Becoming Fools at Sundance, What?

Becoming Fools at Sundance, What?

I should start right off by saying, no, Becoming Fools did not get into the Sundance Film Festival… well, not as an official selection that is. The long story short is, Canon, the world renown camera maker, contacted us through their marketing firm and had seen some of the work I had done with one of their cameras. They especially noticed that I had used the camera exclusively while shooting Becoming Fools back in 2012. They asked permission to possibly use some clips from the film in some of their marketing campaigns. We agreed, even signed a disclosure statement, but then did not hear of what came of the footage, whether it was used or not.

However, we just got word recently that they did use the clips and that footage is featured in their demo reel which is being showcased at the Sundance Film Festival. Sundance is already underway and will continue till January 26th.

So if you’re attending the festival, work your way to any of the Canon exhibits and catch the showreel in action. If you’re not attending the festival, don’t worry, we have a video of the footage here.

We are thrilled and honored to have the Becoming Fools right up there with films by directors and cinematographers of the likes of Ron Howard, Scott Waugh, Shane Hurlbut ASC, Steven Poster ASC, and Anthony Dod Mantle ASC, just to name a few. If those names do not sound familiar look any of them up at http://imdb.com and you will see the long, extensive and impressive work these filmmakers have done… Becoming Fools is in good company!

Join us in sharing the excitement of this news by sharing this post! And feel free to comment on how many times you see footage from the film. Hint: There’s 4!

Deliver The Story
: The Canon Showreel at PhotoPlus 2013 from Canon Pro on Vimeo.

Becoming Fools at Sundance, What?

A Fools Guide to sharing Becoming Fools

A Fools Guide to Sharing Becoming Fools

We understand it can be overwhelming with all of the different social networks and all the ways to share something, even when you’re eager to share it! And we know many of you have asked us, “how can I spread the word about Becoming Fools?” So we decided to make it easy for you. Below we provided all of the current social media outlets we are active on, our home pages, hashtags to use and even some sample messaging. We hope this will make it easier and more effective to share your excitement about Becoming Fools and the issues of homelessness and at-risk youth the film addresses.

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Our Homepages

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram
Youtube
Vimeo
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[one_half last=last]

Hashtags and ID’s

@Athentikos
#BecomingFools
#atriskyouth
#homelessyouth
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[clear]

Sample Messaging

Just copy [Cntrl+C] and paste [Cntrl+V] any of the text blocks below into Facebook, Twitter, Google+, any social media outlet where you can share content.

It took @Athentikos over 2 years to produce it. Now’s the time to launch it. #BecomingFools http://bit.ly/19tSWNl

#BecomingFools is finished. Help @Athentikos launch the screening tour! http://bit.ly/19tSWNl

Help #atriskyouth by supporting the #BecomingFools Screening Tour http://bit.ly/19tSWNl @Athentikos

#BecomingFools is complete, help @Athentikos now get an audience to see it and raise awareness of #homelessyouth http://bit.ly/19tSWNl

A Fools Guide to Sharing Becoming Fools

A Filmmaker’s Response to Film Festivals

Film festivals are a mixed bag when it comes the effectiveness of exposure for a film. On one hand, getting your film shown at a film festival instantly gains you a laurel, you know, one of those leafy little graphics wrapped around the film festival name. You’re proud to show it off on any postcard, movie poster and disc jacket you have done up for your film. Having more than one laurel (in other words, getting into more than one film festival) is like winning more than one gold medal, you just wear them all!

However, on the other hand, depending on the size of the festival, you’re a small fish in a huge ocean when it comes to having a decent size audience actually see your film. I personally have been at film festivals where the audience was packed, slam full. But on the other hand I’ve been in theaters where there was myself and about five others. And I can pretty much assume at least one of the five was the director and the rest was the director’s family.

Large or small, the best thing that can happen for you having your film at a film festival is to maximize the opportunities to learn, observe and network. Learn from other filmmakers and other professionals in the industry from their experience. Observe other films and talk to the filmmakers. Get an insight as to how they made their film and what their experience was like. And network with others, you never know who you will meet and how they may have an impact on your current and/or future projects.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Scott to see ‘Becoming Fools’ at the Omaha Film Festival. We made the 12 hour trek to the great city of Omaha just recently. The film was to show on the last day of the festival so we had three days prior to see what other films were showing and get a gauge of what other selections were made. We saw both narrative and documentary films. I will have to say I was pleased to see that not only films are still being made with little to no budgets but that the quality of the films are getting better, even on such tight financial constraints. Some narrative films hosted talent by working actors, some even in popular tv shows and other films you may have seen. I think it’s safe to assume that many actors and actresses are doing these independent films for the love of what they do and their love for the story. I’m encouraged by this as we look forward to future productions.

