When I First Found The Anima Series
That’s about the point where I come in. It would have been October 2013. I was in my last full-time semester of college at Ozark Christian College and was still living in the dorm. One of the girls on my dorm floor shared the “Who You Are: Women” video to my floor’s Facebook group. I don’t remember exactly what day that was, but I will never forget watching that video for the first time in my dorm room. Initially, I was almost in shock of the powerful message that had just been spoken to me. I watched it at least twice more and by then, I’m pretty sure I was shedding a few tears (Good thing I had a single room at the time. lol). Here's the video:
After having gone through all this and seeing the “Who You Are” video, something clicked in both my heart and my mind. I began to understand the change of heart I needed to have towards myself before I would be able to make a difference in the world for Christ. I began to realize that I, and every other women on this earth, was worth dying for and Christ believed it enough that he actually died on a cross for each and every one of us. It all made sense in a way it never had before. In a short period of time, I became content with my body and with being single in way I had thought would never have been possible when I was in the depth of my struggle. And even now I would say that I have been able to remain satisfied in the love of the Lord. It all started with a video of a guy in a white t-shirt on an empty stage with a message to share and a hope it would touch someone’s life. I know there was a difference in my heart and my life after I began to live my life in light of that powerful message. I even wrote my own spoken word poem on a very similar topic a few weeks later. It was titled “A Princess Worth Dying For”, but after I wrote it, I didn’t do anything with it for about a year. I’ll come back to that poem in a little bit.
Although I did have to do a little bit of searching to find the original video (since the first link I was given was from a random Facebook page), I eventually found The Anima Series channel, watched a few of their other videos, and subscribed. I was curious about trying to find the name of the guy that was in the first video. I eventually came to find that his name was Jon Jorgenson. I remembering being so inspired specifically by some of the other videos Jon was in, and I started hoping that I would meet him someday, but not knowing if I ever would.
How I “Met” Jon Jorgenson Online
For over a year, we have exchanged emails back and forth (not all the time of course, but fairly often). We occasionally chat on Twitter and on his Facebook page too. Since Jon is big on inspiring people and emphasizes creativity in most of his work, he has been a constant support and encouragement to me in my creative pursuits. He always takes the time to answer my emails, and has remembered my name ever since my first email. He has watched all my spoken word poems when I send him the links, and he gives me great feedback every time. He has read some of my posts here on my blog when I ask him. He is probably one of my biggest encouragers and inspirations I have had in the creative process. There are so many things I would have never thought I could do if it wasn’t for Jon, his work, and even his personal encouragement. And all the while, I kept hoping that I would someday get to meet him in person, but wondering if I ever would.
When I First Showed An Anima Video At My Church
When Anima Decided to Go on Tour
Now we get to the good part! The end of June 2015, Anima announced they were going on tour, and I was so excited! At first, I thought I would try to drive to one of the other shows, but when I saw Jon asking for venues that wouldn’t charge them to get in, I realized that my church would probably be a good option, and since I’m the senior minister’s daughter, I knew how to pull the right strings. Jon loved the idea when I offered it to him because it sounded like a good size for what they wanted to do. After asking my church’s elders, I got the show approved for Tuesday, October 13, and I was so excited! I then followed Anima through their Kickstarter campaign and prayed so hard that they would raise the money they needed. And as it turns out, they raised over double their fundraising goal! I was so happy for them and all the more excited for the tour. When I made a small donation to the Kickstarter, Jon made this video as a personal thank you. This makes me laugh so much with the air hug thing! haha
When The Show Finally Happened
After waiting about 3 months, it finally happened! I was so excited, but then I became slightly nervous about meeting Jon in person. It’s kind of funny when I think about it now. After all, we had been chatting online for over a year. But I guess it was because I was meeting someone who is famous. On top of his work with The Anima Series and having written a few books, he’s also just finished a run in a Broadway musical (Mamma Mia)! I had watched his videos hundreds of times and read every one of his blog posts since I'd subscribed to his blog. Now, he was about to come into my church. So my nerves got me for a moment.
But when Jon finally arrived, it felt like I was meeting a friend that I simply hadn’t met in person, so the nerves when away fast. When I greeted him in the parking lot, Jon gave a big hug and thanked me for all I did to bring this event together. I also got a big hug from his wife Erin. They came inside and met my family and another family that came to help them set up. Everyone got to talking and asking about the stats for the Cubs game, which was kind of funny, but it was also a sign that everyone was going to get along just fine. A little while later, people started arriving and I was curious to see who did or didn’t show up. After all, I was the one that organized the advertising for this show. But in the end, about 50 people came, which was pretty good.
After the show, Jon had a meet and greet time and posed for pictures. Now we didn’t have a super big crowd, but Jon was so good about giving time and attention to everyone.
While we were hugging, I said, “It was so great to finally meet you, Jon.”
He replied, “It was great to finally meet you, Bethel.”
As they drove away, I couldn’t help but praise God for giving me this small desire of my heart.
(There’s a short clip of me toward the end, wearing a black and white striped t-shirt)