Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scott's Glory Story


I want to thank Scott Price for allowing us to share his recent personal reflections for this week of Thanksgiving. Scott and his wife Laura have responded to a calling from God to adopt several children with special needs. Their daughter, Vicki, was able to return home last week after being hospitalized for 28 days with a life-threatening infection. Scott first shared this story on Vicki’s CaringBridge blog three weeks ago and it spoke volumes to me about the power and purposes of our sovereign God. It stirred me to marvel and give thanks to Him. I trust it will turn your eyes toward Jesus also.


A DELICATE BALANCE  by Scott Price 
Vicki is in somewhat of a pattern. As evening and night roll around, she likes to "party."  Well, maybe party is an overstatement but when there are a lot of people in your room, that should qualify as a party.  (We do have one staff person that's on a mission to get a disco ball in the room, but that's another post). 
She tends to raise her temp and have a harder time breathing late in the evening and during the night.  That brings in the "party."  With these things, she worries her doctors, so they draw labs, do respiratory treatments, alter medications and then she decides the party is over and goes back to sleep—about 5 a.m.  Last night was just such a "party." 
As I ponder this journey, what I am most amazed by is how our bodies are in an extremely delicate internal balance a majority of the time.  Consider all of the things you don't think about like breathing or your temperature.  Your body just does it!  For me, it reinforces my faith in our Almighty God and the fact that He created us.  There's just no way that this delicate internal balance we were given somehow arose out of a combo of gases, or from an evolutionary process, or whatever other theories have been concocted over the years.  A wise and awesome God thought everything through and came up with this amazing and wonderful design. 
What reinforces this great design is how we as nurses, doctors, other staff, and parents are trying desperately to keep Vicki in some sort of balance.  We've done a myriad of things with over a half dozen doctors, the lab, countless nurses, Laura, me, and a couple of PCAs observing, getting tests, attempting interventions, and of course praying to keep her scales level.  
Early on when we tried one thing, it tipped another thing out of balance.  She was on a seesaw for many days.  Now the seesaw still tips back and forth, but it is much less dramatic.  And it's amazing how one little thing like raising the head of her bed at the wrong time or feeding her too fast can send the seesaw into wild swings. 
All of these things just circle me back to an amazing design by a God that really knew (and knows) what He's doing.  He told us this was true in the book of Romans: 
"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Romans 1:20 
This amazing balance that resides in each of us should cause us first to pause at how well it works but then second to realize that God made us and we need to thank Him for that.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Glory Story Unfolding with "One More Song"


 “Maybe you have to lose everything you really want, to find out what you really need. Maybe a song can change the world...or at least a small corner of it. Maybe life really is more beautiful than any of us could ever imagine, and in rare moments, God pulls back the curtain and whispers in your ear, ‘See...It’s all going to be ok...’”  —Regie Hamm
Normally, I would not use this venue so specifically for the promotion of a product, service, organization or person. But, today I’m making an exception for some dear friends and a project I believe God is already using for very important purposes on many levels.

I’m so excited to tell you about One More Song and the Regie and Yolanda Hamm family.  Believe it or not, it is highly probable that you already know Regie’s work even if you don’t recognize his name. Regie Hamm is a songwriter with more than twenty #1 hits. He is also an extraordinary recording artist, producer and author. Regie has been named SESAC’s Songwriter of the Year four times and has had over 400 songs recorded by various artists. That more-than-impressive list includes Clay Aiken, Kenny Loggins, Maxi Priest, Bob Carlisle, Jaci Valeasquez, Clay Crosse, Russ Taff, Mark Schultz, Point of Grace, MercyMe and the Backstreet Boys. He has been nominated three times for Dove Awards.

But one of Regie’s most recognized career moments came in 2008 when David Cook won American Idol and sang Regie’s song Time of My Life. An instant smash hit, Time of My Life rose to #1 and became the longest running Billboard Adult Contemporary chart topper of all time. 

The song Time of My Life also galvanized the AngelmanSyndrome community. I will never forget the night of the 2008 American Idol finale. It was a beautiful evening and I was sitting in a lawn chair watching our daughter Alex play soccer with my cell phone pressed up to my ear. Just a few days earlier, we had learned that the winner would sing Regie’s song that night. I waited anxiously to hear it live over my cell phone as our daughter Erin held our house phone up to the TV for me. Tears streamed down my face while soccer fans cheered obliviously around me.

