A Child Shall Lead Them…

Liam Neighbors baptized in the Willamette River

Yesterday my son, Liam, was baptized at the age of 19. Raised in a Christian home and claiming to be a Christian at an early age, it wasn’t until recently that he truly embraced the faith and made it his own.

I was moved and inspired to hear my son speak openly of his faith as we gathered by the Willamette River. He shared how God has pursued him, which he found surprising and unmistakably a divine moment.

As a father I could not be prouder and my heart is overflowing with joy. In a certain measure my faith has been renewed and refreshed through this blessed and holy act!

Thank you God!

Chuck Neighbors

Mission Trip to India

Dear Friends,

I am writing to share with you about our recent trip to India. First, let me say that this trip was indeed a blessing and God’s purpose in sending us on this mission was confirmed to us in the response of the people we were able minister to in our travels. Your prayer and financial support made this ministry possible and for that we are grateful!

Travel to India was long but included a stopover in London both on the way there and back. This little overnight break helped to make the trip less grueling and we are glad our itinerary allowed for the rest! On this trip we were also more immersed in the culture than on some of my previous travels. We fared well, although there was some adjustment for me and my traveling companions, Steve Wilent and my son, Liam. Food proved to be a challenge as pretty much all Indian food is spicy and my system doesn’t do so well with that! We found that the word “mild” is relative and all of us have our “too hot to eat” stories. We also experienced eating without the normal fork and spoon we are accustomed to! So the phrase “dig in” when it comes to eating has a new meaning for us-as does the phrase “finger-licking-good!”

The first half of our stay was in the city of Chennai (formerly Madras). Here we stayed in guest rooms at the Inter Church Service Center. Pretty much dorm style rooms with hard mattresses (I could not get my sleep number dialed in!) and lukewarm showers the norm. It is summer here and temperatures are in the 90’s and quite humid. Thankfully our rooms are air-conditioned!

We have a free day before our first workshop begins. We are able to sightsee a bit. Chennai is the city where the apostle Thomas was martyred and we are able to see the shrines and churches that commemorate his life and death. We also visit Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world and one of the places that was hit by last year’s tsunami.

We are hosted by Dr. C.D Jebasingh and his associate, Abraham Anand. They are part of a ministry called Galilean International Films and Television Services (www.giftsministries.org). Their mission is to spread the gospel through visual media and they have invited us to India because of their vision to see the dramatic arts used for evangelism and ministry throughout India.

On Monday we begin our three-day workshop with a group of about 30 leaders from a wide variety of churches and organizations. The meeting room is not air-conditioned and over the course of the next three days we find the heat stifling but we are able to manage (we consumed copious amounts of bottled water). Our students are eager learners and we were amazed at how they clung to our every word. The vision for visual communication in spreading the Gospel is readily accepted. We were concerned about them understanding us but that fear was laid to rest. However, the ability to speak English on the part of our students varied widely-leaving us to say “would you repeat the question?” more often than we wanted. Liam opened each day leading worship on guitar and Steve shared a devotion to start the morning. Both Steve and I shared the teaching time throughout each day.

At the end of three days we were honored and humbled by the words of encouragement in a closing ceremony where we handed out certificates to the participants and they honored us with a garland of sandalwood and gifts. They made it very clear that this training is much appreciated and waste no time in inviting us back in the future!

On Thursday we travel to Mumbai (formerly Bombay). In Mumbai we are put up in a hotel-nice but not the Ritz. We do have slightly softer mattresses and this time hot showers! The restaurant in the hotel also offers some western fare, so we get a break from the hot and spicy food!

Friday is a full day. We conduct a one-day workshop for about 30 people and again are impressed with their eager attitudes to learn and utilize the training. On Friday PM we have our only performance of the trip. This is the only part where we are a bit disappointed in the numbers. Our audience is about 30 people and we had been expecting over 150 people. Dr. Jebasingh confided that a key employee that was responsible for much of our arrangements here, resigned just a couple weeks before our arrival and the ball got dropped on some of the details. Still we give it our all and the audience loves the performance. I am particularly proud of Liam, as he sings a closing song and truly sells it like an artist beyond his years and experience. In fact he has been quite the trouper this whole trip. Where other teens might have grumbled about the lack of creature comforts or succumbed to homesickness, Liam has had a wonderful attitude and demeanor the whole trip.

On Saturday we are privileged to visit some of the work that World Vision is doing in India. As you may recall, our ministry is in partnership with World Vision and when I travel outside the USA I like to visit and learn more about their work and also encourage the workers who are doing so much to help the poor. In Mumbai we visit projects that are working against the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus that is devastating so many third world countries. We hear the stories of women who are living with the disease. The cycle is so sad. While women are expected to remain faithful in marriage, it is expected and accepted in this culture that men will have extra-marital affairs. Also, the concept of family is quite different. Where we would encourage our adult children to move out and establish themselves on their own, here the adult males will marry and move in with their parents to be a support to them in their old age.

So the man has multiple partners, acquires the HIV/AIDS virus, passes it on to his wife, who then may infect her child. As the disease progresses the husband may die, the wife is often blamed for infecting him and then booted out of the home by the rest of the family, along with her children. She becomes an outcast and a pariah to her family and community. The really sad part is that the truly innocent victims in this scenario are the children. World Vision is working to educate men, women and children to end this cycle. We visit a Drop-In Center where women can get support and encouragement. We visit a classroom where women are being taught to sew in order to get work to support themselves and their children.

