Thursday, March 1, 2012
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
We turned and looked at each other—stunned.
You see, Odwa never thought he'd be able to attend school again. Having dropped out at grade 10—so his sister could continue her education—Odwa thought his hopes and dreams of going to school were just that—hopes and dreams.
Never a reality.
But when we sat in the admissions office of City Varsity, a media school in Cape Town, they clearly indicated that the education Odwa had received at Film School Africa was enough to allow them to accept him and he could skip the entire first year.
We were stunned for the moment, and then the reality settled in.
We were thrilled that they thought so much of Odwa's gifts and talents and passion for film—not to mention his desire to return to his community so he could teach others—that they were accepting into the program and crediting him with a year of study.
So if you were stunned and thrilled with those initial comments, can you imagine what we were feeling when they indicated they were giving him a full ride scholarship?
But then the other shoe dropped. (There's always another shoe.) They explained that they had seen it happen many times before—that if Odwa was going to be a successful student, he would need to live in an apartment near campus. Students who early in the morning took the train to school, only to return home to the township late each night, rarely made the necessary grades and quickly washed out of the program.
And at this juncture, the negotiations began.
City Varsity made it known that they were willing to accept Odwa into the program, provide him with a tuition scholarship, and invest heavily in his success as a student. But they had one question.
Would Film School Africa be willing to participate and make it possible for him to live in an apartment near campus?
Now, this is a student I really believe has the talent, ability, and desire to succeed and make a difference in his world. He will thrive in this educational setting and will be forever changed by his experience—much like I was at Taylor University in Indiana.
So this is my question. Will you join City Varsity, and Film School Africa, and me in our commitment to Odwa, and students like him?
Here is the reality. Your monthly or one time gift can make a huge difference in the life of Odwa and others like him. In many ways it sounds too simple to be true, but film is making a significant difference in the lives of Film School Africa students.
Odwa's is a great story. And it is just beginning to unfold.
And this is just the start for so many others. In fact, I have been privileged to witness so many success stories this year. And I'm encouraged by the path that we're taking and the impact that is being had on the lives of African young people.
It's like my younger sister Nana said, "These guys, (Odwa and Ayanda) they never would have known that this is what they wanted, and now their whole lives are changed."
Together we continue to shape and change the direction of young lives.
From alcoholism to editing. Thievery to camera work. Lives of hopelessness to lives that glorify God through the art of storytelling.
Pretty exciting stuff!
Film School Africa is about shaping a generation of Africans.
But for this to continue to take place, your prayers and financial support are essential. Whatever your gift might be, $100, $200, maybe even so much more, it will be used to change lives for Christ and revolutionize the way young people think and work.
Film School Africa
For giving online go to www.threadsafrica.org. Your monthly or onetime gift will be deeply appreciated. We're going to make sure that Odwa has the opportunity to go to school so he can impact his world.
Friday, January 27, 2012
We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand--out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patiences in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.
In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary--we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Thursday, September 1, 2011
As you well know, watching a breakthrough happen in someone’s life is one of life’s greatest rewards.
Recently one of my Kayamandi students was attacked. His attackers used guns to beat him on the head and face, leaving him with stitches and a face swollen beyond recognition.
When I went to visit him at his home, he embraced me in a way I could sense not only the pain of recent events, but the pain of losing his mother as well.
He needed a mom’s loving arms, and he got them from me.
While our time together was incredibly special, it wasn’t until a few weeks later I began to see the full impact of the film ministry.
You see—it was time for this young man to stand before the class and pitch his next film. He weaved a story about two friends who unknowingly run into the wrong kind of guys, he described how one of the men would be beaten and hospitalized, and how his friend would react and seek out the assailants.
It was beautiful because he was utilizing film to work through his trauma.
By using a camera and actors, he was put in a position of power to explain a situation in which he had no control.
While I thoroughly enjoy teaching students the art of film and equipping them to move into a career of storytelling, helping kids with their traumas is my most fulfilling work. And it’s the reason I reach out to friends like you for help.
Will you consider making a generous monthly commitment to Film School Africa so we can effectively use film to change lives?
You can give online by simply clicking on www.threadsafrica.orgr you can secure the address where you can send your check. Just be sure to designate your gift to the film school.
If you’re not able to participate at this time, there are other ways you can help. Certainly your prayers are powerful and effective. And Film School Africa is blessed to have an American high school student, Stephen Linam, helping us with our numerous equipment needs.
Stephen is repairing and enhancing used mac computers and video cameras so that we can put them to use. We’re also gathering headphones, microphones and computer speakers. You can contact Stephen directly at email@example.com if you have questions or would like to donate some equipment to the cause.
Thank you for all you do to support this ministry—I’m forever changed because of your generosity.
The students put together a video so that you could see the impact of your giving. You can watch it by clicking this link http://youtu.be/df99FSH-YUY