Monday, August 22, 2016

The Missions Paparazzo

For five weeks, which include the entire month of August and some change, it’s almost like the Sowers family is starring in their very own reality television show. Oh, okay, so it’s not at all like that. But they are getting to spend five weeks with videographer, Jenny Oetting, who is documenting the work they are doing with Sowers4Pastors. I got to chat with Jenny for a while and get her impressions of what it’s like to be staying with The Real Missionaries of Honduras and thought you might be interested in what she had to say.

Have Video Camera, Will Travel

This is Jenny’s second trip to Honduras. In January, at the urging of Manna4Lempira’s Kim Hall, she packed up her equipment and traveled from her home in Georgia to document the work taking place by two visiting teams. The Sowers were impressed with the videos Jenny produced and thought, “Hey! Why don’t we have Jenny come back and spend some time making movin’ pictures of all of our ministries?” (Note: I like to paraphrase. I have no proof that any member of the Sowers family has ever said, “movin’ pictures”.) It’s not that Allen, Trish, and Russell have gone publicity crazy and have a desire for their own personal paparazzo. It’s that, by having Jenny visit, they will be better able to show people where they live, what they do, and, most importantly, what the needs are for Sowers4Pastors.

Just Your Typical Atypical Week

The week I spoke to Jenny was not a typical week. Though, on second thought, it was typical in how atypical it was. All of the Sowers children (with the exception of Ben and Rachel) had been together at the ol’ home place. The day before our phone call, she watched as Trish said, “goodbye” to her offspring who live in the U.S. Allen and said offspring set off for the airport and Trish stayed behind to hold down the fort. Trish was feeling puny, with the start of what would turn out to be strep throat. Russell and his wife, Iris, were still feeling the effects of chikungunya. Of course, the Sowers don’t stop for puniness, or even mosquito-borne diseases with weird names. Russell has still been overseeing the coffee project, while Trish has been doing her regular exotic tasks like making lunch for workers, buying groceries, and a jillion other jobs.

Questions for Jenny

Not surprisingly, when I asked Jenny what has most impressed her about spending so much up close and personal time with the Sowers, she didn’t hesitate with her answer: “It’s the sacrifices they make. I’ve only been here two weeks and I’ve already seen them have to say, ‘goodbye,’ to their kids. They are selfless compared to the way I would live. They are always putting others before themselves. It’s a good reminder of how we should be living. It’s something I’m going to take home with me.”

So far, Jenny has been to MK Camp, Pastor Training School, visited feeding centers, and spent time in the coffee fields. In case you’re wondering, she was able to answer one very pressing question for me. No, the coffee fields don’t smell like coffee! Bummer.

What has been Jenny’s favorite uniquely Honduran experience? She said her favorite thing has been visiting a church, and riding in the back of a pickup truck to get there. She said someone told her the pickup experience is a lot like surfing! You have to pay close attention to the direction of the waves, er, roads! Jenny loved playing with kids at the church. She said, “The kids here… I don’t think kids in the U.S. would do this. You start playing with one and, a second later, 20 kids show up! Start with one. Then the first thing you know there’s a whole group surrounding you.”

The Takeaway

What is Jenny going to take away from this experience? To that, she replied, “My eyes have been opened to how I view everyone. Everyone is special. If you see someone in need--go for it! Don’t hesitate. Just jump in and help.”

It sounds like Jenny has already found a way to jump in and help. She said being a videographer is her dream job, but missions is what got her started in it. When she was little, her family was in contact with a missionary family in Kenya. That family would send postcards and and Jenny knew she wanted to do something to help missionaries. She’s thrilled to be there, getting to see full-time missionaries in person.

What does she want everyone to know about Sowers4Pastors? Jenny responded, “Their ministry is huge. What they do is huge. Their impact is even bigger. If you get the chance, you should come. I know not everyone will have that opportunity, but it’s good to know there is a family down here with good intentions.”

Glitz, Glamour, and Cow Manure

During the call, a brave and mighty watchdog sounded the alarm, thus protecting Trish and Jenny from a cow that came too close to the house. We had to wait for the ruckus to stop before finishing our conversation. Ah, yes, there’s so much glitz and glamour among The Real Missionaries of Honduras!

- posted by Christi

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