I’m Launching my Videography Business Website!

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After weeks of hard work and a lot of help and advice from talented friends, I’ll officially be launching my website for my freelance videography business – Alix Bruson Films – this Tuesday, September 20th at 1:00 PM MST! I’ll be posting the website URL via this blog, Instagram, and Facebook at that time!

A little bit about my videography business and my vision for it:

I started Alix Bruson Films because I love storytelling through video, and I realized there weren’t many high-quality, affordable videography options for individuals, start-up companies, and small businesses. Alix Bruson Films is interested in telling STORIES, especially those of small makers, crafters, organizations, and regular individuals – in other words, “the little guys”. I’m interested in telling the stories that might not have been told yet because of the sometimes high cost of freelance videography. I value relationship-building and collaborating with clients, meaning I prioritize getting to know you and hearing about your vision, working alongside you to bring your story to life.

I’m so excited about launching this business and getting my website up and running! Be sure to check back tomorrow, September 20, at 1:00 PM MST to find the website link and check it out!

YWAM DTS Outreach

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It only took me 5 months after returning home from YWAM to edit this video, but better late than never! I had SO much footage that I shot mostly on my iPhone 6 as well as my Canon Rebel T3i. I wish I was able to capture more of the ministries we did – especially in Greece – but due to the nature of the situation there, filming was really limited.

A little backstory so that this video makes more sense: Starting in January our DTS outreach team spent 2 weeks in Windale, Australia doing mostly youth ministry and speaking in churches. We helped organize a big carnival-type event for the local kids there called “Summer Blast”. Then, we flew to Lesvos, Greece where we worked in the refugee camps for 1 month, ate 2 gyros each every single day, and pet a lot of cats (mostly my friend Tina and I). After that we flew to Berlin, Germany where we spoke in churches and organized free programs for refugees like English classes, community game/dance nights, and home visits. I’ve said this before, but Germany was my favorite part because we got to practically serve people in so many creative ways and build relationships with them. Plus Germany is just awesome and I love their culture!

I hope you enjoy this little glimpse of what was a life-changing 10 weeks for us!

 

Dream Big and Take Risks

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My best friend recently texted me this quote she heard at a work conference: “God won’t tie your soul to a dead-end dream”. That simple sentence struck me to the core. It conveys something I’ve been learning over the past few months, namely that God gave you your dreams and that it’s one of His greatest joys to see you fulfill them. But to be honest I didn’t fully believe that until a few weeks ago.

When I wrote my last blog post, I was positive that God would provide me with a job, and prayed that whatever it was, it would be His very best for me. I didn’t want to settle for some second-rate career where I’d be miserable. I was also convinced that He wanted me to work a full-time writing/social media job in the non-profit sector. Because of my personality type and being a perfectionist, when I have a task or project to do, I get fully absorbed into it. It’s like I have blinders on. That’s what happened in this job search. I was working hard, but I wasn’t asking God for guidance. After months of applications and interviews and getting absolutely nowhere, I began to get really frustrated. He closed door after door and instead of taking a hint and coming to Him for answers, I kept trying to do everything myself. I just thought I wasn’t working hard enough, and the solution lay in me trying harder.

Then I injured my foot and was forced to slow down a bit. I couldn’t walk or run or drive, and of course I had no job, so I kind of had nothing else to do but spend time with God (I know, bad Alix). Once I committed to being still and waiting on Him I felt God speak really clearly. First He told me to do a 3 day entertainment fast (no social media, Netflix, etc.). After the fast was over I pressed Him on what to do next. Why wasn’t I able to get any of these jobs I felt so qualified for? Was I looking in the wrong field? What the heck was I supposed to do??? Then I felt like He told me to start my own videography business. SAY WHAT??! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE making videos. I’ve been doing it since I was 10 years old. I think video is one of the most effective and inspiring forms of communication. Strangely, video work had been an unexpected part of almost every job I had recently interviewed for, and the thought of getting paid to film and edit made me SO excited. But start my own business?? That is a super intimidating venture. In fact, the only reason I hadn’t tried to make a living off of videography up until this point was FEAR. I had always made up excuses like, “I’m not talented enough”, or “I don’t have nice enough equipment”, or “I don’t have time”. So I told God that if this was really Him speaking and that if He truly wanted me to do this, I was going to need a sign. A big, obvious one.