Omaha Film Festival is only in it’s either year so it’s not as large as others but having been there two years prior for the showing of ‘Reparando’ I will say it has grown. That said, the film we saw seem to have an average audience size of 50-75 people. Some of the documentaries we saw had less. But even the short films group seem to draw the most, I would guess to maybe 100-150.

A Filmmakers Response to Film FestivalsWe woke up on the day of the showing for ‘Becoming Fools’ to about 6 inches of snow and more was coming! The film was showing at noon and by the time we arrived at the theater a few more inches had fell and the wind was kicking up gail force winds. Needless to say we were told some groups of people we were expecting were not going to be able to make it. I for sure thought that it would only be Scott and I, Amelia and their boys, Darlene and our friend Major in the theater. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only our local friends and family showed up in support but people as far away as Minneapolis drove through the crazy snow storm just to see the film! All total we had 50 people, not bad!

I won’t say it was a total waste of time and effort. In fact, probably the opposite. We made a few more friends, got great feedback about the film and even planted a seed about where we are going from here to the festival producers. As I stated earlier, the best thing to do as a filmmaker at film festivals is to maximize your opportunities to learn, observe and network. I think we did just that!

A Filmmaker's Response to Film Festivals

Film festivals are a mixed bag when it comes the effectiveness of exposure for a film. On one hand, getting your film shown at a film festival instantly gains you a laurel, you know, one of those leafy little graphics wrapped around the film festival name. You’re proud to show it off on any postcard, movie poster and disc jacket you have done up for your film. Having more than one laurel (in other words, getting into more than one film festival) is like winning more than one gold medal, you just wear them all!

However, on the other hand, depending on the size of the festival, you’re a small fish in a huge ocean when it comes to having a decent size audience actually see your film. I personally have been at film festivals where the audience was packed, slam full. But on the other hand I’ve been in theaters where there was myself and about five others. And I can pretty much assume at least one of the five was the director and the rest was the director’s family.

Large or small, the best thing that can happen for you having your film at a film festival is to maximize the opportunities to learn, observe and network. Learn from other filmmakers and other professionals in the industry from their experience. Observe other films and talk to the filmmakers. Get an insight as to how they made their film and what their experience was like. And network with others, you never know who you will meet and how they may have an impact on your current and/or future projects.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Scott to see ‘Becoming Fools’ at the Omaha Film Festival. We made the 12 hour trek to the great city of Omaha just recently. The film was to show on the last day of the festival so we had three days prior to see what other films were showing and get a gauge of what other selections were made. We saw both narrative and documentary films. I will have to say I was pleased to see that not only films are still being made with little to no budgets but that the quality of the films are getting better, even on such tight financial constraints. Some narrative films hosted talent by working actors, some even in popular tv shows and other films you may have seen. I think it’s safe to assume that many actors and actresses are doing these independent films for the love of what they do and their love for the story. I’m encouraged by this as we look forward to future productions.

Omaha Film Festival is only in it’s either year so it’s not as large as others but having been there two years prior for the showing of ‘Reparando’ I will say it has grown. That said, the film we saw seem to have an average audience size of 50-75 people. Some of the documentaries we saw had less. But even the short films group seem to draw the most, I would guess to maybe 100-150.

A Filmmakers Response to Film FestivalsWe woke up on the day of the showing for ‘Becoming Fools’ to about 6 inches of snow and more was coming! The film was showing at noon and by the time we arrived at the theater a few more inches had fell and the wind was kicking up gail force winds. Needless to say we were told some groups of people we were expecting were not going to be able to make it. I for sure thought that it would only be Scott and I, Amelia and their boys, Darlene and our friend Major in the theater. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only our local friends and family showed up in support but people as far away as Minneapolis drove through the crazy snow storm just to see the film! All total we had 50 people, not bad!

