Meet DRIME’s new director
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
There’s a common spirit among most DRIMERS: they’re usually the kind of people that light up a room. They stand among the kindest, warmest, friendliest and somehow funniest people you’ll ever meet. And among them, Lillian Tarvudd is queen: her bubbly personality is disarming and she laughs with ease and wild abandonment. On the cork wall behind her desk, next to the goofy glasses are several pictures, flashed memories of people whose lives she’s touched in often quiet ways: with a smile, or a glint of the eye, or a sympathetic nod, or a heartfelt prayer.
“Why would I stop?” Lillian (Lills to her close friends) has been involved with DRIME for 14 years, and there’s no question in her mind why she has stuck around. “It keeps working,” she shrugs with that ever-present glint of a smile glued in her eyes. “People are being equipped to share their faith … and people are coming to Christ.”
“People are being equipped to share their faith … and people are coming to Christ.”
Lillian moved from her “hundred percent Finnish” (as she’s proud to proclaim) Ontario home to study education at Trinity Western University in 2000. It was there that she heard about a little ministry called DRIME that went out to the streets of downtown Vancouver every week to share the gospel through choreographed drama set to music. The ministry’s vision, to make Jesus inescapable on the streets of the world and the uniqueness of the medium used to communicate the message piqued her interest. “I thought that would be stretching.”
“I thought I’d do it for a year,” she says with a knowing smile that builds into a contagious laugh. “Here I am! Fourteen years later!”
Watch our 2 part series introducing Lillian as DRIME’s new director… PART 1 | PART 2
When she speaks of some of her memories with DRIME, she paints reflections of her love for people, to encourage them individually, to meet new faces and learn from other experiences, and of her passion to equip others to engage in spiritual conversations. “We’ve had all of our leaders come together from around the world,” she says, “several different languages in one room for a week, lots of us having never met each other but having this instant family and being able to be there to encourage everyone.”
In her 14 years with DRIME, Lillian has been involved in many ways in leadership. She’s traveled around the world and was instrumental in planting the base in Kenya. When Tanya Price, who started DRIME and led it through 20 years of ministry, felt like she was entering a new season in life, Tarvudd was the obvious choice for interim director.
“I thought someone new would come in, with maybe fresh ideas,” she says, a bit tentative, “so we were looking for that and praying for that.” It wasn’t until a year into the search that she began to consider if she might be the one to permanently take over the leadership. “I started thinking that we have this vision to see 20 new bases start by 2020 … and so I started thinking that what we need for these next couple of years especially—I think—is someone who knows and understands the ministry and can be part of equipping our current team.”
“We’re really excited for the next few years … to watch more DRIME chapters and bases get started.”
And so, on October 24, 2014, at the celebration of 20 years of ministry, Tanya Price officially announced that Lillian, her dear friend, would be her successor.
For Tarvudd, accepting the role did not just feel good – it was a bit of a relief. “I feel … really excited,” she says. “But it feels daunting at the same time.” Her excitement shines in her eyes, and her voice shakes a little in awe of what the future holds for this little ministry – now her little ministry – that has 17 bases scattered over nine countries.
“We still have the same mission and the same vision,” she says, quelling any idea that this change in leadership will lead to any significant change in the ministry’s direction. “We’re really excited for the next few years for 2020 to start growing exponentially and to watch more DRIME chapters and bases get started.”
Her task is monumental: to equip the 17 existing teams around the world in Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico, Thailand, Benin, Togo, Kenya and Canada so that they can multiply themselves within two years.
“So I’m glad I have this daunting feeling,” she adds, “because it forces me to lean on the Lord’s wisdom.”
Tarvudd’s humble heart and good-natured vivacity are palpable; lenses that reveal a servant leader committed to her people and dedicated to God, chapels of joyful devotion. Though she jokes, “Oh great, the awkward one is in charge,” she – perhaps unknowingly – proffers a glimpse of the Kingdom Christ spoke of.
“The Lord is indeed going before you—he will be with you; he will not fail you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged!” Deuteronomy 31:8