Comment

The Interviews Begin

The last two days have been really busy, fun and productive. We have finally started the interviewing process, which is probably the best part of being here. We love hearing the stories people have to tell about their lives, the conflict, and their hopes and dreams.

On Sunday, we all got up at 4:30am to catch the sunrise on the rooftops of the Old City of Jerusalem over the Dome of the Rock. Mandie and Joe captured some beautiful footage for the film. It was well worth it!

imageimage

Later that morning, we packed up everything and moved a few blocks up in Jerusalem where we will be staying the rest of our time here. By 10am we were all exhausted, but went to meet Nachum, an Israeli settler who will be in the film. The first part of his interview went well, and we’re already learning so much from his intriguing life story.

image

In the evening we were going to join Nachum at his home as he was hosting students from the around the world to talk about his peace initiative. We grabbed a taxi (except we don’t know if he was actually a certified taxi), and told him to take us to the settlement where Nachum lives. Long story short, we got lost, ended up getting dropped off on the side of the road because the Palestinian driver realized he wasn’t allowed in the Jewish settlement, waited over an hour for a bus to the Settlement, and then walked probably 3 miles to Nachum’s home. We’re all sore from walking so much with all the camera equipment, but the experience was fun, or at least funny.

image

image

Later Sunday night, we met up with Ronit, our friend we met last summer, and went to dinner. It was fun catching up with her and exploring the Shuk (the hipster part of Jerusalem, as Joe put it). Being able to keep in touch throughout the year with the people we met on our last production trip and then being able to meet up again this summer has been such a gift. Our friends in Israel and Palestine make us feel so at home here.

Today, we interviewed Liat, an Israeli Jew who believes in Jesus. She talked a lot about fear and the power of love, quoting “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). Liat has an important voice in this story and we enjoyed learning more about her. Her commitment to her faith is inspiring. We are looking forward to spending more time with her and her husband and their 2-month old baby.

Nate, Dan and Nick will be on their way over to Israel soon and are arriving tomorrow night. We are so excited for them to join us and will be praying for their safe travels!

-Anna

Comment

Comment

Meeting Nachum

It is so good to be back in the Middle East! Mandie, Joe, and I got into Jerusalem last night and got some falafel and bouza (ice cream) right away. Today was our first full day in Israel and it could not have gone any better.

After breakfast, we took a bus to a nearby Israeli settlement in the West Bank and were greeted by Nachum, his wife, their four children and three of their friends. So 10 of us crammed into a tiny car and drove from the bus station to their home where they had invited us to lunch. I knew right away that it would be a great afternoon. 

image

As lunch was being prepared Nachum took us around their home and land. They live on a mountain top with a beautiful view of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and even the Mediterranean Sea on clear days. He proceeded to tell us about his peace initiative called Land of Peace.  As he talked about the conflict in this region and as told us about his Palestinian neighbors, it was clear to us that he truly desires to see peace and forgiveness take place. He explained how we can’t fear the other side but need to start trusting one another. He said it’s hard, but because of his faith in God, he believes we must love another. Nachum said a lot of other great things, but you’ll just have to wait and watch the film :)

We’re excited to interview him and hear more of his story and spend more time with him and his family this upcoming week. 

-Anna

Comment

Comment

Look at the Birds of the Air...

After months of preparation, I can’t believe we’re heading back to Israel! Joe Miller and Mandie Sodoma are already on their way, I leave tomorrow morning, and then Nate Vogel, Dan Aust and Nick Aust will join us next week.

First of all, on behalf the team, we would like to thank you all again for your generosity and support! We wouldn’t be going back without your help.

The last few months, and especially the last few weeks have been busy with figuring out logistics, setting up interviews, and fundraising. I found myself worrying easily and getting stressed about the details, and things always go wrong in the Middle East. But I keep thinking about the verse, “Look at the birds of the air…,” which is a reminder that God will take care of us and there is no need to worry. Instead, we’re supposed to pray. So, we’d love to have you join us in praying for this trip!

You can pray for:

  • Team unity. Sometimes team unity can be the hardest part with trips like this, so pray that we would show each other grace and understanding.

  • Energy and Health. We’ll be busy the whole trip and working on a tight schedule, so we’re praying no one gets sick.

  • Good interviews. We are interviewing two new Israelis for the film, so pray for wisdom in the questions we ask.

  • Prepared hearts. Pray that we would be focused on Jesus.

  • Financial support. We haven’t reached our financial goal yet, so pray that money would continue to come in.

  • The people we meet. We are going to be spending time with people who are choosing to live with hope amidst a conflict-ridden area, so pray for continual joy and hope in their lives.

We’ll be updating our blog as much as possible, so stay tuned for pictures, stories, and maybe even a video update. Thanks again for your friendship and support!

