There Is No Going Back

I sent the following e-mail to my supporters on August 26, 2009. What was written then still applies to my new ministry, Pax et Bonum Communications. Our first film, Mud Pies & Kites, set in Haiti will be ready for distribution in early March. I am now in Kenya working on our second film, which will tell the troubling story of the dreadful plight of the refugees fleeing violence and starvation across Eastern Africa.

Recently, a man from Australia ordered The Fragrant Spirit of Life. After receiving it he wrote us asking about payment in US funds. We answered his question and he wrote back saying he would get a check issued in US funds and send it immediately. He then wrote, “You guys changed my life. Thank you.” A staff member wrote back, asking him how we changed his life. This was his response:

This film [the Uganda film] touched me on so many levels. I was first introduced to your films via a clip that was sent to me on Facebook, “Sam and Esther.” Never in my life has something moved me so deeply I was an absolute mess. I was on a half hour lunch break, I stayed home for about two hours trying to gather myself. Further more the thought of going back to work to install some new lighting after seeing the clip Sam and Esther was gut wrenching. I have never felt so small and useless in my life. Suddenly my future was uncertain. All my plans meant nothing. I spent a couple of weeks getting my head around this and finally went to your site. Since watching the first disc, my faith which I have struggled with for a number of years now has been rekindled. I hear something speaking in my soul, telling me “There is no going back.” The God I have been looking so hard for is alive, and in the hearts of those who are helping and in those who need help more than ever. The documentary allowed me to make a journey while watching. Normally, when watching stories or documentaries that move me, I can remove myself from the equation because it’s in Africa (for instance) and I’m here. I can’t do that now, a part of me is not letting go. I have heard God speaking to me through your film, and my family and I will never be the same.
Thank you so much,
Joe P.

This says it all. Pax et Bonum Communications doesn’t just make documentaries on poverty. My dream and driving motivation is to have a film be able to have a transformative impact on the viewer. The films had to tell a story in a deeply emotional manner. It has been my firm conviction that it takes time for a viewer to enter into the world we create on film and be carried along through the touching stories and the spiritual reflections to a place where the seeds of transformation can take root. The Haiti film, for instance, runs three hours and twenty minutes and is divided into two parts.

I think Joe from Australia entered into the flow of the story I told in Uganda and he was so profoundly moved it changed his life and connected him to God and, subsequently, to the poor. This is Pax et Bonum Communications does. It takes time, it takes hard work, and it takes commitment and dedication. We are serving the poor through the power of film…and in the process, we are helping change the lives of some of the poor and also changing the lives of some who view our films. Clips from the films are also shown at presentations in churches and schools across the nation and around the world. In the last six year I have given over 125 presentations at churches, high schools and universities. And films formed the basis for six day-long retreats. I have even given presentations at a Jewish Synagogue and to the Trappist monks at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. And this year’s calendar is filling up quickly. Two weeks after my return from Africa I will give a presentation to 1,500 kids at a high school in Los Angeles.

Please contact us if you wish to schedule a presentation at your church or school. I am grateful for any support you can offer to help continue this unique and powerful ministry to the poor.

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