August 2015

Dear Friends & Family, I hope this finds you doing well. It has thankfully been a mild summer in Southern California; I wish I could have said the same for the nation of Israel last month. As we filmed 3 Youthbyte programs in the Holy Land, the daily temps were pushing past 100 degrees. Regardless of the heat and humidity, we worked 16-hour days, traveling from the very bottom of the country to the very top in 12 days. It was an incredibly fruitful trip. I again had the opportunity to bring my oldest son Max with me, and his presence on the trip was invaluable. As we were looking at shooting in Jerusalem, he reminded me of his schoolmate Zoe who was living in Jerusalem for the summer and as it just so happened, she was available to be with us for one of our shoot days. We so enjoyed having her with us, explaining her culture and helping us understand the Jewish mindset towards foreign tourists. The end of July was the closing of the month of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting season. This posed interesting obstacles for us to overcome, given that the tension in Jerusalem is always residing at a fever pitch. In one memorable moment, we were stuck in a crowd of 10,000 people trying to squeeze through the Lion Gate in the Arab Quarter.

 Max enjoyed meeting many different people around Jerusalem. I’m still not sure if this guy agreed to this picture.

Max enjoyed meeting many different people around Jerusalem. I’m still not sure if this guy agreed to this picture.

With the temperature peaking at over 105 this particular day, the crowds were desperate to get out of the city after noon prayer. Needless to say we made it out unscathed and the video footage is priceless! Filming at the Dead Sea, exploring the ruins of Jericho and navigating the Judean wilderness were experiences we will never forget. I have always wanted to film a series in Israel, and this trip proved to be one of the most fruitful we have had. As our trip concluded, we headed north to the city of Acco which served as our base as we finished shooting in and around the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. During each recording, we were keenly aware that God was giving us an opportunity to record words of life for a generation that may never get to walk where Jesus walked. Thanks again for helping these recordings go into all the world, communicating the Life of Jesus to all who see them! In Jesus Name:

 The empty tomb still sends shivers down my spine. What an honor to share this with my son.

The empty tomb still sends shivers down my spine. What an honor to share this with my son.

 The Israeli Defense Forces were always present in Jerusalem. Ramadan was ending and 500,000 people were daily crowding the city for prayer.

The Israeli Defense Forces were always present in Jerusalem. Ramadan was ending and 500,000 people were daily crowding the city for prayer.

 Near the Golan Heights is a waterfall named the Yehuda Falls. Here we had the opportunity to not only shoot our final sequence, but to explain to this park ranger why we wanted to jump off the waterfall with a camera. He was intrigued.

Near the Golan Heights is a waterfall named the Yehuda Falls. Here we had the opportunity to not only shoot our final sequence, but to explain to this park ranger why we wanted to jump off the waterfall with a camera. He was intrigued.