Less than 48 hours hours later, I received an email from a non-profit where I had applied for a social media position a few months earlier. The lady told me that due to budget, they weren’t going to hire for that position after all (classic Alix job search woes). However, she went on to say that she was really impressed with my video work and experience (which we had discussed in an earlier phone interview). She asked if she could hire me to make a video for the non-profit. This was my big, obvious sign that I had asked for.

So now I’m taking the leap and starting my own freelance videography business. Maybe you think I’m crazy, and maybe I am. But instead of being like Gideon in the Bible and asking God for a second super obvious sign, I’m stepping out in faith believing that this is what God has called me to do. After all, what do I have to lose if I’m wrong? I want to live my life taking risks because I have no desire for a “normal”, boring life sitting safely on the sidelines.

This past week I have been working on my business plan. It has forced me to reflect on the why of my decision to start a business. Yes, I’m starting this business in part as a direct response to God’s voice, but why did He call me to do it? When I think about that, I’m reminded of the passion I’ve had for making videos since I was a little kid. The passion I had somehow managed to sweep under the rug and forget about because it was too scary to dream about anymore. Other than sports, making videos is still the thing that brings me the most joy and makes me feel most alive. It allows me to tell stories without words, which I think I value so much because of my introverted personality.

I hope that if you’re struggling to find your calling and you feel like all the doors of opportunity are being shut in your face, you’ll take a moment to be still. Maybe you’re looking in the wrong place, trying to open doors that God didn’t create you to open. I hope you’ll go to Him for answers. He’s the one who created your dreams, and then created you to live out those dreams. We do not have a cruel God who gives us dreams and ambitions just to crush them. We have a God who takes great delight in helping us discover (and re-discover) our passions and purpose, and then helping us live them out.

 

Honoring God in the Midst of Unemployment

It has been over a month since Connor and I returned to Colorado Springs after 7 months abroad doing a Discipleship Training School with Youth With a Mission (see previous posts to read more about that). With no jobs and no apartment, we moved into my old room at my parent’s house – a challenging scenario for this independent, strong-willed introvert. In one month I’ve applied for 4 jobs, interviewed for 2 of them, and been turned down for all of them. It has been a little disheartening and at times I struggle with feelings of inadequacy, despair, frustration, and mistrust toward God. It’s in these moments of doubt that I have to take a step back and remember the goodness of God’s character, what He has done for me, and what He has promised to do in and through me.

I remind myself of the rainy day in early January while we were on outreach in Australia. We were praying about the New Year and asking God what His plan was for the year. He said that 2016 for me personally was to be a “Year of Jubilee” – a time to trust Him like never before and not to worry. If you’re not familiar with the Biblical Year of Jubilee, it began with God’s commandment to the Israelites that every 50th year be a celebratory year in which they were to let the land rest, forgive debts, and set prisoners and slaves free. During this year God promised to bless the crops and the people were to rest from their work. In short, the year was firstly to remind the Israelites that God created everything  – the land and everything in it – and gave it to them, that they were not the only owners. More importantly, it was a year to trust and focus on God instead of work and daily problems.  It was a time of restoration, peace, and liberty.

