Tag Archives: ukraine

It’s not a standard practice for a pot of clay to ask it’s potter, “Give me Vision”. I place a constant pressure on myself to create because it’s what I love, sometimes how I love and it’s how I think. Its ingrained in me to tell stories visually. I create films in a way that is growing with the vision he is giving me, which isn’t always clear and that makes me go crazy sometimes.  I’m learning that my perspective varies from my to eternal in an instant when I am reminded of the promises and makings held in certain faith.

I am in an incredible season of testing. The test centers around letting go of my life list of things I would change.  The list isn’t even worth going into but I wanted to explain how today was a blessing in reminding me where to place my hope and how the placement of my hope determines my attitude in my situation. I really want to be joyful no matter what.

No call is clearer that what he reminded me of today, “God crafts amazingness from my brokenness. He actually uses my brokenness to make amazing things. He makes all things work together for my good.”

I expect challenges in my life. I also expect the success from God and the variety of ways that success will come in. I am not only willing to step into this season knowing it will produce endurance and fruit but am encouraged and empowered as I keep stepping through this season as I see my flesh wage war.  I believe it is a good thing to see the battle between flesh and spirit.

It is impossible to be physically or emotionally ready or prepared for a season like this but, leaning one foot forward, equipped I become through the ever present inheritance found in Jesus’ promises. But that step isn’t so clear sometimes. I try so hard to interpret where God wants me to go next. Each time the lengths of my worry begot illogical thinking. And for some reason I am surprised.

“You will lack nothing” he reminded his disciples and me. “When I sent you out without food, clothing or money, did you lack anything?” The disciples and I answer, “No.”  I was sent to my wife. I lack nothing. I was sent to Detroit. I lack nothing. The list continues.

Yet, even with this knowledge, sometimes I desire to see around each infliction. It shakes me and I want a quick self made way out. I look for motto, “I feel like I should be happy all the time”. Fakeness sucks.

Today I had four moments where I felt like I lacked. Each moment was quickly rendered false; one by the truth of his word, one by the power of testimony from my amazing wife who told me about what she learned in church, one by wisdom from my awesome brother in London, one by prayer backed by remembering what he has already spoken.

David sang entire songs about his despair and had verses reminding his soul to place it’s hope in the Lord. Psalm 42, 43. Read it.

vs 3. Tears are saying, “where is your God? Tears have been my food day and night.” Man that dude is sad. At that time he was asking for a savior. The difference with us, is that we have one. All justification, peace, love, identity and wholeness is found in him.

Psalm 42, 43 personalized/interpreted by my words and the words of Pastor Cliff at Woodside Detroit:

I am asking for water that gives life and you wash over me with water so powerful that it brings death by a drowning so significant the calendar shifted when it happened.  In his steadfast love, I live like I need less death and more love.  I live crying out, “Please show me your love”.  Instantly overwhelmed by circumstance my rock seems to have forgotten me. Emotional pain. Why is my soul forgetting the truth i can recite at any given moment. Fight for me God! I’m trying to live for you and create for you and love for you and live for you. I am trying so hard to make my identity in the sent Savior you gave me. Save me!

His waters quiet and whisper, “I have”.

Where is He!

HE is Here. God has Him here.

The past year and half has brought a new understanding to me: God loves us enough to allow us to go through things to show us what our hope is in. My hope was in soooooo many things that weren’t Him. His grace has revealed that and now has broken those chains.

After his awesome sermon, which pissed a ton of people off but made Jesus stand while at the right hand of his Father, Stephen was taken to be killed. Looking up, through his oppressors throwing stones at his head, past his critics, with un approval all around him, with grace and thanksgiving and peace, he declared, in the most un oportune time possible, “Forgive them God, they don’t know what they are doing.”

Thats legit. What pain do I have? Why down oh my soul? God so good.

We will not be free of pain and suffering in this life time but we are free from the slavery to pain and suffering with the knowledge that all pain and suffering will be abolished at the coming of Jesus.

Thus, after reading the word today, praying, listening to the faithfulness of my wife’s love for God, listening to wise men talk about Jesus in my community, I can say this, “The vision I have is for now and in this now, Christ is working” and with patience given to me I will press on and wait for him to pull me out of this test I am in with Him by my side.

May I encourage you to place all your hope and justification not in what you can do but in the already finished work of Jesus Christ. The rescue Jesus offers will promote a performance in your life unmatched by what is possible in all possible human achievement.

Now, at the end of this day I can see that everything that is fighting against my soul is illuminated by the Spirit who reveals that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Not only where I am supposed to be, but that my life isn’t about me, but is about serving others bc that is how Jesus lived.

Nothing, no critique, no affirmation , no anger, no words, no aggression, no film, not even the sweetest frame has any saving or destroying power.

The vision will come.

And in other news, Be honest and patient with your clients.

Below are photos of children and orphans in Ukraine who have been left by the government to raise. They make up the majority of the crime and human trafficking victims. It’s important to remember such peoples while the rest of the world watches the Eurocup down the street.

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Ukrainian musician Pavel Gudimov sits for an interview with me about the “Not For Sale” campaign he did for an exhibition he funded that was displayed at his gallery, Я Галерея. (Pronounced Ya Galleria). I told him, “you are so cool” after I was done with my interview which he responded, “You are so cool”.  It was a good moment.

My story is going great. I have had the best week yet, and that is how it should be. Just bought my tickets home for not cheap. My faith is stronger because of it though. Don’t allow blessings to be talked about as problems, because they aren’t as we often find that our problems are actually blessings/discipline.