-Anna


Comment

Comment

They Shall Be Called - A Documentary

We are officially going back to the Middle East! In less than one month, our team will be in Israel/Palestine to finish shooting our film, “They Shall Be Called.” But we need your help to make this happen… head over to our Indiegogo page to see what we’re up to and to donate to the project. If you are interested in donating to receive a tax deduction receipt, please email us at info@withinbrokenborders.com. Thank you so much for your support! 

Comment

Comment

UPDATE: "They Shall Be Called"

Over the past year, I have been working on producing a film that tells the stories of three young people living in Israel and Palestine. My film team and I interviewed a Palestinian Muslim, Palestinian Christian, and Israeli Jew. In January, we completed the seven-minute version of the film, and I flew to Washington D.C. to present the film at the National Prayer Breakfast. Our intent was to raise awareness about the hope that exists in the region, and to tell the story of three peacemakers.

The National Prayer Breakfast takes place the first week of February each year. I had the opportunity to present our film at the Middle East Breakfast in front of 500 people.  I talked for a few minutes and briefly shared about my passion to see restoration take place in Israel and Palestine. Despite my disdain for public speaking, I felt like I was on top of the world being able to share my heart for restoration amidst the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 

After the event, several people came up to me to thank me for sharing a story about three people striving to be peacemakers. The whole event seemed surreal. All the work had paid off. However, God always has a way of humbling people when pride begins to build up:

Along with the praises came criticism. A few people at the Prayer Breakfast expressed their frustration toward the film for being too one-sided or misrepresentative of the Israeli side. Ronit, the Israeli in the film, began to hint at the fact that she may not be the best person to represent the other side in the film. Issues of political stances, religious traditions, and faith began to build up. Although I denied the truth of the matter to begin with, I slowly realized I needed to listen to the criticisms of the film.

Two weeks after the National Prayer Breakfast and several screenings at universities had taken place, Ronit emailed us and respectfully asked to be disassociated with the film. Out of her own integrity, she felt like she was untrue to herself in the film with her current position in her faith and political views.

I went from being on top of the world with the completion and distribution of the 7-minute film to a place where I was brought to my knees. I felt like the film had failed, that we had failed. But my friends, family, classmates, and people who had viewed the film encouraged me by reminding me that God has greater things in store, and to not give up.

We decided to take a break from the film to give ourselves time to reflect and refocus. Over the past month, I have learned a lot.

      Relationships and restoration are the primary purpose for the film

      Our idea of success is much different than God’s ideas

      “Dreams don’t happen in the clouds, they happen when we’re on our knees.” My friend shared the quote with me.

      Humility keeps us grounded

      Finish what you have started, and do it with excellence

The process of putting together the story and film was long and challenging, but has proven to be rewarding. And it is not over yet. We are planning on returning to Israel and Palestine this summer in order to finish what our team started a just a little over a year ago. We are excited to see what will happen and how the story will change and we are especially excited to share this feature-length documentary with you.

-Anna

Comment

Comment

A Celebration

On Thursday, November 29, celebrations erupted in the West Bank and Gaza when the UN General Assembly granted Palestinians recognition of statehood. Palestine is now a non-member observer state. For the first time since 1947, people can refer to the state of Palestine and wave their flags proudly. 

Our friend, Tania Kuttab, posted on Facebook, “November 29th will be recorded on my calendar as the day of good news - Cheers to the beautiful name of Palestine.”

Now is the time to celebrate and be excited with our Palestinian neighbors. November 29th granted Palestinians dignity and gave them hope. People gathered in the streets to celebrate a day that will go down in history, and watched the president of the Palestinian Authority give a speech. 

We often get caught up in the politics behind the conflict, but forget the hearts of the people. Even though this vote may not change much right now for the Palestinians, they are excited to be able to legitimately refer to the state of Palestine.

Palestinians were overwhelmingly supported by the world in the vote to grant them statehood, while the United States and Israel strongly opposed. My hope for Americans would be for them to counter the government’s negativity, and join in the excitement surrounding this major event. 

Continue to pray for the peace and healing for the people of Israel and Palestine.


Photos by Elias Halabi.

Comment

Comment

In the summer of 2010, Anna and I went to Israel and Palestine for the first time to create this short documentary, From the Eyes of Hope. The film gives a snapshot of what is happening there. After screening it at dozens of high schools, colleges, and events over the past couple years, we’re excited to bring it to you online.

In early 2013, we will release our full-length documentary that goes in depth with three people in Israel and Palestine, showing their stories and passions. (Check out the trailer below…) If you are interested in helping out financially for the distribution the film, go to the “Donate" tab of contact us via email at info@withinbrokenborders.com.

-Joe

Comment

Comment

It’s finally here! Watch the trailer for our new documentary film to be released in early 2013. Contact us if you’re interested in hosting a screening or have any questions about the film. 

Comment

Comment

Our whole team has made it back home and today we will begin the long editing process. Here is a short video to bring you up to speed on what we’ve done and where we are going next. We will be updating the website over the next few months with more information about the film, leading up to the release some time this fall.

Thank you for all of your support! 

Comment