A special treat for Steve and me is to visit a group of youth that perform street theater on HIV/AIDS. How affirming it is to see that the arts, especially drama, is a front line tool in fighting the war on this disease. Through drama young people are being presented with truth and challenged to be responsible in their lifestyle! Awesome!

Sunday is our last full day in India. We attend a three-hour church service and all the sudden appreciate the shorter services that we are accustomed to back home. Some last minute shopping is required to complete our time. We return to London and then to Oregon. Home sweet home where Lorie awaits her husband and her youngest child. Steve is also anxious to connect with his loved ones.

It will be about a week before our internal clocks reset themselves-but we know that the time spent in India was worth it. Our lives are better for seeing and experiencing this country. Most importantly we feel the ministry was well worth the time, expense and energy it required to get us there.

This is only a short synopsis of our experience, but I want you to know that your prayers and support were not in vain. We are so grateful to be sent by you to do this work. We continue to pray that the seeds we have sown will bear much fruit in the lives of the people of India! Thank you for being a part of that!

Until the next time!


Chuck Neighbors

P.S: If you would like to sponsor a child through World Vision we would be most happy to help you get started! You can change a life for as little at $30 a month. Click on the World Vision link below to select a child and transform a life!

2001 – Year in Review

November 23, 2001

Dear Friends,

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and my thoughts are still focusing on the many things that I am thankful for: family, friends, our country and the freedoms we enjoy. High on my list is this ministry that the Lord has entrusted to me–I do not take it for granted and am so very blessed to be able to serve our Lord in such a creative, unique and powerful ministry.

There are several things I want to communicate in this letter.  The first is that from now on all newsletters will be sent via email as well as being available here at www.mastersimage.com.  So if you want to keep hearing from us, we need your email address!  Take a moment to send us an email and add drama@mastersimage.com to your email address book. (Remember to notify us if your email address changes.)  The reason for this change is simple a matter of time and money.  We want to be good stewards of both, and since so many are online these days it just makes more sense to use modern technology to keep in touch.  The time and cost it takes to prepare the newsletter are better spent in other areas.

Year in Review

As of this writing 2001 looks to be the best year yet for this ministry.  Hear are some of the highlights of this past year:

  • Approximately 120 performances in 13 different states will have been given by year’s end.
  • Three major productions directed for Salem Alliance Church (where I serve as Artist in Residence) including Evening in December,  a Christmas production which will be seen by an estimated 6,000 people.
  • The development of an improv troupe that performs “good clean” entertainment in the Pacific Northwest.
  • The addition of Steve Wilent to the ministry with his one-man production of the Gospel of John.
  • Participation in a number of regional and national drama conferences and festivals, including the Lillenas Drama Conference, National Youth Drama Conference and the National Creative Arts Festival.
  • Through our association with World Vision, a ministry to the world’s poor, over 225 children were sponsored through the child sponsorship program.
  • Some wonderful family time, including a family reunion in Ohio in August!
  • Our strongest year yet in financial support and resources–this in spite of the events of Sept. 11th and the downturn in the economy.  Thanks in part to another wonderful Drama & Dessert, our one and only fundraiser for the ministry.

The September 11th Effect

All of us, I am sure, have been observing the impacts of the terrorist attack on our nation.  Our prayers continue to go out on behalf of those who were directly impacted by the horrible events of that day.  I have also been interested to see how these events impact this ministry.  While our fundraiser was a success, the giving was down from previous years and I am sure this was partially due to the fact that our nation responded so positively to the needs of those affected by the disaster.  The American Red Cross and other charities got our attention, and rightly so.  September and October are traditionally the months when most of my bookings come in for the spring.  Not so this year; there are very few bookings on the calendar for 2002.  At the same time, we have had more requests than ever for Christmas bookings this year.  Last year artist associate, Scott Bettis, began performing our Christmas play, Merry Christmas, Mr. Jones.  It is a good thing, because this year, between the two of us, we will perform that play over 20 times in December. My take is that some churches were too shell-shocked to put together their own Christmas programs this year and turned to other venues to fill that need.  At the same time, urgent ministry needs due to the disaster were paramount and plans for 2002 were put on hold.

All of this is understandable, but does raise some concern for me as to what 2002 will look like.  Please pray for our schedule.  I’m inclined to think that the requests will come in after we get past Christmas.  But regardless, we place our trust in Jesus Christ and know that He is more than able to sustain us and this ministry if He wants it to continue.  We have every reason to believe that He does!  We are especially grateful to those of you who continue to support us with your prayers and financial support!

Family Update


As Lorie and I are well into the fortysomethings, it becomes bittersweet to watch our children grow up.  As they seem to need us less I realize just how much I need them.  Such is life, I guess.  Jonathan is 17 and driving–need I say more? He is the tallest in the family at 6’5″ and music is his first love, becoming quite good on the ol’ guitar.  Ryan is 15 and is also into music, both playing the guitar and singing. He had the honor of being on the freshman Homecoming Court at his school this year. Liam, at 10 (maybe 11, by the time you read this) continues to surprise us with talent and intelligence beyond what he inherited from his parents.  He is, however, becoming quite the drummer, which father does feel he contributed to (since he used to weld the sticks rather proficiently). Lorie continues to work part time as a legal secretary.  She is once again bitten by the acting bug and manages to snag an occasional role in plays that I direct.  (She is often accused of having some sort of special influence with the director, which he quickly denies!)

As we bring this year to a close we look forward with great anticipation to all the God has for us in the year ahead.  Please pray for us and this ministry.  May God bless you and hold you close during this Christmas Season!


Chuck Neighbors

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