It happened as the man of God had said to the king:
“About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel
and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

2 Kings 7:18

Cris directing action in Mexico at the Velo de Novia waterfall in Valle de Bravo.

More than a year ago, I laid out my plan for making The Puzzle Factory: namely, to shoot as many winter scenes as possible in Minnesota in February 2020, then to shoot all the Mexican scenes in March. Lo and behold, we have done just that—on time and on budget.
I also told the team a year ago that we would use the months of April through August to raise the necessary funds to pick up filming again in September 2020 and finish the film.

Now, here we are in May. Not much has come through the door moneywise. But in the unforgettable words of Alfred E. Neuman:

In this period of COVID-19, the assumption of many is that non-profits will suffer because donors will be inclined to cut back on their giving. This makes sense from the human perspective. But let me make a bold assertion along the lines of that made by the “man of God” from 2 Kings 7—the prophet Elisha.
In the story referenced above, the people of Samaria had been hunkered down behind city walls for months, held siege by the Syrian army. Their situation was more than desperate; it had become impossible. Staples like flour and barley were not to be had at any price. The people had already turned to cannibalism, eating their own children, and a donkey’s head was considered a treat.
And it all changed overnight. 
One evening at twilight, God caused the mighty Syrian army to hear the sound of approaching troops. The battle-hardened Syrian soldiers fled in panic, leaving all their possessions behind, including their food supplies. And so, the prophet’s seemingly impossible prediction came true—God’s deliverance resulted in abundant provision; the people’s fortunes were restored against all the odds.

Cris and his Puzzle Factory family: Shalom Nava, Nathan Barlow, Ladonna Craelius.

When I got home from the Mexico shoot in mid-March, just as the COVID-19 epidemic was beginning to make its impact felt in the United States, I was impressed to go on a three-day fast. On the very first morning of that fast, Bible in hand, I walked over to a window of my house and looked out at the barren oaks in the backyard (spring comes late to Minnesota). I had several things on my heart. One was family-related; the other concerned The Puzzle Factory. ”God,” I said in the quiet place of my heart, “I need your help.” In that very moment, I received the strong impression that God was going to answer my prayers. I mean, it was acutely real as in faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1). I then read these words in Psalms 3 and 4:
I call aloud to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain (Psalm 3:4).
The Lord hears me when I call to him (Psalm 4:3).

It almost seemed too easy… I had not even skipped a meal and God was going to answer my prayers? May God forgive my lack of faith. I completed the three days of fasting just to be sure!

Father finds son at the Edge of Heaven.

And so, here we are, dear friends, caught up in the midst of a pandemic that has resulted in widespread suffering and economic uncertainty, holding our course and developing plans to carry out the work we believe God has called us to do.
Does the economic downturn amplify the degree of difficulty? Perhaps. However, as Jonathan, son of King Saul, said to his armor-bearer before the two of them attacked a well-armed Philistine garrison: “The Lord is able to save through many or few.” I like that. Jonathan and his armor-bearer were “the few, the proud” long before the Marines.
The point is this: our hopes are not pinned on man but on God. Yes, we need real money to make a real movie, but God isn’t flustered. He sees in secret, and rewards openly. He has heard my prayers and the answer is on the way.
Maybe you’re meant to be part of it!
Pray about it!
¡Un abrazo fuerte!

To make a film is easy; to make a good film is war.
To make a very good film is a miracle.

~ Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu

Given that we have recently completed scenes for The Puzzle Factory in Mexico, we’d like to share with you one of Cristóbal’s early films ¿Con Quién Te Vas? which was made in Mexico in 1995. Enjoy!


What do Abraham Lincoln, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Louis Pasteur, Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, and John D. Rockefeller Sr. all have in common? They all changed the world... and they were all Christians. If you are looking for shelter-in-place-reading, consider these stories of faith behind twelve influential people of history, written by none other than our own Cris Krusen!

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Cristóbal Krusen is a filmmaker and author. He founded Messenger Films in 1988.

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