A Passion To Build

Our team in Minya, Egypt putting the finishing touches on their set before their premier presentation.

In the book of Nehemiah chapter two Nehemiah tours the fallen city of Jerusalem then unveils his plan to rebuild its walls. The enthusiastic response of the people around him was this;

they said, “Let us rise up and build.”

Like Nehemiah’s generation it’s no secret our world has experienced a devastating season of destruction. But guys it’s time to build again. At Passion Play Ministries International we’ve never been more excited to proclaim the good news we’ve found in Jesus Christ.

We pray this letter finds you and your family blessed beyond measure as we finally make our way past COVID 19 and social distancing. Perhaps the treasure we found most precious through this dismal season of isolation is a greater appreciation for relationship. In Genesis 2:18 God told us, “It is not good for man to be alone.”

Passion Play Ministries International has a long-standing appreciation for relationship building. For the past 35 years we’ve been blessed to present the message of Jesus Christ to audiences world-wide. Thousands of volunteer cast members have worked side by side to present the powerful message of God’s great love to literally hundreds of thousands. Along the way we’ve grown in our relationship with God and one another. 

In March of 2020, the live staging of the Passion Play was temporarily placed on hold by the global COVID 19 pandemic. It was an epic event of Biblical proportion.  Needless to say, each of us has been affected by this epidemic to one degree or another. In fact, generations will feel the impact of this crisis for years to come. 

Knowing God never wastes a hurt perhaps this struggle provides better insight as to how Nehemiah felt when he received news the walls of his ancestral home, Jerusalem, were broken down and its gates had been burned with fire. Nehemiah 1:4 tells us that he sat down, wept and mourned for several days. Then he prayed and asked the Lord that he might find favor with the king. His passion was to build, and it became infectious.

Like Nehemiah’s generation our world has experienced a terrible season of destruction. Many of us have lost loved ones, businesses have closed and families have been destroyed. It’s been a time of incredible challenge and frustration, but it is also a time of great opportunity. At Passion Play Ministries International we’ve never been more excited to proclaim the good news we’ve found in our risen Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Like Nehemiah and those who surrounded him we have “A Passion to Build”

As we move beyond the Covid crisis PPMI host communities are anxiously planning their next presentations of the Passion Play. Our ministry teams in the US, South Africa, India, Mexico, Egypt and Central America are enthusiastically looking forward to the 2022 Easter season.  A number of these ministry teams will require financial assistance in order to step back on to the stage.

In addition to existing PPMI host communities returning to live stage performances we have a brand-new ministry effort moving into the Philippines. Please pray for this new ministry team as we work together to create a new generation of training resources. This is an effort that will take the ministry forward for years to come. We sincerely appreciate your continued prayers and financial support for all of these efforts.

Training Videos

Last year we began a journey to take what we have in our ministry manuals and create videos to help train our next generation of host cities to present “He’s Alive!” With another season stymied in spring of 2021 due to the continuing COVID-19 restrictions, our video production plans were put on pause as well.

Before you can take the stage, you have to find one. So to help our new host communities select their venue, we walked through the process and pointed out some of the unique considerations to take into account when choosing a place to host the Passion Play.

With a new season of production on the horizon we are looking forward to taking our cameras behind the scenes to help train our new friends in Iligan City, Philippines and beyond.

Here is the list of videos that we will be gathering footage for and producing as we head into the 2022 season:

  1. How to select a board
  2. How to hold a meeting
  3. Ministry checklist and filling out leadership team
  4. Scheduling the season
  5. Looking for a venue
  6. Planning a set for that venue
  7. Props overview
  8. Crosses and cross base construction
  9. How to put a cross up
  10. Casting the play
  11. Goals for each block
  12. Behind the characters: who’s sandals are you stepping into?
  13. How to run a rehearsal
  14. How to do a partial and full run through
  15. How to run a dress rehearsal
  16. How to run a technical rehearsal
  17. Costumes overview
  18. Disciple costumes
  19. Crowd Costumes
  20. Sanhedrin Costumes
  21. Roman Costumes
  22. Front of house
  23. Getting the word out
  24. Altar call and response team
  25. Special effects makeup
  26. Lighting scene by scene
  27. Props scene by scene
  28. Micing the show
  29. Back stage and scene changes
  30. Director notes: who is on stage and how to make transitions
  31. Fog machines and you
  32. Pre-show and sponsors

Minya, Egypt


During Holy week, 2018 we were pleased to have a friend with us from out of town. Way out of town in fact: Minya Egypt!

Victor Habib, was making the rounds between our Denver and Four Corners presentations of the Passion Play He’s Alive. He was taking a look under the hood and behind the scenes in preparation for training a team in his hometown. While visiting the States we signed an agreement to produce the ministry in  Minya.  

Following his visit to the US Victor went home and assembled an outstanding team that went on to stage our very first Arabic presentation of He’s Alive the Passion Play in October of 2019. More than 1,000 people attended this outdoor event. We were blessed to be there and witness this presentation. In the midst of great opposition there are also so many great opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ in this part of the world. 

¡Hola Venezuela!

