4 out of 5 Baldwins agree that 2009 was the most amazing year of our lives—not to mention the most challenging. We survived malaria and diarrhea, conquered tropical climates, preached the gospel on street corners, shot footage of Asian peoples behind closed borders, and experienced amazing new cultures in seven different countries. Together we rose to the occasion and survived an exhilarating year that has paved the way to our future in full-time missions work. Our commitment to this work has never been stronger and we are even more ready and willing to go than when we originally departed in 2008.
Best of all, we are ahead of schedule! When we set out in 2008 we had anticipated being in Australia for up two years. Yet God always seems to put us on different paths that inevitably work out better than what we initially anticipate. Originally, our plan had us completing our Create International training this coming June 2010. Instead, the unusual circumstances of last year lead us to go to Thailand for the School of Frontier Media last July. Steve completed this crucial training in December and Allyson is half-way through this program. Consequently, we are able to begin serving now with Create International as official associate staff members. First on the list, we expect to contribute to an upcoming production for the Punjabi people of India in April. More on that exciting project in a moment.
It's no secret that Samuel's experience this past year was not the same as the other four of us. Instead, Samuel has exciting plans that put him on a different path for his future. One of our biggest priorities this year is to see Samuel graduate from high school and help him through the transition into college this fall. He has applied to UMASS Amherst in the hopes of entering their Computer Engineering program. Please join us in praying that Sam will be accepted with a generous scholarship to make it possible for him to attend college this fall. Appropriately, we do not anticipate making our home overseas again until Sam is firmly entrenched in his college experience.
We are now officially on our first furlough and need to spend a lot of time raising additional funds so we can go back to full-time media missions work. Our support is currently insufficient for our budget here or overseas, so we have a lot of hard work to do this year to increase funding for our ministry. We learned in 2008 that support raising is very nearly a full-time job of its own, so plenty of our time this year will be devoted to the networking needed to increase our funding levels. Consequently, we also don't have a set time-table for our future yet, preferring to depart again when we have received all the funds we need to sustain us long-term. Please pray for us that our time of support raising will be abundantly blessed as it was so beautifully in 2008. If you are not already supporting us financially and would like to start, contact us and we'll show you how to get started.
We our also contributing to a few other video projects this year, including a lot of editing of material shot in Papua New Guinea (PNG) last year. One of those video projects is an HIV/AIDS video intended to help educate the people of PNG about appropriate HIV prevention. We will be posting this video along with others online later this year as they are finished. We also eagerly anticipate screening the Sh*n videos we helped to produce last fall upon their completion later this year.
We will be living in Falmouth, MA until the end of June, and looking for some freelance video production work to subsidize our income to make ends meet this year. We will also be participating in a number of media missions projects providing video production support like the one with Create International to India this April. Please pray for us to be able to set aside the crucial time to contribute our expertise and resources to these missions projects while also working part-time.
In the meantime, we have two opportunities for you to come see our report back presentation on the work we have been doing recently. The first is Friday, February 26th at the Middleton Congregational Church, 66 Maple Street, Middleton, MA at 7:30 pm at an ice cream social event. The second is at our home church, First Congregational Church of Hamilton, 624 Bay Road, Hamilton, MA at 12:15 pm in Heritage Hall on Sunday, February 28th. At both events we'll be sharing some specifics about our journey reporting back on the past and looking ahead to the future. We'd love to see you there. Feel free to contact us directly if you require additional information.
Create International has been invited to India to produce a series of key videos. There are over 80 million Punjabi people presently on the planet. They represent over 40% of the population of Pakistan, and the majority of the Indian province of Punjab along the border with Pakistan. Their culture is an ancient one stretching back over several thousand centuries and often fraught with conflict along ethnic and religious lines. Today, the Punjabi people are largely Muslim, Sikh or Hindus roughly in that order. We will be providing an evangelistic film in the Punjabi language and culture similar to the work we recently did for the Sh*n people of B~rm* with a special focus for the Sikh peoples of the area.
We will travel to India at the end of March for a Create Staff & Family Conference in Jaipur near New Dehli. Then Steve will remain in India for a few weeks to provide video production assistance to the teams at work in the Punjab district, while Allyson will return to the States with the girls. We need several thousand dollars for the roundtrip travel and outreach fees for the events taking place in Northern India. Please contact us directly if you are able to assist us in this important endeavor.
Can you contribute to our upcoming expedition to India?
Just like last year's outreach to Papua New Guinea, this year's spring project requires a considerable amount of support to get us to Northern India at the end of March and back.
We require $6500 by March 1st to pay for our roundtrip travel tickets and ground fees in India.
Please prayerfully consider whether you could make a special contribution at this time. Contribution information is on the top of our blog. Thanks, mates!