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...

Movie update: 2 weeks, 25%, exhausted and exhilarated

Since last Tuesday, our first day of filming, we’ve completed filming on about 25% of our movie, the Distant Boat. It’s exhausting work, requiring 12+ hour days (or nights) on our feet, loading in/out dozens of cases of equipment, a dolly, crane, and coordinating a cast of crew of around 15. Tomorrow, we film our climax scene, to take place in a church in Nairobi, with a couple hundred extras on set. I’m very thankful, as the director, to have a highly competent Assistant Director and Production Manager, who manages the logistics so I can focus on the acting and the creative aspects of such a large shoot. I wanted to take a quick moment to share some prayer requests and some behind-the-scenes videos and photos with you all. Please pray for the health and endurance of our crew, particularly, and our families who sacrifice a lot when we are this busy. Pray for Lesa and her grad school thesis completion, and her play which is coming up. Pray for more funding to come in, as things are constantly popping up that need addressed and we can’t account for in our limited budget. And pray for this film, that in the acting, the filming, the editing, the entire production would bear much fruit to God’s glory, and mobilize a new generation of African...

May update, and urgent pray requests…

…it’s been a month like no other, and it’s only just begun. Please take a moment to read what God has been doing in and through us, our summer furlough schedule, and how you can partner with us to continue doing this ministry as our 3rd term in Africa starts this summer. The Sound of Music, Lesa’s 9th show at our school, and the first one featuring Sydney in a major role, finished 2 weeks ago. See photos from the show and read more about the 11 weeks of rehearsal, 85 cast, crew, and orchestra, 5 sellout performances, and 1 drama teacher to rule them all. Tonight, Andy heads to Egypt and on Monday, Iraq. He will be serving as a videographer with International Christian Concern, an organization whose mandate is getting the world to notice Christian persecution and to fight on behalf of those who are enduring this persecution. Read more about this trip, and how you can be praying for Andy, and especially for the christians from these countries. 2 days after he returns, Andy starts casting for “A Distant Boat”(working title), the first feature-length film his team has ever taken on, and with Andy as director. Andy’s team will weed through up to 400 actors in 2 days to get down to a cast of about a dozen. Watch a short video about this film project and how you can get involved. A little under two weeks later, and the whole family will be in Amsterdam, riding the canals and checking out the Anne Franke house, on a short 1-day layover on the way to the US...

Madagascar

Like I said, it’s been a long time since I’ve been on a production trip that I can talk about publicly, but the opportunity finally came last month as I led an OFM team of 3 to Madagascar, and some of the small islands off the northwest coast. Awesome chameleons Madagascar is amazing, there is no place like it in the world. It’s nicknamed “the 8th continent”, and for good reason… it’s not like Africa! There are no indigenous lions, giraffe, elephants, or anything predatory. In fact 80% of the wildlife and plant species here are ONLY found here! 99 species of lemurs, 6 of the 8 species of giant baobab, giant chameleons. Even the people are different: austronesian descent, rice farmers, houses elevated off the ground. Even their language is different. The whole trip was more like a scene out of Survivor: Borneo than Survivor: Africa. Our mission was to produce a documentary about 2 people groups, the Sakalava and the Antakarana, who are among the least reached in Madagascar. Both groups are steeped in ancestor worship and possession, and we studied much about the great spiritual darkness and oppression of this place before we set foot there. The Sakalava are well known for their possession ceremonies, where the spirits of their royal ancestors literally and physically possess the people they have chosen as mediums. And possession by those spirits would be considered the good kind of possession. There are much darker spirits that are seeking people to possess as well. The Antakarana have a strong tie to their ancestors as well. 200 years ago there were 18...
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