… and checks in on founding columnist Naomi
As the Pulse celebrates its sixth birthday this month, we caught up with our first columnist, former missionary turned writer, author and speaker Naomi Reed, to find out where God has led her since we wished her well on her new path.
“I have too many good ideas!” the Blue Mountains residentsays,laughing. “The latest one happened in April last year. I was contacted by Emily Cobb in Moree (from SU), who asked me to run drama workshops and evening performances, in the north-west, with an aim to present the gospel to non-church families. I said yes!
“Then she wanted to know if I could bring a team with me, to incorporate music and story into the drama performances, and involve up to 80 children in each place? “I said yes again. I would love to.Then I sat at our laptop for a fortnight,and the story seeped out from beneath my fingers.
‘A long time ago there was a wide open valley, with rich pasture and wild flowers and animals of every kind – slithering lizards and swaying elephants and swinging monkeys and leggy giraffes and brown bears and kangaroos and even a prickly old tree porcupine. The whole of the valley was an open-plain zoo. But the best thing about the zoo was the Zookeeper. He loved the animals. He’d chosen each of them, and every day he walked with them and talked with them, and reminded them they could play wherever they wanted in the valley, but the one place they couldn’t play was on the other side of the
sparkling river, in the dark forest. Do you think they wanted to? What would happen if they did? Would the Zookeeper still love them? Would he have a plan to bring them home? ‘
“By the end of the fortnight, I had the idea and the script and the team. Mel began working on masks and costumes and craft ideas. Sam started writing scripts for teenagers. Bruce began working on lyrics and song ideas.
“I practised the script with our sons and anyone else who walked through the door. They all liked it. Soon, I wondered whether it would work as a picture book, and an enhanced CD, and a package for kids clubs, and schools, and family services with puppets… and then of course a Disney movie?”
Before they journeyed to the north-west, Naomi and her team presented The Zookeeper at Winmalee Presbyterian Church. “I was nervous,” she said.“What if it didn’t work? What if the kids didn’t like it or respond to the message and the puppets and the Zookeeper’s Son? What if I was kidding myself? It’s so easy to get muddled up sometimes… or to think that we can define our ideas by our own very limited viewpoint.“
Then just before the Winmalee service, she read 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 again.“With this in mind (the return of Jesus), we constantly pray for you that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfil every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“It’s such a lovely reminder. I often have too many good ideas, and overly optimistic faith, but it’s
ood to remember that God is the one who makes us worthy of his calling, and he fills our (excessively) good ideas and acts of faith with his own power – for his purposes, so that the Lord Jesus may be glorified in us and through us… because there’s an extraordinary day ahead, when Jesus will come back, and in that day he will ‘be marveled at among all those who have believed’ (v 10).
“And The Zookeeper went really well at Winmalee and in the north-west! People cried in the right places and were astounded by God’s love and plan for them. For me, it reminded me that God loves the kids (and parents) more than we do, and he has a plan to rescue them from the darkness, through his Son… and he’ll keep doing that, until he comes again. And we may not ever produce the picture book, or the enhanced CD, never mind the movie… but that’s okay, because today, what matters is that we’re faithful to him, with the small thing in front of us – the lines for the next event – the churches and schools next month, and as we do that, we trust that he’ll fulfil his purposes, in his good time and someone, somewhere will know deeply that they’re loved by the Zookeeper.
For more information or to book The Zookeeper, contact Naomi’s manager, Leeanne Smith on 0295013421 or go to Naomi’s website at www.naomireed.info
This article is from the April 2014 Pulse