A Buzzing Mosquito

When you lose your job it stings. It takes the wind out of you. The security that you once leaned upon is suddenly gone and you struggle to find a new sense of security. When your wife loses her job within a month of you losing your job, it sort of makes you question security in general. Today, chaos reared it’s ugly head to challenge our faith. It almost felt like a plot to a movie – unreal.

I lost my job a month ago. Although it stung my pride, I wasn’t extremely concerned. My wife had a solid job and her income could hold us over until we figured out how to move forward. That changed today when my wife lost her job too. Maybe I’m a conspiracy theorist, but when my wife and I both lose our jobs within a month – I have to ask what the heck is going on. I mean, seriously … both of us? I have to be honest. I didn’t see this coming.

We recently wrapped up a screening tour of our first film, ‘Reparando’ – a feature-length documentary that we produced after adopting our sons from Guatemala. We spent two and a half years working on the film on top of our day jobs because we couldn’t go on with ordinary life after seeing the what we saw in the country where our sons were born. We wanted to raise awareness for the situation in Guatemala and help direct resources towards a solution that would make a difference. I believe we were successful in our goal. In less that a year after releasing the film, it has inspired incredible response that is impacting the situation in Guatemala.

While we were in Guatemala last November to premiere ‘Reparando’, our hearts were again moved by another story. We spent time with kids who ran away from home and live on the street. These children live in a prison without walls. They have very little chance of lifting themselves out of a life of destitution. I came home to the US with a desire to share their story so we could help bring hope to the situation.

We’ve spent the last six months researching and planning a new film to tell their story. It’s been a crazy six months. In that six months, the hero of the story drowned. I lost my job. And now, Amelia lost her job. At some point, I have to ask the question, “Is this random, or is something more profound happening?” We were able to subsidize the production of ‘Reparando’ with our salaries from our day jobs. We never put a penny in our pockets from the film because we didn’t have to. But now, that has changed. We are forced into a new paradigm.

As difficult as our situation seems right now, I am reminded of these street youth and their lack of opportunity. I might lose my house and have to move, but I have options. I can get another job – somewhere. I can move in with family if I have to. Ultimately, I am not without hope. But, the street kids in Guatemala have nothing. Ironically, that is what is heavy on my heart today. Suddenly, I have an inkling of understanding what life is like for them … the fear of uncertainty … living without security of what I once considered secure. But my reality is just a small glimpse into their life. They don’t have the options I am blessed with.

Call me stubborn, but now I want to tell their story more than ever. I want to produce this documentary and partner with organizations on the ground in Guatemala to help these street kids leverage themselves out of their situations. We have an incredible story to tell – a story that will expose a problem, illuminate a solution and inspire response. All we need now are the financial resources to produce it.

I want to believe that the irony of Amelia and me losing our jobs at the same time is God providing a way to swoop in and Glorify Himself by providing for us when we have nothing else to lean on. At some level, it is more than a belief – it is an expectation. Amelia and I are like the Israelites walking into the water expecting God to part it. We’ll keep walking with that faith.

A great friend shared this verse with me tonight. It is the summary of my reality:

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

In the midst of my personal uncertainty – my personal weakness, I am certain of God’s providence. My current situation is like a mosquito buzzing around my head, trying to distract me from experiencing a beautiful sunset. With God’s help, I’ll swat that bug and continue soaking in the beauty so I can share it with someone else.

Sharing the Story / Successful ‘Reparando’ Spring Tour

by Amelia Moore / Athentikos

 

Karla with Tita and other Guatemalans we met at the MI screening

 

“I want to show you my feet.” Karla, the bright, pretty mother, said after she shared her own personal story of being raised in Guatemala. I was already in tears and was slow to respond to her request as I was still processing the details of her past. Surreally, I followed her to a table where she sat down to take off her blue sporty shoes and socks. Slowly she uncovered her mangled feet revealing all the missing toes, the only evidence I could see of her tragic childhood.

This spring we organized an eleven-city ‘Reparando’ screening tour. Over 2,000 people passionate about Guatemala, social justice advocates, and those interested in documentaries or college film students attended these screenings. And at every screening, we met several Guatemalans living in the States. Each Guatemalan we met echoed a similar response, “Thank you for telling my story.” Many shared their own personal stories, their fear of places like La Limonada or encouraged us with their enthusiasm for their people. At first we were shocked to hear their real stories. But in retrospect, we should have expected it. That’s what ‘Reparando’ is about: a country devastated by a civil war, children loosing families, young people coming to the US for opportunity and people experiencing hope in the midst of overwhelming chaos.

