When you get a call from your pastor that your set is lying on the ground, and you know your set is 4×8 wall sections mounted on 4×4 posts sunk 4’ into the ground – that’s a serious problem. Perhaps a quarter of the set was destroyed at about 2 in that afternoon in the spring of 2017. A few days before Palm Sunday, a windstorm came up, lifted both of our large tents off the ground and either blew one of them through the back wall of the set or blew the walls down directly.
The tent went over the night watchman’s trailer and was only prevented from hitting the road by a neighbor running out of his house and stopping it.
I sent out a message that the set had been badly damaged and went to the hardware store a mile down the road for replacement parts (the steel tent poles had to be replaced as well). The word went out and a crew of volunteers showed up. By rehearsal time, the whole set was rebuilt. To me, that was where God was in that situation. He didn’t promise that we wouldn’t experience a storm, but he promised we would weather it.
Of course, the set was back up but … we had decided to expand the set that year and with what was damaged and what was new, about a third of the set was unpainted. So, against the advice of many, I whitewashed the entire set. I knew we needed a better backdrop painted anyway. For about a week, in fits and starts a few people showed up and tried to paint, but it wasn’t coordinated and wasn’t going well. Then my wife said “What about Robyn? Didn’t she paint it before?” So I opened up my phone to text Robyn. The very last text I had sent her was about painting the set five years earlier. So I asked her again and after a few evenings spent on her own, on Maundy Thursday, she brought her whole team from Ann Marie Gardens. Over the course of about three hours, they repainted the entire set.
This was after dark and the stage is out in the middle of a field so there isn’t much ambient light. They did the repainting with floodlights. The end result – the set was much more beautiful. So that’s where God was with us in this particular storm.