Tomorrow I go to Chernobyl for three days, then I come home and interview 3 big interviews. Unfortunately I could only get a ticket to come home July 31 at 1030am. Sorry Jump, I will be there though! Best man coming back from the Ukraine.

Best part of the day….seeing how confused I was about everything and how God worked in each part of that confusion.


Trinidad’s Suspenders

light check; Subway

The very valuable hand check for exposure.

The Group on the J Train to Manhattan

The Faceless International crew on the J Train to Brooklyn

Abby Road with a lot of People

The Faceless crew doing the largest Abby Road ever. DUMBO

One man from Detroit meets one man from Ukraine, one man from Geana, then one man from Poland, one man from Columbia, one man from India, one from Jamaca, then one man from Trinidad and finally takes a portrait.  Takes a portrait. Each of these men where a major part of a certain point in my travel in one day.  The only American I talked to was Jimmy the pizza pie maker from Brooklyn, who gave us 5 pies for dinner under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. The man from Ukraine about 53, was a doctor in Ukraine before the USSR fell and is now a day laborer in Brooklyn. His wife wanted to move to the US and he didn’t.  Ukraine holds a rosary and tells me about his faith on the train to Manhattan where I was to meet a girl from Moscow to talk to her about a class on multimedia. I told him I would pray for him and his son he told me about named Yuri. The driver from Geana only speaks English and likes tea time. He drives us and the group to the train station for 25 bucks. His story is short. The Polish man was in his fourth year as an immigrant and was sitting on a park bench with a cafe at 10 at night. His name is Caro and has no friends or family. “This country is hospitible”, he states behind a shy grin. 7 minutes later i was saying goodbye.  Columbia and India were my cab drivers. Jamaica helped us get on the right train and worked at a hotel in Jamaca for a bit. Trinidad was a man who sat across from me and told me I was where I was supposed to be.

And tomorrow I will be in Ukraine. What is God teaching me?

The hand rail is cold that my for head leans against. My eyes lost in the freckled imagination of the subway’s floor. Like a solar system invaded by shoes, the white, off-white and grey specs blur as I forget to focus.   Fuel gage at four hours of sleep,  I like to find straight paths and walk them with my eyes closed, walk them as long as I can until I feel insecure. My hands behind my back i take steps knowing nothing is physically ahead yet I still open my eyes out of fear. Bodies beside me sway, the rhythms exist on my way to Manhattan. This train moves with my two dollars. The girl next to me is from Mexico and  is sad. She has buried her head into her arms and is crying. Embraced is her friend beside.

This city train ethnic with Unitarianism bleeds diversity without war. There is not time for war. Not on a train ride from work to home. From one mind set to the next. I made money and now I need to be home. What is the difference between our insecurities and our stereotypes? I have killed who I was commanded to and now I need to be home. Our social concerns and our emotional cisterns?  How many cultures do you actually know about and do actually talk about like you know about them?

“Who was that boy you were talking about?” another girl who recently sat down asked her friends next to her. Sets of three, that is how woman go anywhere. My ears filter through the various conversations as my eyes drift off. New York has called again and so has my 28th country.

Praise God for his blessings. I am humbled and astonished at how the works of his hands continue as my strength without my strength. i spent 8 days or so with my sister, her husband and their son in Monterey and just got back home last night. I loved every minute of it. It is late now and my desire is not to type or write but to simply talk about it to someone. I have more the desire to talk about my time with them than the energy to talk about my time with them. My heart understood a bit more this past week, what family was and how God’s message of adoption is more important the farther one gets away from those immediate in relation.

I am going to Ukraine. It is a blessing from my new friend Stephen Christian and his non profit group, Faceless International. Yes, this is confusing since I am Stephen, he is Stephen, I am a Christian, he is a Christian and his last name is Christian. The Lord kept open my month for one purpose and until I received a call from Stephen asking me to go on a trip to minister in Ukraine, I had given up a bit of hope, forgetting that just because I can’t see doesn’t mean God isn’t doing. There are plans ahead of our thoughts and our attention. So with 14 days to go I am learning Ukrainian, which isn’t easy.  I am not sure what this trip will lead to, but in this time where even my house is at stake, the only place I have to trust is the Lord.  If that sounds narrow minded please ask God yourself to provide, then wait, wait some more, erase all that you hope for and expect and see how amazing his provision is. Example; I am going to Ukraine for free without planning it. When what we plan is out of our control all we can do is label the event, “Faith”. Blanketing that unknown unseen expectation for God to work with a simple word is in itself a step into, an act of of self defiance. The fact that I am not begging God to send me out of the country, in fact I am a bit hesitant to even think about going out (simply because I have visited 27 countries in 7 years) is the reason why I believe He is sending me.

God’s faithfulness is amazing. After 3 months of prayer, He has led me and supplied for me and now I own a 1998 Jetta. Bought it for $1.

All of this amazing provision in the midst of me feeling distant from God. That is why feelings should be seen as vantage points to see that God works whether we feel he does or not.  I think I have a spirit of oppression around me for these past few days, robbing me of joy, which hasn’t hindered my faith, just my attitude. Proverbs 3:3-4 is what I have to say about that.

Today I played soccer with Joseph from Yemin, then Mosed from Bangladesh. They were good. I lost, but according to Jim from Lebanon, we all won.

Tonight I road the elevator with Detroit’s new mayor, Dave Bing and a small conversation started about my movie I might direct with T-Pain. I talked too much about myself. Next time I wont.