In that moment, and even more in the weeks and years to come, it was a song that represented deep things for our family. First it established a public kinship between us and families like ours who were wrestling mightily with something few had ever heard of—a rare disorder called Angelman Syndrome. Regie was inspired to write the song out of his experiences raising his daughter Bella who has Angelman Syndrome like our daughter Carly. It wasn’t long after hearing that song when Larry and I first met the Regie and his wife, Yolanda. That friendship is today among the most precious relationships Larry and I enjoy. This is a family we highly respect, resonate deeply with, pray often with, have a lot of fun with, change diapers with, cry with, dream with and learn more than we ever thought we could learn with.

Two weeks ago, a Kick Starter campaign was launched to raise some additional funds for the documentary One More Song that Regie and Devin Pense are producing. (Devin’s experience includes work with the Discovery Channel and serving as Director of Production for the Oprah Winfrey Network.)

As Regie has described, the film chronicles his family’s journey “from the precipice of super stardom in the music world, through the adoption of a Chinese orphan with a rare genetic disorder, into the low lands of dealing with her disorder and the loss of a career; from the re-invention of a marriage to the heights of winning an arbitrary song contest and having that song become an almost Divine source of redemption for a beleaguered family, as well as it becoming a focal point for many other families around the world. The story—as stories go—is a really good one. I couldn't have written it. I wouldn't have written it. Instead, I was chosen (in some weird way) to live it.” (Read Regie’s full blog post.)

Few people have the kind of compelling story, artistic genius and networking resources to create a project like this documentary will be. Even fewer have the funding resources to do it. With all of those connections and successes, you might wonder why these people need backers like you and me. Well, I’ve hinted at that in other blog posts (see my "Movie Nights with Purpose" post if you want an example) and it’s a complex answer. The plain and simple of it is that this project, like any new venture, needs investors to spur it on with physical, emotional and spiritual resources.  Larry and I are coming alongside this project in prayer, finances, encouragement and promotional support. We hope you will too.

Listen to Regie’s heart as he describes the vision for this film:
“We want to present a compelling story on screen that takes people on a journey of emotion and leaves them feeling connected to the triumph of the human spirit and closer to the mystery of (dare I say) God. This story is about music and drama and dreams lost and new ones revealed and love re-born and worlds colliding and geopolitical monoliths intertwining and the depths of the human condition and the recesses of the human genome. It's about TV shows and emergency rooms and whiskey and Jesus. It's about Chinese orphans and American rock stars. It's about one-level houses and the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games. It takes you around the world and makes you look unflinchingly into the eyes of love ...and it has a happy ending (of sorts). Through that story, we also want people to walk away knowing what Angelman Syndrome is.”
The broader vision for this project is actually a feature film. And there are folks in some wonderful places (like Ryan Seacrest Productions) who are anxiously hoping for that project to fall into place. But a project of that scope requires massive amounts of money. So until all those “moving parts” are in place, it has been suggested that the story first be introduced as a documentary. Regie could have waited it out and bided his time for a full feature. But this is a man who knows that every day he waits is another day when a child goes undiagnosed and a family struggles for hope and help. 

Regie believes (and I agree) that beginning with the One More Song documentary “helps us (folks promoting Angelman Syndrome awareness) stay on the radar. It’s my opinion that awareness is the most important thing we can achieve in the quest for cures and therapies. Until the masses know about this syndrome and have some compelling reason to get behind it, we will continue to be relegated to the fringes.”

AngelmanSyndrome is the severe genetic disorder. Regie and Yolanda’s daughter, Bella, has it. Our daughter Carly has it. Over half of children who have it are wrongly diagnosed before they finally learn the truth and are able to access the specific medical care and therapies they need.

There are only two weeks left before the Kick Starter deadline and I’m praying with passion that this story will reach a large audience and soon! Two weeks, friends. That’s what we have to help make this happen. Every contributor gets something too, depending on your level of investment — signed books or DVDs, digital downloads, tickets for the premier in Franklin, Tennessee. Beyond the “giveaways” though, all of us coming alongside the producers of this project will get to experience the joy and satisfaction of knowing we’ve been part of telling a powerful Glory Story (a contemporary encounter with the ever-present, ageless God who is always near, compassionate, powerful and purposeful in His ways). It’s an easy gift to give when you know it has God’s hand all over it and you’re giving something back to the world that you couldn’t give all by yourself!

Please follow this link to make a contribution of any size and to read more about this very exciting project!


If you want to support research of Angelman Syndrome, please go to http://www.angelman.org/ or http://www.cureangelman.org/.

