We finally had a purpose for all the footage we had been gathering for nearly 2 years. We had just released our first Passion of Pursuit episode, “Stages”, and it seemed like we were on the right track. People really seemed to like our format and our plans for delivering high quality, engaging waterfowl content with a biblical message. We were “doing ministry” in a medium that was new and fresh.
“Variables” was never intended to be the title of our second Passion of Pursuit installment. Episode 2 was planned and scheduled to be filmed in an Arkansas rice field surrounded with believers. Surely God would bless this endeavor with full limits, perfectly framed kill shots and fellowship overflowing from pit blinds. Right? For weeks the weather had been perfectly cool, the migration right on time, and our host Heath Whitmore had even been sending us pictures of mallards and pintails killed just one week before our arrival. Brian and I started compiling shot lists, how we wanted kill shots framed, voice overs recorded and what would be the biblical message delivered after such planned carnage. It was unfolding exactly the way we planned it!
And that was the problem.
The weather warmed considerably and on the drive up from Southeast Louisiana the temperatures were going in the opposite direction. We arrived in DeWitt, Arkansas to 70 degrees…. And no ducks. Brian was very ill for the first day or two days, and after four days of hunting, we killed a grand total of 4 ducks, only one on camera and in frame. We were crushed, and our hopes dashed. “How do you produce a hunting film while only killing FOUR DUCKS…” we asked in prayer back at the lodge. The answer came back, not immediately but gradually as His answers usually come to me. We were not producing a hunting film, we were producing a film about how God reveals himself and pursues his creation while hunting.
We had lost track of our true purpose because we had a different vision than God, and in the process, we nearly missed the appreciation for the new relationships with which God had so richly blessed us.
At one point in the episode, Heath pointed out that when it’s slow in a duck blind, there are so many things in a guy’s life that come out that would never be discussed when the action is fast and furious…. And he was right. He was right about a lot of things that weekend. He was right about how God was using changing weather conditions to allow all involved to appreciate the men He put in our paths. Men like Zack Williams, a Christian musician who, at that time, lead worship at his Jonesborough church and played in a band called Brothers of Grace. Zack is now on the Sony record label and is a wildly successful and godly musician. We worshipped at night listening to Zack playing his music and experiencing the fellowship of godly men. Our lodge was constructed of reclaimed and damaged building materials, all beautifully put back together to serve a new purpose. It was the perfect picture of what the body of Christ truly is, broken lives joined into one new functioning body. Everywhere within the lodge, the message was clear, nothing has outlived its usefulness or its purpose in Christ.
We now understood why we were there, and we still go back to that weekend in DeWitt as the defining event in our ministry. Had it turned out to be the greenhead slaughter that we planned, the true lesson would have been lost among all the other successful “hunts” we have had since, and faded into the recesses of our memory. But God used the variables of weather to take our group apart, each man individually, and show us what it was that we all truly needed…. more of Him.
See “Variables” at the Link Below.