March 11, 2019│By Nathan Peterson, Urbana Missions
Amy climbed out of the plane into Liberia’s summer heat. For most of her life, she’d never even known this West African country existed. And now in 2007, she was going to be living there for months.
One of the people standing outside the airport looked familiar. The last and only other time they’d met was in the crowded exhibit hall of Urbana 06, when neither of them could have imagined their next meeting taking place here, halfway around the world.
“What do I do with my life?”
A year earlier, Amy had just graduated from Ohio University with a degree in visual communications and photojournalism. “I wanted to use the gifts that God had given me, trying to answer that age-old question of all college graduates: what do I do with my life?” she said. “That’s when I heard about Urbana 06.”
At the time, Amy didn’t know much about the conference, but hearing how it integrated conversations on global missions, calling, and social issues was enough to get her to register. “Urbana absolutely shaped my life,” she said. “But it didn’t happen on the main stage. It didn’t happen in the small groups. It didn’t happen in the seminars.”
Amy’s life changed through one conversation.
A God-Given Appointment
As Amy explored the exhibit hall, she met a representative from Samaritan’s Purse, a young woman named Lauren. “We hit it off immediately,” Amy said. “She was very much like me. She had a journalism degree and was also a former collegiate athlete.”
They kept in touch after the conference, and several months later, Lauren presented Amy with a huge opportunity: going to Liberia to film a full-length documentary. After praying and reflecting, Amy accepted the offer.
Soon after arriving in Liberia, Amy met Ma Feeta. In the unrest that plagued her country from 1989 to 2003, leaving hundreds of thousands killed or displaced, Ma Feeta not only survived but saved the lives of over 200 children and started an orphanage called Rainbow Town.
Amy, Lauren, and the rest of their team quickly started filming, capturing Ma Feeta’s story and Rainbow Town’s daily rhythms: children, grinning ear to ear, going to school and playing.
After five months of filming and three years of editing, the team released the documentary Rainbow Town. From L.A. to Mississippi, from Alaska to New York, it’s been shown to thousands in classrooms, public universities, and churches, earning seven awards at film festivals across the country and Europe.
“Ma Feeta’s story is just so powerful,” Amy said. “In the film, she shared the gospel. She was a missionary to the U.S., telling how God had saved her and provided for her and these children.”
More than a decade later, Ma Feeta is still sharing Christ’s love with the orphans at Rainbow Town, and Amy and Lauren have become lifelong friends. “God set up that appointment in that booth,” Amy said. “We both thank him for that moment. To meet each other out of all those thousands of people and creatively connect the way we do to create the film that we did, we can only praise God.”
Throughout this experience, Amy sensed that God was affirming her calling to share stories of his faithfulness. “Every Christian’s calling is to know God and obey him,” she said. “But I feel like my smaller calling is to be the one who points to ‘Come, see the works of the LORD’ like it says in Psalm 46:8. That has been the common red thread for me since Urbana.”
After working at a newspaper for several years, Amy joined Fellowship of Christian Athletes, where she now uses her gifts as the Marketing Director.