And if you want see more of the heart and beauty of this family, just watch how they said “thank you” last week to everyone who has joined them on this journey so far:


Thank you so much for reading all the way to the end! I know it’s a lot to expect that you would give me your attention for this. Your willingness to follow this story and consider backing the project is a precious gift and very encouraging—to the Hamms and to the Jamiesons. I hope you will also pray for the project and tell others about it (and talk about Angelman Syndrome). Even as we all enjoy the entertainment this great story will be, God will be working to change lives—with one more song and one big dream.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Movie Nights with Purpose

Walk Right In Ministries hosts "Movie Nights with Purpose"

Attending our first Gideon Film Festival two years ago spawned a vision for Walk Right In Ministries to use movies as another of our tools to help people connect and grow through Christ-centered community. We are always looking for ways to help people facing challenges to experience the hope and fellowship of Christ — especially when they are feeling overwhelmed, lonely or confused in their faith. 

At the Gideon, it was very fun to preview several movies over the course of just one week and discover the preponderance of quality films with valuable, family-friendly messages. Learning about the tremendous financial and marketing challenges facing Christian film industry was eye-opening and discouraging but seeing the wonderful vision behind the scenes inspired us and served to fuel our interest in sharing movies for ministry purposes.  

Our second year at the Gideon Film Festival (held every summer) provided opportunity to screen two films that touched us personally because each celebrated life and relationships where disability was involved — October Baby and Jimmy. Being parents of a child with special needs and appreciating any ministry that promotes God's goodness in disability, it was especially gratifying for us to have conversations with filmmakers who shared our heart to tell stories that honor people with special needs and highlight God's sovereign goodness in suffering. Later, our own daughter Erin Jamieson was privileged to have one of her songs used in the movie Season of Miracles which features a boy with autism.

Now in the past 12 months, Walk Right In Ministries has had the opportunity to host public showings of four wonderful films:
OCTOBER BABY — This is a story of healing and forgiveness about a college-aged girl who responds to the revelation that she is an adopted abortion survivor. Bewildered, angered, and confused, she embarks with her oldest friend on a journey to understand her hidden past. 
BEWARE OF CHRISTIANS — This is a documentary about four college friends who grew up as Bible-believing Christians in America and did all the "right" things. They soon realized that their biases and allegiances to worldly things had determined their views on Christianity. So, they travel throughout Europe examining what Jesus says about topics like materialism, sexuality, alcohol and entertainment.
JIMMY — Ian Colletti delivers the performance of a lifetime in this heartfelt family drama based on the best-selling novel by Robert Whitlow. Colletti stars as Jimmy Mitchell, a young man whose world is a place where a boy can be a man, even if he's "special".
SEASON OF MIRACLES — This family drama features a group of twelve year olds, their friendship with a boy who has autism and their 1974 championship little league baseball season. It is a life-inspiring story about sportsmanship, friendship, and courage in the face of adversity.  
Christian filmmakers desperately need our collective support!  It's a little known fact that filmmakers must themselves pay thousands of dollars to get their movies in the theaters.  
"It costs about $1,500 to print one copy of a movie on 35 mm film and ship it to theaters in its heavy metal canister. Multiply that by 4,000 copies — one for each movie on each screen in each multiplex around the country — and the numbers start to get ugly." (LA Weekly - April 12, 2012) 
This is why, with increasing frequency, faith-based filmmakers are utilizing a marketing strategy that offers licensing programs to churches who will use their own screens to bring their movies to Christian audiences.

We can support faith-based films with our prayers, by attending or hosting any public screening of quality films and by purchasing the DVDs for our private use.  Consider gifting a faith-based film this Christmas or put some on your own wish list. 


If you're in the Minneapolis area and have interest in attending one of our Movie Night with Purpose, we hope you'll get on our mailing list at info@walkrightin.org for the latest news.  If you have interest in learning how you can host a Movie Night with Purpose in your area, please contact us.  

If you are someone wanting to develop your talents and explore opportunities in Christian media, consider attending the next Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival in Orlando, Florida July 11-15, 2014. You'll enjoy workshops galore by day and movie screenings by night. There are contests for feature films, documentaries, short films, screenplays, acting and more as well as a student intern program. In years past, we've enjoyed early screenings of films like The Grace Card, October BabyThe ShunningMilltown Pride, Not Today and many more. The atmosphere is electric with experts and "newbies" alike mingling and praying together as family learning together how to grow and share in their crafts from production, acting and screenwriting to music.  It's quite an unusual and marvelous experience where you'll make friends for life.

I'm so thankful God led our family to a peek behind the scenes of Christian filmmaking. Movie Nights with Purpose have given us the opportunity to introduce some very special stories to a lot of people who are appreciating the quality entertainment, enjoying casual Christ-centered fellowship and sharing in post-show discussions (optional to our audience guests).

