This story is running everywhere right now: Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Arizona was walking around New York’s Times Square with her boyfriend when she saw a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk asking for change. He was obviously cold - without shoes or socks on a frigid night. Just then, a NYC police officer bent down, and gave the man a brand-new pair of winter boots and some thermal socks (that he bought for the guy using his own money). Jenni (may I call you Jenni?) used her her cellphone to grab a photo of the act.
The photo shows the officer crouched on his left knee (a modified Tebow). The homeless guy is pulling his new socks out of the bag while his new insulated boots are between him and the cop.
This is news today, but the story happened back two weeks ago - an eternity in social media years. Why did it break now? Because the picture surfaced. [Read more →]
November 30, 2012 No Comments
How I love to proclaim it!
Redemption is one of those words that most of us use rather flippantly. Paul, the apostle, used the term because in the first century, slavery was an accepted practice and everyone fully understood what an unfathomable gift to a slave their redemption would be. But you and I have always been free. Particularly as Americans, our freedoms are “inalienable” and “endowed by our Creator”. By nature of birth, we’re free. Unfortunately, that’s not the case everywhere, and in many parts of the world, redemption is only a distant dream and an unanswered prayer.
I just witnessed the redemption of 300 Southern Sudanese slaves. Yes, there are slaves today. In fact, including those held in the sex trade, there are more slaves today than at any time in history. During the 22 year civil war between North and South Sudan, it is estimated that as many as 200,000 Southern Sudanese (African Christian) children and women were taken into slavery by the Northern (Arab Muslim) population.
Our team left our campsite in Wanyjok, Southern Sudan, and drove north, finally turning off the road and following a track that was originally a goat path until we got to “the big tree” - there we saw the 300 men, women and children, huddled together, unsure of what was happening. When we arrived - four white guys with a Dinka translator - their tension level ratcheted up a few notches. These are slaves - they didn’t know what was going on. Maybe they were being sold to new masters… or even worse.
We stood before them and explained that there was nothing to be afraid of, that we were sent by Jesus to secure their freedom. That today was a day of celebration, and not of horror. Today we’d kill a steer and have a feast to honor the end of their days of servitude. (great for them, sucked for the steer)
A shout of joy went up - a shout as only you will hear in Africa! Women doing that high pitched, shrill, vocal warbling thing, and men breaking into a foot stomping chant with confused babies and children resorting to crying. It was joyous bedlam.
Then we heard their stories - every one was interviewed - sadly, we’ve heard the stories before (repeated rape, mutilation, attempted murder, beating, fingers cut off, skulls bashed in, eyes blinded - by their Arab Muslim masters) but there’s always one that makes me put down the camera, find my own patch of shade, and cry. This time she was 23 - just two years older than my own daughter Tori - when I talked with her, she was holding a baby fathered by her slave master. During her enslavement, she had been genitally mutilated, raped repeatedly, gang raped 5 times, beaten, violently compelled to convert to Islam, forced to watch another slave be killed as punishment, and her own life repeatedly threatened - with the marks to prove it.
And then, she realized the beatings are over, the rapes will only exist in her nightmares, and she was free. We both were in tears - two ex-slaves, now redeemed as a free gift of grace - and almost speechless at knowing how to proclaim it.
December 13, 2010 1 Comment
Back in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, in the KLM Sky Lounge, thinking back on Cape Town 2010.
It dawned on me that 21 years ago, the second Lausanne congress was wrapping up in Manila. As the Director of Communications for the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization, I had a few days of clean up to do and then fly with the completed PageMaker files to Hong Kong to print the final commorative edition of our magazine World Evangelization.
With me was my incredible wife, Kathy, and our newborn daughter Tori. At the end of this trip, she would have spent more time out of the United States than in it! Her passport photo was the official hospital photo that’s taken after birth. She caused a ruckus everywhere she went in Manila. People would stop and stare at this little, white girl with seemingly translucent blonde hair. She was a trooper and did incredibly well everywhere she went (as long as the air conditioning wasn’t too cold).
How time flies. Today, she’s a junior at Seattle Pacific University. Kathy is a professor at Cornerstone University, and I’m freelancing. We added a second world traveler to our team, Alex, who is preparing for a YWAM DTS in Tanzania this spring.