I won’t say it was a total waste of time and effort. In fact, probably the opposite. We made a few more friends, got great feedback about the film and even planted a seed about where we are going from here to the festival producers. As I stated earlier, the best thing to do as a filmmaker at film festivals is to maximize your opportunities to learn, observe and network. I think we did just that!

The Official Becoming Fools Movie Trailer

Drum roll, please …. After much anticipation, we are thrilled to release the official Becoming Fools Movie Trailer.

We’re not yet finished with the film, but we’re close. It’s in the final phase of post-production: coloring, music, mixing, animation, art, and credits.

After a year of pre-production and research, 6 months of production and 6 months of editing and post-production, we are rounding the turn towards the finish line. My heart has swung through all emotions imaginable over the course of this journey – from loving the story, to absolutely hating it, to loving it again.

The production phase is my favorite. It is a time when we are out in the world together, collaborating, capturing a story and experiencing the richness of community. It’s hard work, but somehow we don’t notice because we are together. You should hear the laughter at 2 AM when we’re logging footage, after a 12 hour shoot in a dirty environment … and the water is off, so you can’t take a shower before bed. It is a true joy!

Then there is the flip side. If production is a joy because of community, then editing is the Alcatraz prison of loneliness. To be honest, I often wrestle with depression while editing a film. It is a long period of isolation in the “editing cave” with only small spurts of community when we evaluate the film. And because those small doses of community are focused on critically evaluating the film, it usually results in me having to spend more time editing in isolation. Don’t get me wrong. I greatly value constructive criticism during the process and want our films to be the best they can be! It just begins to take its toll after 6 months of 16 hour work days. Needless to say, I am very glad that I can see the light at the end of the editing tunnel!

After all this work, the film is slightly different than we originally imagined. But, this is normal because you never have control over all the production elements in a documentary. In this case, we were thrown some pretty big wild cards during production. I compared it to riding a wild bull. We just held on tight, kept the cameras rolling, and prayed we were capturing what we needed to tell a great story. Thankfully, we captured some great stuff!

During a recent Athentikos meeting, we engaged in a deep and honest discussion about the film. We asked some  tough questions ….

Is this a compelling story?

Does this film achieve what we set out to do?

Is the story depicted in the final edit the same story we passionately felt called to produce in the beginning?

It was unanimous. Even though the story is different than we initially imagined, it compellingly accomplishes the goal we set out to achieve. This is the story God called us to tell.

It’s full of warm characters, beautiful tension and redemption that we couldn’t have written better if we wrote it as a narrative. It still makes me cry … and I have seen it thousands of times over the course of editing! So, either I am completely off my rocker, or this story truly connects to the heart.

As we work diligently to wrap up the final details in this project, I have mixed emotions. I’ve committed 2 years of my life to developing, filming and editing this story. I’ve grown to love these street youth as dear friends. Their delicate charm has captured my heart! I would love for this film to raise awareness and bring needed resources to this issue! But, I have no idea what will become of it all.

We raised enough funding to get through production. But we still lack the financial resources to release the film. Unfortunately, we can’t subsidize this next phase with our sweat equity. Unless we receive additional funding, we will be forced to put the film on hold. We truly believe this story has the potential to make a difference in the lives of street youth around the world. But we need your help … will you consider giving a donation?

As of right now, we only have one official film screening planned. Let’s make it count!

Becoming Fools will screen at the Omaha Film Festival on Sunday March 10 at 12:15 PM.

Gather your friends and meet us there! If you are too far away to attend, please help us make noise so we can try to fill the theater. Use every means necessary to tell people about this opportunity to see the film: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, phone calls, post cards, smoke signal … and especially talking face to face!

Please watch the trailer and share it. Give a donation if you can. Work with us to help bring the film to your city. Let’s become fools together and make a difference!

Give a tax-deductible donation to help us release the film.

Why do we keep marching forward in something that seems so foolish?

We are fools.

Why do we keep marching forward in something that seems so foolish?

Seriously, sometimes I wonder if I am just stubborn or stupid. Either way, we are foolish for marching forward. Today, I finally finished editing Becoming Fools … and …  we received our first response back from a film festival in which we submitted the film. It went like this:

“I’m sorry to inform you that your project was not selected … Best of luck with your future projects.”

