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.

Press Release – Omaha Film Festival

February 14, 2011

Contact: Scott Moore


Reparando, a documentary on Guatemala’s attempt to rise above a 36-year civil war, to premiere at Omaha Film Festival March 5.

Omaha, NE—Athentikos presents ‘Reparando’, a documentary on Guatemala’s struggle to repair itself and its people following a 36-year civil war at the Omaha Film Festival on Saturday, March 5 at the Great Escape Theatre. Show starts at 2:30 p.m. and is appropriate for all ages.

The documentary follows Shorty, a pastor and former gang member, and Tita, who started a school in Guatemala’s most notorious slum, as they join forces to invoke positive change and repair the country and its people.

“In 2006, my wife and I visited Guatemala to meet our adopted son for the first time,” says Scott Moore, producer of ‘Reparando’, who is a Hastings College graduate. “We were amazed by the contrast between beauty of the land and the unbelievable hardships of the people.”

75% of Guatemala’s population lives below the poverty line. An estimated 20,000 children live in orphanages and at least 6,000 more in the streets of Guatemala City alone. Hindering their rise from these conditions are gang culture, chronic malnutrition, poor education and a lack of resources.

Moore and his wife, Amelia, began to investigate the cause of these issues and traced it to what was essentially a loss of an entire generation due to the civil war. But they see hope rising.

“I’m thrilled to finally be able to share the incredible story of ‘Reparando’ with the public in the hopes of inspiring people to live generously with their time, talents and treasure”, says Moore.

For more information on ‘Reparando’, visit www.reparandomovie.com.

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Reparando Guatemala – Episode 5

Behind the scenes with Athentikos as they travel to Guatemala for the premiere of ‘Reparando’. Episode 5 highlights the final day of Art Camp in Ciudad Vieja, diplomas and the search for the Ortiz family … including walking into a strangers house by mistake.

Stay tuned for next episode when Athentikos premieres ‘Reparando’ at Casa Santo Domingo in Antigua!

I thought I knew, but I only thought …

By Scott Moore
Nashville, TN

We recently learned that ‘Reparando’ is an official selection of the 2011 Omaha Film Festival. This is good news for a few reasons. First, it is another opportunity to share the story to a new and diverse audience. Secondly, it adds more credibility to our project. And thirdly, I get to re-connect with some of my college friends.

The Omaha Film Festival has stirred up some memories. Its been 20 years since I first walked on to the campus of Hastings College. Hastings is a small town in the middle of the continent. For a Navy Brat, is was about as far away from the ocean I could have gone – at least on the continent of North America. It’s a long story to explain how I actually got there in the first place, and even longer to explain how all my siblings ended up there as well. We are all Hastings grads. Hastings is a part of our story. I’m looking forward to catching up with old classmates, enjoying some good food and conversation. I’ll probably even do some dancing … but probably not the “running man”.

A lot has changed in 20 years, but a couple things have stayed the same. I am still passionate about creative storytelling, and I am drawn to stories involving culture. High school in Okinawa, Japan certainly impacted my worldview. But so did college in small town America. Both extremes helped me realize the fact that people are people, no matter where you go. There are fears and flaws in every culture. But there are also beauty and richness. To enjoy the beauty, we must embrace the flaws.

I have also realized over the years that I am full of flaws … pride and envy … lack of patience … pride (I include it twice on purpose) … just to get the list started. On their own, these would be considered tragic flaws. I am Hamlet, Macbeth, and Anakin Skywalker rolled into one. Thankfully my flaws are countered with a belief of something bigger than myself. I believe in a story bigger than mine. I am not the leading role, but a mere extra at best. I am the captain of my destiny, AND I willingly give up the ship to a navigator who knows all. I thought I knew, but I only thought …

Back in the day, I wanted to be a film director. Today, I direct films … there is a distinct difference …

Reparando Guatemala – Episode 3

Behind the scenes with Athentikos as they travel to Guatemala for the premiere of ‘Reparando’.

Episode 3 includes the Athentikos Art Camp & Photography Class.

Stay tuned for more episodes …

Guatemala Trip : Community Visits

By Matt Eldredge
Nashillve, TN

One of the best days of my very first trip to Guatemala (in November 2010) was our visit to the Refuge Women’s Shelter and then to meet Pastor Jorge, some of the many families he is helping, and his church family at Refuge City. Best not only for the experience and excitement of seeing these new places where God is at work, meeting new people and hearing their stories, but also for the way those stories and testimonies wrecked my heart and mind.

That Wednesday morning I was invited to go along with Scott, Amelia, and Cesar to first visit the El Refugio women’s shelter and then Refuge City church and Radical Mission. That was an amazing time of visiting with their ministry, being treated to delicious cinnamon rolls and coffee for breakfast, and then of course hearing the sweet women share their stories. Afterward, I was already quite emotional and the weight of all we had just heard was so heavy on my heart and mind. But God is faithful! Our healer, awesome in power. Now the girls here are breaking the cycle of abuse. I watched as my friend, Cesar,  was also responding to these stories in his heart, and mine filled with warmth for what God was doing through the shelter to impact my friends in Guatemala. Thank you Cesar for your response about that special visit.

