All has been quiet on the blogging front for some time now, but for good reason. Ray and I were back in western province the last few weeks to spend some time working on a project with his grandparents in Bungoma, and to do our first short documentary for some missionaries in Kitale.
We worked our first real job together and lived to tell the story.
Is this really happening?
When Ray and I first got married, I never even suspected that this would be a career we’d pursue as a couple, but here we are starting our own little Wasike Creations business, and we’ve not only successfully completed our first job, but we’ve already got another big job lined up! God has really taken us into an area where neither of us feel totally qualified, but the whole process has literally been thrilling. So often throughout the recording and editing sessions, it was all we could do to just cling to one another and ask, “Is this really happening?”
Prior to all of this, Ray especially had a fear of moving to Kitale because he knew that with the work we want to do, we would be around each other 24/7. We tried that once when we lived in the States, and it was disastrous. We fought all the way to counseling and back, and it scared the bejebus out of my dear husband. He honestly couldn’t see how we could possibly stay married if we ended up in a position where we were working together all the time. Looking back, I have to agree with his logic. We weren’t mature enough or ready for it then, but our season in Nairobi has really helped us build an appropriate foundation for the work we need to do in Kitale and for being together all the time, so now we have no excuse.
Divine connections and strategic orders
The last time we were in Kitale we got connected with Bill and Patricia Cornell, the founders of Vision for Africa Ministries. They’re missionaries that have been serving the people of Kenya since 2001, and over the past few months they have become dear friends and incredible spiritual mentors to us. Whenever we leave their home we feel challenged and inspired to pray and love harder. While we were visiting with them the first time, they shared tons of stories about their ministry and told us that with the quick expansion of their reach, they needed to raise funds so they could serve their students better. Our offering to help was the beginning of everything.
They had $100 left in their pockets and they gave it to us to plant a seed towards the work we would do for them. No amount of self-doubt in our own abilities could keep us from working on their project at that point. They knew God connected us for a reason and were willing to invest the last amount of money they had in us. Of course God always rewards acts of faithfulness like that, because the next day they received an unexpectedly large donation, and we got our bicycle, equipped with brand new training wheels, pushed into the beginning of a new life assignment. When we got home we began dreaming and scripting and planning, all the while feeling twinges of excitement at what lay ahead.
Step by step, day by day
Ironically enough, Bill and Patricia live and work together 24/7, so they were great people to work with on this first project, because they gave us great insight on how to work together whenever we would hit rough spots. Here are a few things that they either shared with us or that we gleaned from the experience:
- Clearly define your roles. This is one of the most important things to do before you begin working together. Ray films and directs, and I interview and edit. For the most part, knowing what each person is responsible for takes a lot of pressure to micromanage off of our shoulders. To allow him to do his own thing with his role shows that I trust him and I believe in his talent, which really emboldens him to do his best. There may be times when we switch hats and he’ll ask me to direct and I’ll ask him to edit something, but it’s imperative that you wait for the person to ask so you don’t step on his toes and squash his creativity.
- Recognize when you need help and ask for it. Even though each person needs some autonomy, you have to be careful of compartmentalizing too much. Just like in marriage, you’ll find in work that you each have certain strengths and weaknesses. Most likely your talents combined help to balance those weaknesses out, so why not utilize that? Yes, I’m the editor, but Ray understands Adobe Premiere much better than I do, so if I try to be a lone island, I’m going to be the one everyone points to when the ships sinks.
- Be willing to receive correction from your spouse. There will be times when your spouse reviews your work and he won’t think you did as great of a job as you think you did. Don’t argue about who is right, just let him show you what he thinks would be better and then decide from there. Sometimes I would suggest a change to something Ray did, so he would change it, we would see that it wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be, and we would go back to his idea. Sometimes you just have to give the other option a chance before you discuss so you are both in a better position to decide what works best. Just be sure when you’re correcting your spouse to speak with all manners of gentleness and love. Don’t let your titles or workspace cause you to treat your spouse like an underling.
- Know when it’s time to take a break. Ray and I would shoot all day and then go into the office and work on editing late into the night. Around 2am we would find ourselves arguing over stupid stuff quite a bit, at which point I would promptly send Ray to bed while I kept working. By the end of the week we had worked out a schedule where he worked until 4:30am while I slept, and I worked through the rest of the morning while he slept. Surprise, surprise… no more fights. If you feel the tension between you rising, don’t force it, just take a break.
- Pray together before, during, and after. This is something the Cornells told us. We had talked to them about fighting while working, and they came into the office and encouraged us to pray with each other. There’s always something calming about praying together as a couple. It also helps you focus on the bigger picture, what God wants from you and what He wants to do with you, as opposed to the problem at hand.
- Let work be work and home be home. We were staying with the Cornells the entire week that we were in Kitale working on this project, so we practically lived in Bill’s office and basically only came out whenever Patricia called us to eat. Once we left the office, we didn’t really talk about the project, we just focused on building relationship with them and enjoying one another. Bringing the stress of work into your personal life really adds some serious strain on your relationship and you don’t want that thing looming over your head as you try to live your life. Leave it alone, go do what you need to do, and you’ll be surprised that your perspective will have changed by the time you come back to work.
- Have fun. Though making these videos was tough work, Ray and I made a point to have fun. While we were shooting Pastor Raphael, we took a minute to be all kissey kissey in the road, and a guy on a motor bike came by and was like, “Get off the road! This is not the place for romance!” (insert childish giggles). While we were exporting the first promo, we went outside and did a photo shoot in the very first African dress Ray got for me. I normally hate it when he wants to do photo shoots, but this time it was a welcome break. We even stopped once and I grabbed a guitar while we sang worship songs loudly and badly to let off some steam. After twenty minutes of that, we were refreshed, happy, and ready to get back to work.
This was only our first job, so we’re by no means experts on this topic, but because things ultimately went so smoothly for us and because I’m a writer, I was taking notes of everything we did. So this isn’t just a self-help list for you, but it’s a reminder for us of how to work together once things really get going. Hope it helps you as much as it helped us!
Remember, “teamwork makes the dream work”.
The promo for VFA’s YouCaring fundraiser (please check it out and help them get the word out by sharing)
The full 15-minute documentary