Qué mundo tan pequeño!

Today was a busy day! I visited the street kids of El Tanque with At Risk No More, and then we drove two blocks down the street to spend some time with María the Doll Lady, who everyone has grown to love from the movie Reparando.

We greeted her in the street, and she immediately invited us into her house.  We brought María a scarf made by someone in Tita’s workshop.  After presenting the scarf and taking a photo we began to talk. María detailed several ways in which Reparando has blessed her.  We were humbled by her immense gratitude.  She mentioned that her life is simple. She works, but only has one obligation, and that is to follow God.  Over and over she shared with us how God has provided everything she needs personally and for her business.  She is very grateful for the work that she has and the blessings that Reparando has brought her.  She even mentioned that she feels a little like a ‘celebrity’ because of the film.  People that have seen Reparando have recognized her within the community and around the Potter’s House.  Her grandchildren also find it amusing when they see their grandmother appear in a movie!

María invited us to the back room of her house where she used to work and store all of her dolls.  However, the room is now less full than it has been in the past, because with so much work she had to find another location down the street to work and keep the dolls.  This room had several finished dolls lying on a bed, but its walls were lined with bags of baby clothing that has since been donated to her through different organizations.  Organizations have donated both money and clothing to María upon seeing the Reparando and being touch by her story, and inspired to respond.

María also shared with us that she has been so blessed that her work has now extended beyond working with the dolls.  She has started working with paper recycling to keep her even busier.  Her kids often urge her to stop working, or at least cut back. But she says her body is used to it and she does not want to stop.  God has blessed her with health and with work that she loves, and therefore she will continue to do it.

Throughout our conversation, she told us about her family, about her work and about her neighborhood.  She told us of kids who sleep in the street outside her house, who never caused trouble or violence, but could always be found sniffing solvent.  She talked with Gary and Rachel of At Risk No More about their work with the kids of the streets, and mentioned El Tanque, a central location where At Risk No More and Athentikos are pursuing change for the kids in the street.  She mentioned Marvin, a young man of El Tanque, whose family lives just across the street from her.  We told her that we knew him and she laughed a little saying that he was like family to her, explaining that her nephew lives with Marvin’s sister.

I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that character from Reparando knows and shares family with a character of Becoming Fools.  Qué mundo tan pequeño!

-Ericha Penzien

Green Light For Becoming Fools

We purchased airline tickets to Guatemala.

Two weeks from today we will board a plane to Guatemala and Becoming Fools will officially move from Pre-Production status to Production! I cannot even begin to explain the excitement that is building in our hearts!

If you have not already done so, please make your pledged donation directly through our website at BecomingFools.com/donate.


You might be asking why we are moving forward even though we didn’t hit our fundraising goal … or … why we didn’t just raise funds through our site to begin with?

We ran a Kickstarter campaign because thought it would allow us to reach a broader audience, outside of our sphere of influence. People from all over the world go to Kickstarter to fund creative projects. It is a great accountability system and caused us to work very hard hard.

We were inspired by the momentum gained in the last week and decided to prepare a contingency plan in case we didn’t reach our goal. So we spent the last three days of our Kickstarter campaign getting our web site set up to receive donations in case we didn’t reach the goal. In the end, we came REALLY close by raising over $105,000, but we didn’t reach our goal. Therefore no cards were charged and none of the pledges were collected.

But stop for a moment …

TOGETHER WE RAISED $105,000 IN CAMPAIGN PLEDGES!

This is HUGE. I cannot state this enough. Seriously … WOW! And when you take into account that the entire Kickstarter web site was down during the last hour or so of our campaign … we probably would have raised even more … maybe even hit our goal!

Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform, so we don’t receive any of those pledges (and again .. your cards were not charged). BUT YOU INSPIRED US! We realized we can move forward taking steps of faith and trust God to bring the rest. So, we purchased airline tickets and are making this official – Becoming Fools has a green light!

As of today, $40,740 has been given through our web site. If you were one of the people who contributed to the $105,000 in pledges, we humbly ask you to help us by giving your pledge through our web site. We believe this story will make a difference and are moving forward into production. Let’s do this together … Comedy wins in the end!

