New Stories

By Susan Marko

I am sitting in a school auditorium in Guatemala City as middle and high school students view the Reparando film for the first time.  Shorty and Tita are sitting in the room with us and I am, once again, moved to tears. This trip is my first time in Guatemala, but I have watched Tita and Shorty’ s stories for the past two years as my husband has been working on footage from his two trips with the Athentikos team.  I couldn’t help but be captivated by their lives and ministries.  Now that Bobby and I are both here to participate in the premiers of the finished product, we feel overwhelmed and humbled that God has allowed us to be a part of what he is obviously doing through “Reparando.”

On Wednesday night the team met at Joel Van Dyke’s House in Guatemala City along with our Guatemalan friends who have given so much of their time, passion, and effort towards preparing for the premiers this week.  I was overwhelmed by the hope they have that this message could make a real difference for their country.  Everyone who has been a part of this film has such a sense that God crafted the story and the results are all to his glory.  Now we are all just standing back in awe as God takes his message to the people.  Again, all of our showings are full and frequent calls are still coming in of people who want to see the film.  But beyond the numbers, we are hearing stories of how hearts are truly being awakened and a passion is forming to serve God’s people like never before.  I include myself in these numbers.

So far this week we led an art camp for students near Antigua who have had little exposure to the idea of creative expression.  It was amazing to see their joy as they realized a talent that they never knew they had, or to see them express their thoughts about themselves, their family, and God, some for the very first time.   This idea that they can see God in the small things, that trash can be something beautiful, that they have the potential to dream and to “ask beautiful questions” is a brand new concept to so many of them.  The teachers, who participated in the classes along with their students, seemed equally inspired and wish to continue the art program in their school.

We have also visited some extremely poor communities and walked with people who are giving their lives away to bring hope to these families.  We interviewed a pastor (Mario, above) who was born and raised in the same hill town where he now serves.  God reached him through powerful visions and some missionaries who came to work and serve in the community years ago.  He then took us to meet some families who have been given a chance to provide for their families through a microfinance project, allowing them to borrow money in order to purchase chickens or other livestock so that they will have products to sell.  These families were so thankful for the little that they had, and they thanked us for coming to their village to share in their stories.  All we could do is hug them and smile and tell them in our broken Spanish how we were thankful too.  God truly does use the weak to shame the wise.  God’s heart is for the poor.  “Blessed are the poor” is not only those who are poor in spirit.  God truly dwells with those who are in need and as Tita says in the film, God is “tangible” in these places.

In trying to process all that we have encountered this week, I know I have to respond.  All I can do is tell God I am standing here with open hands and trust that he will tell me how.  It seems that our involvement in this film is just the first step.  To God be the glory.

A 99% God!

Certainly it was going to take a good year, 18 months for momentum for the film began picking up. This was my sentiments as we wrapped up the film a few months ago. I was hoping to be able to concentrate on my other projects and jobs I had lined up waiting for me to finish up so I totally assumed I had some time to chillax when it came to ground events for the film.

I wasn’t able to attend the premiers in Grand Rapids but I got a bird’s eye view of the entire week through texts, posts, and images Scott and Cesar were sending back to the Athentikos team. As I watched everything unfold, it dawned on me that my earlier sentiments were not only way off base, but making such assumptions was limiting God’s faithfulness, power and His ability to use our limited resources and create something so much more grandiose!

As Scott and Cesar returned from Michigan and we began a last minute campaign surrounding the Nashville premier, it was evident by the report of online ticket sales that Nashville would not generate the buzz and attention that Grand Rapids accomplished. But I had to stop and think, “here I go again,” thinking that God wasn’t good enough, knowledgeable enough, skilled enough, to pull something great out of this event! I stopped dead in my tracks and thought, “No! It’s going to be awesome! We’re going have such a great night and God will bring amazing results because of it! It may not be in the number of seats we sell but God will do amazing things!” The following is an email I sent to the team:

This is awesome, it’s exceeding my expectations! I feel bad that I sometimes put God in a box and think he can’t do amazing things using anything we create but I’ve been reading and listening to allot of stuff that is getting me inspired, energized and excited about what’s to come. This news fuels that inspiration!  If we are 100% about seeing this film to fruition then lets not pray to God as if he is a 99% God! Of course there will be setbacks, things won’t go our way (when in this process has everything gone our way???) but God always reveals that his plan is better… we’re getting a small glimpse of that now with the news from this past week. Great job guys! As always, it’s been an amazing experience that I hope will continue on!

