Streams in the Valley

November 24, 2008
Tipaye is in the back, standing next to the post.

Tipaye is in the back, standing next to the post.

From Proctor this morning:Saturday was the most physically challenging day since we’ve arrived, for me at least. We hiked a grueling hour down steep, muddy slopes to arrive at a beautiful waterfall and a turbulent river.

It was definitely worth the pain my right thigh endured as I slipped and fell multiple times, catching myself with my right leg and grabbing at the roots sticking out of the ground.

The reward I had hoped for was there; a few hours of filming the shots we needed, then jumping in the river and swimming with the local tribesman. It was a blast.

But God had another surprise for me. You see, I had befriended one of the young believers, named “Tipaye” (pronounced “Se-pah-yay”), and when I was sharing my powerbar with the others, he didn’t seem interested.

He was off by himself, completely lost in what he was doing: listening to an MP3 player with white headphones!! (congrats, Steve Jobs, you’ve managed to extend the digital music culture you created to the ends of the earth!)

I took an interest in what he was doing, as he seems to do things differently than the others. His mind seemed elsewhere.

Tipaye pulled the earbuds off and put them up to my ears. I had no idea what he might be listening to. National hip-hop? Island reggae beats? PNG’s pidgin rap artist “O-Shen”???

No. It was Robin Mark singing “Lion of Judah”. Celtic worship music filled with rich doctrine!

I was floored.

Now I know he probably doesn’t really understand what all is being sung … but he sure seemed into it!

It brought me back to a service I’ll never forget. Back in July, Nate & I were with Beth Moore in Minneapolis for Living Proof Live. We stayed an extra day so that we could visit John Piper’s church. “Lion of Judah” was the main song that ushered in our corporate time of worship, and the whole service seemed to bleed with a mission heartbeat.

For some reason, it was a really powerful Sunday that I will never forget. It made me think of New Tribes Mission and the work being done in some of the remote places in the world where there are no churches and other believers to reach the unreached.

As I look back, it’s encouraging to see that when God leads me on crazy journey down a deep valley, there He is. With a refreshing stream to relax and play in, and with a brother who’s got more in common with me than I ever expected.

Next time, someone else does the blog …

November 23, 2008

Ian’s computer died. But he’s able to borrow equipment to send stuff to me.  I’m happy to post it for him.

Here’s the latest from him:

We got some awesome shots from the helicopter this morning!

Actually, we didn’t. They did. They told me to stay here and blog. But then they said they got great stuff. Told me all about the amazing views, and incredible footage. Told me I could watch it later. But I’m not jealous. Really.

(Memo to self: Next time, someone else does the blog.)

We’re really grateful to Helimission and pilot Gunter Stroh for putting up with those guys. They can be really mean and … oops, sorry, forgot this isn’t about me. Gunter took the doors off and chatted over the shots and told us what he did and did not feel comfortable doing, for safety sake — which is a very good thing.

We’re actually starting to wrap up the shots we need for the short film, and will soon be able to move on to “extras.” Still trying to think up something humorous. If you have any ideas, leave a comment!

And thanks for praying about the rain. Your prayers were so effective that we had a good laugh the other day. You see, all day long we had only a tiny bit of rain. Then it poured all night long. I was even chuckling as I walked in the dark through the mud. (I think the sound I will most associate with this place is “squoooosh.”)

Please, would you not only pray that it not rain during the mornings and afternoons as we’re trying to film, but rain a bit less overall? Thanks! By the way, we’re 14 hours ahead of USA East Coast time, but God knows that as you pray.


Praise like we’ve never imagined …

November 22, 2008

moihutsmokeI just got this from Nate:

I’m sitting in a tiny square hut set up on stilts to keep the rain from running in. There are probably 60 tribal believers crammed in here. Most of them are wearing gourds or grass skirts. They are singing in a beautiful lilting key that is unlike anything we’ve ever heard in the states!

This church service is as far from anything we would show up to on a Sunday morning as it could possibly be. Jesus is here amongst the billowing smoke of bamboo pipes and the high pitched squealing of the village pigs. He is here and He is smiling!

Old Ways vs. New Truth

November 22, 2008


From Macon in the tribe:

The day started dubious. None of the tribal men seemed up to hiking straight down the mountain with our film crew to the river. We were trying to finish the ambush scene where they wrap the ‘body’ in a mat and throw it into the river. 

I don’t blame the tribal guys for their reluctance to make that long trek. I knew I would have a hard time to make it back, if I went down the harsh, muddy mountain trail.

