Crossroads.

A Wild Journey Begins. 

**Disclaimer: This may be a long read to some but i promise the story describes events that signifies the active presence of a Good God that orchestrates this life as we know it. Take the time to read and enjoy the journey. May it bless and encourage your life as it did mine.


It was a Thursday morning, January 11th, 2018.  I was excited  and hopeful as I came into work because I was looking forward to finally having the meeting with my boss.  A meeting that was postponed 3 times earlier that week to discuss my travel plans home to Dubai to get some immigration paperwork done at the US Embassy and visit my family that I had not seen in 3 years. 

At 10:30am, I walk into this meeting only to realize that I was given the notice about my termination. I was told, because i was a foreign citizen, i was going to be given 5 weeks of a "leave of absence" to find another job and then it was going to be termination. All decisions were final. 

I felt like a freight train slammed into my body going 100mph. I was devastated and confused because I loved my job and place of employment. My worst nightmare had just become the reality. Being a foreign citizen, if i didn't have an active job I would have to leave the country immediately and lose all that all the progress made on the path of being a US citizen one day.
  
After grieving for 2 days. I owned up, took responsibility and moved on. I leaned on the only person I knew had my side, God, and my community for strength. I learned that there was no benefit in seeking "justice" for things that were out of my control, so why worry about the unchangeable? I gathered myself and just started walking.  
My friends surrounded and prayed with me for the Lord’s best. They helped put my "best self" back together. I was incredibly grateful. 

The next day I looked for openings online and found out that a few major places were hiring. Thrilled at having opportunities, I decided not wait for the "universe" to come to me, rather, I was gonna get up and get moving toward my Destiny. 

After calling a few people that I knew, I started formulating a plan to find myself a job soon.

That evening, I made a plan to take a road trip and show up in person to these places that were hiring and totally trust God to come through for me in the process. I was going to present my best self and experience a lead for what they had to offer and slowly take it from there. 

So with a lose plan, I decide to take a road trip from Syracuse>St. Louis>Tulsa>Austin>Victoria>Baton Rouge>Charlotte>DC>NYC>Syracuse     

Little did i know I'd travel 5200 miles in 15 days. 

This is how that journey unfolded. 

Day 1: Monday Jan 13, 2018, 8pm EST. 

Day 1: To St.Louis

 

It wasn't an epic beginning as I would have hoped but in a weird way it was a crazy first leg. I had to drive through a winter storm that spanned from Upstate New York all the way to St. Louis. That was over 750 miles of highway roads. The average speed I was going to be traveling was about 45-55mph which made the first leg of my trip a little longer than anticipated. After leaving Syracuse at 11:30am and driving almost 14 hours, I didn't get into St. Louis until 2am CST. 

A long lost pal of mine was kind enough to provide me shelter for the night. Thank you, Daniel Tsubota.  

Day 2 - Tuesday January 14, 2018. 

The next day, I followed up on a lead, a filmmaker position for a church in town. Getting an interview with them was contingent on another friend getting back to me that afternoon. Sadly, nothing came of it. 

After waiting all morning for the call, I decided to keep moving towards Tulsa, Oklahoma.  

Sunset by a rest stop near Tulsa. (350 miles from St. Louis) - Temp 15˚F

Sunset by a rest stop near Tulsa. (350 miles from St. Louis) - Temp 15˚F

Tulsa was the next destination for leads to a potential job. A good friend, Tyler Rowland heard my story and offered his place to stay while I was in Tulsa. It was a 6 hour drive from St. Louis but I took the time to think and be grateful for all the relationships that were choosing to be kind to me in my time of need.

Day 3 - Wednesday January 15, 2018

She took a lot of grime for me.

She took a lot of grime for me.

Fingers crossed, I rolled off toward my interviews. It was a good day with good interviews lined up. I had meetings with creative directors from Oral Roberts University and Victory Christian Center.

The job op from ORU was stronger than that from Victory primarily because they were not actively hiring for a filmmaker. The position from ORU was promising but I had to make an educated decision so I asked the director for some time to think about it and let him know after.

