Last December, 12 young people from La Sierra University, Washington, Arizona and New York loaded into two vans and embarked on a 1,000-mile evangelistic odyssey that required complete dependence on God. Calling their journey “Faith Trip Inspired,” the 12 students and recent graduates aimed to bring the gospel to residents of six cities as they journeyed from Riverside to the 2012 Generation of Youth for Christ conference in Seattle, Wash.
In September, television audiences got their first preview of a film documenting the group’s adventures, struggles and successes. Several trip participants appeared on the “3ABN Today” television show produced in Illinois. La Sierra communications graduate and film student Felicia Tonga, an organizer of the faith trip, attended the interview. She graduated from La Sierra on June 16 with a Bachelor of Arts in communication.
The group shared a trailer of a poignant “Faith Trip Inspired” documentary recorded by Tonga, Brandon Armstrong of 3ABN and Michael Taimi, a La Sierra alumnus and director of the film. The three comprised the group’s media crew. La Sierra University’s film and television department provided a camera and equipment for the documentary
In order to raise the necessary funds to complete the documentary, the filmmakers posted a teaser of the project on crowd funding site Kickstarter with a goal of raising $4,000 between May 13 and June 12. By the deadline, they had exceeded their goal and brought in $4,027 from 27 backers who in return for various contribution amounts will receive thank you cards, photos with the team’s signatures, and copies of the documentary DVD.
The funds helped cover costs for post-production processes this summer including editing, coloring and sound mixing. The “Faith Trip Inspired” Kickstarter promotional video can still be seen here: www.kickstarter.com/projects/543413109/faith-trip-inspired-the-documentary.
“We are humbled and amazed watching the Lord work to supply for our needs,” said Tonga. “To us, launching a Kickstarter page was just like going on another faith trip. We were constantly updating our Facebook pages, making contacts with conferences and other Adventist media sources hoping to get sponsorships. However, the majority of the sponsorships came from church members, family and friends, many of whom were not Adventist but were Methodist and Catholic.”
The trip provided Michael Taimi an opportunity to observe “… the biggest opportunity for our youth and religion to strengthen their walk with God and show their testimony about our Savior and the three angels’ messages,” he said.
“Faith Trip Inspired was an experience that I will never forget,” said Tonga. “It was not easy, there were days that I found myself crying and praying in my own personal devotions asking God for strength. I learned that God does not answer our prayers the way we expect Him to, but He always does what’s best for us and it always supersedes my expectations.
“Perhaps one of the most powerful things was seeing lives change before my eyes,” she said. “This has truly increased my faith and has taught me how to depend on God for literally everything. He always provides.”