“I’m looking for someone interested in filming a short documentary in Pakistan in the fall.”
I’m on a yacht in Salem, MA when I hear the words. The reason for the occasion is a monthly networking event for Christian Filmmakers that some friends recently started. I’ve been craving for a group of other creatives to learn from and get inspired by, and this has been an answer to prayer. What’s more, a Christian group of creatives – which is, of course, eternally better.
This month one of the group’s members invited everyone onto he and his wife’s yacht, where they live year-round in the semi-clandestine harbor. Through the snowfall and summer, they call it home. For me, if anything seems too magical for Salem, it’s their lifestyle. (Side note: Salem has so much more going for it than witches and hokey halloween shops…).
We’re at the end of the evening when the invitation is made to Pakistan. Safe to say, shortly afterward I volunteer to go.
Here I am, two months later packing several bags of film gear and clothing to head to Western Asia. If I didn’t feel a little nervous, I would be lying.
In the west, we hear any country with the suffix “-stan” and imagine a bunch of people running around with explosives. The truth is a lot more muddy. I’ll be in the Punjab region pf Pakistan, which out of all the regions of Pakistan is perhaps the most accustomed to a passerby like me. Regardless, I grew my beard out so I at-least look a bit more Mediterranean than Irish.
But before I know it, my trepidation motivates me to prepare for all scenarios. Evacuation insurance being one of those precautions – a form of insurance I didn’t know existed beforehand, where retired Navy Seals will track my location and extract me from even the most remote area upon the press of a button.
All of these precautions got me thinking: do I usually prepare this persistently for the worst?
I mean, not to say I’ll keep up the evacuation insurance when I return home, but why not? (Jokingly, I’ve imagined myself on an awkward date where I press a button and some navy seals extract me from a bad dive bar).
Perhaps I could use a healthy sense of trepidation in my life after all.
Relative to the pockets of Balochistan and western Pakistan where things are much more tumultuous, tragedies in America seem few. In our comfort and relative safety in the Western world, trepidation is a foreign feeling. I have an app on my phone that shows in real time areas within Pakistan where it shows geo-tagged locations of civil unrest. Curious, I positioned the app over America and saw plenty of “hot spots” of civil unrest.
Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of that feeling. It’s like a splash of cold water in the middle of the night. It makes you realize how short your life is, and what you’re grateful for in this life. It makes you realize the world’s need, and how you can help be a part of the solution.
I have trepidation about going to Pakistan, but I’m thankful for this experience. It’s why I’m not just going on a vacation to the Bahamas, after all. The time will be incredibly educational, and also eye-opening to the perspectives of the local Muslims and increasingly persecuted Christians.
Some aspects of Pakistan motivate me to dwell on it’s harsher elements, but the country is full of beauty. You wouldn’t be blamed for mistaking the serene image above for Montana or a part of Switzerland; that’s the “trepidatious” country where I’m going. My hope, after I return, is to tell more about my (short) adventure within it.
“You’re entering the supernatural, John” my client greets me as I enter Logan airport. Supernatural forces exacerbate trepidation to the point of despair. But when God moves, trepidation flees. The more I pray and think about what God may do in this short trip to Pakistan, the more peace I feel.
It’s funny, but I think the hardest part of my trip is over before I even leave. I’ve been feeling a lot of spiritual attack leading up to the trip, especially this weekend. But now as I prepare to board my flight on Qatar Airways, I feel only excitement for what God is doing.