You are sitting in a church service, and the pastor announces that you’ll be watching a special video from one of your church’s missionaries on the field (whether that is a local project or one abroad). What happens next is just straight up uncomfortable for everyone. Bad audio, outdated music, and looonnnnnggg static shots that don’t do much to tell what exactly the work is that they’re doing. What exactly is your church, or are you personally, sponsoring here? Hopefully this ministry is more dynamic in person? And the video goes on…and on…
From the other side of the camera, though, the story is also tricky! I have sat across the table from amazing, gifted, wonderful missionaries who talk about the overwhelming expectation to do their work well, pour out all their time and livelihood, AND have great media to show for it. I have listened to so many people share the frustration and daunting task of telling stories, or how intimidating it is when a church says “oh, just send us a 2 minute update, no big deal”. Well, it IS a big deal, and for most people, it does not come as a fun or natural project.
Kathryn Bronn, and all media missionaries everywhere, enter stage right. The need is established. The need not only to connect individual missionaries back to their churches, but to help sending agencies and whole ministries tell their story–accurately and passionately and beautifully.
So, the questions start. The one of “but why do you have to go to Costa Rica to do that,” is perfectly legitimate, and I’ve heard it more times than any other question so far. So, let me answer it. No defensiveness, just an earnest desire to share my heart in response to a real question. In turn, I can probably answer 5 other frequently asked questions.
By the way, I’m only half joking when I respond to this question with “Why Costa Rica? Because Alaska got too cold, and I asked God to send me somewhere warm next.” I mean, I did. I did do that. But that’s not the big reason I’m going!
WHAT am I doing with ReachGlobal?
I am going to Costa Rica as a photographer, videographer, and communications person. Photojournalist and writer. Connector. I’m not necessarily going as the person feeding orphans or taking care of sick people or preaching in churches. That’s not my role. I’m going as a CONNECTOR. I’m going as the person who meets with the other missionaries on the field, doing their various projects with ReachGlobal, and I will work to connect them back to their support networks. I will sit and hear their stories, their updates, their prayer requests, the difficult things, the things to rejoice over, the GOD STORIES, and make them into short videos. Or put them into writing. Or photograph them. And we can send them back to churches and out to support networks to better communicate their stories and needs. No uncomfortable shifting in church pews necessary.
Why Costa Rica?
That’s an easy answer. Need. There’s a need there. I realize there is a need everywhere–it is a universal need to have our stories shared. But consider this: there are a bazillion photographers in Denver, in Los Angeles, in every place I’ve lived. When I stopped doing the fundraising videos for the Denver Street School, someone else stepped in almost immediately because there was a huge pool of people to draw from. The pool for photographers that want to be missionaries and work with other missionaries in Central and South America? Not so big. Like, tiny. There’s a need.
The other part of that answer is that there is and always has been in me a deep desire to hear the stories of the global church. I love and totally honor what all the ministries do locally in my home cities (there are several I consider home). But it is not wrong to also go to “the ends of the earth”! It’s not a glorification on my part of travel or being abroad, believe me. It is a deep, undeniable urge to go ALL OVER, tell stories of what God is doing AROUND THE GLOBE, and see how He moves in all places, all people. There have been several years where I have stayed in my own city, and my own country to do this. This is the time, though, that I will be going to a different part of the world to help with a need. Both are wonderful, and I’m just doing the latter right now.
The other question that I think is great and worth answering is “Why do you have to do this as a missionary? Why can’t you just continue to own your business and do this in your spare time, or out of your excess?”
Well, it goes back to the timing of things, and the need. I very well COULD have that approach, and it would be perfectly legitimate. However, I have the undeniable nagging in my heart that this work, this storytelling for those who are in it for the long haul, needs to be my top priority for a season. I am not a fan, nor have I ever been a fan, of short-term mission trips. I want to go BE with people, learn about them, live with them, do life with them, and watch their stories. Kingdom work is priority, and for a season, I will do it also as a supported missionary.
In the end, all the questions and inquiries have a response in obedience. My answers may not satisfy everyone, or anyone at all. But it’s where God has asked me to go and be, and made it clear that this is the open door in my life right now. In the end, I answer to Him, and look to Him for provision in all things. In a recent conversation with my uncle, who is a pastor in Southern California, I started in on this subject of justifying Costa Rica to him. He stopped me, though, and said “Why do you need to go? Because God told you to go. If that’s where God wants you, that’s the only reason you need.” Perfect.
Do you have some more questions? Answering these has been a great practice in reflection, so I would love to keep the conversation going.
Would you like to talk about financial partnership? I’m looking for about 75 people who can give $50 a month for the next 2 years. If you are interested, either send me a message, or follow this link and get set up with my individual ministry account through ReachGlobal, 2134-Bronn in the line marked “other”. Thanks ahead of time!