About this courseTravel with our video team as we trace the footsteps of the Apostle Paul through Greece and Rome and explore how one of the most influential figures in the Christian Church dealt with overcoming boundaries.
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Those commercials about “The Most Interesting Man In the World”? Lies.
This man is the most interesting man in the world.
We had the pleasure of having Theodore as our bus driver. He once was a soccer player for the team in Athens. Later on in his life, he had to serve time in the military and he worked as a driver. He decided to be a bus driver and now owns his own bus and I believe is self employed, but I’m not really sure.
Theodore Voyages. Look it up.
Theodore is probably the most amazing bus driver to have ever lived. Seriously. I have never felt safer in a bus. He drove a fifty passenger bus backwards up a mountain because he didn’t want to get his bus dusty by turning it around on the gravel at the top. Definition of class.
We needed a bus driver like Theodore for the places we went. One day, we drove for five hours in almost solely mountain terrain, on these narrow roads with steep drops on the side. For Theodore? No problem. In certain cities, we had to drive on even smaller roads, with cars lined on both sides, and turns that were practically 90 degrees. I don’t know if we were riding on the Night Bus from Harry Potter or what, but we somehow made it through those towns, literally without a scratch.
And may I add that I had no idea how fortunate we were to have a bus driver that could single handedly load 75+ suitcases into a bus in 15 minutes until we had to wait for 45 minutes for our Italian bus driver to load us up at the airport.
But most importantly, Theodore is a great guy. A real gentleman. He was the only soul brave enough to pick up the body of bird that flew into the window at the rest stop, and he proceeded to place it gently under a tree to rest in peace. He first met his wife by placing a rose on her seat during one of the tours on his bus. He pulled over his bus to save a turtle that was crossing the highway.
And Theodore was always so nice to me. I’d talk to him at breakfast and ask about Greek culture and about the language. We became really good friends by the end of the trip in fact! Every time I got on the bus, he would say “Yassu, Abby!”
Yasses and yassu both mean hello. Yasses is formal. Yassu is for friends.
Yassu Theodore. This ones for you! Thanks for everything you did for me and the class!
…is how Paul ends his letter in II Timothy, one of the last letters Paul wrote. Paul is in prison, probably knowing that his life on earth is nearing its end, and he writes to Timothy some final words. This letter is so full of emotion! “As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the fight.”
Our group visited the Church of St. Paul Outside the Wall, the traditional site of Paul’s burial. I was moved to tears being in this sacred place. I am a big fan of Apostle Paul. This place allowed me to pause and reflect on Paul’s ministry…the many miles he traveled, the beatings, the stonings, the shipwrecks, the lonely times, the rejections…all for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What an inspiration and embodiment of faithfulness! I also had to think about how the church has at times flippantly dismissed Paul’s writings because we simply disagreed with him through our 21st century lenses. This saddens me. Paul is a hero of mine and being in this church helped surface my gratitude for his life witness, and deep pastoral and evangelistic care for the early Christian movement.
I unexpectedly was overcome by pictures of all the Popes who served in the Roman Catholic Church. Standing in the basilica with hundreds of portraits of church leaders encircling me reminded me of my own ministry calling. I am not Catholic, but this was an unanticipated holy moment that I’ll not forget for quite some time.
Tomorrow many members of our group fly home to Goshen and elsewhere, while some continue travels in Europe before returning home. It’s been a great trip filled with absolutely wonderful students. In reading their journals and reflecting on my own experience, it is safe to say that we come away from this trip with a richer awareness of Paul’s life and ministry, and his passion for spreading the Gospel of Jesus. For many, the Bible simply came alive to us in ways not previously known. A number of students said, “Paul’s letters and life became more accessible through this experience.”
To end my last blog posting, I wish to quote Paul’s final words to Timothy in II Timothy: “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”
Photos below: 1. The Church of St. Paul Outside the Wall. 2. Statue of Paul. 3. The tomb of Paul. 4. Photo medallions of the Popes inside the church. 5. Outside the church with statue of St. Paul near the entrance.
