I started this series of posts a couple of days ago, sharing ways you can give. If you’re interested in reading a bit more about why, you can find the original post here.
Today, I thought I’d share something a bit different, and instead of sharing an opportunity to give to us personally, I’d instead share an opportunity to give materially to the work of the film team I lead.
When it comes to 1080p footage, our editor is amazing. It knifes through difficult edits like Jet-Li on wires. But we’ve been originating our footage in 4K since 2015, and… that’s a problem. I jokingly tucked the infamous OS X beachball into the R.I.P. above in place of periods, but we’re literally waiting at a beach ball on almost every move of the mouse.
Several years ago, I flew to Lesvos to film refugees arriving and put together a short promotional video for the work GEM was doing there. That trip changed my life in a lot of ways. You can read a little bit about it here.
For the last several years, the vast majority of my work has revolved around refugees, both producing materials for them, and sharing their stories with others who want to understand a bit more about what they’re experiencing.
I need to make a trip to Lesvos early in 2018 in preparation for a the big film project I’m working on. I’ve trimmed my expenses on that trip down to the bare minimum, but I still need some help to make it happen. If you’d like to give toward that, click the image above, of follow this link.
Over the next several days, as we head toward the Christmas holiday, I thought I would share with you some key ways that you could impact our work through giving.
Brandy and I don’t have any sort of conventional salary. All of our funds come from the generous donations of people just like you. So, I hope you’ll consider us if you’re making year end in contributions.
We greatly appreciate your prayers and gifts as we continue our work: Brandy, caring for the medical and health needs of missionary kids at Black Forest Academy, and me, making challenging, culturally appropriate films which point people toward Jesus.
Of course, we understand not everyone can pledge money. We also covet your prayer commitments, and with the growing importance of social media — your willingness to share.
Click here to make a year-end gift, or a new monthly support pledge. If you’d like to commit to praying for us, or to share our posts and materials, let us know in the comments.
This year, a colleage challenged me to try a new approach, and so instead of a usual year end appeal letter, I put together a small catalog of giving opportunities.
I’m really excited about it, and would love to share it far and wide. But one of the opportunities is to give toward the work of someone who would be at risk if I gave much public information on the internet.
So, if you already subscribe to our newsletter list, you’ll get the details. If you don’t, and want the catalog, send me a message and I’ll pass it along. Also, if you’d like, now would be a great time to subscribe to our newsletter. 🙂 (There’s a subscription form to the right on our website).
Isaac and I drove home in virtual silence. The disappointments were mounting. After getting accepted to his first choice college, Isaac had been unable to go. It was just too expensive, in spite of his numerous scholarships from the school and even one from a local church. Now he was waiting on his second choice school but it would be months yet.
We’d just put Brandy and Faith on a plane back to Germany, but finances had forced me to stay behind. I had no return ticket. No plan for when I could go home. We were both stuck in limbo.
“Heard back on any of your job applications?” I asked.
He just shook his head. The pneumonia had interfered with all of his plans. No friends. No job.
“Maybe next week we can drive out to Barclay.” The tiny college I’d graduated from in Kansas was hovering in the number 3 or 4 slot on Isaac’s list. “Have a little father/son road trip.”
Isaac smiled softly. “That’d be fun, Pa.”
While I was trying to line up appointments for my extended stay, I texted admissions over the weekend and setup accommodations for us Monday night and a tour Tuesday morning. So, after a long slow weekend, the two of us set out for Kansas.
A six hour trip quickly became eight. As we neared the tiny town of Haviland (population 703), a big sign reading “I’d turn back if I were you” seemed almost prophetic. The town was so small, we drove right past it and had to turn around, but we found the school.
18 hours later we were back in the car driving home.
“What did you think?” I asked.
“As plan B,” Isaac answered, “I would be happy to go there.”
The next morning dawned bleakly. I had no new appointments.
“Dear Lord,” I prayed, “I don’t know what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it this way… Help me. Please, Lord. You’re always there when I need you. I know you’re hearing me now. What do I do?”
When I’d finished praying, I walked upstairs to see Isaac. He looked like I felt.
He’d been waiting for today since his arrival. He was to audition for the church music team, but the leader couldn’t make it and they would have to reschedule. He felt a bit like the only thing he was looking forward to had been taken away. Both of us sat looking at one another in shared commiseration. We felt hopeless. I started talking, trying to suggest activities that Isaac might enjoy, and all of the sudden, he sat bolt upright, his eyes lighting up.
“What?” I asked.
He started to slump immediately. “Nothing.” He said. “It’s crazy. It doesn’t make any sense.”
I smirked. “None of this makes sense.” I said, “Let’s hear it.”
“What if I just go to Barclay right now? This semester.” he replied. “But, then I’d have to take out loans and it… it’s just crazy.”
I was glad that he was leery of loans, but I knew they’d be very small in this case, so I told him to go ahead and submit the application and I’d get started on finances.
The rest of the week was a whirlwind. Isaac submitted his application Wednesday, was accepted Thursday and we were back in Kansas moving him into his dorm on Saturday. Everything seemed like a perfect fit. By the time I was driving back to Colorado on Sunday afternoon, Isaac was on the soccer team, had found a good church, scheduled an audition for the worship band and was joining the school choir. I could see God’s hands all over this moment that was tailored precisely for my son.
The next morning, I was back in a darker place.
“Yes, Lord, it’s clear to me I needed to be here to help Isaac step into the amazing plan you have, but,” I whined vigorously, “I’m still stuck here — no closer to having the money raised!”
The foolishness of it, the ingratitude is embarrassing, but I’m being honest.
Between fruitless attempts to raise money, I tried to contact the finance office at Barclay. Isaac was in classes, but I still didn’t know how much the bill would be. I expected we’d need an additional $3000-4000 to be paid over the remainder of the year. Finally, I got the finance guy on the phone.
“I’ve got all Isaac’s info here, I just have to put it into the system.” He told me.
I listened to his clicking keys for several minutes. Then came the big number.
“First semester,” He informed “Isaac will owe $1247 and $1248 next semester.”
I got payment instructions and we agreed to talk again the next day. As I hung up the phone, I got thinking about Isaac’s church scholarship. I called them on the phone.
“Yes. Isaac has already talked with us, we’re directing the scholarship to Barclay.”
The scholarship was $1250 a semester. I was floored. Here I was, questioning God and his plan, his ability even to work out our convoluted finances. But God had known all along, where Isaac would end up and how much it would cost. He’d arranged it all perfectly from the beginning, though we’d been unable to see it until all the pieces came together.
It’s still hard to contemplate our financial situation. But I’ve been powerfully reminded just how good and generous our God can be, when we’re seeking him and walking in his will. It’s not that getting there wasn’t difficult. Of course, it was. There were powerful moments of hopelessness and despair. And yet, God delivered on such a sweeping scale. How can I not have confidence in his plans for our ministry and financial provision? Praise the Lord!