Not the most encouraging news on this milestone of production …

Now, let me set the stage for this message. I’ve been working on the Becoming Fools documentary for two years; full time for the last year and a half. And really … Full time is an understatement. It’s more like 16 hours a day, 6 days a week. I don’t share this for sympathy. I share it to reinforce the fact that I am truly, without a doubt … foolish.

From the very beginning, every step of this journey has been foolish. It’s been a marathon of impossible hurdles strung together to taunt our souls to give up:

▪    The protagonist of the story died while we were in pre-production.
▪    Amelia and I lost our day jobs within 3 weeks of each other & we were left without secure income.
▪    Our Kickstarter fundraiser failed to raise the funds we needed to produce the film.
▪    Funds were not raised to pay for the live theatrical event which is documented in the film.
▪    The lead character of the live theatrical event quit and went back to the streets.
▪    485 hours of footage needed to be translated before we could edit it down to feature length
▪    The edit took 5 months of working 16 hours a day, six days a week.
▪    We missed the opportunity to enter several large film festivals for the season.
▪    Technical difficulties made finalizing the edit very difficult.
▪    Our 1st Film Festival notice was negative.
▪    We don’t have any funds to release the film.

… And yet we continue …. WHY?

There are days in which I wonder if I have wasted the last few years of my life investing into this foolish endeavor. Somedays it stings the very core of my being and I feel like a total failure.

But then I take a deep breath and remember why we started this project: it is a story that needs to be shared so that it may inspire.

What is failure? What is foolish? Italo could be considered both. He lived his life according to the passion that God gave him. He risked his life in dangerous city streets to care for kids who were not likely to change. In fact, most of the kids he cared for still wrestle with some sort of addiction and never totally left the streets. But Italo didn’t die in the streets where he risked his life. And … His passion was reborn into not just one person, but an entire community of fools that believe they can make a difference together.

Was Italo a fool? Yes. Was he a failure? Absolutely not.

Like Italo, we continue because we ARE fools living life according to the passion God has given us, and with that established, there is no way we can fail. So we keep marching forward …

 

Will you consider giving a tax-deductible donation to help us finish this story & make a difference in the lives of homeless youth?

Give a tax-deductible donation.

 

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

Nothing fills the soul like applause. As the receiver and the giver.

So many emotions flood that one moment: the sense of accomplishment, the sorrow of the end, the struggle of the hard work and the desire for more. It is reflection of countless hours of rehearsal and sacrifice; and of the belief that you could be more. It’s a time to celebrate, to come together. In this moment, you realize you didn’t give up, that your voice was heard, that others accepted you.

Life without applause slowly crushes the soul. Who believes in me? Who will be my champion? Who will celebrate with me? Who will allow me to have a voice?

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

For one week in June, I sat in a dark rehearsal theater in Guatemala City watching youth from the streets who have been given the opportunity to accomplish a huge task. I wondered if most of their lives were like the dark, cold theater. No audience. Little light. Unfinished work. Doubt. Disbelief. Frustration. Silence longing for applause.

Disbelief filled my thoughts, “There was no way this was coming together.” I was here as a champion for them, but I disbelieved. Could this event really come together? Could they REALLY accomplish this task? Did they have enough determination, enough skill… enough confidence?

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

For those of you new to our story: My husband and I are connected to Guatemala through the adoption of our two sons. We wanted to have a continued investment in the country and decided to respond with our skills in film and photography by sharing inspirational stories of hope. Therefore, we produced a documentary film, Reparando, which was completed in 2010.  We are now working on a second documentary film project, Becoming Fools. This project is about young men and women who left their homes, lost their family or were abandoned as children and grew up on the streets of Guatemala.  The streets of Guatemala City are home to more than 6,000 youth. Many of these children start their life of streets as young as 8 years old. They sleep in abandoned lots, beg or steal for money and get high to forget their hunger, the cold, the rain or worse.

However, they are not alone. Individuals and organizations working in the streets are making a difference in the lives of these marginalized children and young people. And one such man had a dream to host a clown workshop.

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

The handful of youth participating in the clown workshop had the opportunity to perform in front of 400 people at a large theater in Guatemala City. The purpose of this event was to bring to awareness the situation of youth and children living on the streets of Guatemala City. This theatrical performance was the final event in a series of weeklong activities entitled Festival: Voz De Las Calles. Through laughter and learning, professional clowns have been investing time and love into this group, teaching them the beautiful art of clowning. This performance was a dream for many members of the community. It gave the youth a chance to perform with professional clowns, taught them to dream, believe, achieve and receive applause from their community.

