Big Update!! 11_15_11

This last Saturday was a big day for GAD? and When the Saints. We had about 250 people come out to our morning screening at the St. Louis International Film Fest. All three of us were there for the Q & A .


Even bigger news was the success of the 'When the Saints' banquet . David had set a goal to raise $30,000 in one night towards the rehabilitation home in Malawi, and I wasn't sure if it was doable. The banquet had about 300 people show up, and at the end of the night David and his team had raised $28,368 and in the last few days has almost hit the $30,000 mark! What a night, this home is definitely getting built in Malawi to rescue young girls who are victims of sexual exploitation. Go to http://www.whenthesaints.com for more info...
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The Talk that convinced me to do Give A Damn? by Francis Chan

At my university (Biola), we were supposed to go to 30 chapels or so a semester. If you missed one, you would have to do make-up's by getting a CD filled with talks by speakers who had visited the campus within the last few months. Many people do not really listen to the talks, and just skim through them to fill out the necessary paperwork. I am not innocent of this, but thankfully with this talk, I really listened intently and, in the end, my life was forever changed.


Francis Chan addresses the issue of faith and how we let our lives remain in a stalemate waiting for God to give us some kind of vision of what to do next. I love what Mr. Chan shares about his own journey as a head pastor of a massive church and his challenge to just step out and do something. I took him at his word and its been a wild ride since.

-dan


Crashing Motorcycles

Tim's Blog Entry

30 Aug 2009

Crashing Motorcycles

This trip is the most amazing traveling I have yet done in my life. Most of you who know my bro David and I, know we are very laid back, easy going peeps. It takes a lot to rile us or even get us to react. We don't live in fear of worst case scenarios or what ifs. It may not be the best attributes to have here as bad stuff going down is quite possible. So where do we draw the line?

I possibly should have last week in Gulu, Uganda at the Invisible Children (IC) compound. The previous day we were touring some of the IC project schools and sites. David and I with driver on one boda boda or motorbike taxi and our guides on the other. Ok, these bikes are small 125cc janky rigs not designed to hold that much weight, however do regularly.

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Miracle - Give A Damn Team Survives Plane Crash in Africa

 

Dan and Rob were filming from a plane today over the Kibera slum outside of Nairobi Kenya.  The plane crashed.  The pilot was killed and an airline employee is in critical condition.  Dan and Rob are still in the hospital being checked.  David and Tim were not in the plane and they are fine.  Rob has burns, cuts, and other pains, but he is in pretty good shape.  Dan was in worse shape, but so far they haven't found anything serious.  Still checking some pains.  Please thank God for this miracle and pray for their fast and full recovery and for God's will in all this.  This has been very traumatic for them and us.  Updates will be posted on twitter.

Thanks for your prayers!

Doug Parris

(Dan's father)

giveadamndoc@gmail.com 

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Gypsies and Refugees in Serbia

In Venice, we had a decision to make, we could either stay there for three days and then hop on a ferry to Greece or we could go our original route through Eastern Europe (the more expensive of the two.) Rob wanted to stay in Venice and David wanted to head through Eastern Europe. I was the tie-breaker. We had only one connection on that entire route through Eastern Europe and it was Veda, a friend of friend in Serbia. I said a little prayer that God would provide a worthwhile opportunity to justify the extra money and the Eastern European route, and then we set off.

Veda is our age.  She is an architecture grad student, and someone who I quickly learned had thoughts of helping the world but was afraid to. She said she had the fear that she would get so attached to whatever cause she took up that she would never be able to give up, and would get completely burned out in the process.  I understood her hesitations completely.

In Serbia, when you think of the poor, you think of the gypsies that are always begging on the streets in Eastern Europe. When we told her about our documentary and how we wanted to film stuff having to do with poverty, the first people who came to her mind were the gypsies. The second thing that came to her mind was how she didn't trust them and thought most of them were criminals and thieves. She pretty much refused to take us to one of their villages.

