One of the most important parts of the deputation process is the video presentation. I can remember as a boy watching missionary slide shows and wanting to be a missionary to every one of those places. I think that if you can sit through a video presentation of a foreign mission field and not be stirred up to do something to reach those people, then something is broken!
When I did deputation, not everyone had switched over to video yet. Most churches did not have a projector; so, I got on EBay and purchased a slide projector for $5.00. It was a fancy one! You could put a cassette tape in the side of it, and it would automatically advance to the next slide at a pre-programed “silent beep.” I wrote a script and recorded my voice, the voice of my pastor, and had a man in the church that worked at the radio station do some voice over work for me. I was very proud of my sound track.
When I started deputation, I had never been to Africa. I borrowed some photos from people who had made a mission trip to Ivory Coast. The photos were not exactly what I wanted, but I made them fit my script. I went to a photo place and had my photos made into slides.
I put the slides into my carousel and did several trial runs, and then I programed the automatic “silent beeps” onto the cassette. I tried it out and it worked great! I remember taking a lunch break and left my carousel sitting on the table while I went to lunch. When I got back from lunch, I packed up my projector and all of the paraphernalia that went with it and loaded it up into my pick-up truck. I was so excited about my first meeting!
I got to the church and set up my projector and got the first slide focused on the screen. When the time came to do the presentation, I asked for the lights to be turned off, and then I pressed play on the projector. The first minute of my slide show was great, and then it all went down-hill fast. I soon realized that while I had gone to lunch, my cousin’s two year old daughter had rearranged my slides. The photo of my pastor was that of a large African pounding fufu. The photo of my fiancé was that of a little African boy proudly displaying his toy. People were laughing so hard, and I could not get that thing to stop playing. I finally just unplugged it!
The best opportunity to prepare for your video presentation is before you leave for your survey trip. Here is a list of things to do before you leave for your trip.
1. Write out your script and get it as close to what you would like to project to your prospective supporters.
2. Envision your show and try to imagine what photos you would like.
3. Get a good camera! You will be showing these photos on a very large screen, and poor quality digital photos are not desirable.
4. Do not use the digital zoom. Optical zoom is okay, but the digital zoom really takes away from the quality of your photos. If you want to zoom in, the best zoom is your feet when at all possible – move closer!
5. Familiarize yourself with your camera. Learn how to use the basic settings and find out how long the battery will last.
6. Make sure that the charger for the camera will work in the area where you will be going. When you look at the power supply for the charger, it should say 100-240v 50/60Hz. If it does not say this, look for a different option; or even consider getting a different camera. Having a camera that cannot be charged is like having a boat anchor without a boat.
7. Try to get some video footage as well. I have had people give a testimony about how missionaries have been a blessing and the need for the gospel in that country. You can have the people speak their heart language and then put a translation as subtitles.
8. Look online for some free photography courses. The better quality the photos, the more people will see the subject and not our lack of ability to take a good photo. It never hurts to work on self-improvement.
9. As soon as you can after your trip arrange your photos and video into a story board.
10. There are some ministries that will help missionaries put their presentation together. I highly recommend Brother Ron Burke in Oklahoma City. He has done two presentations for me, and they were superb! You can contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.
We all have room for improvement in our presentation! There will always be a way in which we could take what we do to the next level. What are some of your recommendations for new missionaries in preparing for their presentation before they go on a survey trip? I would love to hear from you on this subject. Leave your comments in the comments section and join in on the conversation.