Linda Wells has been a long-time member of the Inspiro staff. A professionally trained dancer, she came to know the Lord and was later called to serve Him through the dance. Over the years, she has taken countless dancers on outreach trips, helping them to see their gift as given by God and meant to honor Him. She has served as a deep encouragement to many through her vivacious and unashamed faith and determination to follow the Lord wherever He leads, regardless of how crazy it might seem. This month, Linda is transitioning to be an Ally of Inspiro Arts so she can devote more time to the ministry the Lord has given her at Compass Dance Academy in Tyrone. Below are her reflections on her time with Inspiro and what she has coming up with Compass. We look forward to seeing how the Lord uses Linda at Compass and in future projects with Inspiro. Thank you, Linda, for your faithful service and heart to always follow the Lord. We will miss you, but we are glad you will be just around the corner.
1. How long have you been with Inspiro?
I began dancing and touring with the Bill Drake Band once they arrived in the States (around 2003). I had never worked with artists in mission, and it was delightful.
2. How did you initially get involved with Inspiro?
Bill suggested I start taking dancers on outreaches with me, and Dancelink began organically in 2006 when my daughter, her friend, and I went to Switzerland on an outreach. When we got there, we found a few dancers already on the team who asked if they could join us dancing on the street. It was fabulous and very spontaneous! Lucy Jayne (my daughter) danced and taught Hip Hop, and I danced and taught Contemporary Ballet. It was THE most amazing experience. I had done my best to travel and evangelise during my whole time in OM (17 years at that point), but I had never enjoyed or felt truly comfortable. This was my first delightful experience as I was merely sharing my gift – effortlessly – and sharing the Gospel happened organically. We were a group of fine artists, musicians, dancers, and more in close relationship until Inspiro (formerly OM Arts) was birthed later as all the various ministries merged. Administration is definitely not my gift, so I quickly began praying for an administrator. A year went by, and then I met Sara Hall. She is a beautiful dancer with phenomenal administration gifts. She never felt called overseas but helped get me there with over 150 dancers between 2006 and 2014.
3. What has your job with Inspiro involved?
My role as Director was “going” with teams of dancers, and Sara’s was “sending.” Peter Maiden suddenly announced the birth of Dancelink at a Conference in South Africa. No one was more surprised than I! He was so supportive when many raised eyebrows still existed at the very idea of DANCE missionaries. He must have adapted the name from the existing ministries Aidslink and Artslink.
4. Would you share a favorite memory of your time with Inspiro?
One utterly favourite memory was traveling with three dancers to Albania and Bosnia in consecutive years. David Graeser came as a first-time dance missionary and went on to work in Turkey for 11 years, I believe. Portia came as a dancer, later returned to Bosnia, and is still there today (though dance is not her main ministry...she’s there!). We were with musicians and fine artists at an Arts Camp. I have NEVER been so exhilarated and happy. We all flowed together in such joy, and no one had to worry about another team member “not getting us”! We all just did our thing and people came into the Kingdom effortlessly!
5. Was there anything that surprised you about your time with Inspiro/watching the Lord work through the arts and artists?
I am surprised at how unenthusiastic many are still towards dancers in mission. They don’t seem to understand God made us dancers, and we shouldn’t have to defend that identity. He made the dance to praise Him (Psalm 150). Satan has polluted it, but we WILL RESTORE it in purity and beauty.
6. What has the Lord taught you during your time in this role?
God has taught me that He will do what HE will do, and He is the only one able anyway. What He does is effortless, and He needs no help. We just listen and obey. Being still is huge. I am fully aware of my weaknesses and will boast in them to His Glory, for He will not be thwarted. When He birthed Compass Dance Academy, I knew without a doubt I/we (Sara and I) could not do it. She had two children when we opened, and a third a few years later. We chose a small two studio building as the idea of four studios freaked us out. Within five years we were bursting at the seams, so He gave us a mothballed Elementary School to spread out in. Four rooms became twenty-two rooms (four dance studios) overnight! GO GOD! I still can’t believe it, and now in COVID chaos, we have close to 250 students (only 50 down), healthy finances, and a team of twelve teachers who want HIS Kingdom culture more than the polluted and toxic environment of secular schools. We will restore the dance!
7. As an ally, what will you be working on now?
I will work on my heart until He calls me to heaven, and watch Christ give stability and permanence as we begin two Companies at Compass. One will teach worship and intercession through the dance, and the other will welcome non-Christian, professionally trained dancers into a faith-based environment while unashamedly declaring the identity of each and every dancer as God-ordained (even to those who are confused in gender). We will also work at maintaining an International “Gather & Scatter” school and send dance missionaries out ad infinitum.
8. If you could tell dancers considering missions one thing, what would it be?
I would tell them: God determined you would be a dancer since the foundation of the world. Love and forgive those who disagree so that His will may be done, and His Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Learn more of Linda's story here.
Learn more about Compass Dance Academy here.