Thanks for joining me on a jaunt through some memories. Those flying home today from Cape Town 2010 will no doubt look back on this trip someday hence and I trust those will be warm, wonderful memories as well.
October 26, 2010 1 Comment
Last night, The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization came to a triumphant conclusion. The plenary hall of the Cape Town International Convention Center was packed with the 4,500+ participants and more than 1000 staff. Stan (my broadcast team mate) and I determined that we would be in this final session, but as it started, we were still editing.
Finally, our incredible editor, Justin, got the English version wrapped; Barry, our superb audio engineer got the Spanish voice overs recorded, and we decided that we’d just post the English version and let Stan finish the Spanish from the States. So we packed everything up and went into the final closing celebration.
We got there in time to celebrate communion with everyone, and close in a tremendous hymn declaring the Lordship of Christ - “Crown Him With Many Crowns!” We then received the benediction and blessing and went out feeling like we were part of a very large worldwide body of Christ.
We posted our final video report - don’t look for communion content, we were enjoying that time, not working! Here you go, click here to view it.
Now, I’m at the Cape Town International Airport, in the Premier Lounge, getting ready for the first of three flights and 30 hours of travel time, to finally be back home. (Please, Delta, upgrade me!) I truly enjoy international travel and producing stories around the world - but I really can’t wait to get home and be with Kathy and Alex. The only thing better would be if Tori were there too (but she’s at Seattle Pacific Univ and thriving there, so I’m happy). I really miss my family when I’m on the road. Kat was planning to be in Cape Town with me as an executive producer on the broadcast team, but at the last minute Lausanne trimmed the budget and we decided that since only one of us could go, I’d be the one. Thank you, sweetheart.
Yes, CT2010 is history, in the truest sense of the word. This week, the most recent chapter in church history was written as the most representive, most diverse gathering of church leaders ever took place. As they go home, they leave with a renewed purpose and calling to complete the task of world evangelization.
All praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
October 25, 2010 No Comments
Weird combo - arts & integrity - but it works. Watch our most recent video release from Cape Town 2010, The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization; it includes a look at the variety of artistic expressions that are going into this international gathering, plus it examines the error that can creep into our message.
This is the last day of the Congress, and I’m swamped! We’ve shot several interviews already, plus a bunch of MOTS comments (man on the street) and b-roll of people saying goodbye. Now we’re writing the script and starting the edit. Our goal is to have it done in English and Spanish before 7pm so we can take part in the closing ceremony. If we are successful, it will be the only entire session we will have been part of. We really need to do it.
So, here is the art & integrity piece. (Just click here) Hopefully tomorrow I’ll post the closing report before I head to the airport.
October 24, 2010 No Comments
The planners of The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization knew there would be far ranging interest in the proceedings in Cape Town with people from around the world who could not attend. So, in addition to the 4,500+ participants here in the Cape Town International Convention Center, hundreds (about 650 or so) GlobaLink sites have been set up around the world so the local population can participate without traveling to South Africa.
Problem: during the opening hours of the Congress, the three Lausanne websites were hit by a cyber attack consisting of millions of hits from without and viruses from within. This shut our network down to a trickle. Fortunately, two cousins from Bangalore, India had come to Cape Town 2010 as volunteers. They were doing mundane - but important - tasks such as installing computers and connecting laptops to the network. When it became clear that the Congress network was under seige, they stepped forward to help. Seems that one had a doctorate in computational biology (although he explained this to me, I still don’t understand what it is) and the other worked for a major international IT firm. They had tackled such problems before. It took them two hours to learn the network architecture and then about 30 minutes to stop the attack and firewall against futher malicious hits. You’ll see on this piece - they have such a sweet servant’s spirit.
If you’d like to see our GlobaLink report just click here to view it.
October 24, 2010 No Comments
Thursday was a day off for participants of Cape Town 2010, but many staff stayed on to use the time to finish up tasks that had fallen behind in the crazyness of the first few days. I, however, took the opportunity to tour the peninsula with new friends: Clyde Taylor, Director of Visual Story Network and Cheryl Meredith, VP of Mission & Personnel for the Navigators. At the wheel was Graham Vermooten, Director of Media Village - the premier media training facility in the southern hemisphere.
