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Filtering by Tag: Fuller

Exceedingly Fond - AAI Promo 2015

Pete Sung

It’s finally done. After months of intense laboring, the promotional video for the Asian American Initiative at Fuller Seminary is complete. I have to admit, it was tough on me. I wore many hats in making this video: director, producer, editor, animation director, cameraman, among the many. And I can’t tell you how many hours I put into it (actually I’m afraid to total it up). But I’m glad to say it’s finally ready.

A little background on it. As a student in the Asian American Initiative, I have benefitted from the wisdom and experience of both Ken Fong and Daniel Lee. They have blessed me with their thoughtfulness and foresight in carefully developing me to be a better leader. So I felt a personal stake in creating a video that authentically reflected their vision while at the same time served as a helpful invitation to others.

While I now have several videos under my belt, this one really stretched me. Probably the biggest challenge was directing the animation sequences. It was totally new to me. I had the privilege of working with several talented animators. Kenji Ono, a feature film storyboard artist at Dreamworks, got us going with the storyboards. Hannah Joe, a recent art school graduate from Otis College of Art and Design, handled the character design. While Kuangheng Hwang, usually an industry 3D animation artist, lowered himself a dimension to tackle the movement of our characters. With meticulous care, they took on each of my demands and put the pieces together.

To give you a better sense of the transformative work that went into taking this piece from concept to print here’s a look at Kenji’s storyboard of the Older Brother character stewing over the Younger Brother’s party. We sought to convey the misplaced motivation of trying to earn his father’s love so we decided to show the Older Brother reflecting on all his hard work with a mental montage, and his face of disgust sitting prominently in the middle.

We went through several renditions. In it’s final form, we decided to go with a simplified version of the images, appearing one-by-one, with a prominent tree in the background whose fruit turns to black as the Older Brother reaches his boiling point (by the way, trees are meant to be a recurring symbol throughout the video).

There were plenty of others who served important roles in the making of the video, but the unsung heroes were my family. They put up with not having their husband and father around much for months on end as I juggled this project with the many other demands on my plate. Now that it's over, hopefully the video will serve it's function well. But even if it misses the mark, I remain very grateful for the people I worked with and the many lessons I learned.

Evon Hedley

Pete Sung

Evon, Viv, and JP horsing around over breakfast at Central Park near Old Town Pasadena.

We could all use a mentor. A person with wisdom and experience. Someone we can learn from. Someone who can guide us through life and maybe help us avoid unnecessary pitfalls. But how do we actually find a mentor? I struggled with this when I first moved to Los Angeles. While I met many wonderful people, I had a hard time finding others who had the time and willingness to get to know me...to really get to know me.

 
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
— Proverbs 13:20

I was willing. Over the years, especially since becoming a Christian, I've learned to value opening myself up, even the ugly parts. But I had a hard time finding others who were willing to open themselves up to me. It was discouraging. So I looked for other ways. I tried to learn as much as I could through books. I had works on leadership, discipleship, even biographies of great Christian leaders like Billy Graham, and while I learned a lot, something was still missing.

In the winter of my first year at Fuller Seminary, I took a class from Dr. Julie Gorman on Adult Discipleship. One of the great features of the class was an end of the quarter party connecting us young seminarians with a group of distinguished ladies and gentlemen from a nearby retirement home. It was here, I first had a chance to meet Evon Hedley.

Evon (right) as a young man with Douglas Waters prior to his sendoff as a Canadian delegate to a Youth for Christ Congress at Beatenburg, Switzerland in 1948.

 

Evon had a career in ministry at World Vision. He was a big part of building World Vision International into one of the largest Christian humanitarian organizations in the world. In the early years of the 1940s and 1950s, it was a golden age of North American evangelicalism that birthed prominent organizations such as World Vision and others like Youth for Christ and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Evon worked side-by-side with many of the influential people that made it happen.

But despite these impressive credentials, Evon is one of the humblest people I know. He speaks of these times with excitement, but not with any sense of ostentatious pride. He’s more interested in what’s going on in your life now, than in what happened in his life decades ago.

Evon narratives this rare video of evangelical leaders who gathered for the Beatenburg congress (More details at the Youth for Christ website).

There are many ways Evon has positively influenced me, but a couple stand out in my mind. The first is his indomitable spirit of encouragement. He is full of genuine love and support. He always has an encouraging word. No matter what struggle I’m experiencing, he leaves me feeling it will soon become a triumph. He’s also surprisingly affectionate. He loves to give hugs, and he’ll sneak you a kiss on the cheek, even to grown men. His unabashed love, helps me to let my guard down and just focus on being a person of love.

I have so valued my time with Evon. And with his advancing years, I’m not sure how much more time I’ll have to enjoy with him. Next month he turns 99. His mind is still very sharp, but his body is becoming more frail. It's sad when I see him with bumps and bruises from accidents due to simple household activities. We typically set up our time to get together over email. He’s great at responding quickly, but I fear the inevitable day when I won’t get a reply. So all the more, I celebrate the times we have together.

He has been a great mentor and friend to me. He is an answer to prayer. I’ve learned so much from him. Interestingly, it hasn’t come so much through structure or curriculum (although we've had that too), but by mainly just spending time together. For this I’m grateful to God. I've learned much, from a man who has loved much.