We finished shooting yesterday at the St. Paul Cathedral in Rome. I have bittersweet feelings about finishing production. Relief for one. It’s stressful shooting on a day to day schedule, never able to prepare more than a couple hours in advance, but I am also sad. We have all come a long way since day one of production and it is so much fun to shoot with the amazing group we have. The first day it took our crew about a half hour to conduct the first interview. On our last day we did two in 25 minutes. We worked well together and everyone did their job quick without sacrificing quality. It’s been difficult for us to be working under a timeframe of another class but I think it has taught us how to work fast and deal with seemingly impossible circumstances. To finish out the trip I thought I would go through what a day in the life of our class was for the past three weeks. As assistant producer, my day is slightly different than others but you still get the idea.
- Research site and read passages in the Bible pertaining to this location.
- Night before (if we’re lucky) but sometimes en route to location I meet with Seth. He goes through the general outline of what Bob Yoder and David Sparks will say in their interviews and the schedule for the day. We briefly brainstorm where we should have each of them stand.
- Inform crew of assigned role and make sure they have all their equipment.
- Once at site brainstorm camera position with the director
- Prep interviewees by talking through their topics and formulating questions to prompt them with (while I do this the crew is quickly setting up the camera, figuring out lighting, and setting up audio)
- Conduct interview. This can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.
- Tear down and pack up gear.
This may not seem like an exponential amount of work to do, but what is hard to adequately explain is the time crunch we are on. The Bible class’ tour in Greece was slightly more flexible but we move from one site to the next pretty quickly. We do our interviews when the Bible class gets free time at a location so if they don’t get free time we have to work extremely fast or we are holding up 50 people. Things get even more stressful when we have reservations to make. All of this would be difficult for any documentary crew to handle but the fact that our crew has handled it so well is incredible. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive going into the trip with three freshman on a crew of only nine people but they never acted like freshman; everyone rose to the challenge. This trip has been an excellent learning experience for me in producing and I loved every minute of it. I feel honored to have led such an awesome crew and to be supported and taught by Seth and Kyle. I’m proud of the footage we got and am excited to continue working on the video over the summer.
I’ve seen a lot of new places on this trip, but also a lot of new faces—and I don’t just mean the 4 million tourists. Even in our Goshen group, I did not know anybody in our group REAL well and some people on the trip, I had never even seen before. Luckily, a trip like this gave me a chance to get to know a lot of new people very well and very fast. Before the trip reaches its conclusion, I feel the need to post a thank you to all of our class for the good times and great company.
Our class consisted of 2 seniors who already graduated (Kate Yoder and Yolo Lopez-Perez), 3 Juniors (Isacc Hernandez, Sammy Rosario, and Jimmy Cassoday), 1 Sophomore (Luis Lopez), and 3 First-years (Abby Deaton, Chau, and I). Our professors were Seth Conley and Kyle Hufford. I took Broadcast Media Production 1 this past semester with Isacc Hernandez, Chau, and Abby Deaton. I have had Seth as a teacher for 2 classes already. I had met some of the others, but never really known any very well. The Bible class is full of Seniors and Juniors, many of whom I did not know at all. Luckily, everyone on the trip has been very approachable and inviting, so I always had people to hang out with whenever I wanted to.
I have had fun hanging out with everyone in our class. I am proud of the way we have bonded through our work together and our fun together (not that the work isn’t fun too). Just a few highlights of my time with them all include a Comm class dinner together in Thessaloniki, some late-night excursions with classmates in Thessaloniki, hiking on Mt. Olympus with some members of the Bible class, shopping together in Athens, dealing with the Paparazzi with Sammy, Kate, Luis, Abby, and Jimmy in Athens, going to see The Avengers with Sammy and Kate in Athens, watching Sammy dance,talking with Abby on the bus ride back from Florence, hanging out in our room in Rome with Jimmy and Isacc, and going out for the day with Kyle and Kate today in Rome. Those were just a few of the many good bonding experiences I enjoyed with our class on this trip. A long trip together always gets people annoyed with each other and leads to some problems. Our trip was no exception, but we were able to move past it in order to have a good time through it all. I also need to thank the professors for giving us the freedom and help we needed, as well as being fun to hang out with.
As amazing as some of the locations that we saw are, they really would not mean as much if I didn’t get to experience it with such great company. Thank you, classmates, and stay in touch in the future. It is a great way to get to know people better. It’s too bad I can’t take a class like this every year so I get to know a lot of new people. Then again, class scheduling isn’t finalized. After an experience like this, we’ll see what I can work out next year…
I’ve been in Rome for a few days now and its been an experience; I think we’ve done more walking here than in Greece, which I never thought possible ha. We went to the famous Colloseum where they use to have gladiator fights and it was awesome, probably the best thing about Rome so far. Yesterday we went to Vatican City where we had an amazing lunch; pizza, pasta, gelato, it was the so good. After that we went to the Vatican Museum and toured it for about three hours. It’s said that if you spent 30 seconds looking at each thing in the museum you’d be there for 4 years.
