A couple months ago, a friend sent me some information about a video documentary series that offered a glimpse of Christian mission work taking place in difficult places. My wife and I watched several of the DVDs and were moved by what we saw. Tim Keesee is the producer of the Frontline Missions Dispatches DVDs. Today, I’m excited to introduce him and his ministry to readers of Kingdom People.
Trevin Wax: The world continually produces documentaries about the war-torn areas of the world. As I’ve watched secular documentaries, I almost always ask myself, “What’s going on with the church here? How is the church affected? Are there believers in this area?” The Dispatches series has taught me a lot about what missions looks like in difficult places. What was the event that prompted you to consider doing a video series?
Tim Keesee: I have kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Over the past 20 years I have traveled for Frontline Missions International and, in some cases, witnessed some remarkable world events—the opening of Eastern Europe and of China; wars in Bosnia, Burma, and Afghanistan; and many places in between. In all of these settings, I have written accounts of what my Christian brothers and sisters are going through and how they live and worship, and witness.
About three years ago a videographer friend named Pete Hansen read some published excerpts from my journal and proposed that if video were added to my writing, it would enhance the sense of being “on the ground.” Pete had recently been “downsized” from his job. He took this as of the Lord and now had time to pursue something like this. So he and I set out—a very simple format of two men and a camera trying to capture the biggest and most amazing thing in the world: the Kingdom of Christ! Opening windows to the Kingdom of Christ all over the world is what drives the Dispatches from the Front DVD series.
Trevin Wax: How have churches been using these videos? Do you see the long-term impact as leading to more missionaries or more missionary thinking?
Tim Keesee: Churches have used these as the “message” for Sunday evening services or missions conferences. Because interactive questions for discussion are included in the bonus features of each episode, the DVDs are also being used in small group settings and Sunday School classes. It has been very encouraging to see how the Lord has used the Dispatches series to grow the vision of believers for what He is doing around the world. We have even heard reports of people responding to His call to join the laborers in the Harvest. We have also seen people’s understanding of missions becoming broader and deeper as a result of watching these episodes.
Trevin Wax: What has been the most difficult obstacle you’ve faced in the filming of these videos?
Tim Keesee: Keeping the episodes to one hour. There is so much to write about as Christ builds His Church that I feel like I’m drinking from a fire hydrant—and then I have to distill it down to one cup!
Trevin Wax: You’ve crossed into many different countries and cultures in order to make these documentaries. What has this cross-cultural experience taught you about the Christian faith?
Tim Keesee: I have learned that the Gospel works. It really is “the power of God unto salvation,” which crosses and crushes every human barrier.
Trevin Wax: How can we make ourselves aware of the needs of missionaries in difficult parts of the world, in order that we might pray for them?
Tim Keesee: Of course, there are a number of different organizations serving in the more Gospel-destitute parts of the world. Becoming involved in such organizations and getting acquainted with their fields and personnel is a good way to deepen intercession for the difficult places. But don’t just pray for “safety for the missionaries there.” Pray for boldness and urgency and for God to do what man cannot. Pray the same for the believers in those areas as well. Often in such settings there is fear and persecution. Pray for just the opposite—joy and Gospel opportunities.