Thanks & God Speed,

Scott Owen Moore

Moving Forward

Thank you for backing Becoming Fools!

We received a $10,000 check today. With that we’ve raised over $100,000!

Unfortunately we did not reach our goal of $150,000, therefore NO MONEY will be transferred due to Kickstarter’s policies. But we are not giving up. With your help, this film can still get underway …

We want to move forward with this important film and will begin production in November.

Please make your donation directly through our website at BecomingFools.com/donate.

Together, we will build on the momentum that has been set in motion the last few weeks and tell this story to ignite a movement to impact the lives of homeless children around the globe.

We will honor the incentives promised to you and keep you updated through our website and bi-monthly emails. If you would like to maximize funds available towards production you can opt out of your incentive.

Please note, after today our Kickstarter project will close and we will not be able to contact you through this page. (But the good news is that we will save money by not having to pay the Kickstarer fee!)

If you have any questions, please email us at info@athentikos.com. And please remember to sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter to receive updates about this project.

Thanks for joining us in Becoming Fools,

Scott and Amelia Moore

Remembering

We’re 48 days into the campaign with two days left to raise our goal … and we have a ways to go to get there. I can remember other times in my life when things seemed impossible. During times like these, I like to go back and read old journal entries that describe road blocks … and detours. They put things in perspective.

On March 4, 2005, After years of wrestling with infertility, I wrote in my Journal:

“I believe in a God of miracles … Lord, my prayer has been ‘If it is your will, then please give us a child’. I want to take risks and be bold in my faith. So as a result, I am changing my prayer. From now on, my prayer is, ‘Lord, please give us a child’. I pray this with expectation of your faithfulness … So much so, that I am leaving space here to write down the date when we receive a child to be able to document your your love and grace.”

On May 11, 2006, Amelia and I flew to Guatemala to receive our son Micah. I sat in seat 16 C and was so excited I couldn’t even write. We celebrated Mother’s Day in Guatemala City with our son a few days later. It was the best Mother’s Day present ever!

Amelia and I were heartbroken in 2005 and it seemed impossible. But I am glad we walked through the realm of impossibility together. And, I’m glad we wrote down the details of our journey – including the depth of our despair. Not so we could focus on the negative, but to illuminate the fact that we didn’t go from the depth of despair to miraculous joy on our own.

Perspective is everything. We can look back and remember, why we started a journey… and why we should keep going. It also helps us remember that we are not alone in this journey … and that the fruit along the way is not only for our own enjoyment.

I decided to get a little perspective. So, I went back and started watching our documentary Reparando. Much like Becoming Fools, there were times during production of Reparando when we didn’t think we could make it. There were times when we were exhausted, laying on the floor … crying for help. But we kept walking on this journey. And, although it was tough … the fruit of that project is exponentially and eternally greater than the sum of the effort we put into it.

I would like to share the first 7 minutes of Reparando with you as a reminder of what is possible and why we continue this journey. Over 4,000 people have liked this project. If everyone who liked it would back it, we would have more than we need to make our goal.

If you have not yet backed this project, I ask you to join us. Make a pledge today and ask your friends to do the same. We can enjoy the journey together. The fruit is sweet.

HELP US HELP THEM. TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

JOIN US IN BECOMING FOOLS.

Happy Birthday, Micah!

(Campaign update: $46,525 pledged // 237 Backers // 2,744 Likes // 13 Days Remaining with $103,475 to raise)

I’d like to introduce to to someone very special. He is sort of the catalyst behind both Reparando and Becoming Fools and he doesn’t even know it … yet.

His name is Micah. He isn’t a homeless youth – but he could have been. He could have walked the streets looking for food. He could have become addicted to sniffing glue as a way to cloud his mind and forget the loneliness. He could have been recruited by a gang and ended up in prison … or even killed in some violent act. He could have … but he didn’t. The author of Micah’s story had something else in mind.

Micah was born to a mother in Guatemala who sadly could not keep him. She knew her son was special. She loved him. In fact, she loved him enough to realize that she couldn’t care for him like he needed. So, she made the decision to give Micah up for adoption. She didn’t know that when she made this decision that she would be part of a much larger story.

