Tuesday, August 28, 2012

souls on parade

Notting Hill Carnival is over!
For the past week and a half, my DTSers and I have been living in Notting Hill Community Church, participating in Bones, and arts camp that prepares for Notting Hill Carnival, the second largest carnival in the world. I was in charge of the drama group, which meant that I directed and wrote (or helped with) dramas, as well as acting in them. It was really a group collaboration, and my group members and I worked hard for a week to get ready for Carnival, which was on Sunday and Monday.
It was an exhausting week. I developed a hug on the second day of the camp, but we couldn’t slow down. We had late nights every night, fixing props and preparing set pieces for the parade that we had.
The best part of all of it was that the preparation was completely worth it. God called me to London to street theatre for Him, and that is exactly what I did. I had time and people set apart to work with me, and together, we made some pretty edgy dramas about the controlling nature of addictions, loss of control, and the fight between flesh and a spirit that yearns for God.
On the morning of Carnival, we all got into costumes and make up, and at 1 pm, we went out and did a parade. We were not a part of the official carnival parade, because it cost £6000 to join. We had our own parade with 15 12 foot soldier puppets, people on stilts, about 15 drummers, and dancers. I was a dancer representing a river.
The parade drew a lot of people, and we proclaimed God’s victory in the area and told them about Jesus’ love for them. The video is on Youtube, if you’d like to watch it here
When we got back from the parade, my team and I took off our make up and put on make up for our dramas. We waded through the three million Carnival attendees to perform on the corner of the street. We performed for about 4 hours, changing off with dancers from the Bones camp, and when we were not performing, we spoke to people in the streets about our dramas and about God.
On Monday, the Carnival was much darker than it had been the day before. We got into costume and went out to do our parade. Soon, a policeman stopped us. But instead of preventing us from doing our parade, he asked us what we were doing. Christian, the head of Bones, told him that we were just walking. He then invited us to be a part of the official Carnival parade. We got to be a part of it for free! We followed the route for a while, then came back to the church. The atmosphere was oppressive, so we sent our drummers out, and we went out to evangelize. I took my camera and took pictures of the people to whom I spoke.
Today, we found out that three stabbings took place yesterday at Carnival, and all three people died. It seems that the oppressive atmosphere wasn’t just in our heads.
But God’s name was proclaimed at Carnival, in the midst of everything else that happened, all of the drugs and sex and drinking. Two girls accepted Christ, and many more received prayer and had Jesus’ love explained to them.
Thank you guys for your prayers. They were so needed in this time of chaos and spiritual warfare.
I have also been asked if I need continued support, and the answer is yes. We leave for outreach in three weeks, during which time we will be traveling to Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Newcastle. We have to pay for travel. I am also praying about doing the arts internship here at YWAM Urban Key, so I will need support to make that possible. God has made it clear as a next step, though, and it will enable me to do what He has called me to London to do for His kingdom.  You can email me at deborahestevenson@gmail.com if you’d like to support me.

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