Chris & Jenna: Chinaman's Hat 2013When I was young much of my life was spent wondering why my parents would not let me do the things that my friends were allowed to do.  I did not know why I was not allowed to play with certain kids or why I had to go to church on Sunday. I was the elementary-school student who went to church, who all the other kids came to if they had a question about God.  And if someone asked me if I believed in God and that he died on the cross for my sins my reaction would be, absolutely.

I was a good kid, perhaps legalistic, before I knew what it meant. I did the right things and gave the right answers, if for no other reason than because mom told me to. So I got into a mentality of “if I do good things then God will like me.” But it wasn’t until I was a sophomore in high school that I knew it was much different from that, and even years later that I gave it service in my actions and the way I thought.

When I arrived to college it almost became a test to see how long I could continue the façade. I lived a double life. I would go and spend my weekends at my girlfriend’s dorm and then talk about my roommate for doing the same things behind his back.  I held to my most basic values but others were compromised. My conversion wasn’t when I realized Christ died for my sins, my conversion was when I acted like Christ knew about my sins.

I became convicted and ended a relationship I was in for 2 years, but it didn’t end there. To be honest, it was a slow process. But as I desired to pursue knowledge and truth, I found Christ and desired to follow.

Since then, it seems like I have sinned more, but it’s different. I recognize my sin, I ask for forgiveness, and I earnestly desire holiness.  It’s just that God reveals to me areas of my life where I need improvement more often because I am more willing to listen. I have less fear. And as much as I don’t want to, I ask God to take control of my life and use it how he wants and believe it myself when I say it.

There is a shame in my sin, but I now know that Christ can always bring me through if I give Him the opportunity. And because my present is formed by my past, I feel it is important to share my current commitment to my faith birthed from my understanding of James 2: 14-17, referenced from the New King James Version,

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

My passion for creating emotive media stems from a desire to see my work used on a larger scale. I was compelled to pursue formal training in film after viewing a video about young children in Cambodia who were born into sexual slavery. It was a piece that generated awareness and asked for funding to steal exploited children out of these atrocious situations to give them a good home, food, education, and share with them the love of Christ. It deeply influenced me and moved me to advocacy.

I could not help but move towards taking action on my desire to move people through media, this was a way for me to live my faith. After obtaining a Master of Fine Arts, I immediately moved into Christian humanitarian work to pair my calling with my training. There I was able to create media that contributes to the eradication of the sexual slave trade, which is a large part of my current ministry.

Additionally, involvement in the local church is very important to me. I have attended Trinity Church of Virginia Beach since July of 2009 with my wife, where now I serve as an elder. While there I have served or participated in the following areas: youth ministry, young adult ministry, small groups, the launch of a second campus, church plant setup team, co-leader of youth worship band, PowerPoint operator, Missions to India, Nicaragua, and Washington D.C., youth leader to the Crossroads summer camp, usher, scripture reader, communion server, greeter, and served on the youth pastor search committee for this church of roughly 700 regular attendees.

Here is a story that I was able to be a part of that shows how my life’s calling came full-circle:

ABUSED & SCARRED: WAR ORPHANS RESCUED FROM THE JUNGLE

SYNOPSIS: Orphaned, abandoned and scarred in the worst way, little girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo huddle in the jungles…terrified of who will capture and hurt them as tribal conflicts rage all around.