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

Applause The Show

The story of the show reflected their real life story acted out as clowns. Here’s the synopsis: The heartwarming journey of a clown turns into a tale of friendship and adventure as he finds new friends in unusual circumstances and teaches them his art of clowning. They find new joy in their skills and each decides to follow him to “The King’s Party.” Along the way, they encounter some obstacles, but are determined to together bring laughter and faith to the community around them.

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

The Purpose Of Our Documentary

As you may know, Scott spend two months in Guatemala this spring documenting the preparation of the clown event, the progress of the rehearsal and interviewing experts about the issue of kids who live and work on the streets. I was able to join him for the last two weeks, which included the theatrical performance. It was definitely a stressful week leading up to the show. Nothing is stable or consistent in the lives of children and youth living at risk on the streets. Their thought processes, decision making and behavior only mirrors the lack of stability in their own lives. While it is extremely devastating to see their immature actions, I am humbled by their courage to continue to live, grow and find family in the midst of difficult odds. While their clown performance is only a small moment in their lives, the hope and prayers of the community is that they would all see the rewards of hard work and this would be an inspiration on a variety of levels. I know it was for me.

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

And I am extremely proud to say that even in the midst of chaos and drama, the performance was beautiful. It was an honor to stand and give applause to the youth performers. Their talent and determination is amazing. And so we will be sharing their stories AND their performance in the documentary film, Becoming Fools, which we hope to complete by the end of 2012.

Here are some more of photos of the film production, which included a trip to Lake Atitlan and some underwater filming for me. This area has a special place in the story of the project; and is now one of my favorite places in Guatemala! And we got to have a little fun too. We also spent time with a sweet group of siblings who recently tragically lost their mother.

You have the opportunity to join the applause. We will share more about our documentary as it unfolds, however you can support the project now through a donation.

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

A Moment of Applause Fills the Soul

Photography by Amelia Moore for Athentikos.

Cables, Stories, Friends & Hope

By: Hubert Bendfeldt
Guatemala City, Guatemala

Some of the “A” Team: Jonathan, Major, Darlene, Hubert, Scott, Matt, Cesar, Katie, Tyler, Tina & Amelia

It’s hard for me to write a post about a trip that meant so much for me. As a Guatemalan, it was a privilege to be part of the Athentikos team. I didn’t get to hang out that much other than at the Guatemala “Reparando” Premiere screenings due to the fact that most of my participation was at the shows.  I was responsible for setting up the audio and visual components of the event. So most of my memories start several hours before the show with the computers and cables. I remember the long days with Matt Eldredge (from the US Athentikos Team) at the Mall and all of the other stuff that made us sweat while we set up! It was interesting to see the empty venues for hours before tons of people would come and fill the empty chairs with faces full of excitement and expectation. During the actual event, I sat in the projection room and would try to not to move to make sure that no cable would be touched nor unplugged. I was so nervous!

Photos of the “Reparando” screenings in Guatemla City; (photo above) Liz, Scott and Joel sharing after the film.

But among all of those things, (all the work, logistics, walkie-talkies, black shirts, cables, lights, DVDs, etc.) I found moments during the projection of the film to stop and just watch at people’s faces. During different moments of the movie, I could see how God was working in their hearts, how people’s eyes were being opened, and tears being shed. I enjoyed watching the different shades of color reflecting on people faces and the sound filling the room with words in Spanish and English. I would sometimes pray, sometimes sigh, sometimes just stand there and watch.

For me, all of this was just divine moments in which I could see God working. The film is transforming lives and is calling people to respond. After the showings people eagerly went to the tables to buy DVD’s and t-shirts or sign up to “respond”.  Over 1,300 people viewed the film just in 5 showings during the Premiere Week in Antigua and Guatemala City! We had such an amazing response, that we added a FIFTH show which filled up in less than 24 hours! The movement that all of this is creating so far is beautiful.

After the show when everyone was gone, I would find Jonathan {Porta} and give him a huge hug. I just hope and pray that all of this is just a bit of what God wants to do in Guatemala. I think the desire for everyone that participated in making of the film and the events is HOPE. And this film is the start not the end towards that for my country. My prayer is that this movie would continue to stir something within Guatemalan’s people hearts.

