Tuesday, January 23, 2007

News from LHF

Pastor Rick Sawyer of Vox Visuals is traveling overseas filming some promotional videos for the Lutheran Heritage Foundation. To read his latest email update, click "Read more..." below.

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Just wanted to say a quick Hello from the LHF complex here in Nairobi, Kenya.

We've safely travelled more than half-way around the world so far, and have had a successful shoot. I met up with our entourage in Deroit, MI and we set off on our journey last Wednesday.

Rev. Ted Nathalang accompanied my brother and I and our camera man to Bangkok, Thailand, where we met up with Rev. Rahn of Lutheran Heritage Foundation. The five of us then travelled to Siem Reap, Cambodia for a day's video taping of the Angkor Wat temple area. We got some very good shots of the ancient temples, and several young Buddhist monks were quite accomodating. We wanted to establish the pagan religion of that part of the world, so as to provide a backdrop for the important work of LHF.

The next day, we travelled to Phnom Penh. Quite an experience to see the poverty - not to mention driving in traffic! Our driver was quite adept at honking and swerving precariously close to whole familes on scooters! We held our breathe, watching dads, moms and babies on motor-bikes passing only inches from our van! Amazing that so many people in motion - constant, like ants in ever-moving, undulating columns - all without benefit of stop signs, traffic lights or anything (every intersection is a perpetual round-about!) - it was amazing to see absolutely no accidents in the time we were there. Just one evening of rush hour traffic back home is almost guaranteed to produce at least one fender-bender slow-down. Asside from some constuction, the traffic kept flowing in Cambodia, a melange of pedestrians, scooters and other vehicles!

While in Phnom Penh, we shot at the Killing Fields and Touslang museum, memoria to the horrible loss of life under the Khmer Rouge and Polpot. Quite sobering. The head of the Southeast Asian Lutheran Hour Ministry (no affiliation with the LHM back home) accompanied us and was intervied by me for our LHF video. He had been a soldier during the Polpot regime, and told of his experience in the work camps. Out of 7 siblings, he lost all but three to the Khmer Rouge, along with his parents.

The people in Cambodia were quite cordial. We were glad to be hosted by the local Good Shepherd Ministries (non-Lutheran), but which has a very eager working relation to the LHF. A local pastor who translates for LHF was very helpful in getting some of our shots and I must say - he brought a reverence to his part in the video which makes me confident that he will carry on with his studies and one day be a Lutheran pastor to the people here. He has the Small Catechism in Khmer to work with (thanks to LHF) and seeing him in action as he instructed a class was quite a delight - despite the unbearable heat! Very little AC here - but the beer isn't bad! Had some Singha in Bangkok and some Angkor beer in Cambodi. OK - I had several! :-)

We left Cambodia late Monday night, after getting some wonderful footage - of boys in boats harvesting Morning Glory (used as feed for pigs and people!) - and of a Budhhist Temple (I was surprized to see electric flashing lights adoring the big statue of Buddha - their version of "contemporary worship" - and was told the monks had become influenced by Hollywood and were trying to "spice things up." Must have gone to a church-growth seminar or something!). While at the temple, we even got to video a Budhhist funeral, complete with public burning (they lit the fire, but doors closed so that the body was created safely). I worried that we might be infringing on a private family moment, but we were told that the announcer of the ceremony told the assembly that "this body is honored to have the funeral filmed," and members of the grieving family began to bring us bottled water. They were quite hospitable in their grief. So sad that they grieved as those who have no hope, and not as those wh

Anyway - after getting many wonderful shots, we headed out for Nairobi. We went back through Bangkok and then on to Dubai. We just arrived in Kenya this afternoon, and have been warmly received by Rev. Anssi Simojoki, whom some of you may know. Rev. Simojoki is hard at work translating the Book of Concord into Swahili. Well, not right NOW! Right NOW, he's getting things set up for our Vox and Snowbird crew, along with Pastor Rahn to have some cigars and beer on this pleasant African night! It's cooler here than it was in Cambodia. I hear that Nairobi is about a mile above sea level. Tomorrow we'll shoot some interviews here in the LHF complex. The next day we travel to a Massai village. We wanted to video tape in the city and get some shots of Muslims at prayer, but the police have told us that is too dangerous right now. We're contacting a local mosque (outside the city) to see if we can video there. On Friday, we will be going to the Nairobi game preserve to get some "safari shots."

That's a run down - for those interested. Lord willing, I'll write a shorter email on my return. Sorry to have missed the Symposia. God's peace, and please keep us in your prayers.

In Christ,

Pr. Rick Sawyer

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