And you know what, I was right. God did show up… in a huge way! I saw people there I didn’t expect to see… as of that morning we had only sold 110 tickets after it had been on sale for just over a month. That night, we more than doubled it and ended up selling 240 tickets total! Which for the Belcourt theater is not far from full capacity. Afterwards, we had so many people come up to us, telling us how much the film impacted them. I heard feedback that I never expected like how the film got a married couple to talk about how they serve and how they give. How they look at their lives different now. Comments like a person not worrying about their life as much, giving them confidence which in just one day, felt like it was the attitude adjustment they needed to land a job. Amazing feedback that just surpassed my small minded expectations!

We’re all victims of this sad trait as Christians. We fall into the trap of thinking God isn’t smart enough or knows better than we do. So when we attempt something great, anything actually, our enthusiasm and optimism stops short of the finish line. As a creator, my visions are always large in scope and most of the time, in the end, the vision is scaled back… and thats ok. But it doesn’t mean I have to stop thinking large.

Marko

New Promotional Video featuring Joel Van Dyke

Joel Van Dyke came to Nashville to host our Vision to Respond event and also took some time to do a promo piece for the film.

Joel lives in Guatemala City with his wife Marilyn and two children, Joeito and Sofia. After 16 years as a pastor in North Philadelphia, he currently serves in Central America as the Director of the “Estrategia de Transformacion” (Strategy of Transformation) which is a grassroots training initiative with a mission “to equip the church in Latin America to reach high-risk youth and their families in hard places.”

Joel has been a key member of the Athentikos team as one of primary contacts in Guatemala and has been a vocal advocate for the project. Special thanks to him and his family for dedicating time and effort in the vision for the film.

Newsletter: Year End Update December 2009

2009 Tax- Deductible Donations

We know that many people desire to make donations towards the end of the year. Would you consider giving to Athentikos? All donations are tax-deductible.

Update on the Film Project

“We are currently focused on editing the documentary. Like any project, we’ve hit a few obstacles. The sheer amount of footage to comb through is a hurdle in itself, especially when this is not our “day-job.” We are a small team doing the work of a large production crew. There are times when it all seems impossible, like this will never be finished. But, I rewind and watch the stories again… and I am reminded why we work late into the night. I am reminded why we want to share these stories with others. People like Shorty and Tita remind us who God is. Their stories are not merely inspirational, but transformational as well. God is transforming us through this, drawing us closer to Him.” – Scott Moore

Joel Van Dkye of Estrategia de Transformacion was in town during November. He joined us for our last promotional event, Vision To Respond at Rocket Town. We also hosted several meetings with him, which included a Mission Trip Roundtable Discussion and other logistics meetings.

We have had several promotional opportunities this fall to get the word out about our project. Scott Moore and Amy Stroup were on the Brian Mason Show. Amy Stroup was on Better Nashville.

In addition to editing, we are currently working on details for the Mission Liaison and Business Plans. These plans will be completed in January so that we can start recruiting leaders for 2010-2011 mission teams; and continue to raise funds through local businesses. We will be hosting a team leader informational meeting in January for those interested in possibility leading a mission team. (More information will follow.)

Thank you for your commitment, investment and interest in this project. Your support and prayers are much appreciated. If you would like to volunteer your time towards this project, we have several needs. Contact us at info@athentikos.com if you are interested in learning more:

Volunteer Needs

Are you one of those people who have a passion for working for non-profits, seeing a task from start to finish, coming up with new ideas to complete a project, not getting paid…. then we want you!!!! Seriously, we are looking for some people to join our team in the following areas. We can’t promise you riches, but we can promise you’ll enjoy working with great people who all have a passionate vision for serving! Here’s what we need:

Funding Coordinator
Grant Writer
Copy Write
r (for newsletters, website, etc)

If you fit the bill, please, email, call, open a window and shout it out (if you live in Spring Hill, TN, we may actually hear you!) that you’d like to team up with us! Thanks!

View the latest trailer:

Athentikos: Guatemala Trailer 3 from Athentikos on Vimeo.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

We are still in need of financial support to complete our mission. You can partner with us by providing a tax-deductable donation online through paypal:

https://athentikos.com/support.php

Or you can write a check out to Hupomeno (our 501c3 Partner) and send it to:

Athentikos
p.o. box 1957
Spring Hill, TN 37174-1957

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