“Film School Africa is in a crucial moment—like a circus acrobat swinging from one trapeze bar to the next, FSA is in that “mid-air” moment, when you have to let go of one . . . to reach out and grab the other.”
- Dr. Eugene Habecker, former president, Taylor University
That’s an incredibly accurate picture of us at the moment. And you understand it as well as anyone.
Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions and take a leap of faith. Even when you’re high in the air—you have to be willing to leave one bar to grab the next.
You know, it’s a fantastic metaphor.
Concluding our two-year relationship with Pneumatix is in the best interest of our students and the overall ministry of Film School Africa.
Lack of space, an increasingly divergent vision for the future and challenging cultural barriers helped FSA leadership recognize the need to conclude the relationship with Pneumatix and seek an alternative campus setting for our students.
The great news is God continues to affirm the change—embraced by the FSA board of directors—as a way of ensuring the organization remains true to its original calling and mission.
But from a strictly human standpoint—hey, it’s more than a little scary.
You’ve undoubtedly experienced similar times in your life and can identify with the challenge of trusting God—anticipating the miracle.
Actually, it seems to be a recurring theme in my own life, right now.
So, we’ve stepped out in faith—trusting the Lord to provide a large property where college students are housed, classes held and students flourish spiritually—while they secure the skills that will help lift them out of their lives of abject poverty.
Add to that the reality that classes need to begin in mid-January and you get a first-hand sense of the challenge—and anticipated miracle—that lies before us.
Because the FSA academic calendar—like that of other South African schools—begins in mid-January, the school year concludes in just a few days.
What normally is a time of Thanksgiving and celebration in the United States becomes the end of the school year for us here in South Africa.
It’s wonderful to look back on the school year and see the growth in our students. Without regard to skin color, economic background or ability to navigate challenging cultures—FSA students are figuring out how to worship, live, work, study and make films together.
Every year—just about this time—I’m absolutely floored by the substantial changes that have taken place in their lives! It’s a wonderful reminder—this is truly God’s calling.
We’re just a few of the hands and feet of the body of Christ.
In 2018, we’ll have four additional scholarship students joining us. That includes our first non-South African student from Madagascar. We’re truly becoming Film School Africa, and it’s exciting to see the circle widen as word gets out about this faith-based film enterprise.
Thus we will have 11 scholarship students in 2018. Each student receives education, housing, spiritual counselling, life skills, three meals a day and a little money for personal items. And by the grace of God, and generosity of folks like you—$6000 still covers the costs of one student for the academic year.
Each student and family also gives a sacrificial amount based on their financial abilities.
If you’re doing the math, you know this is no small feat.
Well, it gets better—we’ll also be taking on the cost of housing the entire FSA College program. Whether FSA purchases a property or leases one for the next year, it will cost an additional $5,000 per month to house the program, our classroom activities and provide a “home” for our students.
That’s where the Lord is stretching us and helping us trust only in Him.
So, there are big days ahead for FSA College, but there are also many stories of His favor throughout this transition.
One of the most exciting and clear signs that the Lord has us in the palm of His hand, is the addition of John and Jeanne Back to our South Africa staff.
John—also a Taylor University grad—has spent decades serving at Biola University in student development. Jeanne has also spent a great deal of her professional career working with and counseling college students.
In January, this “student development savvy” couple will move around the world and work side-by-side to help encourage FSA students—many of whom have limited experience with parental figures who desire to help them navigate life.
I heard a Google staffer once say that you’re always looking to hire someone better than you; well, we’ve succeeded at that with the addition of John and Jeanne to our team.
John will assume the title of Dean of Student Programing. Jeanne and John are going to make a world of difference in the lives of FSA students. Wow—is that exciting or what?
Please pray with us as we excitedly step out on our own, into a space where we can create our own identity and traditions while sharing the love of Christ Jesus.
Pray as well for our community schools. They continue to be a safe space for our younger students who are surrounded by perpetual trauma. And next year’s new college students also need prayer, as a few have a rather ambiguous walk with Christ right now.
We are praying and believing God will use this FSA program to bring them all into a saving and strong relationship with Him.
Please prayerfully consider sending a financial gift today to help ensure we can house and provide for these students in a meaningful way in mid-January, 2018.
Every gift of $100, $250, $500 or substantially more, will help make a difference in the life of a South African student—who without your help—will undoubtedly be caught in experiences that will not improve her or his life—spiritually or economically.
Your gift and perhaps your monthly commitment, will make a huge difference moving forward.
God is changing lives through this ministry, and I’m excited for the growth that is possible in the years ahead. But these next steps are critical and oh . . . so . . . immediate!
We’re letting go of one bar—swinging at a pretty good pace—to grab onto the next one. In faith!
And I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity to witness how He comes through with the next trapeze bar—right on time. May God use you to move mountains . . . and toss trapeze bars!