On the last night of our screening tour, in Grand Rapids Michigan, Karla became the reality of that story to me. After the celebration reception following the theater screening, Karla came to meet me and through our conversation she began to tell me her broken past. At age 8, her home was bombed. Her father was a prominent leader in the army in their community and later learned that the event that night was to instill fear into their community. He was to be an example to all. She hid in a small bedroom as her father was called out. He was threatened by the gunmen, “Your life or your families’,” they shouted into the house. Karla heard her father hesitate and then walk out of the house. At that moment a grenade hit Karla’s body. After a breath of surreal silence, she recounted the burning sensation in her legs, her mother’s screaming and then nothing.

I had no response to her story at that moment. How was I suppose to respond to her story?

The Response

Those who view ‘Reparando’ share a similar experience. Many sit in silence overwhelmed with the reality that a country just south of us could have such a sad history. But don’t we all? Not that my own is as tragic as Karla’s or Shorty’s or Luis’. But history in itself is layered with struggle, hope, and restoration. In the midst of chaos hope and resolve and passion and determination are born. And that same spirit is birthed in viewers of ‘Reparando.’

Raleigh, NC Screening

Karla’s story birthed the same determination: after eight years growing up as a handicapped child, a mission team visited her village and offered her medical care back in the States to repair her wounded feet. At age 16, she left her family in Guatemala fearful as she had received countless unsuccessful surgeries in her country. But through the prayers of her determined mother, she remained hopeful that she would be healed. Restored. Repaired.

For the spring screening tour, we partnered with individuals and organizations that are passionately connected to Guatemala and serving others. The purpose of screenings was to organized large theater events to raise awareness and inspire response. While I didn’t attend all the screenings, I did have the opportunity to work directly with the event leaders. It was a privilege to hear about their desires to invest and work along side of people like Tita and Shorty. All the event leaders shared the same excitement in giving a voice to the voiceless through the film. And after wards they all shared of viewer’s positive feedback to respond in some way.

Additionally, Tita Evertz from the documentary was able to attend 7 of the events. (Read  her response to the trip here.) At the events, she humbly shared her heart and passion for La Limonada and encouraged people to find their own La Limonada in their local communities.

Tita sharing at the Sacramento Screening (with Tina, the event organizer)

Viewers also had the opportunity to respond through donations. Funds raised were used for the following projects:

  • Micro-finance Bakery project at Shorty’s Rehab Center
  • Tita’s Safe Home, Mi Casita with Lemonade International
  • Athentiko’s new film project
  • Calgary’s Streetlight (mobile drop-in for homeless youth in Canada)
  • Shorty’s Rehab Center in Guatemala
  • A High School Youth Mission Trip to Guatemala
  • Support for a Gang Chaplin in Guatemala City

My Response

Seeing the documentary, our work and our story, on the big screen is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I am humbled and giddy ever time I view it. And although it was extremely encouraging to share this project with so many people, the highlight of the tour for me was connecting with the viewers – sharing story and celebrating restoration together. My experience through the screening tour ended with a new friendship and a renewed passion to communicate truth through story. Karla did this for me as she told me, “I tell people, ‘My earthly father died for my life; and my heavenly father died for my life.’” I praise God for Karla. For her story, her passion and her joy. As we said good-bye, she told me that growing up she never thought she was beautiful because she had to drag herself around without the use of her feet. As I hugged her, I told her that that’s the furthest from the truth both physically and spiritually. She IS beautiful.

Share the story! You can respond by:

  • Hosting a house party or screening in your area as a fundraiser for your cause.
  • Be OUR voice! Post about ‘Reparando’ on your blog; like @Athentikos on facebook; tweet about #ReparandoMovie.
  • Going on a Vision Trip.
  • Volunteering in your community.
  • Telling us how YOU are responding the documentary!
  • Giving financially – Athentikos is currently raising funds for a new film project. We passionately believe in the power of visual communication to give voice to the voiceless and we rely on donations from viewers like you to continue these efforts to raise awareness and resources. Help us tell the next story!
Scott & Tita with the JBU group at the Arkansas Screening

And more photos of the screening tour in the previous post below…

 

Spring “Reparando” Screening Tour Photos

SO COOL to see "Reparando" on the Marquee in Sacramento

Here are several photos from some of our spring ‘Reparando’ screening event. All of the 11 events were organized by local leaders. They all did a FANTASTIC JOB!!! That you soooo much for your efforts and heart for others and joining us in sharing this story. You inspire us!