In a land far away, a couple was immersed in their personal struggle of infertility. When doctors “couldn’t make it happen through the miracle of medicine”, the couple almost gave up hope that they would have a child of their own. It was difficult for them to understand why God had not allowed them to experience the joy that children bring. But the author wasn’t finished with their story either.

These two broken stories were woven together into a beautiful tapestry of grace. A child was given a family and a family was given the gift of a child. I never grow tired of recounting this beautiful story … because it is ours.

Micah was born six years ago today in Guatemala. We weren’t present at his birth and we didn’t know then, just how special this day would become. We didn’t know the joy that would well up in our life and overflow into others. We didn’t know that we would fall in love with a child and a country. We didn’t know that we would invest years into producing documentaries to try to help this country that gave us the gift of our son. We didn’t know … but now we do … and we are responding. God works in mysterious ways. In the beginning, our story was all about us. We wanted a child. We didn’t realize that our story wasn’t our story at all. It never belonged only to us.

Today as Micah turns six and we celebrate his life, I am reminded that our story is still not our’s alone. When I look into Micah’s big brown eyes and am warmed by his infectious smile and laughter, I can’t even imagine that my precious son could have been walking the streets in Guatemala all alone. I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that there are children Micah’s age who are celebrating their birthday by digging in the trash to look for something to eat. Yet, I have met these children. This is real.

… But the author is not finished with their story … there is HOPE.

We are not producing Becoming Fools to earn grace. We are producing Becoming Fools in response to the grace we have been given. Micah, Amelia and I still have scars, but our scars are beautiful because we share them together in OUR STORY.

There are so many other “Micah’s” who need help. In honor of my son’s birthday, I ask you to give the gift that will remind these children that their story isn’t finished.

Time is running out. Please make a pledge today and help us tell this story.

Partnership Organization: At Risk No More

(Campaign update: $45,575 pledged // 237 Backers // 2,744 Likes // 14 Days Remaining with $104,425 to raise)

At Athentikos, we expose needs through inspiring stories. Becoming Fools is an inspiring story. Part of our model is to use our web site to connect audiences to organizations responding to specific issues .. in this case the issue of homeless youth.

We are partnering with several organizations responding to the issue of homeless youth to seek their expert advice. Additionally, Athentikos will direct people towards these organizations to facilitate response to the story. One such organization is At Risk No More.

At Risk No More (ARNM) is committed to bring God’s love and justice to children at risk by providing a community filled with unconditional love and forgiveness. ARNM seeks to create ways for these desperate children to receive healing and wholeness through Rescue, Refuge, and Released based ministry initiatives. ARNM seeks to develop partnerships with churches and other organizations in order to effectively minister to these desperate children. Currently ARNM assists to facilitate placement of youth living on the streets into rehab centers in Guatemala… and so much more!

We have established a deep relationship with the Executive Directors, Bill & Donna Tepstra and are inspired by their hearts and passion for at risk children. Last November, the Athentikos team visited the street youth in Guatemala City with Bill & Donna. We have spent a lot of time with them in their home of western Michigan.

Thank you to Bill & Donna & the ARNM team for sharing in this vision, for your example of serving others and for your support and encouragement.

I Can’t Sleep

Today it stuck me – we have two weeks left to raise our Kickstarter goal so we can tell this story. This reality keeps me up at night.

I started thinking back to try to remember why and how we got to this point today. I thought through the last several months and all of the work we have put into this campaign since May. I thought back further to the story pre-production which began in January. I thought back further yet to the joy we experienced when we shared Reparando in Guatemala City last November … and the pain we shared when we met these kids who live in the streets.

To be honest, I am tired. I’m really, really tired … physically and emotionally. I think back at all of the sleepless nights I have had over the past year and wonder if I truly am a fool for believing in this story? Sometimes, my head answers this rhetorical question with a resounding, “YES, you are a fool. Give up. You can’t do this!” And … for a moment, I want to throw in the towel and call it quits. But then I remember WHY we want to tell this story – because it is MORE than just a story.

