The New Year is upon us and we are filled with great expectation of all the new exciting ventures for 2014. Of course, in God, the possibilities are endless and we believe that now is the time and season to see the fulfillment of those things that He has spoken over us for years and years. We want to update all of you and introduce you to some really cool things we have been working on in this last year.
When The Lord made it clear that we were to lay down our mission school and a community food outreach ministry a few years back and pursue a totally different direction, we both thought the transition would occur swiftly. We honestly thought that things would start moving and we would dive into this new vision just as we had done in the past. Over our last thirty-two years of being involved in full-time ministry, we have transitioned numerous times. Usually when change would come our way, we would step out in obedience and then suddenly, we would be thrust forward and movement would occur. This new transition we’ve been in, has at times puzzled us and even frustrated us. Although, we are still trying to find a buyer for our property, we made a decision in 2013 to press ahead in spite of all our present circumstances.
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay."
When The Lord spoke to us a few years ago about pioneering our own Family TV Network, we had many confirmations that this was His direction for us to pursue. It had been over thirty years since either of us had had any involvement in TV production from our days working in Christian television in Charlotte, NC with Jim and Tammy Bakker. Although I still have many friends who work in TV broadcasting, Christian and secular, we had totally been out of the loop with doing TV production. This was going to be a Huge learning process for us all over again. And to top it off, a lot of things have drastically changed in the way TV is produced now.
"The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “ A staff.”
At the beginning of this last year, we felt that we were to start with the tools we already had, which consisted of one Panasonic High Definition camera and a professional lighting kit with four TV lights. We had also been blessed with State of the Art Mac computers and the software needed to edit the shows. Although we had hopes to sell our facility, pay off all our debts, and build or buy a smaller facility to make into a TV studio, we felt that God was testing us to see if we would be faithful to begin with what we already had. Sometimes the plans we make, aren't always God's perfect plan. ;)
Over the last few years, we have been preparing for this vision and Debi has been making her own puppets, and busily writing scripts for many family shows she has ideas for. One of the shows called, “Time For The Word”, was geared to reach kids, 3 to 7 years, and would make Bible Scriptures fun and exciting. The cast included a small Scottie dog puppet, a Huge Lion puppet, and Debi as the main talent. It would need to be shot in front of a green screen so that all the background could be filled with colorful animation, etc. The concept of this show would be as though Debi and her puppets were being inserted into a cartoon.
We started preparing for this show in early spring of 2013 and built a small green screen and purchased a few more low budget lights off an Internet site. Over the weeks that followed, Debi and I realized that we had so much to learn, or re-learn about doing TV production. This was going to be an amazing accomplishment that was set before us to complete, and we only had two people to fulfill this task.
“Prepare your work outside and make it ready for yourself in the field; Afterwards, then, build your house.”
It was late July before we actually finished working on our first Kids Pilot show and it had taken over 5 months to produce this simple, but very complex show. As difficult as it was to plan every camera shot, light the green screen and talent separately, and make sure the audio was recorded correctly, the next part of putting it all together, would be even more challenging. After spending multiple days getting all the camera shots completed with music, dialogue, and other miscellaneous items, we felt like we had all the video footage needed to put together a Pilot show. This show would be our first beginnings and would be something to present to churches, Christian business people, and those who want to help support the vision. It would also give everyone an idea of the kind of high quality family shows we could produce in the future.
In the following months, the process begin with actually editing together a watchable product. Because Debi wrote the script, made the puppets, and had all the ideas for the show, she felt like the Lord was calling her to learn the video editing software and put the show together. This task wasn't an easy thing for her as she spent hours and hours watching on-line tutorials and going back and forth with phone calls and texts with our son, Samuel, who actually has his own video editing business. The next few months were very challenging for Debi as she would experience many difficulties, and extremely long working days just trying to understand how to understand all the video editing software programs. it also didn't help matters when she would spend an entire day editing and suddenly loose all her work. When all was said and done, what she has put together, with her lack of expertise and knowledge, is nothing short of a miracle of God, and she will testify to that. To God be the Glory!
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.”
As you view our Pilot show, we would ask each of you to please pray for us that we will know what our next step is. We are believing God for multiple doors of opportunity to open for us to share our vision for “Come As A Child TV”, but also to see this show aired in different venues, Christian and secular. We are also aware, that for us to produce more quality family shows in the future, we must have more people helping us and the finances to pay for more TV equipment, and for skilled camera operators, directors, and video editors. What took two of us months and months to produce a nine minute pilot show, can be accomplished much faster with the right professional people and the perfect studio environment. We know we cannot do this task effectively by ourselves and we don’t intend to. We’re believing God to send us a team of visionaries who are writers, producers, etc., who have a heart for the Creative Arts and Media Evangelism. We may be starting with only a nine-minute show, but we believe that as we step out and knock on doors, God will grant us favor and this vision for “Come As A Child TV” will be made a possibility as we move forward in faith.
As we enter into this new year of 2014, we have BIG dreams for many new things to happen. For us to continue to do what we are doing full-time without working other jobs, we will definitely need others to come along side of us to help support us financially. Because of the transition we have been in for the last few years, from a Mission School to producing TV, our support base has dropped to only a few faithful individuals and a couple of churches, which has caused us to fully rely on the Lord for miracle offerings and financial gifts. Although we still travel occasionally out of State ministering in various churches up and down the East coast, the offerings we receive are not enough to maintain our home base expenses every month. We are believing God to raise up many new supporters who will join us to help fulfill all that we feel called to do in 2014. We want to thank everyone who has in anyway, supported us over this last year and through the years, we don’t take your gifts lightly. God Bless you and your families abundantly.
Working together for Him,
Don & Debi Gatlyn
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You may also mail your contributions to:
D&D Ministries / P.O. Box 126 / Vass, NC 28394
Note: Our ministry name is no longer, “Apostello Missions Training Center”, but has recently been changed to, “D&D Ministries”. Our ministry address is still the same.