It seems like every time I visit New York, the number of men, women and families that are homeless has increased. It was just freezing when we were there, and some of these folks were literally shivering and shaking from the cold. I had a bunch of those Myler aluminum blankets as well as clothes and lunches and it was a blessing to touch as many as we could. Feels like a drop in the bucket when there are so many, but if each of us could do something to help someone, something little could be the first step to something bigger.
We got to return and visit again a correctional facility we did last year in Philadelphia. They again set up a stage and a camera crew filmed the whole thing to project to the entire prison. So many guys came, over 250 and so many were so happy to see us again. Just like we built those stack up boxes for a backdrop in Brazil, we redid the same thing here in the States and built 12 large, collapsible boxes that we stack up to use behind us. Each side turns to show a different background. The guys just love them and each side is inspiring. My favorite is the side of a boxer that says, “Don’t give up! Fight!”
We also visited one of the oldest and largest prisons on the East Coast. It is one of those famous ones that is in all the movies. One of my favorite acts is our finale that is like a circus type setting with clowns, magic, bubbles and confetti. We intro asking our audience to remember one of their favorite childhood memories. Back to before all this heartache and pain, back to when things were ok. So quickly each guy is shouting out, “when I got my first bike”, “when I used to roll a tire down by the river”, “christmas” or “trick or treating”. Then we say how they can go back to that frame of mind, that heart. We grew, but the child is still within in us and Jesus says, WE MUST be like a child. No matter what we have done or been t through, God is a perfect Father who wants us to return to Him. A perfect Father, makes allowance for His children’s weakness and failure.
Anyway, then I come out flying a huge red kite that I made. I perform and speak as if a child who realizes she has to grow up and can’t play with a stupid kite any more when life is tragic. I throw the kite aside and give up. Then my father, communicating our Father, comes to me, helps me up and gives me back the kite. He embraces me and then makes me laugh. The act is hard to write out but very moving and powerful and many have told us this was very impactful for them.
One time, a guy shouted that his favorite childhood memory was playing with a red kite, right before I came out with a red kite! He later wrote us and told us that others at the facility thought he was in it with us. It was cool. One inmate wrote that through this act it was as if He could imagine what heaven would be like. Free, fun, full of laughter and joy. IT meant a lot to us because we work so hard to design our show to touch people in places that words cannot. At so many schools and high schools, this act is a big hit too:)