On the drive down to Tulsa I noticed that my wheel alignment on my car off. So after going and meeting a few people that morning I decided to go get my car checked before I got back on the road to Texas. With the help from Tyler, I got my car checked and found that my rear shocks on my car were broken. Not the greatest news but at least i knew there was that problem. I asked around and started devising a plan to have it resolved on the journey. 

The next solid lead was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but the road to get there was through Texas. With the help of Tyler, I sent out my resume to a couple of places in Texas.

Day 4 : Thursday, January 16th, 2018, 8am

I wake to get a call from a friend from college, Charles Shull. He saw my stories on Instagram and wanted to hear about my journey. I told him that i was traveling through Texas and he tells me that his father-in-law lived in Austin! If i needed a place to stay i had it. He also told me that his in-laws attended the church that i had applied to work at, Gateway Austin, for over 15 years. He said that he'd get in touch with him and get back to me soon. Maybe he could try to get a meeting with someone there while i passed through.

Every moment i spent outside of my circumstance, I felt the presence of God that reassured me of His goodness. Every moment I was given the opportunity to Trust Him with the plan. 

After grabbing breakfast with some of my favorites, The Retherfords, I got back on the road. I first had to go through Oklahoma City and visit my dear friends Jon and Cady Patterson before heading down toward Austin.

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Location: Oklahoma City, Jon and Cady’s apartment

After a good night’s rest, I woke up early and sent some more emails and searched for a repair shop in Austin. 2 of my former colleagues from Bethel Church had moved to Austin and had offered a bed for the night after hearing my story.

To say I am wealthy in incredible relationships would be an understatement.  

Day 5: Friday, January 17th, 2018.

It was 6 hour journey to Austin, TX

Next stop : Austin Texas. 

 

Leaving Oklahoma State.

Leaving Oklahoma State.

We meet again, Ben Jacobs and Tyson Turner. Time: 10pm

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We all were tired, but we had a blast catching up on stories from the last 3 years.

Thanks to Ben and his family, i got a place to stay for the night. The next day my car was being checked out at the shop.

Day 6: Saturday January 18th, 2018. 

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I knew this day was going to cost. Nonetheless, it had to be done.

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I took the car into the closest shop and set out to send a few more emails. I made arrangements to meet with Mr. Darcy Sherwood. As I waited for him, I got the report back from the shop.

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The news wasn’t good. All 4 of my shocks we busted, and they quoted me with a $2,700 quote to fix and there was no way i could pay that.

After some thought I felt “ok” to do half the job. I agreed to fix the front shocks as it was a FWD car and it was important to be safe for the rest of the journey. I agreed to spend $1573 of my money i did not have, which was a lot..but I had no other choice at that moment.

I was told the car would be ready in 1-2 hours. Surprised by the speed of the repair, I asked if it was okay to go meet the technician who was working on my car and ask some questions. I was curious and wanted to know why it was quick to fix, yet so expensive. 

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As I got talking to we the technician, I shared that i was on a road from NY and was in town for an interview at Gateway Church the following day.  

To my surprise, He told me that he knew the Campus Pastor personally and offered to put in a good word for me. I was overwhelmed by his act of kindness.

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As I waited for my car to get done, Darcy Schroder(Charles Shull’s father in law) showed up. He took me to Salt Lick, a fantastic barbecue joint.

He was incredibly kind to treat me to a delicious lunch and give me advise on what to do the next day for my interview. He arranged to have me meet the creative director the next day between services.

After getting my car back, i decided to go check out the church location and sort of get a feel for the church’s campus and offices.

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The next day I woke up early and headed to Church. I was looking forward to meeting the creative director of the church.

I attended the first service and went over and met the guy at the sound booth before their second service.

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I had a good conversation with Justin Girdler, the Creative Director. We talked about the church, how it founded, and where it is at now. He shared testimonies and really appreciated the journey’s we individually traveled to understand the love of God. It was a great conversation. The biggest thing i learned out of the talk was learning about how that church worked. I learned that they had a good respect for proper work life balance. Exactly something I was looking for.

I bid my farewell, and headed off to see my buddy Carl, who was on his way to meet me downtown.

This journey has been a miracle. A few days ago I lost my job and my future unclear but I wasn’t feeling one bit anxious or scared. It was real the feeling that the Holy Spirit was on my side warring to make sure I walked toward the plan that God had for me.