Some great films we're considering as features for 2014 include Not Today, Veil of Tears, Unstoppable and One More Song. Tell us which film(s) you'd like to see! 

Some additional online Christian film resources:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rosie's Glory Story


Meet Steve and Rosie Koebele — a couple of beautiful "characters" who humbly and enthusiastically shared this Glory Story with us.  I say "characters" because these friends are established in the TV, film and acting communities with a great mix of talent from serious to silly. Their story is a beautiful example of how God reveals Himself when we are obedient in responding to His prompting. 
"GOD USES ANYTHING — EVEN A RANDOM SAFETY FLAG IN YOUR GARAGE!!!! 
We were driving out of a superstore parking lot earlier this week. There were two men sitting in their motorized wheelchairs waiting for a bus. As we drove past, I noticed one had a safety flag and the other didn’t. 
I told Steve, “I think we’re supposed to go back and tell that guy we have a safety flag for him.”  
Steve said, “Really?”  
I said, “Yeah!” 
So we turned around and I jumped out of the car saying, “This might sound a little weird but…" 
The gentleman with the flag laughed and said, “You’re lost!”  
“No," I said, "but we drove past a minute ago and noticed you had a safety flag on your wheelchair but your friend didn’t. I have one at home!”  
He responded, “I almost got hit three times without this flag!”  
His friend agreed, “I need one!”  
I told him that if he would wait a minute, we would come right back and bring him a safety flag. They asked me to hurry because the bus was going to be there any minute. I told them we’d be back in five.  Then I hopped back in the car and told Steve we needed to hurry because the bus was coming for them.  
Steve said, “If God wants us to deliver it, he’ll keep them there.”  
We sped home, grabbed the flag and some mounting tools, and off we went with the flag flapping in the wind out the window. What fun!  
We got back to the spot but they were gone. We couldn’t believe it! Then from across the parking lot, we saw our flagless friend speeding our way in his motorized wheelchair! It was Eddie! 
He explained that they had passed up the first bus because they didn’t want to miss us. They hoped we’d come back, but waited at the other stop so they didn’t miss the next bus.  
We hopped out and Steve quickly sawed off the rod to the appropriate height for the flag and attached it with zip ties just as his friend came zipping back.  
“Why did you have a flag?" Eddie asked. "I wondered how I would get a flag because I’m on a fixed income and can’t afford it.”  
“Jesus gives you one, that’s how!" I explained. "We sold our 4-wheeler a month ago and forgot to include the flag!”  
Eddie’s friend said, “Yes! I know Jesus, He’s a good friend of mine! “ Then he turned around and went speeding towards the bus stop to hold the bus for Eddie.  
We finished up with Eddie and prayed for him and he sped toward the bus stop to catch the next bus.
Just about an hour before this God-appointed connection, Steve and I were nearly hit by a car. Had we been hit, this meeting would not have happened. 
What a very sweet moment in time!"
If you have a story that shows how you've seen God's presence and power, please tell it!  We honor God and encourage others when we talk about how we are experiencing our relationship with Him, especially when life is challenging.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Katherine's Glory Story



I want to thank Katherine Kotila from Nebraska for sharing this story.  Katherine attended International House of Prayer (IHOP) University, was a "Fire in the Night" intern and served on IHOP's staff "Strike Team" for seven months. She is currently a youth group leader and hospital nursing assistant while helping to establish Bound4LIFE in Bellevue, a nationwide effort to see the end of abortion. Katherine plans to become an ultrasound technician.  God's ways are beautifully evident through this young woman.
"Something amazing happened today! 
At youth group tonight I noticed a new guy and girl kind of sitting off to themselves for most of the night. Well, at one point I was leading a little bit of discussion. I mentioned this crazy place in Kansas City where people worship and pray 24/7. 
This new girl gasps and says, "IHOP-KC? That's where I'm from!" 
"What?!" I could hardly believe what I was hearing. The personal nature and timing of this connection was so significant. Crazy! I thought.
So we talked for a while afterwards. She and her brother had moved here to help their grandparents. 
We hit it off right away. They explained that they had visited my church once but weren't really planning on coming again except the brother felt like they needed to come to the youth thing tonight. 
I'm not gonna lie. I've been in a really difficult place lately feeling really lonely and missing all my Kansas City friends and community. I told them I was SO so encouraged to talk to someone in Omaha with a similar background as me. 
It just goes to show that even in your darkest times, Jesus is never going to leave you hanging and will do something for you right when you feel like you've got nothing left. 
OH, HOW HE LOVES!"
Thank you, Katherine, for transparently sharing how God lifted you out of discouragement and for reminding all of us of God's marvelous and personal love!

Now — let's continue in worship!



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