Preparation and trust

Faith is a balancing act, and that is a good thing. It keeps our eyes on Jesus, and our trust off ourselves. And we need to be tested in our balancing ability, so that we can be matured and completed (James 1). It’s an opportunity for joy. It’s an opportunity for obedience. 1 week from today, Kenya votes for a new president. We were brand-new, inexperienced missionaries 5 years ago, the last time Kenya had presidential election and eroded into chaos that killed 1,000 people and left 600,000 homeless. We survived a couple weeks of lockdown and emerged from the experience closer to the people of Kenya and affirmed by God that this was where He had us for a reason. Political insecurity is not rare here in Africa, and this election might not prove any different (read “Neighbors Kill Neighbors“, New York Times, 4 days ago). What is different, this time around, is that we are prepared. We’ve got 100 litres of petrol and diesel in our garage, a pantry stockpiled with food, our evacuation cash and documents in order, and the experience of having been through this before. As before, we also have a strong trust in God’s sovereignty and his plan in having us living here for such a time as this. Many NGOs and mission organizations have already pulled their personnel out of Kenya. But we realize this is the time we need to have solidarity with our African brothers and sisters, and weather whatever storm may come our way. So, would you please pray for Kenya on March 4, which also happens to be Avery’s...

Blessed

We have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas season. Maybe more than any other Christmas our family has had since moving to Africa over 5 years ago. But most of all, we are thankful for a loving and merciful Savior, who left the comforts of heaven to humble himself and live as one of the poorest among us. Not just to be a good teacher or moral role-model, but to live the life we couldn’t live, to pay the debt we couldn’t pay, to die the death we should have had, and to reconcile us to God! We are also thankful to our God for surviving the perfect storm this semester, including: The movie: A week ago we wrapped (finished filming) the biggest film project Andy’s team has ever undertaken. 47 days of shooting: many early mornings, many very late nights, including 2 weeks on location in a remote coastal village. Andy, as director of “The Distant Boat“, was in charge of it all on set, rehearsing and directing the cast of 20 actors, working with Ted (Director of Photography) on lenses and lighting, with Taylor (Production Manager) on locations and contracts and logistics, with Bess (Art Director) on wardrobe and props, with Mike (Script supervisor) on continuity and shot logs and data management, and the rest of the crew of about a dozen. It’s been an exhausting 3 months of work, one that Andy’s glad to see wrapped, and that has taught the OFM team a lot about the movie production process. And has shown them how God is in control, and could use a bunch...

School Update – Fall 2012 edition

Life at school has been exciting and busy for Lesa and the kids. Lesa directed the American classic comedy “You Can’t Take it With You” (click here for photos) with performances at the end of October. This proved extra challenging when Andy was away at the coast for the last two weeks of rehearsals and for the performances. However, God was good (as if we’re surprised about that) and provided abundantly for the family. The kids were on great behavior, Katie Lang (who is living with us this year) was a huge help, friends assisted with meals and childcare and the show went off beautifully. Next semester’s show is already cast: “The Pirates of Penzance”! In addition to directing shows, Lesa continued her other normal duties of teaching classes (Worship 2, Acting, HS choir and Introduction to Theatre), directed the high school worship teams of 25 kids and directed two music concerts. A relatively new element of her job presented itself due to this year’s highly talented senior class. Lesa was heavily involved with about 6 seniors in preparation for college auditions for music and theatre: selecting and rehearsing audition materials, making audition videos (with Andy’s help!), writing references, etc. Of course, every college has different audition requirements and each student is applying to multiple schools! This work will continue through Christmas break on into the second semester. This has been a huge blessing to be able to participate in for both of us, as we want to see these kids continue in their studies at the best possible schools and to continue to use their considerable gifts for...

Perfect storm… a movie, a thesis, a theatre production

This is it. We’ve seen it from a distance for a long time coming. The perfect storm of a movie production, a thesis completion, and a drama production all before the end of October. All great things that we are privileged to be a part of, and we are trusting strongly in God not giving us more than we are able to handle (through his strength). Yet this is a season like we’ve never had before, and we are asking you to please be lifting our family and these events up in prayer. The movie On Tuesday, Andy’s team begins filming on “the Distant Boat“, the first feature-length drama to be done by his team, and a landmark project for the African church. Last Tuesday, 50 Kenyan church leaders from many denominations gathered to pray over and commission this film. Simultaneously, across town, Andy was gathered with the 13 principle cast members on a 2 day rehearsal retreat. The past year of writing and planning and praying is becoming reality, and we deeply feel the responsibility, privilege, and gravity of what is about to happen. Please pray for: Andy as a first time director, that he would have wisdom and grace and vision to coach the best performance possible from the actors and crew Safety in filming, in the many locations and settings that are required, especially considering the inflammatory environment that has been incited in Kenya and throughout the continent regarding religious film-making. For our family, as filming requires 50 long days and late nights, including a 3 week trip to the coast for filming. The coast-location shoot,...

Going home!

Sitting in our hotel room in Michigan, having just celebrated Andy’s grandma’s 84th birthday on Wednesday, and Tim Lang‘s wedding last night, we realize we have a lot to be thankful for… our family, our friends, our Christian heritage. This past summer has been an amazing time of reconnecting, and seeing God continue to provide for us financially in ways that remind us we’re on His mission, not ours! We are very pleased to report that we’ve received our financial clearance to return to Kenya, which is tonight! Praise God! Please pray for our family (plus Katie Lang) flying tonight (Saturday) and tomorrow, that our bags would all arrive safely, that we’d quickly get over jet lag with school starting Thursday! Praise God! -Andy, Lesa, Robbie, Avery, and...

16 days, $500/month to go

The stats: 16 days until we leave for Africa 15 days to raise $500/month in support 21 days before school starts in Kenya 50 days until shooting starts on Andy’s feature-length directorial debut We’ve had an amazing time in America, seeing family and friends and supporters, but our time is finally winding down. Honestly, we’re more than ready to go back. We’re torn between the people we love here and the work God has lined up for us to do. We are anxious to begin our next term and see what God has planned. IMMEDIATE NEED Our organization, AIM, requires us to be 100% supported before allowing us to return to Africa. We started our furlough in June with $1100/month shortfall. We’re extremely grateful to have been blessed with $600/month of new support since then. This leaves us still $500/month short of being able to return to Kenya, with our round-trip tickets already set and school and a movie production we’re involved in all waiting on our return! We are praying for 5 or 10 families that can partner with us financially. The average amount our supporters pledge is $100 a month,  Please pray about being one of those families, and joining us in God’s amazing work on the African continent! Email us right away if you are one of those families, we need to show evidence of our 100% support by the end of the month! THE MOVIE Andy’s team is making a $100,000 feature-length movie this year, with filming scheduled to start middle of September and Andy as the director. Please pray for the funding to come in by...
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