Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
39Trip End May 24, 2011
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I'm sharing the preface with you now, and I'll post the first chapter next. Keep in mind it's still in its very early stages, and this is the first of hopefully several drafts. Enjoy :)
Before I can really dive into this whole conversation about gift cards, you’ll need to understand some background and context. So allow me to back up for a moment.
A week before our wedding, Kelsey and I had no job. It wasn’t for lack of trying. It took a lot of disappointment, waiting, and prayer for God to bring us to the point where we could honestly say, “Okay, God. You know our situation, and you know what’s best for us. We trust that you’ll provide for us.”
Meanwhile, our mothers (neither of whom was thrilled about the prospect of their children being jobless for the wedding) were diligently searching for jobs online. Mom Domeny sent us a list of a few Christian job websites that we could peruse. Mom Nelson zoomed in on a couple of them and sent us one particular job lead that she thought would be interesting.
Camfel Productions is a Christian, non-profit, multi-media production company based in Irwindale, California. We specialize in high school assembly programs. These programs use film footage (movies, sports, interviews, etc.), three giant screens, DVD, video projectors, narration, and popular/rock music to convey a message that is fast-paced, youth-oriented, highly motivational and educational. There is also an evangelistic version to these programs which is shown in churches, youth camps, Christian schools, etc. Approximately 2.5 million students see a Camfel production each year.
We are seeking a group of enthusiastic Christian men, women and married couples [to] travel the country, present our film and have some fun along the way. We're sure you have a lot of questions, feel free to contact us at anytime.1
We contacted Camfel immediately. I filled out an application for myself, and explained that my wife would be applying, too. However, since it was the week of our wedding, there was a lot of other work to be done. I managed to write up a one-page personal testimony per Camfel’s request, but Kelsey, especially, didn’t have the time to sit down and fill out pages of application.
Camfel’s team manager, Andrew, sent me an email saying, “Hey guys, I haven’t received the rest of your application packet, but that’s fine for now. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to have a phone interview with you guys on Tuesday at 9:00am California time.”
Our wedding would be that Friday. Tuesday was already going to be hectic, but finding a job was also a priority, so we set aside that time on Tuesday. The morning before the interview, Kelsey frantically tried to put together her application packet to fax it, but we just couldn’t get it done. So there we were at high noon, waiting for a phone call from this mysterious man in California. He had read maybe one-and-a-half pages about me, but he didn’t know Kelsey from Eve. We must have looked so unprepared and unprofessional! Who would even want to hire people like us? While we waited for Andrew to call, we retreated to an empty room in Kelsey’s parents’ house. There we took several deep breaths and prayed.
Then the phone rang.
To make a long story short, we talked with Andrew for over two hours. We posed questions back and forth. The job would be just a non-conventional one that we had no idea what it all would entail. Toward the end of the interview, I asked, “So what’s the next step, Andrew? What can we do to continue the process?”
“Well, guys, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation with you. So really, if you want the job right now, it’s all yours!”
I nearly fell off the couch! “Uh,” I stuttered in disbelief. I looked over at Kelsey who was mirroring my jaw-drop reaction. I nodded; she nodded. “Uh, yeah! Absolutely. That’d be great!”
“Cool! Well just fax me the rest of the application for formality’s sake when you have a chance. And when you book your flight out here, let me know your flight information so we know when to pick you up.”
“Will do, boss! Thanks!”
And that began our two-year relationship with Camfel Productions. The wedding was a lot happier and care-free now that our parents knew we had a job. So what if that job would take us away from them for ten solid months as we drove around the country? At least we’d be paid.
Exactly one month after our wedding date, we arrived in southern California hoping that we didn’t just get majorly conned. This job just seemed too good to be true.2 Fortunately, we were picked up by a very real employee in a very real van who brought us to two weeks of very real training alongside other clueless people just like us.
In a relatively short amount of time, Kelsey and I learned enough to be entrusted with the company’s equipment out on the road. Like two baby birds being nudged out of the nest, we set out on this newfound adventure in a white cargo van and utter disbelief that such an opportunity would be given to us.
Two years of tour generated a lifetime of family vacations, and we saw more of the country than we thought possible. We could write an entire book telling of our experiences in the places we visited, but that’s not our intention here. This book focuses more on the people we met, and the lessons we learned about the power of ridiculous, unwarranted giving.