Saturday, 3 August 2013

My Mission Trip to Japan

In the twelve days that The Messiah Project and Ballet Excelsior were in Japan we traveled all over the island. We held concerts in Shizuoka, Ishinomaki, Fukushima and Tokyo. Normally at each performance site, we would have a day before the show to rehearse and find out where the dancers could dance without falling off the stages. Sometimes, we would get to a performance site the day of the show and would get things set up in the morning and perform in the evening. The first show performed was at Shimizu Terrsa in Shizuoka. We were being hosted by Gordon's Equipping Ministries church. On June 29th, we rehearsed both at the church and at Shimizu Terrsa's stage. June 30th, we attended Gordon's church service before going on to rehearse one more time before the performance later that evening. The morning after the dancers traveled to a local Christian School and performed a few dance numbers for them. Then everyone hopped on a bus for the eight hour journey to Ishinomaki. On July 2nd the group went to a community center in Tomariahma, Ishinomaki where we would use their gym as a stage. The community center was located right next to a beach, and some of the group got to explore around the shore. The next day we made a quick stop at Fukushima First Baptist Church to do a show that night. Right after, we traveled all night to arrive in Tokyo at two in the morning. We didn't have anywhere to be on July 4th, so we took that day to go walking around Tokyo. Some of us went souvenir shopping, walked in a Japanese garden, and had dinner at the Tokyo Tower. On July 5th we got back to work rehearsing at Household of God Church in North Tokyo for a performance the next day. Our last show was at the Christian Academy on July 7th. We left Japan to go home the day after. This trip was an amazing experience and I will never forget it.

On our way to Ishinomaki, we passed a area that had been destroyed by the tsunami. There were buildings demolished and other buildings that had to be because they were no longer stable and safe. Beaten up, rusty cars were upturned and in lines that ran on for a very long time. I was told that the road we were traveling on had been to be covered by 45 ft of water. At Tomarihama we took a short walk down to the beach. The beach was mostly rocks and dock area. There were many mobile homes and homes that needed repair. We were walking through an area that used to be houses that had been swept right off the ground by waves of water. I didn't realize we were walking through destroyed houses until someone pointed out the tiny wall of bricks. Our hearts went out to Japan as we were told what the people had been through. They so needed to see God's love, and as I watched people's reactions toward Savior I knew God had everything planned out so that good would come out of the terror some of the people had faced. I continue to pray for the people of Japan. Praying for the pain and suffering to end. Praying that one day, Jesus will become the center of Japan.

I saw God work in massive ways everywhere we went. Japan was everything I hoped and dreamed it would be, and so much more than I ever could have imagined. My love for Japan grew tremendously as I saw, met and talked with the people there. The Christians love for God was astounding. There was one church service that I attended where I was close to tears as I saw the people in the Japanese church just so overpowered by the Holy Spirit. I could only stand in the crowd with my mouth open as I was taking everything in. They were so faithful, joyful, and hopeful for God, someday, to be the center of Japan. I made so many new friends, with the people in the choir as well as the people in the churches. I was truly honored to spend time with all of them. I will never forget the kindness and love I was shown. The Messiah Project and Excelsior brought the powerful message of the gospel with great success. The last show we performed was very special for me, because I had extended family coming to see it. Even though my family didn't speak English, they brought a friend along who acted as our translator. I asked them before the show if they were Christians and they told me they were “sort of.” I prayed for them as the show went on. I hope one day they will be saved and learn who God really is.

Every show went wonderfully. Sometimes the rehearsal before the show would be very rough and we would begin to think it wouldn't be good enough, but every time the show started, God would calm and strengthen the performers. He never failed to give us everything we needed. He never failed to reassure me that I was important as well. Even though I was not performing in the show, I tried to help with preparations for the show and backstage during the show as much as I could. Some times I would start to feel like I was there for no reason, or worse, in the way. Before I could get upset, or sad, I would suddenly be told that they were glad I was with them. They kept telling me that I had a place on the trip for a reason and God had an important plan for me. They told me I was a blessing, but I was truly the blessed one to have such wonderful friends and an amazing God looking out for me. I still can't believe that I was able to go and help minister to Japan. I am very restless, feeling like I need to travel, and I couldn't think of a better way to travel the world than sharing God's gospel with Japan.


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

It's that time! Excelsior School of Dance is having their end of year performance. Awaken (Act 1) on SAT, 8 June at The Woodlands High School on Research Forest. Shows at 2pm and 7pm. (I recommend the evening performance because two of Bug's dances will be in that show. Most of the elder girls' dances will be in both shows.)

If you would like me to get the tickets for you, let me know. You can also get them online with a convenience fee attached.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Destination Japan

