Our second trip to the jungle of Peru was definitely a monumental one. We were hosted in our favorite house — Jungle Bunks at Cashibo Lake — where we also had the opportunity to stay back in April. This open-air house on stilts is built amidst the rainforest and the master bedroom on the second floor almost feels like you’re in a tree house with its wall of glass looking into the treetops where troops of monkeys and beautiful butterflies pass through. There are no distractions — no wifi to occupy your time, only jungle sounds, cool breezes and heavy downpours on the tin roof. This is “our” favorite place to find solitude.
Colombia pleasantly surprised us and after just one month, we had fallen in love with this country! Not only were the people nice, we thought Bogota was the most impressive South American capital we’ve visited thus far. The infrastructure and public transportation were much further ahead than other developing countries, but most of all, we loved the ministries we got to serve there as the Latin America satellite team for Silent Images!
Since our last post, we’ve traveled to NYC, north and south Brazil and Bogota, Colombia, and we have so much to share with you!
Two projects took us to Brazil, one on the south coast and another on the north coast. Never having been to Brazil before, and not having much time to research before we found ourselves there, nearly 30 hours of travel later, many things surprised us as we first stepped off the airplane.
It’s hard to believe that our three months in Peru are already over. We’ve seen and done so much — traversing nearly all the diverse environments the country has to offer. From the desert capital situated on the Pacific to the high sierra to the Amazonian jungle to the Andes mountains, Peru offered us a wide range of adventures and it’s been amazing to see how God is working in all of these places. We definitely feel like God is also doing great work through us, as we have had not only the opportunity to serve these ministries with our passion, but we’ve also had the opportunity to teach others and share our faith. We feel like God has given us great success as the first satellite office for Silent Images. To date, we’ve served more than 15 ministries, produced 11 videos, and taught four storytelling workshops to more than 100 people.
Our first two months in Peru was nearly 100% filming and traveling for projects, while our last three weeks we spent editing. This gave us a chance to finally put together some of the amazing stories we’ve captured over the last three months. Below are just a few video stories we’d like to share with you.
Martina’s life was transformed after she discovered Latidos de Esperanza,Heartbeats of Hope, a ministry that helped her through a difficult time in her life and introduced her to Christ.
Two months have gone by, nearly in the blink of an eye. Peru has become home to us, though not necessarily one location. We’ve spent a few weeks in Lima, a few weeks in the jungle near the Amazon, a week in the high sierra mountains of Arequipa, and we even made it up Machu Picchu! It’s hard to process all that we’ve done, but one thing we’ve done very little of, is video editing. It’s safe to say that we’ve been filming for four weeks straight, and we will continue to film nonstop for two more weeks — one week in the highlands of Peru and one week in Quito, Ecuador.
We made it! We are officially in our new “home” in Lima, Peru (for now, anyways), starting the first satellite office for Silent Images. The satellite office idea isn’t actually a physical location; it’s just us being based out of Latin America this year. We have our own room in a guesthouse run by an organization we are partnering with called South America Mission, or SAM, although we haven’t had much time to settle in!
Our last traveling project for our missional year took us to Los Angeles to partner with iEmpathize for the second time this year. The first time we worked with them was in Boulder, CO, where we produced videos that were more metaphorical, but in LA we got to see the work of iEmpathize first hand and produced videos that reflect the huge impact that their work has in various sectors of society. The fact is that we all intersect with modern-day slavery, human trafficking and/or child exploitation, and if we only recognize our intersection, we can learn how to do something about it.
This video highlights iEmpathize’s work and approach to end child exploitation in the U.S from training truckers to empowering college students.
Our second project with The Gospel Coalition took us back to our old stomping grounds in D.C. to film a series of interviews for a new campaign called “Friends of TGC.” This trip was more like a long layover, as we only had one full day to zip around the beltway and gather the interviews before we were flying out again on our way to the west coast. We visited four different TGC supporters, gathering their testimonies and stories, seeing their homes, churches and workplaces, and capturing small pieces of their lives, and this also gave us a chance to share a piece of ours as well. Take a look at the video portraits we produced below, and definitely be sure to check out the amazing gospel-based resources on the TGC website.
Nicaragua holds a special place in our hearts. It was here, while we were both volunteering as photographers and video producers with AMOS Health and Hope in 2011, that we decided we wanted to honor God through our relationship and commit to getting married (although we kept everyone else in the dark until our surprise wedding!). Nicaragua is also the setting for the beginning of Jordan’s testimony, the turning point when he saw the joy that only comes through life in Christ and began to actively seek out what it truly means to be a Christian. So returning to Nicaragua and working with AMOS feels a little like coming home.
AMOS Health and Hope is a Christian non-profit organization that exists to improve the health of impoverished communities by working alongside them in health, education and development. People and partnerships are at the heart of how AMOS works. They strive to help communities build up their capacity to identify their priority needs by training local leaders in rural communities to be health promoters and supplying them with medical resources.
Here is a video that we produced about the AMOS Model:
We should have known when the director of the organization we were serving with in Colorado told us that in his experience traveling to more than 50 countries, Mexico City was his favorite place on Earth. We couldn’t understand why or how this was true, but now we understand.
Arriving in Mexico City was like arriving home to your family, except you had never met this family. We had briefly met Jesús Rodriguez, but that was back when we were living in the DC area, before he had moved to his hometown of Mexico City to plant a church. Now Jesús is the pastor of Doxa Christian Church, and we fell in love with his family, church and city in less than 10 days.
We had no idea that Christianity in Mexico was not widely practiced or accepted until we heard the struggles Jesús has experienced firsthand. Fast forward to more than a year after planting his church, and Doxa is still meeting in the Rodriguez’s living room because it’s so hard to find a rentable space that will allow a Christian church to meet. Catholicism is widely practiced and accepted in Mexico, while Christianity, or the reformed church, is often looked at as something similar to a cult. We know this is not the case, and the joy we saw in the group of 15 Doxa core team members at the two Sunday afternoon Bible study gatherings makes it hard to believe anyone wouldn’t want the liberating truth of Christ to spread. Because our trip coincided with Mexico’s Independence Day, we were unable to see a normal “church service”, where 30-40 people somehow manage to fit in Jesús’ living room, but we did get to party while still producing five videos before we left!
First, take a look at the video we produced that introduces you to Jesús, his mission and vision for Doxa Church, as well as the abundant life these chilangos, or people who live in Mexico City, experience through living life with Christ.