Graham graciously toured us through this beautiful country, stopping to hike to the Cape of Good Hope, get up close to some African penguins, see a bunch of harbor seals and even get glimpses of 6 or 7 right whales. After the best fish and chips I’ve enjoyed in recent memory, we got the director’s tour of the new Media Village campus. A fabulous facility for training the next generation in the creative use of media for the kingdom of God. Thank you Graham!
I could hardly move when I got back to the hotel, but my roomate, Stan Jeter (creator of CBN’s “Christian World News” and the Spanish language news program “Mundo Christiano” and board member of COICOM) thought dinner was in order. So we walked to the Victoria & Albert Waterfront and had a wonderful time in that beautiful setting. (Stan had steak and prawns and I had a wild berry crepe.) A wonderfully refreshing day, albeit, one with much exercise!
Whilst I was out touring, the most recent video hit the htp site, and I share it with you now. Just click here. I think yesterday I explained it - a look at reconciliation in the South African context. Sunday night is the closing ceremony — the days are flying by.
October 22, 2010 No Comments
As promised, here is the link for our latest video report (of course, if you have registered as a broadcaster and have access to the ftp site, those are bigger and cleaner files) click here for the report.
The first full day of the Congress was focused on Truth - specifically the truth of the Word of God and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is foundational to everything else that the Congress will be building on.
I like this report - nice video quality, good interviews… let me know what you think. (It was shot on a Sony EX3, edited on Final Cut Pro, and had no color grading)
More tomorrow… and another report (reconciliation). Until then…
October 20, 2010 No Comments
When I was the director of communications for Lausanne II in Manila, we didn’t have any problems with wireless internet connections or with broadband connections for instant delivery of video. No, widespread use of the Internet was merely a gleam in Al Gore’s mind back then. But today, at Cape Town 2010, many people and planned programs are relying on fast, robust connections.
According to the onsite Tech Squad, Cape Town 2010 is using twice as much bandwidth than any gathering in the history of the Cape Town International Convention Center, and more bandwidth than was used during the World Cup games.
In addition to the 4,000 on-site participants from 197 countries, the Congress extends to an anticipated 100,000 individuals at nearly 700 GlobaLink sites in more than 95 countries worldwide. GlobaLink allows users to download videos from the Congress — in a number of different formats and languages — along with a synopsis and study questions, allowing them to hear voices from around the globe challenging the Church in the 21st century.
Those GlobaLink sites were to be served by the Internet - but the IT infrastructue of the Congress was hit by a cyber attack. Millions of malicious attacks coming from several locations plus a virus brought the Internet throughput to a stand still.
In God’s providence, two cousins from Bangalore, India were attending the Congress as volunteers in the IT department. They were intending to simply hook up computers and other basic IT tasks, but when word of the problem reached them, they revealed they had a unique expertise in the exact problems the Congress was experiencing. They were the individuals God used to shut down the attack and bring the system back up to full speed. Now all GlobaLink sites are getting the feed as planned.
Pretty cool, huh? Two humble guys (one working at a major international IT firm, and the other with a doctorate in computational biology) were willing to volunteer to do the mundane, but God had them in place to do a great service at a time of great need. It’s like the boy with the bread and fish, give what you have to the Lord and see what He will do with it.
PS: I finished today’s video report - it’s on reconciliation (in the context of South Africa) I’ll have it posted for you tomorrow.
October 20, 2010 No Comments
Nothing is easy.
We’re now halfway through the Congress, and still difficulties rear their ugly heads to keep me in the edit room until 11 or 12 at night. Today it was some software glitch keeping us from ingesting XD footage from a Sony EX3… and 90% of my stuff for that piece was coming from EX3. It was four hours before we did our first edit.
But that report (number three) is done, and is being loaded to the ftp site. I’ll share it with you tomorrow. We’re getting good reports from stations and networks around the world who are using our stories. Here’s the report on the opening of the Congress. For those of you who don’t have access to the broadcast media ftp site, simply click here to watch it.
Tomorrow is a day off. Praise God! I’m planning on hiring a cab and touring the scenery with my 7d. This place is beautiful. I wouldn’t mind spending a year or so here.
Please pray. I sense there is strong spiritual warfare going on. Everyday, the tech guys need to create new solutions and workarounds to keep things going smoothly. Many stories to tell — after this is over.
October 20, 2010 No Comments