After spending a full month in Zambia, Jessalyn Massingill set out on the task of turning hundreds of hours of raw footage into a 35 minute film that documents some of the positive impact that Zambia Mission has had on the country.
Massingil, a former ACU student from Abilene, has spent 14 of her last 15 summers in Zambia with Zambia Mission, an organization co-directed by her father KB. Her film Nawona: The Way You See premiered at The Paramount on Saturday night to a crowd of nearly 600.
“It has been a year and a half process,” said Massingill, “and I knew before hand that I didn’t want to make a regular documentary.”
“A lot of the film is about vision,” said Massingill of the story. Referring to both the literal and abstract meaning, the film simultaneously follows a Zambian woman gaining eyesight through cataract surgery and the opening of a local radio station that brought unimaginable communication to the area. Both of these stories could not have been possible without work from Zambia Mission.
The organization has been working for years to help provide educational and health services to Zambia. The medical sector has been operating for 17 years. What started as a team of 11 that served 500 patients has grown tremendously and this year was able to provide more than 16,000 Zambians with medical, dental and ocular services with their team of 120.
Ellie Hamby, an Abilene resident, serves as co-director of the medical sector.
Hamby has been traveling to Zambia on mission work for 32 years and spent 6 years living in the country.
“I think the goal of the organization,” said Hamby, “is to shwo the love of Jesus by reaching out to the needs of other people.”
Through medicine drives, local service projects and mission work in Zambia, the organization has been able to erect a hospital with in Zambia as well as a radio station which helps to pass information between villages.
“I love the people,” she said. “We are touching the untouched and they are so receptive and appreciative.”
Hamby was present at Saturday’s event and was able to see Massingill’s film.
“I thought it was wonderful,” she said. “Jessalyn is passionate about [the cause] and you could tell from that film.”
Saturday not only included the premiere of Nawona but also food, an auction, door prizes and a great chance to learn about the organization and their plans for the future.
“I was happy with the turnout,” said Massingill. “That was partly because I just let go and knew that even if 10 people showed up then that is how the film would make its impact.”
Presently, Massingill has no intent for any subsequent films.
“I don’t have a plan for the future,” she said. “I had a plan and it ended Saturday night.”
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