Our first feature-length movie…

OFM is pretty good at making documentaries. Over the past 5 years we’ve made documentaries in a dozen African countries, bringing light to unreached people groups and bringing prayer and support to ministries. Most of the media we produce is for a western audience, the church largely. Connecting the church around the world with what God is doing in Africa. But a few months ago we were presented with an opportunity to do something totally different. Something almost crazy. Something so far outside our comfort zone, on a scale so large, that God had to be behind it. The challenge was presented to us to create a film that would “bend the heart of the African church to missions.” The church in Africa is big. It’s strong in many ways. But it has traditionally been lacking in mission vision, in seeing its role in finishing the task of the great commission among Africa’s 900 unreached people groups. As our team brainstormed how to do this, we realized we needed to do it through the form of a drama. Presenting information only goes so far, and in Africa, particularly, story-telling is the primary form of communicating values and mores. And as we discussed what this drama would look like, we realized that a 20-minute short film wouldn’t have much effect or opportunity to spread. A truly African story, for an african audience, told in an entertaining and dramatic way, that could end up in every church in subsaharan Africa or satellite TV, or theatres. This would have to be feature length. Our writer sequestered himself away, and with an outline of...

The hills are alive…

11 weeks of rehearsal 85 cast, crew, and orchestra 5 sellout performances 1 drama teacher to rule them all… Our high school’s production of “The Sound of Music” took place recently over 2 weekends. It was the biggest show Lesa’s done since “The King and I“, in terms of length, numbers of students involved, size of the set, and the size of the undertaking. The show was a smashing success, and for our family was a particularly memorable experience. With Lesa as the director, Robbie playing in the orchestra, Sydney as Gretyl (the youngest Von Trap child), Avery running projection in the tech booth, and Andy running spotlight (and as technical director), it’s been an exhausting but rewarding couple of weeks leading up to opening night. The opening night was a smashing success, in everything from set to costumes to singing and acting.  This past weekend has been a rough one, though. Friday night’s second act was nearly drowned out by a thunderous rainstorm. Sydney woke up Saturday morning with a 103 degree fever, and we quickly arranged for the other Gretyl (Lesa double cast the children’s roles for situations like this). Then, minutes before Saturday’s matinee was about to start, the piano player suffered a grand mal seizure. The cast and crew were pretty shaken and scared, and the performance had to be cancelled before it started (while Andy was desperately trying to prepare to sight-read the piano score for a 3 hour long show). The show will resume on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday this week, with a new piano player (not Andy… someone who actually has time to...

Telling the story of the persecuted church in Iraq

Canon Andrew White, the “Vicar of Baghdad”, said recently: We Christians in Iraq feel that we have been left behind, and that we have nothing… from the day the US military left, Christians felt themselves in total disarray. Violence related to religious sectarianism increased. Our people have been slaughtered, massacred, and murdered, and we have nowhere to turn.” A friend of mine works for International Christian Concern (persecution.org) and has worked on behalf of persecuted Christians in Afghanistan and Egypt and throughout the middle east. He’s asked me to accompany him on a trip next month to Iraq, as a videographer, to tell the stories of these believers, and why nearly 2/3 of Iraq’s Christians have fled the country since the war on terror. I’ve been asked to produce videos that will end up being used for advocacy in congressional offices and for the ICC organization. While not part of my official duties with Africa Inland Mission, I feel these are important stories to be told. The same kind of stories I feel called to tell from Africa. Just not in Africa this time. Canon Andrew White is working to secure my visas, and the date of the trip is rapidly approaching. In the meantime, I’m looking for donations for my expenses during this trip, which will probably be less than $2000. If you’d like to be part of helping bring awareness through video of the plight of the Iraqi church, please contact me. And please be praying for my visa to come through in time for this...

March forth

This weekend (March 4, specifically) marks Avery’s 10th birthday. Tomorrow he and I will head out in our Land Cruiser, to the floor of the great Rift Valley, and then ascend a dormant volcano, Mt Suswa, where we will go caving and climbing and exploring and camping and sit around the fire cooking meat and talking man-to-little-man. I took a similar trip with Robbie when he turned 10, which ended in a great adventure and near disastrous consequences involving a cape buffalo and a fight with a baboon. I’ve been reflecting a lot recently on what it means to be a man. To be a dad. To be a husband. To be a follower of Christ. How I stumble all the time trying to be good at all these things, but how my identity is wrapped up in all of them. And I pray for my sons to find their identity in these things someday as well. Which is why I like having adventures with my sons. When Robbie and I climbed 16,000 ft Mt Kenya in December, we did it for the adventure, for the lessons in persevering through something difficult, and for the discipleship time we could have when not catching our breath or passing out from exhaustion. I hope to have a small bit of that this weekend with Avery. To laugh and sweat and get dirty and smoky and talk about the manhood that he is rapidly approaching and that his brother is awkwardly experiencing. About what it means to respect and love his sister, respect and love his mother. About what it means to find your...

Bound to the Past

After 3 months of post-production, I finally finished “Bound to the Past”, our short film from Madagascar, based on the true stories of 2 of Madagascar’s least reach people groups. Read more about this trip, the craziest OFM trip ever,...
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