In this installment of our “meet the staff” series, Beth interviewed Tanya Price about her history with DRIME. (For those of you who don’t know, Tanya is the founder of DRIME, and 25 years later, she is still on staff with the ministry!) We hope you enjoy reading about her experience with DRIME through the years.
(Also, stay tuned for part 2, coming in the next few months, more about how DRIME has changed in the past 25 years!)
Beth: What motivated you to start DRIME?
Tanya: Right before going to Bible school, I was finishing high school, but in high school God was starting to stir something in me: a mix between something artistic and something evangelistic. In grade 12 I wrote a drama (It’s My Life) and taught it to friends and shared it in chapel at my school. When I was in high school, I went on 2 mission trips with Teen Mania – Mexico (10 days over Christmas) and Paraguay (1 month after grade 12). We did drama style evangelism and invited people to watch the dramas. While doing this kind of evangelism with DRIME, something clicked in me that this was working!
In Bible college I had a field class where I had to do ministry and they had an expo where they showed all of the ministries that we could be a part of to fulfill our requirement. They had a lot of inside the church ministries (youth leader, nursery, etc.). Nothing was sparking in my heart when I saw these booths and I asked if I could start a street evangelism ministry like what I had seen with Teen Mania. The professor I talked to was very passionate about evangelism and told me that he would fully support me. He even bought us our first sound system!
B: How did you recruit your first DRIME team and start doing ministry?
T: We did announcements in chapel, I had conversations with people in the lunchroom, and I went knocking on people’s dorm room doors to share with them about the ministry. The first year of DRIME, we had 10 people on the team. As a farm girl, seeing Vancouver, and especially Hastings St, was very motivating. I felt like that was where I needed to go and do evangelism with DRIME.
B: How have you changed since starting DRIME?
T: I’m far less of a type-A motivational leader. Now I’m mostly a mom who gets impatient with my kids, and my life is some ways has shrunk in a way that I really love. My travel schedule and my electronic calendar have changed: now I have a paper calendar and I’m mostly focused on my kids’ schedule (like dentist appointments and activities).
DRIME has kept me in the vibe of wanting to share my faith. Being in DRIME for so many years has taught me to be motivated to share my faith with people, and now in my current life situation, I share with my neighbours and school moms. It became ingrained in me to share my faith. It has given me experience in team and leadership. It put leadership skills and heart deep down in who I am. Even though I don’t lead a staff or mission teams or DRIME teams anymore, I lead Alpha at my church and I have the privilege to lead 15-20 leaders each semester which gives me the opportunity to still experience leadership.
Now as a pastor’s wife, it has helped me to understand the non-profit and parachurch world. I so desire the parachurch and the church to work together. The local church needs help when it comes to evangelism. Let’s embrace what the parachurch has to offer! I want to be Jesus to my next door neighbors and I need to get out there and start a spiritual conversation with people. It’s both!
B: What was the best mission trip you went on with DRIME?
T: My first trip to Kenya back in 2004 – it was my first experience of Africa. Also my first trips to Brazil. Forever have penetrated deep in my heart because I went multiple times and they become full-time DRIME bases and life-long friends. For example, Maura and Deni (former DRIME Brazil leaders) just came out last month and spent 2 weeks with us.
B: How would you feel if your kids became a part of DRIME?
T: I would love it if my kids were a part of DRIME because it would be nostalgic – but it would mean that they were following Jesus and being bold about sharing their faith. My two nieces were serving in Watoto Children’s Choir in Uganda, and they got to connect with some of our African connections for an afternoon. My heart felt like it could burst. My niece told me how meaningful it was to “don the DRIME shirt” after all of the years.
B: What was your most significant or memorable conversation?
T: A few years ago, I met a man named Pu-Yon. He was really interested and we had a great first initial conversation. We kept coming out to the streets, to our church, and out to lunch. It became a friendship. He moved away and we lost touch, but he called me one day in the office and told me he had become a Christian and was getting baptized! Janna, a staff member who was in San Diego at the time, went to his baptism.
That was cool, that sometimes after a conversation you lose touch with that person. The fact that he came to Christ and he told us about it was so encouraging, but you hope that’s the story for so many of the conversations that you have.
Other significant conversations have been when you realize the drama is connecting with somebody. One time when I was talking with a man on the streets, he said to me “I’m in the box” (referring to a drama where a character is trapped) and I thought to myself “This must be working!” Once I saw this big guy in Alberta watching the drama and crying and he said “That’s me – I’m trapped and I need to be set free.” These dramas literally open up a door for a conversation.
B: What advice do you have for people who are afraid to do evangelism or are not sure how to start?
T: First of all, I totally hear you! I’m the same. Even after being part of DRIME for 25 years, I’m still an introvert. I would never want to do door to door sales! (Laughs)
It’s always worth it to start – cross the line. Start by saying “hi” and then push yourself for every week or so. Even if we don’t have the gift of it, there is a responsibility of doing the work of evangelism. Even if it’s not easy or flowing naturally, DRIME has instilled in me that I always want to be sharing the gospel with people. It’s always worth taking that next step of boldness.
Also, I don’t share with my neighbour the same way I do on the streets. It might take months to develop that friendship instead of meeting someone who is watching a drama and saying “Do you know what’s happening in the drama? Can I explain the story of Jesus?”
B: What country would you like DRIME to go to next?
T: Somewhere in Europe, probably London. It seems like where we would should be – a place that is a cultural hub and an easy street life!