a story 17 years in the making…


After reading these pages in third grade, I announced, “I’m going to be a missionary to Cuba!” Being that it was a closed country at the time, my parents said hesitantly, “Let’s keep praying about that…” 

Through the years, Cuba still lingered in the back of my mind. Known for their bravura and impeccable technique, the Cuban dancers came onto my radar and as I pursued more serious ballet training, I began to wonder if dance would be my way into the country. “Train with the Cubans.” I had one instructor tell me out of the blue.

Around the same time that Bluebird Uncaged began to travel internationally, the US and Cuba began the process of normalizing their relationship. I had just begun to discover how the universal language of dance could open doors to talk about Jesus and started dreaming about expanding our outreach to other countries—Cuba, of course, was on the list. 

After traveling to Panama for four consecutive summers, we decided to take a break from traveling internationally in 2017 in order to refocus our efforts and research more destinations.

I started looking into Cuba through talking to other [dance] groups who had been before. 

One night I was perusing a missions organization site and came across a dance trip to Cuba with a group in California. I emailed them for more information to add to my research. “Come with us!” was the reply. At the time, things weren’t exactly lining up. I had previously committed to teach during the time the trip was taking place and didn’t want to go back on my word. “Maybe we can change the dates,” they said. 

The next week, my boss came to me and said that the hours I was scheduled to teach were actually tentative. Was God releasing me to go somewhere this summer? 

The trip with the California group got postponed to later in the fall, close to our preparations for Uncaged Christmas.

Weeks went by and still no confirmed summer teaching. I continued to pray for clarity in my summer plans. 

On Tuesday, May 16, my friend Lauren, texts me and says “Hey girl!! Random but would you be interested in going on a dance mission trip to Cuba?” I hadn’t told Lauren at all about Cuba! “Oh. My. Goodness” I replied, “Call me with details” 

Turns out that they had a team going and someone dropped out last minute. They needed one more person in order to get the group airfare rate and I just “popped into Lauren’s head.”

She needed an answer by the end of the day. I reeeaaaallllllly wanted to go and thought it was a God orchestrated situation but called my parents for wise counsel before committing. “Sounds like you need to be in Cuba this summer” Daddy said. I texted Lauren back, “I’M IN!!!” 

You might have to scrape me off the ceiling with a spatula, I can barely contain my excitement! I’M GOING TO CUBA!!!!!! 

Our team will be working with Ganadores de Almas para Cristo (Soul Winners for Christ), a youth evangelism training and discipleship program. More specifically, we will be training them with tools to use dance in worship. 

I’m excited and a tad nervous but completely in awe of the Lord’s faithfulness to fulfill the dreams that He plants. May Jesus continue to be the center of this adventure as He draws hearts to Himself. 

Stay tuned for updates!

Prayer request: because I am taking someone’s spot on the team and they had already started the visa process, we have to request a name change on the visa. Pray that we will have favor and permission will be granted expeditiously.


Book: You Can Change The World vol. 2: Learning to Pray for People Around the World

Send me…where?!



If you had asked little Rebekah what wanted to be when I grew up, I would have quickly replied “A missionary!” Being a professional ballet dancer was the furthest thing from my mind. Sure, I loved going to ballet class once a week but it was just for fun. 

I kept waiting for an opportunity to “go on a mission trip” but as I got more serious about ballet, my summers were taken up with intensives and extra training opportunities. I realized that for the time being, my “mission field” was exactly where God had placed me. I started looking for ways to love and serve those around me. To encourage the girls in my class (even if I reeeeaaalllly wanted to be chosen for that part over her).

My junior year of high school, God made it clear that I should pursue a career as a professional dancer (another story for another day). I stepped up my training and started thinking about companies I might want to dance for. Things started moving forward and it’s not that they weren’t working out…they just didn’t look like the way I envisioned. I started looking at the typical trajectory of a professional dancer and the realized how selfish of a profession it really was. In the end, it seemed empty. 

