Dear brothers and sisters,
At the beginning of 2021, God has filled my heart with gratefulness and new hope because the second draft of the script, which I think is the most difficult part of the script development process, is almost complete. The plot, characters, the number and content of scene breakdowns in each episode have been determined. The next step is to write the dialogue. We pray for wisdom to write a dialogue that can truly reflect the character’s heart and build up dramatic tension.
In the new year, facing the aftermath of the US presidential election and the still growing epidemic, I see the importance of this project more than ever because:
- When we cannot gather or meet face-to-face, churches and Christians should not stop evangelizing. In this isolated state, high quality visual resources to reach people are constantly being searched for.
- In a social atmosphere where divisions are intensified and hatred is prone to be provoked, Christians should always take the initiative to love and care for the LGBTQ+ community, try our best to understand them, rather than labeling them with stereotypes and resisting engaging with them due to fear.
These two evangelical goals are never easy, but they are even more difficult in today’s environment where the LGBTQ+ issues are politically polarizing and controversial. In this past election, different positions towards this issue even determined who people voted for. Although we want to minister to LGBTQ+ people, Christians are now facing much more hostility than we did before. Furthermore, the LGBTQ+ activists have a great influence in education, media, and
cultural areas that impact our children on the daily basis. Nonetheless, LGBTQ+ community is an unreached people group who are cut off from the true Gospel. They rarely accept invitations into church (except gay affirming church). Their view towards Christianity is often distorted and misled (i.e., “God hates homosexuals”; “homosexuality is the greatest sin”; “the Bible is outdated when claiming that homosexuality is a sin”; “God made me this way, so I have the right to act on it”; “God is cruel and cold,” etc.). No matter how much the media and popular culture validates their desires, people in the LGBTQ+ community still have many struggles, feel isolated, and endure trauma and pain on their own. Their real needs are the same as ours: Jesus Christ’s freeing Gospel. In order to effectively share the Gospel with them, churches need to be equipped with the right tools and knowledge on how to extend our welcoming arms and start the conversation, so the broken hearts will meet God’s love and truth.
These few observations have pushed us to continue our efforts to complete this script despite all kinds of difficulties. Aside from our own job (for me, I am a homemaker), we dedicate our free time to this project, responding to God’s grand calling to make something much bolder and bigger on a scale that is well beyond our own abilities. Despite knowing how limited we are, I look forward to achieving several milestones by completing this project:
– This will be the first fictional film and television work in the Chinese Christian community that focuses on caring for the LGBTQ+ community.
– This will be the first original TV series in the Chinese Christian community.
– This will be the first Gospel-oriented TV series product designed to be used in small group setting to engage conversations in the Chinese Christian community.
Storytelling in film and video is a less common platform to share Gospel within Chinese Christian communities. I slowly saw the vision God wanted to show me when I studied psychological counseling in college. It became clearer after I came to the United States to study filmmaking. In 2013, witnessing the uproars during Taiwan’s gay marriage legislation, I saw the spiritual needs of the LGBTQ+ group and the powerful influences of the media on steering public opinion. Later, when my husband and I served oversea Chinese students in Pittsburgh’s university campuses, it became evident to me that we needed to find the entry points to
engage with this postmodern generation who grew up in the soil of virtual spaces on the Internet, connects with people through social media, and surrounds themselves with bright screens of excessive videos and gaming. We need a different platform to effectively communicate with this generation. Our strategies for evangelization need to evolve. We need to understand the power of stories that can touch people’s hearts in a non-traditional way because this is a generation who tends to experience the truth through appealing aesthetics rather than reasoning. By combining both powerful stories and visual appeal, this new form of evangelism will be like a spring of water that will quench a thirsty and lost heart that seeks Christ. Through years of praying and exploring, God led me here, to a mission I am devoted to fulfill. I believe missional art is one of the missing pieces of our Gospel work, and now is the time to seize it.
In 2016, after continuous thinking, investigating, and research, this product was positioned as original TV series for an audience of small group gatherings. In 2017, Taiwanese film missionary Mina Cheng joined this project, so we entered the preparatory period for writing. In 2018, Two Springs Media was officially established as a 503(c)-non-profit organization in the United States. In Spring 2020, I returned to Taiwan and started the script writing process. This year, this development process has marked its fifth year since its conception (2016-2021).
The threshold to enter the media industry is always high. The reasons are (1) a successful film script often takes years or even more than ten years to develop; and (2) the production cost is high. A quality film/TV product requires trained professionals and equipment to produce. Trained filmmakers are not abundant resources because of long working hours and a working environment with high risks. However, the return of investment still provides strong incentives. On one hand, the visible return of a high monetary profit in this business is possible. However, from the missional point of view, what we really care is the invisible return of sharing the Gospel in an innovative way: by tapping into the power of discourse, we could influence the next generation’s values and shape our future culture.
From the very beginning, our organization decided that we are a non-profit, and we do not want to attract investors who seek profit returns in producing film and television programs. Instead, we depend on God’s lead and take every step with faith, supported by the dedication of our brothers and sisters. We are also convinced that God
will affirm what we do by providing enough funding for the production. Therefore, we decided to take the necessary steps in the next few months to enter the fundraising stage. By request, the interested party will be able to access the story outline, role description, and production budget in detail. By providing an insight to the project, we look for similarly minded individuals/churches to commit to helping us finish this project.
Before then, I want to give you a quick glance of our finance. We received donation of USD $17,327.23 last year and spent USD $1,027.03. The surplus was moved to the saving reserved for our movie production fund. The organization’s budget in 2021 is USD $17,174. This number includes the cost to produce a short promotional video in order to publicize this project, pre-production cost (crew and cast search…etc.), other fundraising and administrative costs.
We are also in need of your prayer in these areas:
- Website production: Please pray for our website production and logo design co-workers. This is an important step for us because after the website is launched, we will be able to connect to our supporters and other resources more effectively and timely.
- Book translation: Please pray for our translators who are translating resources for parents on the topic of gender education. We consider this is another aspect we can do to equip brothers and sisters on this issue in this fast-changing cultural landscape.
- Please pray for our board directors, who have been faithfully supervising the operation of our organization on every revenue and expenditure. They have provided many good inputs to advance the ministry. Please pray that God will continue to give them wisdom and walk closely with God.
- Please continue to pray for me and Mina’s creative work. I know from heart that this is not a task that we can accomplish with our own ability, but we have been constantly experiencing the power from above and know that we can continue to trust in Him to finish the work He has started.
If you are led to contribute financially to the goal of finishing this project, please mail check to us. All donations will be provided with tax deductible receipts. You can write a check to Two Springs Media, and mail to:
Two Springs Media
P.O. Box 81518, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
At the time of writing this letter, Chinese New Year is less than in a week. I wish you all a happy Chinese New Year, and may God bless you abundantly!