After spending the afternoon with Carl and his wife Neva, they took me to their home in Victoria, TX.

and let me tell you, they sure do know how to welcome guests.

I slept well and deep that night.

The next morning Carl and I caught some good breakfast and just talked through the events of the last few days.

It was nice to talk to him about the Journey and tell him about how faithful God has been throughout the trip. He helped me think about ways to better position myself to get a job that was worth my portfolio.

Later that day I would be leaving to go to Baton Rouge, where my next interview would be held.

It was a 7 hour journey to Baton Rouge, LA.

Cardiff Booth, another good friend from college gave me his home to stay while I had the interview with Bethany Church the next day.

He had reached out to me a few times back in 2015, but the immigration process going prevented me from considering the offer.

Cardiff had arranged me to meet the creative director, Jamie Zachary for lunch that afternoon.

I woke up the next day, had some breakfast and went for a coffee. My meeting was at 1pm, I decided to scope the place out and get a feel for the place and then go for my meeting.

Around noon, I went to lunch and met Jamie for an initial meeting.

Right away as we made conversation, I felt that knew how to manage his team very well.

After lunch, Jamie introduced me to his team back at the offices.

While i was in Tulsa I got to apply to NewSpring Church in South Carolina. Up till this moment there were solid leads out of Baton Rouge.

I was hoping to hear back from Elevation, NewSpring, a Church in Virginia Beach that I didn’t know and another Church in Florida.

I reached out to Jon Patterson again, to check if he had any leads to getting an interview at NewSpring and unfortunately there were none.

He sends me a text saying that I could try, direct messaging the guy on Twitter. His name was Tadd Tatum. That morning, when I was getting ready to leave for the day, I was annoyed by the fact that I could not log in to my twitter because I had forgotten my password.

After meeting Bethany Creative, I scrolled through my phone to see this email in my inbox.

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I was surprised by the timing. With the journey ahead being unclear, the next stepping block had appeared. I was thrilled. I responded and told Tadd that I was on the road and would be swinging by South Carolina the next day if he wanted to have the meeting in person.

Jamie asked me for a last meeting before I took off the next morning at IHOP, and I left Bethany’s Main Offices.

It was a 11-12 hour journey through Atlanta that night. Jon Patterson, called on my way there and told me I could stay at his parent’s ranch that night. It was close enough to New Spring and that would give me a good night’s rest before my meeting with Tadd in the morning.

loved that view.

loved that view.

Thankful to my friend, I was a able to get another night’s sleep.

I met Mr. Tatum the next day and had a good interview. With a lot of things to think about, i got back on the road back to New York again.

I was thankful and overwhelmed for all the doors that opened up to me on this journey. God had been incredibly kind to me. I had a lot to process and pray about to make sure i choose the right job for my next season of life. I knew that good things were ahead of me.

I journeyed on to meet up with my best friend, Benjin Joshua in Virginia.

I always enjoy hanging around him, he always gives me a higher perspective about God and his purpose for mankind. He told me that the word says, the world is imperfect and one of the most imperfect places in this world is “The Church”. He said that even though the people in the church may fail you, it still does not mean that God doesn’t move through them. it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t work through imperfect people for His glory.

On my way out of Virginia, I met some new friends and caught up with some old ones and finally made my way back to Syracuse.


I have to say it was an incredible journey. One that opened my eyes to a lot of things about God and his favor for me.

In the next few weeks, I was offered the right job and a week after, I was moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to go work at Bethany Church.
















A Guide to Popular Filmmaking.

I love storytelling. As humans, we love stories because we see ourselves in them, and they inspire us by making our lives feel bigger and a part of something greater. This is why storytelling is so powerful and why it’s been a major communication tool for thousands of years. The methods have evolved, but the fundamental action and pattern of telling a story has not.

There is one basic pattern of storytelling that most, if not all, storylines follow. It’s called “The Hero’s Journey.” This pattern starts with a single hero, who lives in his own known universe, but is called on a great adventure in an unknown territory. As the hero’s journey begins, he meets a supernatural aid, helper or mentor. From there he faces challenges, temptations,meets his enemies and his allies. At the arc of the story, the hero faces death and rebirth. From there he is transformed, must undergo atonement, and then ultimately he returns home. Doesn’t this sound like a story you and I are familiar with? It is the same pattern that the Gospel follows.

