Posts Tagged ‘tornado’

New Documentary Trailer

I’ve been hard at work, shooting, editing, conceptualizing, editing, and editing. I’m almost done with the Documentary. The end is in sight. So granted, it was time for a new trailer. Here it is. As it says in the trailer, the release date is set for November 19. That will be right at one and a half years since the tornado. Actually, the 22nd is the precise day, but that’s Thanksgiving. I will be thankful to have completed this massive undertaking, but it has been a privilege to document such amazing stories. I hope the end result is a blessing. Here’s the new trailer:

[vimeo 50940321]

Joplin Documentary Site is Live

A big part of this last year for me has been the Joplin tornado. I was not in Joplin during that fierce storm, but being from there, my heart went out for this place. I shortly arrived with supplies, money and aid, like so many of other volunteers. One area that I felt I could be of most use was in documenting what I saw. Several trips later, we find ourselves living back in the area. With the passing of the first anniversary, we now are done filming and are in the production stage of “Steadfast- The Documentary”.

There is a short trailer and more info live at You can sign up for updates there, as well as pre-order a DVD. Half of all profits will go to rebuilding Joplin. Thanks for supporting this project and Joplin.

Miss Minnie and the Storm

January 21, 2012 Leave a comment

My good friend, Sid McGregor (Postmay Films) and I were in our hometown of Joplin shortly after the May 22nd EF-5 tornado to lend a hand and give our support. While there, we documented some of the complete devastation. We stumbled upon a Samaritan’s Purse team helping a lady demolish and clean up her home lot. We shot some footage with their permission. I used some of those clips in my Beautiful Things video of Joplin. I believe we came by later (oh, yes, we were looking for Sid’s sunglasses among the rubble!). We had previously talked with the owner of the home who survived the tornado inside the ravaged structure. We asked if she would like to share her story. I’m glad she did, and I’m happy to share it with you.

Joplin still need a lot of help. Miss Minnie’s story will be a blessing in your life.

Ask yourself how can you be a blessing in the life of a survivor like her?

[vimeo 35407886]

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:

UHO – Unidentified Hovering Object

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Around 3 weeks ago, my wife was visiting family from Joplin, MO. Of course, you know that an EF-5 tornado ripped through the heart of that town on May 22. What you may not know is how many stories of divine intervention there are when you talk to people from there. This horrible tragedy claimed 160 lives. The city is rebuilding at an incredible pace, I believe, in part, to honor the memory of those people. As I saw the devastation, though (search “Joplin” on this blog to see videos) I wonder how that number is not higher. So many people are talking about God in the storm and even angels rescuing people from certain death. I don’t pretend to understand why some would die and others would survive the tornado’s path. It is a curious thing.

That brings me back to our item of interest. One day while my wife was with her parents in Mt. Vernon they noticed these lights in the sky, right over the direction of Joplin, 30 min. away. I’ll coin the phrase “Unidentified Hovering Object” because they say that they were not flying, they were stationary for about 15 to 20 min. No drifting or anything. My wife grabbed the 7D and a cheap telephoto lens and snapped some pics, like this one zoomed in below:

I will let her describe the scene here:

My parents and I were sitting in their driveway in the early evening watching the kids ride their bikes.  Mom said, “Look how blue the sky is!”  Dad and I looked up and noticed it was a beautiful shade of blue.  Maybe the bluest sky I’d ever seen.  All of the sudden dad pointed to the sky and said, “Look at that!  Do you see that?”  He was pointing at a bright object.  My first thought was a plane, but it wasn’t moving at all.  Can’t be a plane.   It was too early for stars.  We hadn’t even eaten dinner yet.  Then because I’m a conspiracy theorist I thought about aliens.  So I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures.  If this was a space ship I wanted pictures of it.  I don’t know who noticed the second object, but suddenly we were looking at two bright objects in the sky.  Neither were moving.  They were changing colors though.  The top one was brighter and changing from white to blue and back and forth.  The bottom one was white and orange.  We looked at it them for about 20 minutes before the clouds took over the sky and we could no longer see either object.  Later when I looked at the pictures on my computer I noticed something weird.   When I zoomed up on the picture it had a shape to it.  I couldn’t see the shape when I was looking at it in person earlier, but the pictures showed a definite shape.  The shape of an angel.

Again, I don’t really understand this stuff. I know what it looks like. Others look at it and say, “Looks like an angel”. The other pics look so similar too, with the same features. Well, it looks like the stereotypical image that we have of angels. How accurate is that? Well, how did that look come to be a stereotype? It has to be for a reason that everyone depicts angels this way. Sure, the Bible also says that we can entertain angels unaware. They, as God’s messengers could probably appear in many different ways. But then, we have the descriptions of angels in the Scripture. It describes a bright light, seen even in the brightest day. Hmm. Interesting.

Am I saying that this UHO, as I’ve come to call it, is in fact an angel? I’m saying that’s what it looks like. I wasn’t there, but I’ve see all the pictures and heard my wife’s testimony. I think that we who are sophisticated and educated have a much harder time accepting this Ephesians 6 type of truths. I grew up on the mission field, but in a sophisticated city. I have been to more remote places where people are more sensitive to the spiritual forces of both good and evil.

2 Kings 6 comes to mind. Eugene Peterson paraphrases it in this way:

15Early in the morning a servant of the Holy Man got up and went out. Surprise! Horses and chariots surrounding the city! The young man exclaimed, “Oh, master! What shall we do?”  16 He said, “Don’t worry about it—there are more on our side than on their side.”  17 Then Elisha prayed, “O God, open his eyes and let him see.”    The eyes of the young man were opened and he saw. A wonder! The whole mountainside full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha! (2 Kings 6:15-17 MSG)

Could it be that we too have our eyes closed to these spiritual realities?

What do you think this UHO is?

Different Ways to Help Joplin

Randy Gariss was my pastor back home in Joplin at College Heights Christian Church.  He was the master of ceremonies at the Memorial Service after the Tornado in May. Earlier this month he spoke briefly at the North American Christian Convention in July 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio on how to help Joplin. He shared insights from private conversations with both the Governor of Missouri and the President of the United States.

Feel free to share this video or others that I have made to continue raising awareness for this great cause. For more info:

(Music by Derri Daughtery-

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”.

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