Under the leadership of Louie and Nancy Parra, Mount Pisgah Academy (MPA) has operated a Creative Ministries puppetry team for 22 years. Their performances have earned them many honors and awards in the puppetry sector, which has increased their publicity through the southeastern United States. Hundreds of students have worked with the Parras over the years to perform jaw-dropping pieces that bring the Bible to life and allow viewers to recognize the incredible qualities of God.
of in-person Vacation Bible School (VBS) programs this past summer, the North American Division (NAD) Children’s Ministries Department rallied to create a virtual experience for children to enjoy over the summer. Originally, the weeklong VBS program would be offered to children throughout the United States. Eventually, word spread, and the program became an international affair, being streamed to multiple countries around the world. In order to offer such a unique program, the NAD enlisted the assistance of various individuals to provide content relating to the program theme. After learning of the longstanding program at Mount Pisgah Academy, the NAD requested that Louie and Nancy Parra assist with the VBS program by providing puppet segments for each day.
With the assistance of two local students, Emily Ottinger (’22) and Josh Bedwell (’22), and the talents of the school athletic director, Tyler Hedges, a talented photographer and videographer, the team got to work to produce five stories, each seven to nine minutes in length. The Parras were sent pre-recorded voice-overs that they used to perform the dialogue and stories using puppets. More than 30 puppets were used during production, along with countless backdrops and props, many of which the Parras had created over the years for performances with MPA. Many hours were spent in the school auditorium, practicing and filming, in order to ensure quality content for the young viewers. Even once filming ended, Gavin Perez (’21), a current student at MPA, worked tirelessly to edit the clips and audio together to create the final product.
When the first program aired July 6, 2020, more than 9,000 children had registered for the live broadcasts. Viewers were amazed at the content and quality of the program offerings.
What a blessing that the staff and students of MPA could offer their talents to aid in the creation of this virtual Vacation Bible School.
Although MPA has discontinued their traditional Creative Ministries class, they will continue to train students in the art of puppetry so that those talents can be used to present children’s stories in area churches. Students from MPA travel throughout the school year to churches in North and South Carolina to use their talents for God’s glory. If you are interested in having Mount Pisgah Academy students visit your church and assist with a Sabbath church service, please contact the school chaplain, Jo Ottinger, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carolina | October 2020