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Let’s take the movie Star Wars as an example to highlight this pattern. If you’ve never seen Star Wars, you can still read through this pattern and get a great understanding of the plot and how it relates to us as Christians.

Luke is in his known world when he lives on a moisture farm on the desert planet Tatooine. Luke’s call to adventure comes when he finds a message stored in R2-D2. Luke meets his aid/mentorwhen he meets Obi-Wan Kenobi who gives Luke his father’s lightsaber and agrees to train him to be a Jedi. He crosses the threshold when he travels with Obi to Alderaan to deliver plans for the Death Star to Princess Leia’s father. He comes face to face with his challenges/temptations/enemies and allies when he meets Hans Solo and Chewbacca and they travel to Alderaan with Obi Wan. He approaches the abyss when the Death Star destroys Alderaan and they invade Death Star to rescue Princess Leia. Here is also where death and rebirth happens, when the group rescues Leia but Darth Vader kills Obi Wan Kenobi in the process. The transformation happens when Luke joins the Rebels and destroys the Death Star. He approaches atonement when he refuses Hans Solo’s offer to leave, and chooses to overcome the Galactic Empire. He passes the atonement stage when he remembers Obi-Wan’s advice and uses the Force to help him destroy the Death Star. He returns transformed with his reward when he receives the medal and takes his first steps toward becoming a Jedi.

Let’s see ourselves in this story, not as intergalactic jedi masters but as followers of Christ. Just like the hero in the story is called out of his or her known universe, we too are called to adventure, into the unknown where growth and transformation happen. Along the way we receive supernatural aid, help and mentorship through the Holy Spirit to face challenges and temptations. We then face our own ordeals, undergo supernatural death and resurrection when we choose to die to our old-self and be reborn into new identities in Christ where we then walk the path of transformation back home.

It’s easy to see ourselves in any story when we realize that all storytelling follows the pattern that God himself outlined. The next time you’re at the movie theater or at home watching a movie about a triumphant hero - picture yourself there instead and ask yourself where you are on “The Hero’s Journey.” You are the movie star.

Written By Mithun Abraham,

Edited by Kamber White.

Essentialism

It has been almost a year since I have moved from California to New York. Since I have been here, I have moved apartments 5 times and accomplished a significant amount of progress at work. Things haven't always been easy, and every step of the way there were obstacles and hurdles to overcome. I would be lying if i said i haven't felt restless from time to time about moving to the next "big thing" because my idea of where I would have been, looking back a year from now was different from the reality of my present. 

Have you ever felt that a million different things are trying to get your attention all at the same time??  It could be motivated by things not happening as you have hoped for at work, or personal life...It could sometimes simply be your own goals, and how frustrating and discouraging it can be when the reality of life's timeline doesn't align with yours.   

This was one of those days when I felt restless, but encouraged to stay the course and and keep moving. I got up that Friday morning, decided to go on a drive and revaluate my priorities. What's important and what wasn't. What was worth my time and what I had to cease investing into.  

I chose Letchworth State Park in New York as my destination and set off.

On the journey I learned that in order to regain clarity on my purpose and focus in on the grand purpose of my journey, i had to "declutter" all the things that were fighting for my attention and remove all the things that were non-essential. 

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I understood that in order to focus on a strategy to achieve my goals, I had to take a good look at all the things I was doing, cut out the non-essential things and keep only the essential.

The other BIG thing i learned is that, your purpose is not defined to anything but YOU. It is not defined by place, a job, a people group... or anything else. When you find your purpose, what you are designed to do with your life, it forever lives within you. Usually it's when you truly pause, reflect and invest into yourself that you hear and see this reality. When you steady the heart and listen, you will always hear the voice of your purpose.  

You will be able to see road you've journeyed and reset the course for where you need to be headed. 

and when you get there.... it will be glorious! and the pains of the journey will all make sense.  

Middle Falls - Letchworth State Park, New York

Middle Falls - Letchworth State Park, New York