Hubert working with Jonathan about pre-show logistics… the hugs came later…

Now it’s time to dance (with Major)

A little team futbol.

Jonathan, Scott and Hubert at the airport

Most of my stories are about the showings and what happened behind scenes, about the time we would share together as a team, about the conversations that I had with people, about individuals, about the brothers and sisters that I encountered during that time. No one can deny that those 2 weeks were intense, we had fun, we made new friends, we shared stories, our hearts were transformed, and we became family.

This trip for me is hope, good news, new friends, a reminder of the last, the least and the lost, a reminder of my responsibility towards them, new ideas, new vision for a lot of Guatemalans; this trip means more than what I can explain on paper or video. This trip was beautiful, this trip was laughter, this trip was sharing, this trip was learning, this trip was friendship, this trip, was part of our lives…

And for many of us, this trip, is just the beginning.

Our Guate Family

By Amelia Moore
Nashville, TN (written in Guatemala City)

A little back story if you are new to our blog: This trip is exciting for me because we are premiering our documentary film project, “Reparando.” My husband, Scott, and I have lead a team of volunteers for two and half years to produce a 70-minute feature film which highlights the vast needs in Guatemala and how Guatemalans are responding to the needs in their communities. It’s a broad story of restoration and hope through specific people. I’ve now seen the film over 50 times and it still moves me. This week we have shown it in huge theaters in Guatemala City & Antigua, a High School and a church. The viewers’ responses have overwhelmed me: young people wanting to make difference; people who are already giving want to do more; individuals that want to invest in the least, the last and the lost of society; a high school student who wants to rally her peers; a grandmother crying; missionaries that desire to show the film to their churches; and more…

Five years ago we came to Guatemala to start our family… and God has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams in this regard. We have adopted two beautiful boys (Micah & Elliot) that were born in Guatemala and beyond that God has given us many friends that we consider family as well! I have been overwhelmed by the team of people God has placed in our lives to accomplish this task in the US and in Guatemala. In the US, God brought specific people to the project every step of the way: graphic designers, financial guys, admin folks, translators, artists, cinematographers, marketing folks and more! We have been unified by a common passion. Here’s a photo of the amazing people that have joined the team for this trip which include many of our best friends from Nashville and my fun mom from Virginia. And for a few, it was their first visit to Guatemala.

Here in Guatemala our friends from EdT and Freedom Guatemala have worked hard to organize, promote and manage the events: Joel, Jonathan, Hubert, Liz, Sylvia, Gary and a team of over 20 volunteers! I have been amazed at how humbly they have all worked together. They have encountered many obstacles this week and continually they praise God for His provision. It was an extreme blessing to be served by them and to watch them all work together to make each premiere event a huge success. God has also brought into our lives a very dear friend, Cesar, who has served our team as a translator and team coordinator (on all of our Athentikos trips). Cesar also joined us in the states in September to help us with the US premiers this fall. So we have also had the honor of living with Cesar the last two months. We have been so blessed by his calming presence and fun spirit. And our boys fell in love with Cesar. He has become part of our family and we are so thankful for the time we have gotten to spend with him. It will be really, really difficult going back home without him. Here’s a photo of him with Elliot & Micah right before we left the states for our trip here (the boys stayed home).

On the second Sunday of our trip, we had honor of visiting Cesar’s home and spending a little time with HIS family. We had a fun time jumping on his brother’s po-go stick (yes, that’s correct), playing the keyboard & guitar (thanks Tyler & Scott!), drinking coffee and listening to Cesar’s father play the guitar. They are a beautiful, warm family. We had a great visit and can’t wait to visit them again.

We’ve had great time hanging out and getting to know others from the Guate team in their homes, praying, playing cards, over dinners, at church and more. We are definitely thankful that we’d had time to connect with, encourage and get to know our friends here. It’s been such a tremendous blessing to share the joy of the journey with them. Here are just a few more faces of the Guate Reparando team:

I am so thankful that we get to continue our relationships with Cesar and all our Guatemalan friends. And that our boys will grow up knowing them and their examples of passion for this beautiful country. Thank you to everyone who has worked to make this week successful and for your hearts for God and passion for Guatemala. We are blessed by your friendships and that you have become like family to us.

