Two years ago a small team of film lovers embarked on a journey to tell the story of a missionary deciding to travel back to Thailand. He had been told that at the age of 84, with congestive heart failure, there wasn’t any more that the doctors could do but keep him comfortable.
Being comfortable was never Ken Rideout’s main concern. He had spent his life in desperate situations, many times not knowing where financial support would come from or when it would arrive. He gave his life to sharing what he saw as the infinite love of God found in Jesus.
Over the years his theology evolved and as it did churches and organizations would remove him from their support systems.
My favorite story is the one where he was meeting with well to do business men in, I think Alabama, who were also leaders in a church. For a little while these men, most likely used to dominating a conversation, continued to press him on theological issues and Ken always answered honestly.
They did not like the answers he gave them.
Ken didn’t worry about pleasing people of the church. He was focused singularly on presenting the story of Jesus in a non-confrontational way to show the love he understood of God.
They continued to ask him questions and he continued to give them answers he believed knowing full well they wouldn’t like them.
Finally the leader of this group of men said, “Ken, I don’t think you understand why we’ve taken this meeting with you tonight. We took this meeting to see if we would give money to your ministry.”
When telling this story to me Ken would usually lean forward and clarify once again that these men had money… lots of money.
Ken then said to the men, “Gentlemen, I don’t think you understand why I am here tonight. I came here to see if I wanted to receive from you for my ministry.”
Ken’s thinking was, “Why would I want to take their money only to have them remove it after a year of heavy handing my work in Thailand. They didn’t understand what life was like in the East. They wouldn’t have understood my terminology and would have nitpicked every move I made.”
Our journey with him in the beginning of making this documentary was a scary one.
In order to raise the money to make the documentary we did a Kickstarter campaign.
WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WE WERE DOING!
No one on the team had crowdfunded or crowdsourced anything and you have to remember, in 2014 more people had never heard of Kickstarter than had. Now there are numerous sites online to raise funds for different things.
I must admit the whole notion of asking people for their hard earned money so I could follow a dream and tell the story of my teacher and friend on his final journey left me feeling queasy.
I’d been bombarded over the years working in the missions office of a church being asked to support this person’s desire to go to Scotland as a missionary or that person’s God given call to go suffer for the Lord in Hawaii. These were all good people but I have to admit the idea bothered me many times with many requests.
People work hard for money to put food on the table or pay bills. Many people work in jobs they hate and never feel that feeling of living out their life long dreams.
Back to the journey of making the film. We started our final lap of our four week campaign and were significantly short on raising the funds to make the film. I would call Ken and talk to him.
Our talks had changed. They had changed from our thirty minute to an hour long talks about God’s views on this demographic or the loving response to that person’s Facebook post. They had become talks of money and what would we do if we didn’t reach our goal.
Ken would reassure me over and over again as I “sweated the small stuff.”
Then, a few days before the finish line a church in Singapore, one Ken had been a mentor to for decades came in with a contribution that took us over our original goal. All those feelings of worry and fret were bombarded with shame and elation. I couldn’t believe I didn’t believe.
I couldn’t believe they believed in us.
I say all of this because today I was on twitter and saw this post.
I’ve never met this person. I don’t know the first thing about her but when I found out that a simple click of a button would allow me to support her film getting distributed for no money at all I had to do it. She was nine clicks away from reaching her goal of 500 followers.
All the joy and thrill of finishing our campaign came rushing back and I could feel the excitement from this woman and her project. They’re not out of the wood shed yet as they still need to raise money but it was a big win for them today.
So, for that reason I give #thisiscrazylove2016 today to Jenny Waldo! You can follow her HERE!
You can see her campaign HERE.