Regardless, we were doing all we could to coax some of the men who were not out on the hunting party to ‘play’ this part of the ambush scene.

It was while we were earnestly praying that a group of 10, very rough looking tribal men, showed up, ready to go. These guys would scare you to death if you met them on the trail. But they broke into smiles and started snapping their fingers in the traditional Moi way of greeting and said “Abababa, Abababa” … and before you knew it, our film crew headed down the mountain, shooting some great footage. 

It was at the river, after the filming, that one of the Moi believers stood, looking at the water and began praying. He was thanking God that now he does not have to fear their old ways. 

It is our hope that the Moi journey to faith will have an impact on our American church, when they see what God has done among the Moi. 

It is having an impact right now in the hearts of the Moi believers as they consider who they were, when in bondage to the ‘old ways’ of darkness in contrast to who they are now, as they walk in the light of God’s truth.

Thank you for praying. Keep it up.

We had less rain today and we were able to keep two film crews busy. While Nate, Ben, Proctor and Rich headed to the river, Ian, Regina and I filmed some great testimonies from the missionaries and tribal believers.

Films can stir hearts

November 21, 2008

A video helped reach the Moi people.

In the 1970s, a man hiked for miles to ask for a missionary to come to his village to share God’s Talk with his people. He arrived during the visit of a short-term mission team, and the way he told his story and made his request so stirred their hearts that several became missionaries. Later, a slide show and then a video, Each Stick had a Name, encouraged many others to become missionaries.

One of those people was Stephen Crockett, missionary to the Moi people.

Stephen shared the story of the video with the Mois on Friday morning to help them understand why we are here, why we would want to make a video here. And as I watched him tell the story, I got to thinking that maybe it would help you as well.

We want to make a powerful short film that will stir hearts to get involved in the work God is doing, so other people who are still like the Mois were, living in fear, will have the opportunity to know Jesus and make Him known. And so God’s name will be glorified to the ends of the earth.

We’d all appreciate your involvement in our work right now. We need you to pray about the weather. Our time is already running short, and we were unable to film all Friday afternoon because of rain. Pray that we’ll have good weather. Please don’t pray for clear weather. Clouds add some drama to the sky. Hey, as long as we’re asking God for the weather, we might as well be specific, right?

The word for the day

November 21, 2008
Mois from two neighboring hamlets stream downhill as Ben shoots with Nate’s assistance.

Mois from two neighboring hamlets stream downhill as Ben shoots with Nate’s assistance.

Today’s word is serendipity.

The first three shoots went very well, and we took a midday break. Then we were afraid the day was shot as rain moved in. Finally it cleared, and we began setting up for another scene, when serendipity showed up.

A group of people came from two other hamlets – one five hours away, another two days away. We could hear them calling out from a long way off, and finally saw them coming down the path toward the hamlet where we are.

Thirty or forty strong, they streamed down into the center of the hamlet and the men danced and sang – with the cameras rolling.

We didn’t get the footage we were planning to, but we got something amazing … something we could not have planned … something serendipitous.

You’ve been praying for us, haven’t you?


Shooting in HD now

November 20, 2008


Nate, Proctor and Ben set up a time-lapse shot across the valley

Nate, Proctor and Ben set up a time-lapse shot across the valley

Today we begin shooting scenes in earnest.

Actually, we’ll be shooting in HD, but you know what I mean.

We’re ready to start filming today because last night our team sat down with the current missionaries to the Moi people, Stephen and Carolyn Crockett and Rich and Karen Brown, and went through the rough script.

You can’t come into a setting like this with a “finished” script. There are too many variables that you need to work through day-by-day, even hour-by-hour.

Last night the Crocketts and Browns offered helpful little suggestions like, “Gee, that sounds like it would be really good on film, but it’s grossly inaccurate.”

OK, they were nicer than that, but you get the picture. In the end, we came out with a script that is slightly less rough – and far more accurate and real, as well as a rough-out of each scene and a shooting plan for today.

We also decided to meet each evening to make sure we’re on track and agree on the next steps, and to bathe this project in prayer.

If this film is what we want it to be, it will glorify God, stir praise and worship of our Creator, and inspire others to get involved in the work He is doing; as well as getting the Moi believers involved in all that.

Will you please join us in praying that, in God’s strength and by His power, we reach those goals?

You see, it is pretty cool to go to a remote little hamlet on the other side of the world and make a short film. And I don’t think any of us take this opportunity for granted.

But it’s nothing if it’s not all for Him. And being part of something this neat pales in comparison to working together with this team and the missionaries and the Moi believers to bring praise and glory to God.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18