FORTVILLE — Emma Dailey has logged many miles in the last six weeks.
Florida. Georgia. Mississippi. Oklahoma. California. Nevada.
And soon, Indiana — specifically, Fortville.
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Dailey is part of a team of more than 30 people bringing the Youth With a Mission production, “Encounter: One Nation Under God,” to churches, schools and other venues in a road trip that began Jan. 14.
The tour stops in Fortville for a showing at 7 p.m. Sunday at New Life Christian Fellowship, 1574 W. State Road 234.
The production came to New Life a year ago, too, and Jana Hargett was there to see it.
She was impressed by how the young performers brought their passion and talents together. They present Bible scenes from creation to Jesus’ resurrection, using the same set multiple ways and forming one cohesive presentation.
“They have all manner of lights… It’s very visual, and I’m a visual person,” Hargett said. “It’s a modern interpretation that I think can relate to people. You will see stuff in a different light.”
That intersection of faith and arts has not only been impactful for audiences; Dailey, whose family moved to Fortville during her teen years, has found it a good fit for herself as well.
She was homeschooled from Grades 6 to 12 and attended a co-op with other homeschool students that met at Park Chapel Christian Church in Greenfield. Weighing her options after high school, feeling a call to become a missionary and possessing artistic talent, Dailey found the right next step at the Youth With a Mission base in Boston and its arts focus.
YWAM has bases around the world, offering Discipleship Training Schools that begin with several months of study and then shift to ministering and applying that what they’ve learned.
Jenna (Woody) Lopez, a New Palestine High School graduate, went to the training school in Mazatlan, Mexico, in 2014.
“A DTS is five months of devoting your life solely to God and seeking him daily,” she wrote in an email to the Daily Reporter. “Through that process, God begins to strip away things from your life and reveal to you the way he sees you and the overflowing love he has for you. … It is full of moments of laughter, crying, miracles, praise, hardship, endurance and reassurance that God has you exactly where he wants you for the time being.”
Paul Romoser, pastor of family life at Brookville Road Community Church in New Palestine, has seen several youth group students go through the program.
“YWAM knows how to develop high school and college students,” he wrote in an email. “They are really good at training students and sending them out to share God’s love.”
For Dailey at the Boston site, that sending out takes an artistic form: Traveling on tour, the team presents “Encounter,” a production that “tells God’s story from Eden to the Resurrection,” according to YWAM Boston’s website, using theater, music, dance, media and visual art. Dailey was part of the team last year and is back this year in a different role. She helped teach visual artists during the classroom instruction phase in Boston; on the tour, she sings in a worship team that follows the actors presenting Bible scenes.
After the storytelling and songs, team members meet with audience members and pray for them. Dailey said these have been powerful times, times when people have experienced healing or reached moments of breakthrough.
She said the journey is transforming for the team, too. She enjoys seeing students step out, use their gifts and grow less intimidated about ministering to people after the show.
“It’s cool to watch them break free of fear,” she said.
Dailey was in Nevada when she spoke to the Daily Reporter by phone last week. The pattern of the past weeks is well established: They arrive in a town, pray and prepare, perform and minister. Soon, the team is back on the road in vans.
“We are in a different state typically every other day,” she said. “It’s pretty crazy.”
The miles are long, but Dailey said there’s a family atmosphere among the team and hope of helping people see God in a fresh way at each stop.
“My main hope for every night is that people encounter the Lord in ways they haven’t before … just that it becomes more real.”