Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before Him 
endured the cross, scorning its shame…

Hebrews 12:2

Jim Caviezel as Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ 

The word “passion” doesn’t appear as such in the Bible, but the idea is clear enough. It comes from the Latin word for “suffering,” and in its fuller context indicates a willingness to suffer for what you love most. 

Consider how love (passion) took Jesus to the cross. Bear in mind he wasn’t hoodwinked into doing something against his will; he had lengthy advance warning. He even had the power to dictate another outcome—one that would have preserved his life and destroyed his enemies (I refer to the legions of angels itching to kick some serious butt that night in the Garden of Gethsemane). 

Instead, he chose the path of obedience. He chose the way of love even when those who said they loved him most had left him to suffer his “passion” alone. 

Cris receives one of many awards for his films and career.

I know, perhaps, a little about passion. A few years ago, I received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Christian Women in Media Association. Right up to the moment I was asked to walk onstage to accept the award, I was unsure of what I would say. (Well, it did occur to me to say “Thank you.”)

Then the moment arrived. After the emcee had shown clips from several of my films, I was called to the platform. I looked out at the darkened room and said, “Thank you.” After a pause, I added, “You really can’t understand what I do apart from these words: I am a missionary filmmaker.” At that moment, it seemed I could hear a collective “Ahhh…” in the room as if to say “Ah-hah. We get it.”

But I wonder. Being a missionary filmmaker sometimes feels a very lonely place to be.

Cris on location.

I make no apologies. My calling has, understandably, placed me at the periphery of the Church. I’m not seeking to convert the converted or wage a culture war. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance, but the sinners (of whom I am chief).

I don’t do what I do to get rich (or make others rich)…

I don’t do what I do to make a name for myself…

I don’t do what I do to create a cult following…

My passion is to spread the fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14) through films of beauty and stories of hope… to make him known among the nations (Psalm 105:1)… to bring comfort and hope to the downcast and the outcast (Luke 4:18). 

You see this credo reflected in our mission purpose as well: “We make films more for spiritual than financial impact.” I think this is what has led me to produce such an eclectic body of work… I am listening to the Spirit to give me direction as to which project to take on next.

Cris with his son Daniel in Mexico several years ago.

As you open this newsletter, by God’s grace, I will be on location in Mexico filming scenes for our new movie, The Puzzle Factory. It was in Mexico where our film ministry began over thirty years ago, and it was in Mexico where much of the backstory to The Puzzle Factory played out.

From a filmmaking standpoint, not much has changed since 1988, when we produced Ropa Nueva para Felipe in Mexico. We still need money. The shooting schedule is intense. We face challenges that can only be fully answered when the filming takes place. What empowers us to persevere through the hardships and inconveniences? Where do we find the strength to move ahead? 

The answer is passion. The answer is love. Love can make a person do most anything. Love has power. Love is power. It might just be the “secret sauce” of our human condition. 

And now, dear friend, tell me… Are you enduring obstacles for the sake of your passion? Be strong and of good courage. “Weeping may last for the night, but there is a song of joy in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) 

Lo! What is that sound in the distance? Do I hear the tuning of instruments? That can only mean one thing, my friends. Get ready for a symphony.

Much love to you all,

Please be in prayer for our week's shoot in Mexico, happening March 1 through March 8. Thank you!

We are excited to be filming selected scenes of The Puzzle Factory in Mexico starting this week!

Follow developments on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. And watch our Behind the Scenes clip from February's shoot in Minnesota!

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

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