From Kyrie

Dance is a huge part of my life. I use it for so many different things. It's a hobby, it's a sport, something I do for fun and to show others what I can do. I can express feelings and the written word with it. I use dance as a way of telling stories and to me, most importantly, I use it to glorify God and use the talent he has given me to praise Him. Excelsior School of Dance has taught me proper dance technique and strength and they have also planted in me a seed of expression and passion that is used to give all I am to God.
All the training and hard work I go through comes down to the one moment when I am on stage and just praying that God will use me and my dancing to move the audience. I think every dancer that is part of Excelsior’s missionary group shows an enormous amount of love for God. Their purpose for dancing on a stage in front of so many people is not so much for the audience to admire the beautiful choreography or the strength of the dancers, but to show Christ and Bible stories through them. I think that's fantastic: using something that you love to do so much, and finding that God is using that to reach out to others.
The Excelsior company are planning to travel to Japan this year. They will be traveling to many cities and areas of Japan, dancing the story of Praise of the Nations, an original piece created by Excelsior. There will be a dancing crew and a backstage crew, including costume, lighting, and sound system helpers. I have been asked to serve as part of the backstage crew this year. I will also be going to Japan to see what it is like to travel with a ballet company.
I am so excited that I have this amazing opportunity to travel with Excelsior and see what they do in the foreign countries that they travel to! However, this trip will be expensive; I am hoping to raise $1,700 to cover a portion of the cost. I would love for you to partner with me in this adventure, through your prayers as well as your financial support. If you are willing to pray for me and Ballet Excelsior, especially when we're in Japan ( June 23rd through July 6th ) please send me an e-mail at To make a donation, please send a check made out to Ballet Excelsior of Houston with a separate note indicating it is for me. If you send me an email, I will send you the address to mail it to. I want to be where God wants me to be. I am very nervous as well as excited to have the opportunity to go with Excelsior. I trust in God that He will do His will though this, and that He will provide what is needed. Thank you for your prayerful support.

-Kyrie Collier

Sunday, 13 January 2013

2012 Christmas Letter - just a little late

Psalm 61:4
"I long to dwell in your tent forever
  and take refuge in the shelter of your wings."

This is the Christmas letter we've not looked forward to writing. 

Every year at midnight on January 1st, I always wonder what the next year will hold and 2012 was no different. I couldn't have known- and, of course, we never do, but it was the year that brought us the worst pain ever. Most of you know, and if you do not, I'm sorry for the shock. On January 2nd, our beloved daughter, Aimee, was struck by a car and went home to Jesus. She had just turned three. The first few months of the year were mostly a blur and everything has been shadowed by that event. There has been a lot of tears and a lot of talking to God. 

We are all healing and every day brings us closer to Home. Aimee is not behind us, but ahead. We are very thankful for all the prayers for us and for those who continue to pray for us.

There have been joyful happenings. Alex (now presenting himself to the world as Tartan) turned eighteen and graduated from our home school. He is attending HBU (Houston Baptist University) in the Honors College. So far it seems to be a terrific experience for him. He lives on campus (no car) and only makes the occasional trip home. We went out to see him in September for Family Weekend and he came home in early November in order to vote and he was home for Thanksgiving.

Kyrie, Abigail and Kayleigh all performed in Excelsior's production of Creation and Saviour. It was a beautiful production (they always are) and the girls all performed wonderfully. We even had family from out of town come to see it, so that was a terrific blessing. Kyrie has moved into level 7 and was also invited to join the Ballet Excelsior Trainee program (BET). Ballet Excelsior is the professional group attached to the school. She danced in an outdoor Christmas performance and will be participating in Project Dance Houston in March as well as Project Dance New York in April. She is taking classes in ballet, pointe, modern, tap and hip hop. Next summer she will be traveling with Ballet Excelsior on their mission trip to Japan. She does not have the experience level to dance but will be a backstage hand and gofer. She will be sending out a letter soon asking for prayers and, if anyone feels so moved, financial support. She is really looking forward to this trip and is looking ahead to a day when she'll hopefully be able to dance with Excelsior on another trip. 

Aidan became a first class scout this year. He has gone on many campouts, with and without his dad. He really enjoyed summer camp at El Rancho Cima, where among other things he earned a merit badge in Horsemanship. He continues to study Chinese, both on the computer and in a class. He also takes an online taekwondo class. I'm hoping to get him into an "in person" class sometime. Perhaps in the summer. He is not taking drama, but helped out the class by playing the part of Joseph for the Christmas play. 

Abigail is in level 5, after taking exams for both grade 3 and grade 4 in the spring. She has started to dance on pointe as well, though slowly and carefully since she's still quite young. She danced in Dessert with a Purpose, the dance benefit for Ballet Excelsior, for the first time this year. She takes classes in ballet, pointe, modern, hip hop, and drama. For the drama class Christmas production she played the role of Mary. The dance school just announced that the ballet levels can participate in Project Dance Houston in March and so she is busily selling duct tape hair bows and bookmarks to try and raise the $200 registration fee. Thus far, she has raised a $100.

Kayleigh has blossomed this year. Physically she has moved *up* to the 25% in height and 10% in weight. Those are actually big gains for her. Her reading ability starting from near the end of last school year to now has taken a big leap forward. She is on her final reader for the school year. I'll have to improvise in the spring. At the dance school, she has joined hip hop, started grade 1 ballet, and continued with tap, which is her favorite. She's already asking about joining drama next year. 

We did not get out a letter before Christmas, partly because it was a hard thing to do and partly because we went on a family California Adventure over Christmas break. We pulled the camper behind us and logged 4,500 miles to California and back again. We visited Austin (family!), San Diego (zoo!), Claremont (The Hobbit movie!) and then drove through Santa Barbara (Psych!), San Jose, San Francisco (Golden Gate bridge!) to Winters, California (family!), Las Vegas (the Strip at night!), stopped briefly at Hoover Dam, continuing on through Flagstaff, Albuquerque (no wrong turns!), Amarillo, Wichita Falls and onward to home.

May 2013 be a year that finds you closer to God, trusting in Him whatever your circumstances. 

Psalm 62:7-8
"My salvation and my honor depend on God;
  he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
 Trust in him at all times, O people;
  pour out your hearts to him,
  for God is our refuge."

The Colliers