Over the next two days, Veda saw how persistent we were to go to one of these villages. She started making calls to friends who had done some work with the gypsies. She got word of a village near the market that we had already planned on visiting, but she assured us, "If I feel the least bit uncomfortable, we are leaving!" So that next day we went to the town market and saw Gypsy people selling all kinds of stuff they had found in the trash. I bought a little stuffed monkey for 15 cents because David insisted I needed a mascot for my backpack. The market was filled with dirty little puppies being sold by dirty looking people, but all of us knew we needed something a little more intense.

After leaving the market, Veda couldn't get a hold of her friend who knew about the village and was forced to go ask some police officers if they knew where it was. When she went to talk to the police officers, they basically ignored her.  Another man randomly walking by overheard her and said that he knew the President/Chief of that Village and he suggested we just walk in and ask for him.

When we approached the village in Veda's car, it was clear that this was not a village, but a full out slum. Both Rob and Veda were very nervous, I was a little nervous, and David not really at all. (That's usually how it breaks down in every situation.) We creeped into the slum and people were definitely staring us down. We approached the center of the village, asked for the President, and were taken to his makeshift house. He was ecstatic that we had come and gave us an interview for about 45 minutes. Then he escorted us all around the village: took us into dusty homes, had little kids breakdance for us.  He also showed us the school he was building, his little dinky radio station, and TV studio. We got unlimited access into this village.  The whole time Veda was surprised at how well she was translating and got more and more comfortable as the day went on. It became not about just being a good host to her poverty craving, American filmmakers, but it was becoming her own cause.

Towards the end of our time, the people made us coffee and we chatted about poverty and America.  Then we watched footage from their village beauty pagaent. One man from the village came by and was so excited that we had come because we cared about the poor. It was so backwards, we felt like we should have been the thankful ones for them letting us into their lives, but it was the other way around. They just wanted to know that they were not "forgotten."

As we left the slum that day, I asked Veda what was going on in her head because I saw her mind racing.  It was the same look that I had after visiting Africa for the first. She hadn't even know these people existed in her small city. (Quick note: The people we met were actually not gypsies. For the most part, they were a different people group called the Ashkali.  They had fled Albania after having their homes burned, suffering from genocidal attacks by the Serbian government under Milosevic.) So many of her predjudices disappeared during those last few hours, and she was asking herself how she could get involved in that slum. She started recalling the dreams she had been too afraid pursue just days earlier. Her passion was to build sustainable homes for the poor using her skills as an architect.

As she described these new developments in her heart and mind on our drive back to her house, David and I looked at each other and we both had the same looks on our face.  "This is what Give A Damn? and Speak Up International are all about...connecting those who need something to live for with those who just need something to live!"   "Give A Damn?" is a humorous, adventurous, and compelling documentarythat will inspire and lead young people to get involved in themovements to end extreme poverty and fight injustice.

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Asking for Money

We have done it all for Give A Damn? Everything from setting up a booth in Venice Beach, wearing nothing but a box on the street, car washes, speaking to youth groups/classrooms/whoever would have us, spray painting t-shirts at Warp Tour, concerts, dinners, banquets, etc. It has been a tireless year of fundraising.

When you are on this roller coaster ride to make your dream come true, life and work start to meld together. You start to look at people like dollar bills and dimes. You see yourself looking at your closest friends as potential donors. It is really sick in a way. Sometimes I just stop in my tracks, and realize,  "Am I selling myself to my best friends?" It sounds so money hungry/obsessed, but it also feels so natural because that is what is really on your heart and your friends want to know what is on your heart right?
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"Action over Apathy": Benefit Dinner for Give A Damn?, 5-7pm April 29 at Biola U

On April 29th, we are having a benefit dinner for Give A Damn? to help raise the remaining money we need for our trip. We are planning on leaving from St. Louis July 4th, and we still have about $5000 to raise before we can go.

Rachel Sparks, founder of The SOLD Project and a represenative of Falling Whistles are our featured speakers. Please join us if you are interested. RSVP to courtney.j.patton@biola.edu or at giveadamndoc@gmail.com.

A Look Back: Give A Damn? 2008

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Recap of Sundance '09




Day 5: Dan Parris raps up Sundance '09

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