Summer Trip Focus: Paraguay
by Hailey Bryant, Journalist Intern
This summer, Lipscomb will take a team down to the small South American country of Paraguay. For two weeks, July 5-18, the team will serve in the capital city and bustling metropolis of Asuncion. The trip will be led by mission veterans David and Kenna Hardy and is quite different from many of the other offered mission opportunities in that team members get to participate in a theatrical mission endeavor.
David came up with the idea of traveling to Paraguay after having success with previous theatre missions to Newport, Wales. “We performed in elementary schools in the hope of generating interest for the youth group at the church in town,” he explains, “After realizing how receptive this outreach was, we thought we could also take this concept to other countries, even Spanish speaking countries, provided we could learn the script in Spanish.” While stage performance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of mission work, David explains just how potent the effect can be, saying, “We had witnessed first hand what a fantastic tool theatre can be to encourage and uplift people.” Recognizing the potential for outreach, David and his wife, Kenna, decided to take the concept to a new arena.
The decision to serve in Asuncion was made after the couple visited Kenna’s sister who lives in the area. For several years, they had been hearing about the tremendous growth of Sacramento Street Church of Christ, the main church in the area, and could not help but grow passionate for the city. “The connection with Kenna's sister, Cara Blackmer and her husband Josh Blackmer, makes this an intensely personal mission trip,” shares David. The Blackmers even participate as hosts for their team.
Forming relationships with those in the community is at the heart of their mission, as David explains, “The Paraguayan people we have met in person and have kept contact with via Facebook are full of God's love, and the church there is thriving.” As theatre performance puts the trip goers in a more displayed position than other behind the scenes types trips, they get a lot of interaction with the natives. “Any student that decided to go with us on this trip would discover how charming this lesser-known country and their beautiful inhabitants are,” David promises.
While the trip involves theatrical activities, the opportunity is open to anyone, regardless of major or experience. Having previous experience in drama is helpful, David explains, but in no way necessary. The ability to speak Spanish is also not required but may prove to be of great aid, as well. David sums up the uniqueness of this endeavor when he says, “This is a new kind of mission trip effort.”