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An Amazing Experience and Time of Growth: AMTC's Winter SHINE

posted Jan 29, 2012, 10:06 AM by Susannah Francis   [ updated Mar 7, 2012, 7:03 AM ]

Have you ever felt that you are supposed to be somewhere, but couldn't rationalize any reason that you should go? Well, that is what happened with Zach back in September of last year. He kept seeing this billboard posted on the interstate for AMTC Auditions that was to take place in October and knew in his heart that we were supposed to go and meet this organization. Thankfully, the day of the next audition date he was already scheduled off of work (1 of the 3 weekends he had that entire fall). He called the headquarters ahead of time to find out when we were supposed to go and we showed up the morning of the auditions. God intervened and we were introduced to the co-founder and CSO of the company, Carey Lewis Arban. We discovered quickly that this was a legit Christian organization and God's hand was at work through it. Leaving the auditions that day, Zach and I felt deep in our soul that we were supposed to attend the Winter SHINE event that was mentioned during the orientation session shared by Carey. We didn't know how or why, but God planted a desire within us to attend. We started communicating prayer needs and praises with Carey via email and after a few messages back and forth, she invited for us to attend SHINE in January for free. There is no doubt that we were praising God for the first answered prayer and confirmation to attend this event, but we still needed money for the travel and somewhere we could stay. Plus, we were knee-deep into the Christmas production that was absorbing any additional money that we might have available to save for the trip. So, we commited it to prayer and left it in God's hands to get us there. Soon we recieved those answers in abundance. God started moving hearts and minds and we had not only a $450 bonus through Zach's work and Susannah's cousin's house to stay at in Orlando, but God connected us with people to meet and connect with once we got down there.

So, off to Orlando we went on January 1st to welcome the new year of possibilities and blesslings God wanted to bestow upon us and 1heart Arts. Now, I must back up and say that God had already been working in our hearts that 2012 would be full of preparation and going back to the foundation of our the ministry where God has called us. We had some ideas on how this could happen, but were still in deep prayer as to how God wanted to move us in that direction. 

The SHINE event was the perfect answer to that very plea for His leading. We attended the conference as observers and were invited to attend all the workshops, seminars and showcase sessions throughout the entire week. The workshops were amazing, far exceeding our expectations for a company that had functioned as non-Christian for 25 of it's 30 years in exsistance. There was a great mix of technical sessions in the areas of modeling, acting, singing and dancing. However, there were also some wonderful sessions that were dedicated to preparing the even more important spiritual self for work in these arenas. We attended so many great sessions, so it is hard to say which one was our favorite. Quickly God spoke to both of our hearts that we were gathering some very helpful information that was not meant specifically for us, but rather those that we met within our ministry work. For that reason, we are in the process of compiling our notes together and posting them on the 1heart Arts Website. Look forward to seeing information soon on "The Three E's: Education, Excellence & Execution", "How to Be a Christian Artist", "How to Be Courageous in the Entertainment Industry" (by Ben Davies, from the movie "Courageous"), "The Wow Factor" and much more. 

Besides all of these great resources for our ministry friends, God moved in our hearts as well. He reminded us again of the excellence that He has prepared us for, whether we are on the big screen or at our local church. Through watching the amazing showcases of talent of singers, dancers, models and comedians, God rekindled that spark that He put in Zach and I as artists. Zach saw how he could prepare so much better as a writer if he began finding resources that would refine and develop his writing skills to new level, worthy of the big screen. I, Susannah, also was reminded of how much I love music and singing. Though I know that God has not called me to American Idol or singing on the radio, I still should prepare my voice and music skills to be ready for what He HAS called me to do in working in local ministry. So, Zach is now taking a scriptwriting course online and I have begun voice lessons again and am picking back up my flute to brush up on my skills there. God did so many amazing things at AMTC and we are anxious to see the fruit that develops from our newfound obedience in these areas. Thank you so much for your prayers, our lives and ministry were forever changed!