Well, “Welcome to Bethlehem” is behind us.

From a ministry standpoint, I hope and pray that it warmed people’s hearts and moved them a little closer to Jesus.

From a personal standpoint, I’m going to miss spending the extra time with the team of people who made it possible. There are so many folks in my Westside family that I got to know and respect in a new way. I’m going to miss the fun we had working together.

I think the climax moment we had that solidified us as a team (at least in my mind) was when we were practicing a week before our performances. I was speaking to “May” (Annabel Wilmurth) and saying that we would get her a room at the hotel that evening. I turned to Frances (Brittany Morgan) and asked if we had a room available … and she couldn’t answer because her mouth was full as she was eating a piece of “our famous, homemade chocolate from the Bethlehem Inn.” We all laughed so hard that some were shedding tears. To me, it felt that in that moment, we moved from being a group of individuals to a team that was working together to share the Gospel and its implications in a compelling, fun story.

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I am extremely indebted to every one of the other 12 actors on the stage. While I had a boatload of lines to memorize, everyone of us knew that we needed each other. All it would take is for one person to forget their lines and the scene could begin to implode. But, we trusted each other, as we stepped in front of hundreds of people, to pick up if we messed up. I knew I was working with guys and gals who had done their homework, had memorized their lines, and I could count on them to help me if I messed up.

In the musical, I said more than once: “The Bethlehem Inn is family.” To me, the cast of characters really did get to feel like family.

While I’m not going to miss the stress of having to remember a bunch of lines, I am going to miss the great time we had together on this adventure. We will certainly have to plan on doing this again!

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The Murray Ledger & Times (Friday edition)