Monday, January 19, 2009

Trip to Texas

This month, my mom, sister Annie, and I went to TX and stayed at my brother-in-law and sister's house. They have three adorable children, and we enjoyed our time spent with them all. The two older kids (just four and two years old) are learning well, from Bible stories to their ABCs to words like "omnipotent."

Annie with Michaella, Gabriella, and Malachi

We attended the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, as well. It was a great blessing to hear everyone praising God, and to see wholesome, inspiring films made by a wide variety of age groups.

We also were privileged to see Dean Jones, Kirk Cameron, Stephen Kendrick, and others, speaking about their films and their testimonies.

One of my favorite parts was seeing and hearing the lovely voices of the von Trapp singers (actual great-grandchildren of the The Sound of Music von Trapps). Such perfect harmony! Charlie Zahm, a folk/ballad singer, was also very enjoyable, and there was a nice solo by Mrs. Morecraft.

I saw a total of ten films throughout the festival, and each one made a favorable impression on me and nearly all gave me something of a challenge. Here's the list of the films I saw and some brief thoughts on them.

An American Adventure - The story of a WWII veteran. His gentle kindness and bravery were quite evident.

Fireproof - I had seen most of it before (just missed the first 10 minutes or so), but it was about as good the second time. It seems to be a helpful movie for marriages, and one that points to God and His saving power.

The Widow's Might - A unique sort of film, basically a drama, musical, comedy, contemporary film, and western! The message is good (helping a widow in trouble, etc.), and the music and production is quite well-done, too, especially considering it was made by mostly young people without a huge budget.

Abraham and Isaac - A dramatic and emotional portrayal of the true, Biblical story of Abraham about to sacrifice his son. Starring Dean Jones as Abraham. This helped me stand in Abraham's shoes and makes me want to have the same sort of faith. It also showed the might of God and brought me to inwardly praise Him.

Widow and Oil - This, as well, shows God’s power and love in the miracle of the widow’s oil that God multiplied.

The Rich Man and Lazarus - Based on the true story of the rich man and Lazarus, this shows that God doesn't save based on wealth, and that when a person dies it is too late to go from hell to heaven.

Pendragon: The Sword of His Father - This is rather long and not all the acting is the best, but the sets and graphics are rather impressive. The main character relies on God's help to aide him in battle, and, though determined not to back down, iscontent to leave the outcome in God's hand. He befriends a young lady whom he later comes to rescue.

Stained - This seemed strange and was intense, but quite good once I realized it was an allegory of salvation. It was professionally done, too.

Binding Faith - This is documentary about an Indian family facing persecution (the father is a pastor and signed a paper saying the soldiers could shoot him if they heard anything they didn't like). God delivered him one of these dangerous situations, and he continues to preach and plant churches in volatile areas. Very eye-opening and inspiring.

Bread Alone - This is about a Ukrainian family facing starvation under Stalin's rule. It teaches the vital importance of the Bible, as well as some history. The acting and filming impressed me, as well as the story.

Animals in the Bible - I watched this after the film festival was over, as my mom bought it. It was an interesting film on animals that are mentioned in the Bible, how we can learn from them, and some of their unique features.

I also got to meet one of the von Trapps--Melanie. She was sweet and humble, chatting with my mom and me as if she had known us for a while. She wrote her signature in my homemade autograph book and we had our picture taken with her.

I also got to meet my online friend (also a great, mission-minded photographer), Leah Cross. It was lovely to see her, though it was only for a little while.

And Uncle Leslie and Aunt Connie drove down to see us for a few hours and eat lunch with us, which was very nice.

There were several lectures at the film festival, three of which I was able to see. One was on cinematic music, one was on photography, and one was on evaluating a Hollywood movie. The last one was particularly eye-opening, as Mr. Botkin brought out various dangerous and worldly things that are not all easy to see on the surface of this particular movie (The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement).

I'm so thankful I was able to go (God gave me a respite in my cold for the three days I went to the film festival). This is a trip I shall not soon forget.


Laura said...

REALLY like the new header, Missy! So pretty!

Melissa M. said...

Thanks, Laura! :)

Miss Jen said...

It sounds and look like you had a lovely time in Texas! That is so neat that you got to attend the~ San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival!!! Thanks for sharing!

Miss Jen

Your new header is FABULOUS!!! ;)

Melissa M. said...

Yes, it was a great blessing! :)