An Angel in Chicago

Angel Vega and I go way back. How far, I’m not even sure I remember. But I do know he was at one of the very first Kid U’s, and has been to several over the years and is a looooong time member of  Angel is the Children’s Ministries Director at Armitage  Baptist Church in Chicago. But he’s a man of many talents and a man who has worn many hats in ministry who is recently back in children’s ministry, so when we ran into each other at the One Way Street festival and he asked if we could get togethe, I said “Of course” He said he’d drive anywhere to have lunch with me. It was a nice compliment, but I had no idea just how much it actually meant. Angel is a truly Chicago Man. His venture out to my suburban lair made him like a fish out of water. After calling several times for directions he laughed and said to me, “This is what happens when you put a Puerto Rican in the suburbs.” When he finally arrived at the Kidology Headquarters he said this was the farthest he had ever been from Chicago for a meeting. (Other than flying out of state for conferences.) I was truly honored he would make the trek to share a meal and “talk shop” with me. (And yes, I had his permission to tell his story of his getting lost out in this land of grass and trees which he humorously pointed out and asked, “what’s that?”)


Angel and Karl 

I figured the best place to take him to lunch was Docks right on the lake in Waconda so he could get a little taste of our community. He came seeking advice about children’s ministry and some specific challenges, but I ended up learning a lot too. Turns out Angel is also a certified financial advisor, and I had some questions of my own in that arena of life. I ended up learning a lot and being challenged by Angel in some areas I had not considered in life planning. (He has his funeral planned down to the program and a burned CD so that should the Lord call him home, all his wife has to do is open a box and everything is ready. He calls it the Love drawer and says it is the best gift you can give your wife if you die. After dealing with people who had lost a loved one and trying to ask them what they wanted when they were grieving he decided he didn’t want his wife to have to go through that. I will probably write more about this in the future.)

But back to children’s ministry! We had a great time swapping CM stories (especially our goof ups!) I even showed him how to visually pass the salt saker straight through the solid table at the restaurant. Angel is a man who LOVES being with kids – can talk to kids – think like kids – creatively teach kids, and yet wants to grow in all the other areas that come with being a director of children’s ministry – volunteer management, team development, visionary leadership. Already he is doing a great job implementing new security measures at his church. Angel came wanting lots of advice, I hope he left encouraged – he is a GREAT children’s director and doing a fantastic job!


Karl and Angel?

He mentioned that he just started using a puppet after reading my article on solo puppeteering and reading that you don’t have to be a vent to be effective, and was nervous, but tried anyway – and the kids loved it. The only problem was, the puppet he found to use at the church was kind of ugly and old. So when we got back to the office, I gave Angel one of mine. I’d rather have my puppets in front of children every week than sitting in totes right now. Guess what he named the puppet? Yup, Karl. (blush) I hope that doesn’t mean I will be balding soon!

It was so great to connect with a Kidology member and someone who it is so obvious has benefited from the website and our conferences and who is implementing so much of what he has learned through Kidology and seeing great results. It is always a blessings as God transforms these people from e-mails, to acquaintances, to friends.

I’m looking forward to seeing Angel again. Next time, I’ll make the drive to his ‘hood!

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  1. Angel is “cool people!” I’m glad you two finally got to connect! Don’t anyone be fooled by that serious face in the picture, he’s also a certified “maniac.” But he’s serious about connecting kids to Jesus!

  2. I feel like a celebrity hangin out with a celebrity. Wow, I’ve never been on a website before. It was an honor and a privilege to meet with you and have lunch. Cant’ wait until the next time. By the way, I put Karl in his new home. I’m gonna bust him out soon. See ya!

  3. Guess what!?!? That puppet really is named Karl…Kool Karl, in fact.

    Go to and search for Kool Karl, you’ll see

  4. HA! That is tooo funny! That’s probably why I bought years ago! I had fogotten that, since I had renamed it. (I never use the name that “comes with” a puppet, part of creating an original character, as much as I’m sure I loved the original name!)

    And it is definitely named after a Kool Karl. :-D

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