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

The semester has started off with a bang this year. The students who were freshman my first year of teaching are now seniors, I can hardly believe it! Our high school production this semester is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which takes place the last weekend of October. We have invited several local Kenyan schools to a special matinee outreach performance, which is a first for us. After the performance we will hold discussions about the gospel message found in Lewis’ story. I’m teaching “Introduction to Theatre” for the fourth time, so I’m finally getting the hang of it! We’ve started a drama ministry team for chapel, as well, which gives the students a chance to see how effective drama can be in ministry. My grad school studies have helped me become a better teacher/director all the way around, so this past year has been full of many improvements to the program. I’ve also begun directing the high school choir. This has been a true joy for me, getting back into conducting again. Our first concert (combined with the middle school choirs) is November 17th! My third area of focus at school is Worship. I teach a Worship class both semesters (this semester is “Worship 2”) and also direct the bands which lead worship each week for chapel. Those of you who know me well know that I am in heaven, doing all the things I love: choir, theatre, and worship music with high school students! It has been amazing to see the growth of my students in leadership, character, and in their artistic abilities throughout each...

Washington West Film Festival / Dulles Community Church

I just found out I’ll be able to attend the Washington West Film Festival, thanks to a couple of friends who are pitching in for the cost of my plane ticket. When I found out the pastor of our sending church, Dulles Community Church, was starting a film festival, I started begging for an opportunity to help out. I mean, how uncanny is that, given that this is our sending church, and we are here in Africa doing filmmaking? So, I’ll be assisting at the film screenings in a technical capacity. But more than that, I’ll have the opportunity to meet other indie filmmakers and share stories and ideas and inspiration. I’ll also be leading worship at DCC that weekend and speaking in the service. And who knows… maybe even showing that secret film I can’t talk about publicly… I’ll be in Northern Virginia from November 1 to 12, and would love to see everyone who lives in the area. Please email me so we can find a time to get...

Summer update

Probably none of us looks at our lives and thinks ourselves uninteresting or dull. That’s human nature, or at least Western nature, thinking that no-one could possibly be as busy as we are, or have lives as crazy. That said, we must be the craziest people on earth. In the past month we’ve moved houses, entertained Andy’s parents for 2 weeks, brought bibles and a vehicle to our Maasai community, safaried across the Mara plains, made a movie, and sent Lesa to graduate school in Colorado. And the summer’s only half spent… So where are we now? Andy and the kids are settled in the new house in Nairobi, and Lesa is at the University of Northern Colorado finishing her final on-campus course requirements for her Masters in Theater Education. If you live in Denver, please come hear Lesa speak at GracePoint Community Church in Littleton on July 24. She will be speaking during the Sunday School hour at 9:15, and singing and briefly sharing in the worship service at 10:30. If you live in Northern Virginia, Lesa will be having two dessert nights while she’s there in order to see everyone and share details/answer questions about what’s been going on in Kenya with our family – complete with photos, videos, etc. If you can come to either one, that would be wonderful! Please contact the host if you plan on coming and if you want to help provide a dessert! Wednesday, July 27: Brad and Amy Russell’s – dessert night. RSVP 703-327-4952 Saturday, July 30: Bruce and Cindy Lang’s – dessert night RSVP 703-435-6115 Sunday, July 31: Lesa...

School update

Lesa and the kids have had a busy and productive time at school the past few months. Late last year saw Robbie’s theatre debut, in the middle school portion of a night of student-written one acts Lesa produced. And with a giant Bollywood style ending no less! In January Lesa had the opportunity again to lead a group of high school students to Olepishet, our Maasai village where we’ve been adopted by the community, for a week-long cultural field studies program. It was a great time for her in continuing to build a relationship with this community, helping students to engage with Maasai culture, encourage and support the local church, and provide some basic community health care training. In addition to teaching drama, discipleship, and directing the 4 high school worship teams, Lesa is in production week for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the HS Drama department spring play. Following that, in April, will be a weekend production of a musical revue, spanning 20th century Broadway hits. One of the most important parts of ministry to teens is the discipleship. In all things Lesa sees her most important role as being not just a mentor, but a discipler. Seeing kids develop their full potential in Christ, not just artistically, is very exciting, and what keeps Lesa energized. Check out the portfolio of Sonia Kuguru, and see what caliber of students she gets to work with and develop! And somehow in there she finds time to work in weekly homework assignments for her Master’s in Theatre...

Worship from the desert place

Cramming in the bed of a pickup truck with 21 Rendille women wearing little more than beads is an interesting way to spend your day. It was my 2nd time in Korr, Northern Kenya, in the desolate desert of what’s called the “northern frontier district.” Frontier is the right word, as this is past the edge of civilization by at least an 8 hour drive. The lack of water is a big problem in East Africa right now. 2 years of miserably poor rainy seasons and deforestation of parts of the Kenyan highlands have left many people in a bad state. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8057316.stm) Especially in the desert, where people rely on their animals for survival, not just the meat but liquid from milk and blood. These people, mostly nomadic, move their entire village with the herds, or send the warriors out for months at a time with the herds, in a never-ending search for water and grazing. So when it doesn’t rain, the animals get sick and die, and the people lose not only their way of life but the very thing that keeps them alive. So, when we pull up to a village (a “goob” in the local language) with our Land Cruiser, the women (who have the job of finding water and firewood every day) seize the opportunity to save themselves a 4 hour walk to the well and back. They run to their huts, grab whatever containers they can find, and swamp the truck. You can’t imagine how many people can fit in the bed of a pickup truck until you try it. If there was room...
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