March 23rd and 24th, 2018  the Passion Play of Barquisimeto, Venezuela hosted their premier presentations of He’s Alive. This effort represented PPMI’s first opportunity to partner with the body of Christ in South America. It came at a time when the country of Venezuela was experiencing extreme political, social and economic turmoil. Their national elections were held less than a month following this presentation. 

The Venezuelan state orchestra accompanied 150 actors in staging the Passion Play. A full length video along with behind the scenes interviews with a number of actors and attendees can be seen on the team’s Instagram.

Imagine Yourself Stepping into this Story

 

For more than twenty years Focus on the Family has produced a beloved radio series known as “Adventures in Odyssey” I remember picking up our son, Tyler from school, listening to the program and holding the steering wheel just a little tighter as the kids in the program found
themselves in precarious situations. Often the programs drama was built around the characters journeying back in time through a George Avery
Whitaker invention known as the imagination station. It was amazing how involved I became in listening to this program on a daily basis.

Such is the case with our cast and crew for the Passion Play on an annual basis. Becoming a part of the cast allows us to live out the story
that is at the very center of our faith. When you look closely at the photographs on this site I believe it’s important to point out that
very few of the individuals who take part in this presentation come to us with an extensive background in acting. As a matter of fact all of
the actors who take part in this ministry annually are volunteers.

The expressions on each face are not manufactured they are the result of coming closer to the story than they’ve ever been before. Imagine yourself sitting at the last supper table with Jesus as he begins to break the bread or standing so close to the cross you can actually touch it. Imagine being there as Jesus makes his way into Jerusalem or finding the stone rolled away from His tomb and coming face to face with your risen savior.

These are the kinds of experiences we have witnessed now for more than 28 years and the opportunities to get involved continue to expand. It doesn’t matter what your gifts and talents might be, we have room for you in this ministry. On the stage, behind the scenes, in front of a keyboard or sitting next to the Cello we invite you to become part of a ministry that’s making a lasting impact in the lives of thousands annually.

Perhaps you’re interested in bringing the ministry of the Passion Play to your community. Who is more qualified to get the process started than you? If you share our vision for building up the body of Christ and reaching the lost with the greatest message of hope the world has ever know you can get started today by checking out the rest of our website.

The Shiloh Connection

The Picture on the Wall

It had been quite the 48 hours. After a mixup with the airlines had nearly stranded two of our traveling companions, and a hop across the pond, seeing the front door of our friend’s house in Melkbosstrand, South Africa was quite a relief.

The house is a split level. The family lives upstairs, and the first floor is an apartment with some spare rooms for guests. As we stepped through the front door I couldn’t help but notice a familiar picture. Printed out on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, taped to the wall, it was a photo looking out of the window of a building with corrugated metal walls. Outside of the window there was a large yellow and blue tent, the kind that you buy fireworks from, and there was a sign on the side that said “WITH GOD NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE”.

To those that live in the Wallacedene township, that was no fireworks tent, it was a church, and a place where three times a week their children could come receive a meal. The window that the photographer had been peering out of was the freshly built Shiloh Christian Outreach Center.

Ten days before that photo was taken 32 cast and crew members had made the trip to to South Africa to help them stage their first presentation of the passion play, He’s Alive! They had been to Wallacedene to help with the feeding program and had learned about the tent. Long story short, it was in bad shape, and if they lost the tent, they would loose the ground that the church met on, and in turn they would loose the ability to serve their community.

People that traveled to help put on a play joined hands with locals and quickly became a construction crew. Money that had been brought for souvenirs was pooled and turned into money for wooden planks, nails, hammers, trusses, metal siding and windows. With some more help from back home we were able to purchase all of the materials to put the building up. This was not going to be the crystal cathedral by any means, but it would be a more permanent home for the church and their feeding program.

Not long after the posts were planted in the ground and the first truss was going up, a large gust of wind tore the tent from top to bottom, we all knew that God had placed us right where he wanted us to be.

Knowing that Garry had been on that trip, I was looking forward to catching up with him and reminiscing about that great trip. As I laid my jet lagged head on the pillow I was thinking about that picture, but it wouldn’t be until a surprise later in the week that I would get a chance to ask him about it.

The Business Card

We had some very productive meetings, not to mention that my girlfriend had agreed to marry me, so by all accounts it had been a great week. It was our last night in South Africa, and we were sitting down enjoying a meal with our gracious hosts.

The evening was winding down, people were splitting off in to little groups carrying on conversations and laughing. I stood up and walked by a high top table, and noticed a business card sitting on the corner.

SHILOH Synergy

It must be a popular name locally, I thought, but I was curious, so I asked our host Kevin about the card.

Kevin is a businessman who helps create legal documents and contracts for corporations. He was helping Shiloh with a license for their school and feeding program so that it could be transferred to other townships and communities.

After a few “do you know so and so” type of questions we were all amazed that independently of one another we all had a connection to Shiloh. That small church we had helped back in 1998 had grown up and was reaching well outside of its walls.

With God, nothing is impossible. Actors can become construction workers, a church on its last leg can find new life, and that new life can spread much farther than we can see, or would even dream of.

What will you build today? How far will it go?