But I knew that God had called me on this path. “I gave you these gifts for a reason,” He said, “How are you going to use them?” So I asked myself the question, “what does this world need to hear?” the words hope and dignity kept resurfacing. Hope because Jesus is hope. Dignity because He created each of us in His image for a specific purpose.

Out of that, Bluebird Uncaged was born. We started out with a video project, Beautiful Things. Laura came to visit me in January of 2013 and we were talking about how we’d love to use dance to tell people about Jesus in other countries. “Well, your sister lives in Panama [Central America],” I said, “how about we go there?” I mentioned the idea to my parents and they said that I had to have more than just one connection there to go. So I randomly emailed an organization that was already making a difference in the community. “We’ve been praying about hosting an arts festival all year!” they replied, “and you all are the confirmation that we should do it.” God uses dance to open doors. 

Since then, Bluebird has returned to Panama for the past four summers and dance has opened the doors to allow us to talk about Jesus in jails, orphanages, public squares, and local theaters. It’s been beautiful. 

But all of that is a little beside the point. I want to encourage you to look around — realize the gift God has given you and the people He’s placed beside you. You have a unique sphere that no one else on the planet has. Your giftings, your personality, your skill sets—are all useful in communicating the story of Jesus. Jill Briscoe puts it this way, “the place between your own two feet at any given time [is] your mission field.” 

Take a moment to recount the doors God has opened for you on your dance journey (or even the ones He’s clearly closed). Now think about the people you met along the way. How many other people have had that combination of life experiences?! 

As dancers, it’s easy to get caught up in our personal journey (and to a degree we have to be focused on bettering ourselves to stay on top of our game) but look at the bigger picture. Your training as a dancer, gives you a unique position; you can relate to your fellow dancers in ways others can’t. Keep that in mind the next time you’re wondering why you’re just an understudy. 

Looking back on my journey, if I were where I wanted to be (and not where God knew I needed to be), then I wouldn’t have seen certain friends meet Jesus. Hold your gift of dance with open hands for it’s merely the tool we’ve been given to communicate Hope and Truth. These are the moments where time meets eternity; may you courageously steward them as grace[full] invitations to the Jesus story. 

Praying for you dear dancers. Keep shining! -RKD


This post was originally published on the Beautiful Feet Network blog.


praying for tutus and pointe shoes

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Three years ago my dance career took an abrupt turn. One that was hard but for which I am so grateful. Refining (technique and my heart). Surrender. A reminder that it's all about the bigger story.

About a year and a half ago, I started praying to wear tutus and pointe shoes again. It seemed frivolous but not without reason. A few months later @mastersue invited me to be part of the inaugural season of Ballet Southeast

And here I am today about to debut a principal role in a classical ballet. Humbled. Honored. In awe.

When we delight, His dreams become our dreams. Steadfast. Faithful. He listens. He sees the patient perseverance and purposes our moments. There's no magic formula–and if not, He is still good. But today, dreams are coming true and I'm gonna dance my heart out in gratitude.  image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-04-05/15b6230e-c1d6-4519-9f0b-858d9c471fc2.png

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies ~Ps. 25:10 


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There’s a creative movement exercise I do with little ones where we pretend to be a seed in the ground. After a rainstorm, Mr. Sunshine dries the dirt on top of us and we send our fingers into the space above us to grow into a beautiful flower, spinning slowly and opening our petals. Looking back on 2013 this is almost a picture of my journey. Seeds of obedience, planted in the storm finally blooming in vibrant color.  

I began 2013 at a low point. Things weren’t looking the way I had envisioned in my head. Yes, Bluebird was growing and taking off (often this is what kept me going) but personally, I felt stuck. I knew I was supposed to be dancing yet as I looked at my career, I was discouraged. 

