. January 2015 23:32

Stone Island

To get to Stone Island, you have to take a tiny boat and in total it's about 45 minutes to an hour, to arrive.


Jorge brought two clowns, one of them had participated in our recent clown class and Jorge wanted them to get some "on the job training." They didn't dress as clowns but we reviewed skits upon arrival at the colonial and then they reviewed balloons animals and watched the face painting.


After reviewing the skits and magic quickly, I assisted in communicating our arrival to the neighborhood.

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One of our stops brought us to a house with a little boy who was about 1 years old and absolutely fascinated with my nose. He attempted several times to jump out of his mother's arms and grab on to my nose. I did see him later on, with his family, they arrived at the colonial when the food truck arrived for burgers. Each time that I saw him though, his whole face lit up.

When I finished participating in communicating the team's arrival, I walked through the medical clinic and heard a boy attempt to get my attention. Apparently, he didn't see me when I first walked through. He did have special needs but it seemed that he had managed to steal the hearts of every individual in the community. He would walk up for face painting and immediately be allowed to cut in front of the line. He would walk towards the children and they would invite him to join their game of "Duck, duck, goose."

Additionally, there was a little boy in a wheel chair. Every time I saw him, he wore the biggest smile. One of my favorite moments was watching a team member help him participate in the various games. They would play "Duck, duck, goose" and the team member would push the wheelchair around the circle to enable him to participate in all of the fun.


There was a little boy whose mother wanted his face painted like a lion. However, he initially seemed to afraid so they settled on a frog painted on his arm. However, as I would paint various individuals faces he would watch me, absolutely memorized. After several minutes, his mother decided that he could totally handle getting his face painted. By that time, he had decided he was intrigued enough to allow me to paint his face like a tiger.


There was a little girl who was absolutely adorable. She told one of the other volunteers that she wanted to be picked up. The volunteer felt extra special, only to immediately be told that she really wanted to see the clown. But the volunteer could not walk directly to me, he had to walk all the way around so she could muster up the courage to talk with me. She did let me hold her only to immediately ask for her face to be painted (by that time all of my sponges and paint brushes had fallen into the dirt and were so disgusting, I had to put the paints away in favor of other activities). I apologized and told her that I could make her a flower balloon instead. She pouted and did her best to make me feel absolutely guilty before finally agreeing. Upon receiving the flower, she immediately used it to hit anyone nearby but she was so excited by it. She stayed close to me as long as possible until she was called in to see the doctor. However, she kept escaping to run and see the clown. Upon one of her escapes, she tripped and fell - not only scraping her knees but getting bitten by fire ants. At that point she did go see the doctor, crying the whole way. Not long following, I had to go in as I had managed to find a fire ant or two myself and needed some kind of cream. After I was given hydrocortisone cream, I looked over to see my friend. Upon seeing me, she started crying and pointed to her various band-aides. I showed her my medicine and began putting it on my hands (honestly, way, WAY too much medicine which only made it more comical). Through broken Spanish stated that it was ok and the clown had to take her medicine too. At that point, it seemed to calm her down. As if, "everyone has to take their medicine, even the clown."

Just before the clown show began, the last clown that I knew would be performing with us arrived. He, Irroberto, had stated he would be leaving work at 4 and would arrive as quickly as possible. So, I was impressed that he arrived at 3:50 pm. We did a very hurried job in painting his face and then threw him into the show.


He had never seen the magic tricks or skits, but he jumped in. I was so happy to see how excited he was to be a part of the clown team. Additionally, I handed over the reigns to the Mazatlan clown team for the entire show. They ran it and played all of the major parts - aside from explaining things hurriedly to Irroberto.

Following the clown show, there was a little boy whom I had painted his face earlier in the day who stopped to give me a hug. I hugged him back and from that moment on for the rest of the evening, he would go out of his way, sometimes passing me 3-4 times (unnecessarily) just to receive a hug.

Finally, there was a little girl who ran up to me as I was handing out candy before leaving. She showed me her cell phone which had a picture from 2 years ago (the last time I was at Stone Island). In the picture, I was holding a baby. The little girl exclaimed, "She is here! She is here! The baby is here!" So I walked with the little girl to her family and greeted the mother and the baby. We attempted to take several photos with the picture and she actually smiled in several. However, after several times, I felt bad and I had a large group of kids that were then surrounding us, all asking for candy. So, I apologized and thanked them for showing me the picture and for letting me see them (well, as best as I could. I may have just said "Gracias" a thousand times). Anyway, the mother was determined to enable me to have a picture. So not 2-3 minutes after I moved closer to the colonial for better light (it was now after 6 pm), she appeared. She had us retake the picture, hiding behind the baby because by then the baby girl decided that she did not like me anymore and began to cry. So, about the only way we could take the picture was for the mother to hold the baby, hide her face (which I would have loved to have the mother in the picture but she was determined), and for me to stand close to them. But it worked.

It was wonderful to see how a moment from 2 years ago, still meant so much to that family. So much so, that they wanted me to have a picture of their baby girl to remember. Each moment that we take for granted in a day, has the potential to immensely affect the people around us. It was a powerful reminder to me to not take moments like that for granted.

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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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