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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

Michael Bolin’s Story

I recently shot and edited the story of Michael Bolin, who lives in my town. He is inspiring many people already with his testimony. In less than one day since he posted it on his Facebook page , 43 others have shared it, 96 have liked it, and 47 have made encouraging comments.

Those aren’t viral numbers, but they are an impressive start to the life of a video. It was neat to play a part in what I trust will be a blessing to many who watch.

A House that Stands for HOPE

In my last trip back to Joplin, I took several more pictures. These, however, weren’t pictures of devastation. Joplin is already rebuilding everywhere. I ate at the brand new Chick-fi-la where the old one stood. There is also a brand new Walgreens where the old one was destroyed. I didn’t get a chance to document much of the building process. I also wanted to take pictures of the signs everywhere that said “opening soon” or something to that effect. I didn’t have the opportunity. But I did go by one house to take pictures. It a house I had snapped a photo of on my first trip back, and it was even in my “Beautiful Things” video. This time, it stood out like a sore thumb.

All the other houses around it have been bulldozed, but it remains a battered mess. However, there is furniture set out in the open air. There are markers available. And on every surface…I mean every single surface of the house- floor, walls, frame, etc. are written words of encouragement from people all over the country. What a sight! This is what I documented. I set these pictures to what I deemed to be fitting music and I sincerely hope and pray that it will spread hope through that special city.

Here’s Well-wishes for Joplin:

My Second Joplin Video

June 24, 2011 1 comment

The last video has done a lot of good, and I’m trilled about it. In just one week, it’s been viewed over 2100 times and shared by over 800 people of Facebook alone. This is not counting people who saw it or will see it in a couple of church services and one ladies Bible study of 100 women. After the video was shown in one church, they, who had already given to Joplin, committed another trailer of supplies! Another church plans on using it to promote relief help. God is good.

This video has no message at the end to help or anything. The message is throughout, and it’s for the people of Joplin, to give them hope and encouragement. It is simple in its approach. It uses sound clips from the preachers at the community memorial service one week after the storm.

The speakers in this video are, in order of appearance- Fr. Justin Monaghan of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Pastor Randy Gariss of College Heights Christian Church, Rev. Aaron Brown of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Some of the footage was my friend, Sid McGregor’s. The music is by Derri Daughtery (of The Choir and Lost Dogs) from his ambient project “Clouds Echo in Blue”, “the sound at the end of the world”.

No Amount of Words…

June 10, 2011 2 comments

I’m still in Joplin as I begin writing this post. I’m at my parent’s house, using their computer, and grateful that they were not affected by the tornado that just a few blocks away wreaked havoc on 1/3 of the city. It’s been 8 1/2 years since I moved out of Joplin, but I know the town well. It’s near and dear to my heart.

That sounds cliché, and so will my next statement. As an initial reaction to all of this, what can I say? My own video and pictures will be coming soon, but they don’t do justice to the immense and utterly terrible scene here in this big little town. I saw all of the images before I arrived here. But they pale in comparison to standing in the middle of it all…where no lens is able to capture what the human eye is capable of absorbing. In taking video, I felt like I needed to detach myself in order to get decent quality images, but every time I drive through I’m shocked and amazed again at the complete and vast devastation. It’s incredibly horrifying to me. Just imagine what it is for the many who endured it and survived!

Any disaster area is usually a place that brings out the best and the worst in people. That is true here, however the outpouring of good being done is extremely impressive. Minutes after I arrived, I was given a bottle of water by a guy on a four wheeler. As the president and governor pointed out, the “Good Samaritan” spirit of Joplin is evident in neighbor helping neighbor. I see many different states represented in relief volunteers in the city and even now as the national media coverage has begun to dissipate if not disappeared already. I see much good amidst in all of the bad. I see the church as the shinning beacon it was meant to be. I see God’s hand in the divine interventions that so many people are talking about.

Springfield’s chief meteorologist called this vicious EF5 tornado an act of nature, but that many more people were not killed was an act of God. The stories are many that support this quote. So many people, including my good friends lost everything, but their lives.

Left in the path is a long period of rebuilding, and not just structures. We mustn’t forget Joplin. It may be old news already for the mainstream anchors, but the debris still left on the ground is enormous. Again, it sounds cliché, but it’s beyond words. Words may be helpful, but are by nature limited in their ability to describe incredible situations. No amount of words will begin to accurately portray for you what has taken place here in Joplin.

That was my initial reaction, and the phrase that was continually on my mind every time I would drive through an affected area, which is unavoidable, it’s so wide-spread. But maybe there is a word to describe Joplin after all. One word often associated with tragedy is simple enough to comprehend, though to understand it you must have been through some amount of suffering. That word is “hope”.  Someone took duck tape to the Joplin High School sign where the “j, lin” were removed and made “Joplin” read “Hope” instead. That is not just the sentiment of one; it’s the will of many. There is so much debris going OUT of Joplin, but at the same time there is so much hope IN Joplin.

My wife took a picture of a tree. Like all trees in the disaster zone, they were stripped of all life, including much of the bark. Yet this tree already is beginning to produce life again- a pretty fitting image of the Joplin I know and love.

God bless Joplin!

Have Enough Faith to Hope in Love

Way back in the first century there lived a Hebrew scholar simply known as Paul. This man was dramatically converted to Christianity and went on to write over half of the New Testament. Among his most famous passages is a section in a letter to the Corinthian church. This “love” chapter is quoted at thousands of weddings even now, two millennia later.

In its essence it is a checklist-type definition of love, true love. The problem is that the list, though short, is too exhaustive. It is impossible to keep it all at all times. Sure, one can be patient and kind for a while, but while demonstrating these characteristics envy or pride may sneak up on the unsuspecting onlooker. This faulty human nature is why so many become disillusioned with love. The “keeps no record of wrongs” bit can be tough as we become unforgiving in our search for this elusive true love. The “always perseveres” clause seems to be far too idealistic to become a tangible reality. Or is it?

While the flawless keeping of this list may be an unattainable goal, it is in the continual striving to display these traits where the magic occurs. When someone fails to meet the standard, forgiveness and grace must come into the equation.

If you have been hurt in the passed because of an investment of love, you might be tempted to tell this ancient Paul guy that his definition is too good to be true. No one can meet the standard. It is a useless attempt to try to love again.

You would be partly right, but mostly wrong. Nobody is perfect, but that’s OK. Without risk, there can be no reward. Many have lived by these words as best they can and have sustained a mutually growing love through service and meeting each others needs- placing the other over themselves. It does work. The alternative, to give up, does no one any good.

Later on, in the same chapter, Paul would go on to say, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”1 Maybe we should give the time-tested wisdom of Paul the benefit of the doubt. We should not give up on love. Maybe we should have enough faith to hope in love.

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