In my mind, I hadn’t “made it” yet. Was I ever going to get a contract? To me, that piece of paper validated that I was a “real” dancer. My identity as a dancer was found in a paycheck. 

”That’s not the point" God whispered, “You are no more or less of a dancer because of a signature on a dotted line. You are a dancer because I called you to be. Let me use you where you are.” It took a few months for this to sink in.

At the same time, I was in the process of finding a healthier dance environment. The Georgia Ballet had hired a new artistic director (whom I love and previously took classes from in NYC) and I began taking company class. In June, Alex said he would be happy to hire me but because of financial reasons, it would only be project based. 

Still no contract. But for the first time I was ok with that. Because the title “company artist” doesn’t define me–God does. He gave me the gift of dance and knows where it will bring His name the most glory–whether it be in the lobby of Egelston, the stage of the Cobb Energy Center, or the rainforest of Panama

The first class back after returning from Panama, I was stretching when one of administrative staff came to the doorway of the studio. “Rebekah, this is for you,” she handed me a manila envelope. It was a contract!! 

As I’m in this season of seeing the fruit of obedience, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the blue skies, His faithfulness leaves me in awe. Like that seed planted in the storm, watered by the driving rain, made strong by resisting the wind. The growing process hurts but His grace is enough. Hang on. Keep going. Obedience is worth it. He who called you is faithful and will bring it to pass. 

Gretchen’s Dad

I saw him from behind. On the sidewalk to my left as I approached the intersection with Peachtree Street. His bright purple sweatpants layered under black basketball shorts with red and white trim stopped at the ankle bones. I don’t remember what socks kind of socks he wore with the shiny white tennis shoes. He moseyed up the hill with the familiar gait of a homeless man; something between a swagger and shuffle.

The light turned red. I stopped. He started toward my car. I avoided eye contact. My window was cracked open a few inches to enjoy the pretty day. “Excuse me, could you help me?” He gestured for me to roll my window down more. I didn’t but gave him my attention. He was tall, relatively skinny. “I’m just a nice, 40 year old man. I used to live in [the nearby apartment complex].”  His thick, straw like gray hair stuck out from beneath a gray beanie. His matching beard was full but seemed groomed. “Could you spare some change so I can maybe get a bowl of soup or something?” He rubbed his stomach and I noticed the muted red cable knit sweater flecked with pieces of lint fit snugly over a gray undershirt.

I turned around to the back seat (wonder if he was thinking I was about to pull a gun or pepper spray or something) and pulled out my last ‘homeless man bag’ left over from Nutcracker. I had been praying for the right person to give it to. The brown paper sack was stapled closed with a label that read, ‘your story matters’ in gray lettering with a little drawing of a typewriter. It was torn on the side from 3 of months sliding around the back of my Jeep. I opened the window a little further and stuck the bag through. “Is that milk?” he asked referring to the Special K protein shake peeking through the rip. “Yes sir” I said. He took the bag and started backing away from the car. “Well, you’re a very sweet, nice young lady. God bless you.” I smiled and rolled the window back up a little. “I’ll tell my daughter, Gretchen, about you.”

He walked back to the curb, I refocused on the light. It was still red. I watched him round the corner and a bush obscured him from sight. A few seconds later he reappeared from around the bush and waved with the shake in one hand and the cap in the other. I gave him a thumbs up. The light turned green. As I turned left I saw him tending a Walgreens bag on the covered MARTA bench. 

I drove off. Thanking God for the opportunity. Wondering about this man’s story. Wondering about Gretchen. Marveling that I had one bag left. That the bag was within reach (for a while it was in the trunk). Thinking it was weird that I knew his daughter’s name but not his. Wondering what he thought about the bag. Wondering if I should have said anything else. Praying for Gretchen. Praying for him. 

It reminded me of the toll booth lady and the blanket man and how each interaction is a divine appointment. 

Pray for Gretchen.

within the storm


From a birds' eye view, you would only see me. Standing on that rock.  