Hope IS Rising

By Emily Sutherland
Nashville, TN

This is my first trip to Guatemala, and I have been overwhelmed. This country is beautiful, the people are beautiful, the scenery is beautiful and the stories that we are hearing are beautiful. I am still processing what we experienced Thursday (the 6th day of our trip). It began with showing Reparando to a Christian Missionary school in Guatemala City, and the response was amazing. The main characters in the film shared a little afterward and Shorty was overcome by emotion. Dozens of high school juniors and seniors waited for their turn to meet and speak with Tita and Shorty. Since I have seen the film several times, I was surprised at how emotional I was;  I now realize it is not only the film itself that brings the tears, it is physically meeting the real people of the film. Tita and Shorty are authentic and humble. Our hope and prayer is that the high school kids will want to react to the film and collectively make a difference in their own community. I am confident that God will make that happen.

Scott greeting Shorty; Herbert and Matt preparing for the pre show at the High School.

Sharing with the students after the film; Shorty started to get emotional.

The students were really overwhelmed and inspired by the message of the film.

A few hours later we had the opportunity to join in a visit with Hector and Italo who minister to some of the young people that live on the streets. I was a little scared because we had been warned to take off all of our jewelry and anything else that we didn’t want to give away. Hector told us that they are not afraid to ask for anything. They are accustomed to begging and stealing for their daily needs, and they are always using drugs. We walked about three blocks to their “home” and along the way picked up about five of them on the streets – all of which were inhaling solvent in order to stay high. Their home, aptly named the Tank, was in a vacant lot in Zone 3 of Guatemala City, surrounded by a cinder block wall. The roof was a blue tarp and some mattresses and a few torn and broken chairs were all they had for comfort. I couldn’t focus on one thing because I was trying to take it all in. I found it amazing that they were so welcoming to all of us and that they were truly a family. Each one of them has a story and slowly we were able to sit down and hear them. I scanned the room at one point and there were four or five different conversations taking place, most of them ending in prayer, and in some cases, tears streaming down their faces.

Italto hanging with one of the young people. He is teaching this young man professional clown skills in order to make some income.

This is the “house” (an abandoned lot)  where about 20 of the young people gather to live, hang out and sleep

I found myself wondering where the hope is in their situation. They are uneducated, addicted to drugs, and most of them cannot go back home. But in the spirit of Reparando, hope IS rising. There are men who are investing their time and money into these kids, and the more exposure the kids get to genuine love and acceptance, the more they can understand that God loves them, too. One young man has been restored. Cesar has moved back home and is now ministering to his own peers in the Tank. I’m struggling with how I can help because it is not good enough for me to say goodbye, cry a little, and then pray that it all works out. God showed me this and he wants me to respond. It might be that I need to help financially for a little while, but I know God will never let me forget them. I want to see them again. I want for them to be repaired and restored and in turn helping others that need it. This is already happening…because that is how God works. He is at work when we don’t even realize it.

The lot is surrounded by this white wall in which many of the young people have painted their own messages of hope.

THEN… Last night was our big premier at the theater in Mira Flores, one of the nicest shopping malls I have ever been to. I was almost uncomfortable being in such a nice place since only hours before we had been in the other extreme. The massive movie theater was packed, holding more than 390 people (our awesome volunteers had to sit on the floor)! The story that sticks out to me, is one that is completely behind the scenes. Earlier in the day, Joel Van Dyke received a panicked call from one of his staff members that the movie theater was going to cancel our showing unless we paid for the theater. Originally the theater was not making us pay because the manager was friends with one of our team members here in Guatemala City (and we weren’t charging a ticket fee). Apparently it was illegal to give us the theater for free and we had no other choice but to pay or cancel. Through God’s divine intervention, there was a man that was placed in Joel’s path and extended his heart and his wallet. He was in no way connected to Reparando, but he knew he has there for a reason. Why do we ever doubt that God will make it happen? I can dream the biggest dream possible, but God’s hand is infinitely bigger.

Packed theater! Sharing after the show.

We really missed the rest of the A-Team this week. We wished they could have ALL been here to experience this amazing evening (and week).

Some of our “Reparando” volunteers (We have nicknamed the RepaRAMBO team)! THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your work this week!!

Photos by Amelia Moore (www.ameliajmoore.com)