After our visit there, I was actually glad we had a little breather and I could mentally process and recover while waiting for one of the Refuge City church leaders to come get us. He picked us up and we rode to Burger King for lunch, and it was delicious, fresher and better than the states, of course! Pastor Jorge and his wife Annie met up with us there and Jorge started sharing the story of his past. Now here is a man that you could just sit for hours listening to his heart and his amazing story! It turns out that they both used to be high ranking in a militia and came to Guatemala after having to flee for their lives. You would never be able to tell just from seeing Jorge and Annie and their hearts, and I probably can’t share too many details for their protection, but needless to say these guys have an amazing testimony and are now radically saved. Jorge shared about many of the struggles of doing the ministry God has called him to. He has stuck to his calling and remains faithful even when some in the church try to discourage him from helping the sick, poor, and needy when it will not financially benefit him or the church. It was such a blessing to hear his passion for changing the community and see his faithfulness to God’s calling.

We drove to their house church, which is actually a garage type space, a big open room right next to his house that he gives to the church every week for their use. Other families across the street also give their houses each week for Sunday school! I was amazed just to see how he drove into the garage space, across two really narrow groups of pipe pieces. I would have been scared to attempt it, but Guatemalans are so resourceful!

Jorge then drove us in to visit with several of the orphan care families. They all live in a squatter settlement. During the war, so many people were displaced from their land and homes, and then the government divided this area up where families just live in shack type houses with no city services, no running water, nada.

One of the main missions they have is taking care of the orphans and abused and getting them off the street. The church has several families that are currently raising orphans, not to mention the countless that he and his wife have taken in themselves and helped with all their basic needs. The government has no official program to deal with the situation, but since Jorge and the church have been so active in helping for so long, they are actually being officially recognized as care providers and will hopefully be Government registered soon!

We got to visit several of these special adoptive families. The first was an amazing couple, 84 and 85 years old, that have taken in 4 kids! Jorge joked that this woman is probably stronger than he is and full of life. She still cooks and bakes many delicious foods to support her family, I think the jist was that she can do it all. The kids might affectionately call her “Grandma” considering her age but they know she loves them as her children. Their oldest boy was one of the smartest in his class, a very talented musician, and they are hoping to be able to send him to a great music program. He also teaches his own class of younger kids music and other art forms like dance. He really struck me as being so mature and responsible and wanting to do his best to take care of his family.

At the next home we visited, the foster parents were away but we met a 17-year-old girl that was so full of life and beauty, and her precious 2-year-old boy. She is overcoming a painful past and shared with us how very grateful she is for all the ways God is blessing her. Through the church and foster shelter, God provided her a really nice home and also paint and supplies so she can make money selling her own artwork! My heart broke for her and her son but it was also amazing to see God’s beauty reflected in her face and her art and how He is at work to redeem and repair their lives.

Then we went to another shelter where the oldest daughter, 19 years old, was home taking care of 4 of her 5 siblings. The next oldest daughter, 17 years old, was away at work and was a victim of abuse. She now has her own baby son. We played and took photos of the children for a little bit. It was refreshing to see their innocent smiles.

From there Jorge drove us through to another neighborhood and to an overlook down onto a beautiful valley and lake. There was a golf course hidden behind a huge wall of trees. The trees planted to block out the sight of their community and the needs they have. We then drove past an old coffee processing plant. The plant got busted for polluting the area, letting waste runoff drain down to the lake so they were shut down. Jorge shared his vision of purchasing and turning this space into a giant youth center with several indoor soccer fields and space for the kids of the community to be loved on and cared for, and away from the street and gangs! We need to pray that this will happen soon for their community. One of the biggest problems and recurring issues is the cycle of abuse from men to their wives and own daughters. Women are treated like trophies or possessions and then their children are left neglected or abandoned, or families are simply unable to provide the proper care and education to break the cycle. Abuse may be the only way of life they ever know, with no way out in sight. That’s why the work people like the El Refugio Women’s Shelter and Jorge’s church is so needed, and why we need to support them! We can change this generation, showing these young men and women the love of Christ and raising up new leaders for the next generation who will know how to love and care for their families with the support of these ministries, and us! I am so thankful to now have these friends who are responding and can continue to have direct hands on experience helping out with all the needs and opportunities we were able to hear. I definitely feel responsible for everything I saw in Guatemala. There are many opportunities for us to financially contribute through micro-enterprise and giving, but this first burden I am feeling is prayer, lots of prayer, no ceasing- it’s time to get serious!

As we were leaving the settlement, Jorge said he had to be honest with us and wanted us to hear it from him and not someone else: if we hear that it is very dangerous to go into these areas and minister, they are right. It is a hard place but this is the ministry God has called him to and he remains faithful that the Lord will provide, AMEN!

Reparando Guatemala – Episode 2

Behind the scenes with Athentikos as they travel to Guatemala for the premiere of ‘Reparando’.

Episode 2 includes Cafe Condesa, exploring ruins, and researching micro-enterprise.

Stay tuned for more episodes …

Reparando Guatemala – Episode 1

Join Athentikos as they travel to Guatemala to premiere ‘Reparando’, participate in Art Camps for children and scout future stories.

In Episode 1, Athentikos travels from Atlanta to Guatemala City and finally to Antigua where they enjoy dinner with members of the Athentikos: Guatemala Team.

Stay tuned for more episodes …