Rock, black, flash of gray, driving rain. That's all I see. What'sahead, I don't know. 

The rock is like an island–a pedestal would best describe it. Hard. Solid under my feet. 

My strong tower. 

I see nothing but darkness beyond the surrounding 6 ft radius of slippery, cracked wetness–like an abyss. It's raining–hard. Black clouds roll and swirl above. Lightning turns the world gray for a split second. I'm lonely. 

 …but never alone 

A gust of wind tugs me into its current. Thunder rumbles and I hear the rain calling. Reminding me of all the unanswered questions. Taunting. Whispering doubt. 

Your rod and Your staff comfort me

The driving rain beats down. I can't feel it. I'm not getting wet. I'm not scared. Giant arms encircle me and pull me close.

The shadow of the Almighty; a shield about me. 

My head rests against a muscular chest. Warmth radiates through my tired bones as I hear the heartbeat of my Abba. 

Peace. Perfect peace that surpasses understanding. 

The storm still rages yet inside it is calm. I know who goes before me. 

In Him I find my hope. 
I find my rest.
Bittersweet joy.

Peace, perfect peace. 

Passion 2013

Jesus rocked the Georgia Dome over the past 4 days…

Jan 5, 2013

60,000 18-25 year olds gathered to make HIM famous 

Jan 5, 2013

And by combining worship with justice they stood together launch the END IT movement and shine a light on modern-day slavery. 

LightPhoto via the Passion 2013 app

Preetika used to be one of the 27million individuals enslaved today.  

Jan 5, 2013

The Diaddigos are in it to END IT. Are you? 

Jan 5, 2013

Together we are a force for good. Sign the pledge to join the END IT movement and put a stop to slavery in our lifetime. 

Divine appointments at the toll booth

It was around 9:15pm. I was driving home from teaching for 5 hours. I was tired but my heart was full.

I didn’t have any quarters. As I approached the toll booth, I took the cashier lane farthest to the right because there was no line. 

“Good evening” The woman’s face was worn but not old and framed with tiny black ringlets pulled into a low ponytail. She tossed 50 cents into the bucket to her left. Her bright orange DOT polo wasn’t the best against her darker complexion. “Hi, how are you?” I asked and handed her the dollar bill. Her blue rubber gloved hand stretched out to give me my 50 cents. The gate opened and the little lighted sign flashed me a green Thank You.

“That is beautiful, what is it?” she asked gesturing to my necklace. “Oh, thank you. It’s a bird and it says free. I have to remind myself sometimes” I replied. “Where are you from?” Is that gate going to close? “Oh, I’m from here” “Is your family from here?” Her South American accent was thick but still understandableYes” Where is she going with this? I glanced at the gate again.

“Then why do you have to remind yourself that you’re free?” Wow, big question. How do I answer with a toll booth sound bite? “I just have to remind myself that I’m not defined by who other people say I am. That I’m not defined by my circumstances….” Do I add this part or not? “…But I’m free to live as who God says I am” Too late, it’s already out. 

Without hesitation she replied, “You need to remember, you are the most beautiful because you are so…” She searched for the right English word, ”…natural and spiritual. You don’t need to remind yourself because you are.” Whoa, she is preaching it to me. “You are the most free. Because you are so spiritual, you are free to fly anywhere you like” What do you say to that?

“Thank you for the encouragement. Do you always work here?” I asked. “From time to time” she replied. “Well hopefully I’ll see you again” I said as I took my foot off the brake. “God be with you” she said as I drove off toward the twinkling lights of ATL.

I don't know if my toll booth friend is walking with Jesus. I don't know why she felt the need to ask about my necklace; maybe she was lonely or maybe she just needed to practice a little English that night. But I do know that God used her to cheer up my heart and remind my head of how much He loves me. 

Be bold. Encourage a stranger. Realize every interaction you have is a divine appointment–even if it's just at the toll booth.