This was a personal narrative for my college creative writing course. I wanted to describe the several nights my cousins, brothers, and I played an intense game of “Underground Church” in my grandma’s yard in Harvey, North Dakota.
Lights in the dark void hovered five feet off the ground, rotating in long, haphazard arcs like small, drunken lighthouses that sliced the night as a sharp blade. One of the lights haunted an old shed, the holder of the flashlight tromping around and pivoting his weight, as if he had nothing better to do than to stand alone in the sea of darkness.
Our soft thuds of sneakered feet were too quiet to alert our hunters. We weaved in and out of trees, our powers of invisibility only compromised when we broke into an occasional pool of house lights. Dark paths, hidden holes, and dangerous strung clotheslines were determined to slow us down, yet we pushed on in a subdued rush.
As my cousins and I tore blindly through the darkness, we knew we were in huge
trouble—bigger than we ever had been before. What awaited if the searchlights caught us in its glaring eye was only up to the imagination: imprisonment, insults, possibly torture.
Loosely based off Brother Andrew’s autobiography, God’s Smuggler (and I MEAN loosely!), young Bible smugglers have to move the Word of God from their base and across the country of Russia while avoiding the secret police force.
It’s been several years since we got to make a video with our cousins, so this year we decided to make a new one. The night before, we introduced them to the classic game of Underground Church, but tweaked the rules to support a smaller number of players. The game ended up changing so much that it needed a new name: Bible Smugglers.
The game is similar to Underground Church in that you have to avoid detection while accomplishing a task. Only instead of trying to get every Christian and a sympathetic cop into a designated church location, the Christians must smuggle fifteen Bibles (note cards) from the start to a location of their choosing (only four Bibles can be held at a time). If they’re caught, they’re sent to jail and their Bibles are confiscated and return to the beginning. The goal is to deliver all the Bibles safely to their destination.
We took this concept and decided to document it in movie-form.
Aunt Cheryl Dyck asked us cousins to do a sort of talent show for Grandma Dyck’s birthday (#HarveysGotTalent; #HarveyIdol). Since neither Caleb, Connor, or I have any clue as to how to make banging on a piano sound good, we decided to go with one of our more familiar skills: movie making.
Journey is the most plotted film since Kingdom’s Edge, and is filmed in over four state and national parks, including the Dakota Badlands and Mount Rushmore.
Filmed on location at Fairfax, Virginia, Minot, North Dakota, South Dakota Badlands, North Dakota Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Harvey, North Dakota, and Custer State Park, South Dakota.
I was visiting some family in Kentucky and wanted to show my younger cousins how fun video editing could be. Caleb and Connor were vaulting over a water tank outside my grandparents’ house, and I began filming them from different angles. Our poor cousin Reed couldn’t quite make the vaults, so we decided to make a funny short film about Reed’s attempting to beat the twins in hardcore parkour.Kent, the older cousin of the two, sat with me the entire post-production to watch me put the video together.