One afternoon a family entered Doc Waddell’s Gospel Magic Shop in Gatlinburg. As the children perused the many intriguing magical items on display, the mother of the children realized her smallest child, an infant, needed a diaper change. Unfortunately, she realized she had no more diapers and had no money to go and buy some.
Feeling sympathy for the woman, Doc Waddell decided to walk up the strip to Walgreen’s and purchase a box of diapers for the child. Waddell’s children are grown and it had been more than 20 years since he had purchased diapers. Waddell experienced sticker shock when he realized a box of diapers costs almost $20. Nonetheless, he purchased the diapers for the woman and he was struck with an epiphany.
Waddell decided to start a ministry which would purchase diapers and other sanitary products for parents who are struggling to provide these essential needs. Waddell owns several magic shops in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The shop located on the strip in Gatlinburg is dedicated to the Emerald City Ministry, a not-for-profit charity that provides diapers and other essentials for small children.
“We started researching and found that food stamps and WIC don’t cover diapers,” said Frank Waddell of Emerald City Ministries. ”So we decided if no one else will provide diapers then we will. We now raise money to buy diapers with this shop to buy diapers for needy families. Dad’s goal is to get two tractor trailers full. There is so much demand which exceeds our supply.“
Stepping into the shop, shoppers observe a wall on which numerous magic tricks are displayed. Each trick is packaged in a plastic bag. These tricks are simple to learn sleight of hand magic that come with the props needed for the trick. The instructions and a Bible verse explaining how the trick can relate to the verse.
Joe Vagott demonstrates magic to the customers on a table. Vagott is a skilled magician who is knowledgeable of the Bible. He can relate almost any trick to the a Biblical verse. One example is Harry Houdini’s Metamorphosis.
“Metamorphosis illustrates how we can change,” said Vagott. “People can change in the twinkling of an eye.”
Vagott demonstrates the cups and balls trick and explains how it relates to the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were ordered to worship a false god by a king. When the three men refused to bow to the god, the king ordered them thrown into a furnace. Vagott places a ball on top of two cups that are stacked up. He then places another cup on top of the stack of cups. The ball appears to magically pass through the cups and onto the table. He repeats this twice more to simulate the three brothers. Then a fourth ball magically appears under the cups to represent Jesus who was there with the three brothers at all times. In the Bible, the three brothers who were thrown into the furnace never burned and Jesus was observed walking around with them.
Emerald City Ministries has been approved as a 501-3C designation. Anyone seeking to make a donation to the Emerald City Ministry may do so by calling 865-210-2625.