Good news! When I hear this, I began thinking of my christmas school play where the dress-up angel with a white dress, and floppy craft wings and glittery yellow halo says to shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you!”
Well in truth, It is hard to think about anything in the Bible, and say to yourself, “this is not good news”. And if our ‘savior’ was born on such a day, that would be the pinnacle of all “good news”, wouldn’t it?
But then, when we flip the switch and think about the actual news, the one played on T.V. the one, no one but your parents are devoted to watching every day, there is not much that is “Good” in that one when we put it to the test.
This is what led Leah to choose BCE’s theme for the 2021 curriculum (that will be part of the summer ministry to be used in camps and other different ministries) and productions, and tune into good news that will always be relevant: God’s word and plan for us. So come and hear the good news (pun intended) of how the productions have been progressing so far.
We are smack-dab in the middle of productions in terms of filming the material. We have already done a week of filming puppets and a next week of filming dramas based on bible stories and characters. This past week we were filming different interviews of local people in their career fields, and there is still a week more of filming the dances being performed by the different ministries we partner with.
Leah summarizes our progress: “So far it has been going well. This year knowing right off the bat that we wanted to do it even though we had some experience last year, it still feels like a very new thing. Now we have the opportunity to plan, and now in the middle of executing it, there’s still a lot that we are learning. I think I lost a little bit of sleep the night before we started filming the first thing because you just never know [what to expect]! But it went really well and our volunteers prepared better than I could have expected. Everything went really smoothly and I am excited to see how the rest comes and how it is all going to come together.”
Based on my inside scoop (being part of the filming crew), it has been progressing rather smoothly. (Well I can imagine a million ways in which an undertaking like this can go wrong, but it has all been smooth sailing so far *fingers crossed) I was a bit curious about the process that led to writing this curriculum and all the effort placed behind the scenes to prepare the stage of what we are now working on.
We discussed a little about this and Leah explained, “First we absolutely figure out the theme, and take into consideration that the productions are made in such a way that it can stand alone for like a video or T.V series type thing, but they are also part of a greater curriculum for summer camp. So, in the planning stage, I make sure that they both fit together. From there it’s definitely picking the [individual] topics for each day, finding like the overarching concept that will bring those things in together. Finding songs that relate to the topics that kind of add to the lesson. For us, a big thing is ‘purpose.’ How does this relate to what we are trying to teach? How does this complement the topic that we are trying to bring home? What do want them walking away with and how can everything build into that? From there once you have the bones then just start writing scripts and just going over it, making sure that every element is consistent and getting other people’s opinion to tear it apart and put it back again which is always the scariest part but it is always worth it in the end. Then you have something that you can be proud of and that is well accepted. So, yeah, and then the volunteers and putting the costumes and props together that you might need and doing it”.
Next, we discussed some of the challenges faced during the whole process and see how we as a ministry can learn or seek other solutions where it is needed during the process… Leah details some of the challenges, “for production, always a challenge are the songs. We are making our own curriculum, but we don’t have our own set of musical people on the B.C.E team that can develop a song to go with each day. And so it is difficult to find the right songs that hit the right points we are trying to emphasize. Especially for the theme song. For the theme song, you want to hit everything.”
“The other biggest thing is we rely on is generosity and donations. We have been so blessed to have had equipment coming in at the last minute for productions that have been able to help us be more effective and efficient and take things to the next level. We will do it with what we have but being properly equipped to bring the professional level that we want to in everything we do is a huge blessing. Our next desire, dream, urgent need I would say is to have a studio space bigger than this hole in the wall or closet. One big enough that we can have kids practicing dances since right now they are doing it under the house or in the sun in random places without the proper sound system without the proper mirrors that would help us do that better. We don’t have proper storage for props or equipment. To have a dedicated studio space where we could have all of those things so that we can be more efficient and effective is so important to the big picture of where we are going.”
Right after, we touched on a little of how the production material plays in the wider vision of Belize changing Belize. Leah had this to say about it “I guess if you were to just look at B.C.E through productions it might seem like ‘oh!, we are just making a T.V show’ and I think that would have some evangelical purposes, getting it to everyone’s home… But last year since we had a package put together, it ended reaching further in the country than we have been able to do before. And so not only are you going to use this curriculum for B.C.E but [we] put it together like you would get a V.B.S package from the States. And so a church in Dangriga, could open it up and pull it apart and use it. Really it’s going to be a tool that anyone in Belize can use and so that’s “Belize changing Belize” again with our vision of equipping our people to be able to better reach the children…”
The vision of productions was one that was always dreamed about at B.C.E and now it has materialized into this endeavor where many hands are involved in the process of bringing it to life. From the children ministry in their follow up with the kids, teaching the children from the clubs the dances and at the same time building intentional relationships with them. To the youth ministry connecting with past volunteers and having them involved through acting or whatever role that is needed. Also, the director plays a role in finding locations and finding more volunteers. The media department will put the work together and film the material. The kitchen with Ms. Shellie, our cook, taking good care of us [missionaries and interns] and the volunteers that come in. Yet countless other hands are instrumental in supporting the work in some way or another which we are grateful for. The work has been a beautiful coalescing of different people, backgrounds, minds, hearts, and overall desire to work together to see Belize change Belize. To get this material to the children and tell more about the Good News that is still to be heard in and around the country. Pray for us as we continue to brave the challenge of completing this material and handing it to the partners that will use it to reach out to the children of Belize.