Thank you for everyone that came out to the screenings. We appreciate you. Scott and I (Amelia) were able to attend three of the events and LOVE IT! And our kids came along as well. It was a highlight for them to meet Tita and so many new people. Thank you for joining us in sharing this story!

If you are interested in ‘Reparando’ coming to your city (or coming again) – YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN! You can rent a theather, school or church to host the event. Are we are here to help. If you are interested in finding out more, contact our screening coordinator, Ericha: ericha@athentikos.com. Screenings are a GREAT way to raise awareness for Guatemala and you can use your screening as a fundraiser for you cause.

Our CUTE event leaders at the South Carolina screening
Paul sharing at the SC screening
Merch Table in Sacramento

 

Karen hanging with our kiddos at the Arkansas Event.
Marquee in North Carolina
Thanks to Lemonade International for hositng the NC screening!
We sold several dolls at the screening - and there are still more availabe at www.reparanodmovie.com/store
Tita with Bill from www.lemonadeinternational.org at the NC screening
Our AWESOME Calgary, Canada event leaders: Stephanie & Matthew
The Calgary Crowd

 

Calgary, Canada
Pre-Show in Calgary
Philly Screening

 

My kiddos with their cousins in Philly
The Philly Crowd
Tita at the Ohio Screening
Tita with "her" doll at the Ohio screening
Scott sharing at the reception following the Michigan Screening
People writing their responses at the MI screening
Post-Show Music at the MI screening
"Trophies Of Grace" print for sale (also available at www.reparandomovie.com/store)

Let us a comment if you attended one of the events this spring!! THANK YOU!!

 

 

 

 

Ringing Out of Control

SCOTT OWEN MOORE
I consider myself a strategic thinker. I like intentionality. On a practical level, that means I put a lot of thought into something before I pursue it. I count costs, develop a plan of attack, and then once there is a clear target … I dive in and invest my entire being into whatever it is I am pursuing. I don’t enjoy investing 50%. I am just not wired that way. There are probably many reasons for this characteristic in my life – not the least of which is my desire for control.

I am a story teller (communicator) by trade. So on one level, I want to have control over a message. I want to ensure that I tell stories with clarity and purpose –  simple stories with a rich depth. I prefer stories that connect with your heart immediately, but also reveal something new each time they are experienced. ‘Reparando’ is such a story.

Our goal was simple on paper: inspire viewers to respond. We set out to accomplish this goal using the metaphor of the repaired doll in the over-arching storyline. We wrestled through pre-production for over a year, weaving this metaphor through the story. Everything was intentional – from the “Michelangelo-esque” feel of the hand reaching down to pick up the doll in the title sequence, to the money exchanged as a ransom for doll parts, to the baptismal washing of the doll, to the white dress … I could go on and on … all of these things were intentionally included to reinforce the story of redemption.

During the editing process, I came across a statement by Shorty that inspired me as I scored music for the film. Shorty says “como campanas en mi meante” or in English, “like ringing bells in my mind” when he remembered the message of God’s love in his life. I loved this concept of ringing bells and employed them in the musical score from the very beginning of the film. Watch the film and listen carefully for bells. You will first hear them in the title sequence as the hand reaches down. Then, you’ll hear bells over and over again throughout the story. This was intentional bell ringing. I wanted to communicate that “God loved Shorty and was present from the beginning.”

OK, now fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the final event of our spring screening tour. Oddly, I listened to something in ‘Reparando’ for the first time. I say listened, because I had heard it before, but not connected the dots.

If you own the DVD, fast forward to the final scene of the movie in the market and listen carefully. As the scene builds and eventually plays out, you will hear the sound of a bell ringing out of control. When I say it is ringing out of control, I mean it. Someone is ringing the heck out of a bell and we had no control over it. It was just the natural sound of the market and a vendor was ringing a bell to gain attention. Little did they (or I) know how profound their bell ringing would become. If you listen for the bell, it is clearly present in this scene. But it sat there unnoticed by me for almost two years as I focused on my own intentionality.

