A Dummy Taught me About Jesus

And no, I am not referring to any minister, youth minister or Sunday School teacher.  An actually dummy was a major part of my Jesus experience as I was growing up.

I attended church camp every summer from 2nd grade until  my senior year in high school. Rainbow Christian Camp was one of my favorite parts of summer and helped shape my Christian walk. It was at church camp that I made lifelong friends, made a few boyfriends, and decided to be baptized.

Some of my favorite memories of camp involved a ventriloquist dummy and his handler. For someone who hates clowns (they honestly are creepy), I’ m not sure why Gabby, the dummy, resonated with me. But I watched Rod and Gabby and often had to remind myself that Rod was the voice of both!


I recall in third grade when Rod showed all the campers how Gabby worked.  He put Gabby “to sleep”, all the while Gabby protested this move! As a 9-year-old, I was enthralled. And now, as someone a bit older than 9, I still smile when I hear Gabby. Rod and Gabby performed as recent as 2011, before Parkinson’s became a reality for Rod and a silencer for Gabby.

Rod was a missionary to what is now Zimbabwe.  He preached to thousands of kids who spent weeks at church camp.  He ministered to churches across the country. And he touched my heart with his simple message. God loves me. And there is a place in Heaven for me. Simple as that.  Whether I was a simple-minded 9-year-old at church camp.  Or an adult, who is a bit more worn down.  Heaven awaits for those who put their faith in Christ.

On this Sunday, Rod is being laid to rest. Gabby is silent. And my heart is breaking for my kids and others who won’t ever get to listen to Rod and Gabby and be told about Heaven from this great man and his dummy.

I’d encourage you to watch this video. Rod and Gabby  It will give you an idea of who Rod and Gabby were.  It made me cry.  But it reassured me there is a special seat in Heaven for this great man.  And I’m beyond grateful for having learned from him.  And I’ll miss Gabby.  Well done Rod. I know a great mansion awaits.  

Share Your Thoughts