I want to tell this story because even though I CAN’T sleep, I HAVE A BED TO SLEEP IN. Tonight, thousands of children will fall asleep on the pavement in some dark alley. Tonight, thousands of children will cling to the underbelly of an overpass to stay out of the rain. Tonight, thousands of children will sniff glue to try to forget the violence plaguing their hearts and the rumbling of their empty stomachs.

Tonight, while this is happening, I choose to ignore the doubt. I choose to continue to run this race strong to the end and not give up hope that this story CAN be told. Over 2600 people have liked our project. If all of these people backed Becoming Fools, we would be probably be at our goal.

Tonight, I pray that you will make a pledge and choose to join us in Becoming Fools. If you already have backed this project, thank you! Please continue to tell people why this is more than a story.

We are just under 30% with 15 days left. Make a pledge today.

Bonus Incentives!

That’s right, we only have three more weeks until our campaign is over on October 5. To celebrate the interest and momentum in the campaign, we are offering some very special gifts FOR FREE.

Over 2300 people have “Liked” our Becoming Fools Kickstarter Project page. We really appreciate the encouragement and wish we could produce a film with “Likes”, but unfortunately, we can’t. We need our “Likers” to become “Backers” in order to tell this story.

To encourage “Likers” to become “Backers”, we are adding some new bonus incentives as a way to say thank you. Why wait? Back Becoming Fools today!

BONUS INCENTIVES:

1. DOWNLOAD A FREE SONG TODAY
EVERY PLEDGE will receive a FREE SONG DOWNLOAD from our dear friend AMY STROUP (www.amystroup.com). Pledges start at $1 and you get the song TODAY!

2. ALL PLEDGES OVER $25 GET THE FILM SOUNDTRACK FOR FREEAs an added bonus on top of the other incentives, all pledges over $25 will receive the film soundtrack! So, for $25 you get the film AND the soundtrack … and you help tell a story that will make a difference in the lives of street kids! We are planning some incredible music for this film and look forward to sharing it with you.

GET YOUR FREE SONG NOWWe are excited to partner with Amy Stroup to bring you this offer. Here is how to receive your FREE SONG:

1) Back the Becoming Fools Kickstarter Project at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/306542054/becoming-fools-a-documentary (Check out the project info and then click on the green “BACK THIS PROJECT” on the right). Remember to include your city to enter the World Premiere Contest.

2) Post the following status on Facebook and/or Twitter:

“GET A FREE SONG from Amy Stroup & support kids living on the streets of Guatemala at http://tinyurl.com/3uwsmbv

3) We’ll send you a link to download your FREE SONG!

4) Enjoy! Keep talking about this project and it’s impact to bring hope to thousands of children living on the streets.(All current backers, just do steps #2-#4)

ABOUT AMY STROUP
Singer / songwriter Amy Stroup joined Athentikos on our first production trip to Guatemala in 2009 to help with Reparando. Amy met Italo during this trip and was moved by his vision for the forgotten children growing up on the streets of Guatemala. She responded with her own talents and wrote “Orphan Clothes” with Mary Hooper.

Amy Stroup approaches her art with passion. Over the past 18 months, her songs have been featured in over 20 hit TV shows including “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Brothers & Sisters,” “Private Practice,” “One Tree Hill”, “Army Wives” and “Pretty Little Liars.”. Her new CD — “The Other Side of Love Sessions,” released in stores on June 28 — compiles the best songs from her previous digital-only EPs and bathes them in a new light. “All these songs,” Amy says, “explore different types of love. When you actually live through something real, you realize there are a lot of aspects of love. There’s a lot of pain. It takes courage. There’s something you have to fight for.”

Amy is currently on tour with TEN OUT OF TENN (http://www.10outoftenn.com).

Sharing Hope – Willy & Mefi

In this heartwarming video update filmed last week in Guatemala, “Willy the Magician” and “Mefi the Juggler”, two boys who grew up on the streets of Guatemala City show us their talents and share some of their hope for the future. There are thousands of kids like this who need help.

We cried when we watched this video and it makes us want to tell this story even more. We hope it produces the same response in you.

As of today we have 180 backers and are 25% of the way to our goal. We need your help to hit our goal before October 5, 2011 in order to produce this story.

If you like this project, but haven’t backed it, will you join us in Becoming Fools?