I don’t want to over spiritualize it. But these bells reminded me that no matter how much intentionality I put into something, I am not in control. This lesson could not have come at a more profound time. Case in point … immediately after returning home from the Michigan screening / bell epiphany, I learned that I am loosing my day job – the job that actually pays my bills. None of my intentionality or planning mattered at that point. I’m simply not in control.

To be honest, my heart is walking a tightrope between mourning and dancing. I am a critical thinker and a processor. It isn’t just loosing my job. It’s deeper than simply finding a way to replace my income. There is a certain sting that hurts your soul when you are told that your purpose and passion are not valuable – at least when you are wired like me. It cuts deep. However, I have learned a couple things through Shorty & Tita in the film ‘Reparando’ :

1. God was, is, and will be in control of Shorty and Tita’s life. And the same holds true for mine.

2. Because God is in control, I don’t need to be.

I cling to this truth as I walk forward in faith, hoping to pursue Athentikos full time. That is my dream and perhaps my calling. Only time will tell. But even if for some reason I cannot pursue this dream, I will joyfully dance to the sound of bells that continue ringing out of control.

Ringing Out of Control

I consider myself a strategic thinker. I like intentionality. On a practical level, that means I put a lot of thought into something before I pursue it. I count costs, develop a plan of attack, and then once there is a clear target … I dive in and invest my entire being into whatever it is I am pursuing. I don’t enjoy investing 50%. I am just not wired that way. There are probably many reasons for this characteristic in my life – not the least of which is my desire for control.

I am a story teller (communicator) by trade. So on one level, I want to have control over a message. I want to ensure that I tell stories with clarity and purpose –  simple stories with a rich depth. I prefer stories that connect with your heart immediately, but also reveal something new each time they are experienced. ‘Reparando’ is such a story.

Our goal was simple on paper: inspire viewers to respond. We set out to accomplish this goal using the metaphor of the repaired doll in the over-arching storyline. We wrestled through pre-production for over a year, weaving this metaphor through the story. Everything was intentional – from the “Michelangelo-esque” feel of the hand reaching down to pick up the doll in the title sequence, to the money exchanged as a ransom for doll parts, to the baptismal washing of the doll, to the white dress … I could go on and on … all of these things were intentionally included to reinforce the story of redemption.

During the editing process, I came across a statement by Shorty that inspired me as I scored music for the film. Shorty says “como campanas en mi meante” or in English, “like ringing bells in my mind” when he remembered the message of God’s love in his life. I loved this concept of ringing bells and employed them in the musical score from the very beginning of the film. Watch the film and listen carefully for bells. You will first hear them in the title sequence as the hand reaches down. Then, you’ll hear bells over and over again throughout the story. This was intentional bell ringing. I wanted to communicate that “God loved Shorty and was present from the beginning.”

OK, now fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the final event of our spring screening tour. Oddly, I listened to something in ‘Reparando’ for the first time. I say listened, because I had heard it before, but not connected the dots.

If you own the DVD, fast forward to the final scene of the movie in the market and listen carefully. As the scene builds and eventually plays out, you will hear the sound of a bell ringing out of control. When I say it is ringing out of control, I mean it. Someone is ringing the heck out of a bell and we had no control over it. It was just the natural sound of the market and a vendor was ringing a bell to gain attention. Little did they (or I) know how profound their bell ringing would become. If you listen for the bell, it is clearly present in this scene. But it sat there unnoticed by me for almost two years as I focused on my own intentionality.

I don’t want to over spiritualize it. But these bells reminded me that no matter how much intentionality I put into something, I am not in control. This lesson could not have come at a more profound time. Case in point … immediately after returning home from the Michigan screening / bell epiphany, I learned that I am loosing my day job – the job that actually pays my bills. None of my intentionality or planning mattered at that point. I’m simply not in control.

To be honest, my heart is walking a tightrope between mourning and dancing. I am a critical thinker and a processor. It isn’t just loosing my job. It’s deeper than simply finding a way to replace my income. There is a certain sting that hurts your soul when you are told that your purpose and passion are not valuable – at least when you are wired like me. It cuts deep. However, I have learned a couple things through Shorty & Tita in the film ‘Reparando’ :

1. God was, is, and will be in control of Shorty and Tita’s life. And the same holds true for mine.

2. Because God is in control, I don’t need to be.

I cling to this truth as I walk forward in faith, hoping to pursue Athentikos full time. That is my dream and perhaps my calling. Only time will tell. But even if for some reason I cannot pursue this dream, I will joyfully dance to the sound of bells that continue ringing out of control.