One thing I will never forget about Rome is the famous Statue of David’ words cannot begin to describe how amazing it was. This trip has changed my life. When I come back to the states I want to continue to study Greek and Roman culture because it is filled with rich history and so many great things.
Bongiorno from Rome, Isacc
Enjoying so much of the weather, the islands, the food and other things, I forgot to mention more about the video work. It was a great learning experience. I think at time is was hard work, mostly because of dragging he equipment around. At the same time that is part of the full experience of video work. I really enjoyed the film work and working with the team. It was true hands-on experience, and so much good learning came from that.
One of the things that we continually worked on was speed, to set up and get everything ready for the shot in 10 or 5 minutes. It seems like 5 minutes plenty of time, but when you are trying to get the shot “just right” it can be hard to do. In the past few days we’ve done a good job at setting up quickly. At the same time I am thankful to work under pressure because it helped sharpen my skills that I am sure are necessary in the job Place.
Overall I think that the experience helped me see how I things will be if I go and get a job in a production company. Once can read many books about video production and listen to many lectures, but the hands-on work experience I think brings a whole lot more learning.
5/6/2012 – Today we went to an Evangelical church; it was my first time going and the majority of it was in Greek (haha). It was different, there was a lot of getting up and down and just things that were different than what I’ve experienced before. Athens is much different than the other places we’ve been so far, but I like this city a little better than Thessaloniki because of the atmosphere.
I’ve been away from the internet for quite some time and its actually a good feeling; I feel much more relaxed. My blogs will come in clusters, which I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, but I hope my blogs help to paint a picture of what Greece might look like. Well tomorrow is our cruise, and I’m going to spend the rest of my evening getting ready for that. Good Night from Athens!(:
It’s been a while since I last posted, but no worries things are great here. Every day has been good so far, except for the heat. We’ve gathered a lot of great footage and our team is learning how to function better together; we’re getting faster! Lately I’ve been feeling home sick and I miss my friends and family, but I remember that I’m in Greece and that I’ll be home soon. I saw that a few of you have commented on my blogs. sorry that I haven’t responded, internet is scarce around here and good internet is a little expensive. Mom, I know you’re probably wondering what I’m up to, well I’m filming and having fun and learning as much as I can about the course content and Greek culture. I miss you! Date: Sometime last week
Hello all from Athens!!! Yes, we’ve relocated again, if any of you have been following our posts then perhaps you can track the course of our travels. Since Thessaloniki we have been to Delphi and Corinth. On our upcoming cruise we will be going to three islands; Hydra, Poros, and Aegina. If anyone has questions for me you can post them and I will try my best to answer in a timely manner. Greek life is different than the U.S. in a lot of ways. Here there are people who try to sell you things all the time right in the middle of the streets, where as in America you really don’t see people doing that. Also if you go into a store the people get really offended if you don’t buy something, but hey you get use to being seen as the bad guy for not buying.
The day we spent in Florence was such as beautiful day. We woke up a bit early but it was worth the 4 hours trip to Florence. In the morning we made a rest stop. The tour leader suggested for us to try the espresso, so I did, it was a very good italian espresso. Even though it was a very small cup of espresso it was very rich and flavorful. At the same time I don’t think that would work in America since most things come in big sizes.
Once we arrive in Florence we walked along the river. There was a beautiful view of the city of florence for the river and we also saw several artist painting from the port. The city of florence is a very old city were the renaissance started at. We saw the tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Donatello and a statue dedicated to Dante. The city is very pedestrian friendly, the center of city is all for pedestrian walk. Now it is easier for me to see how ideas spread in florence because it is so centralized and it also is built for social gatherings, such as lots of coffee shop, restaurants and most importantly during that time churches.
Lunch was very good. We ate original Italian pizza, it truly was the best pizza I’ve ever tried. The restaurant seemed to be old but at the same time the service was good and the food was amazing. After the lunch we visited the Acamedia, in there we saw the statue of David sculpted by Michel Angelo. The statue of David is truly a masterpiece, first because of its dimensions and seconds because of its details. To finish the day we enjoy the italian country side.