|When Lynn Somers of Ephrata was eight years old, she loved to entertain her younger brother with
puppet shows. She says she can remember putting on shows for him in the back of the car on long
family car trips. "Not only was I entertaining him, but I was also entertaining half of the highway,"
During one of her college courses, Somers used puppets in one of her speeches to entertain her
peers and her professor, who was very impressed with her skill. Since then, Lynn has been using
puppets to minister to others and to give testimonials. Eventually she developed Hand of the
Master Ministries, Inc.
Somers believes that using puppets allows her to get away with discussing certain topics that may
seem controversial or taboo, especially in the church. But as people are watching, they become so
enthralled with the puppets themselves that the audience doesn't really pick up on the message the
puppets are sending until after the fact, which makes the audience members think. Because the
messages are coming from a puppet. not a person, the audience is more forgiving.
"I am often able to challenge the church through my programs, especially when the congregation
is fighting about something silly. Sometimes the message that the program sends makes people
think about their church life, said Somers.
Using the puppets to minister to churches and Bible schools has become the primary focus of
Lynn and her husband Frederick, who holds a Master of Divinity Degree from United Theological
Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, but they felt that their puppeteering could be used in other ways to
benefit people in the community. "We are always looking for other ways to use the puppets to
share our messages, said Lynn.
For that reason, Lynn and Frederick attended a workshop that was hosted by a puppet company
about hospital and pediatric therapy to help children who are under-going surgery or dealing with
a chronic illness. "We went to the seminar and received a lot of training about using the puppets in
therapy. We got really excited about doing this kind of work. At the seminar the company
introduced a special hospital puppet, dressed in scrubs and with a stethoscope, which is used
primarily for rehabilitation purposes. We ended up purchasing that puppet because we knew we
wanted to do this," said Somers.
With a twinkle in her eye and good intentions in her heart, Lynn approached her local hospital
about using the puppets in the therapy department. Unfortunately, staff members told her that
those types of services wouldn't be necessary because the number of children who come to the
hospital was low. "They advised Lynn to contact a larger medical facility. With that in mind, she
headed to Hershey.
"When I first came to Hershey Medical Center, my goal was to visit with patients and help them
during their post-operation recovery. Once again I was sold that the puppets wouldn't be
practical. However, someone told me to talk to someone in pediatric rehabilitation, which is a
separate part of the hospital. After I gave my proposal to the staff at the rehabilitation center they
decided that it might be something they want to try," said Lynn.
"The next step was trying to find funding for the puppet therapy. I began looking for grants and
foundations that would be able to help. After completing applications and undergoing reviews
from different organizations, we received money from the Ronald McDonald House Charities
(RMHC)," she added.
Somers said that during the time when representatives from RMHC came to see the puppet
therapv, her husband Frederick had just made a breakthrough with a five-year old child who had
his limbs amputated. Hospital staff members saw the way that the puppet was able to affect the
life of that child and that the puppet therapy was something the rehabilitation program needed.
"When the representatives came to the hospital, staff members were able to tell them that the
therapy really works because they had seen the progress we made with one child," said Lynn.
Lynn and Frederick continue to minister to churches throughout the United States with their
puppets, but Lynn dedicates Thursday of every week to the medical center. She says sometimes
works individually with a child and other times she joins the child's therapy session and does all of
things that the child does. Although Lynn and her puppets have a strong orientation to preaching,
when she is working in the hospital it is simply to be there for the patients and to interact with
We are doing what Jesus would do, and that is to simply be present," said Lynn.