Now I don’t think God is telling me to take this year to park myself on the couch and watch Netflix everyday. Instead, I feel He is simply asking me to trust Him more than I ever have before – to trust Him to provide me a job that aligns with His purposes for me, an apartment, a plan and vision all in His timing. When I remember this, I can’t help but honor God by seeking and trusting His best for me. I pray constantly that God will give me the faith and courage not to settle for a job that isn’t His best for me because I’m being motivated by fear and impatience. Each time I’ve had an interview, I’ve prayed that if the job wasn’t God’s very best for me that I wouldn’t get it (even though I’ve really wanted some of them). This is a scary prayer to make, but I can’t stand the thought of missing out on God’s most exciting path for me because I sought the instant gratification that His 2nd, 3rd, or 10th best plan offered.

Asking and trusting for God’s best for me also requires that I give my best and not sit on my hands. That means striving for excellence in all that I do, including being intentional with writing resumes and cover letters. I spend days tweaking resumes and cover letters for each job I apply to because I want to be confident that if I don’t get the job, it means it wasn’t God’s best for me. This has been so liberating and helps safeguard my heart against the inevitable feelings of rejection and inadequacy that being denied a position can stir up. Giving my best also means using the downtime during unemployment wisely (something I am continually trying to improve on). On my 25th birthday this year I felt God telling me I needed to make some goals, so I wrote down “25 Goals for my 25th Year”. Now I know why He wanted me to do that, because I have a lot of time to work on accomplishing those 25 things! Lately I’ve been focusing on trail running more, less time spent looking at my phone, and not skipping meals – all goals that suffered when I was employed full-time.

I’ll continue striving to honor God in the midst of this season of unemployment by trusting that He is good and He has good things planned for me. His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts, so He knows what is ultimately best for me. I want a job soon and I believe God wants to provide me with the right one at the right time, but if not, He is still good. My faith in Him is not results-oriented. My faith in Him is rooted in the simple fact that He is God and I am not.

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T-Shirt fundraiser, round 2

Hey friends, now that we are back at home, we want to reopen sales of our Trailblazer T-shirts that we sold as a fundraiser before DTS! We remember a bunch of people over the last 7 months commented on the shirts whenever we wore them, so here’s your opportunity to grab one for yourself. Here’s the best part – this isn’t a fundraiser for us this time. We will donate the proceeds to our friend Amanda Fisher, who is about to leave for her DTS with YWAM in Kona, Hawaii!

The back of the shirt states the missionary’s call to reach “Every Tribe, Every Tongue, Every Nation,” and on the front, the shirts say “Trailblazer” on the pocket (or pocket area for the tank top), which is the name of the DTS track we completed with YWAM Newcastle. But this name also applies to every single missionary, blazing the path wherever they are physically or spiritually. I know most outreach teams from our school had a few Trailblazers students on them, but each and every one of you is a Trailblazer for allowing God to send you and for making Him known throughout the corners of the Earth.

The price is $25 per shirt/tank, plus $5 for shipping (except local CO delivery). The high quality Comfort Color brand shirts are made of thick, durable cotton. Sizes are unisex and run large, available in Small – XL. For reference, Alix (5’4″) wears a small and Connor (6′) fits a medium.

To order, email Connor at cbruson@gmail.com with your shirt type (pocket tee or tank top) and size. You can pay by sending money through PayPal (preferred) or by mailing a check. We will let you know our PayPal or mailing address when you submit the order. We pay for the T-shirts through PayPal, then we will donate the profits to Amanda’s DTS fund. Get to know Amanda on her blog and check out her fundraiser page as well!

Thanks for being a part of our DTS journey and for contributing to our friend’s as well! We hope you enjoy the shirts.

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Outreach Report: Berlin, Germany

After spending one month working in the refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece with our team (which you can read about here), we traveled to Berlin for the last month of our outreach. We stayed at the YWAM Berlin base where we were warmly welcomed and even given a city tour by the base director. In just one afternoon, we went to the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Holocaust Memorial, Reichstag Parliament Building, Sony Center, and many different sections of the Berlin Wall. We were in awe of how much important history the city has tucked in between its rows of rebuilt 1950’s apartment buildings, and how it continues to be a focal point in world events. Some of the most important things in modern history have happened in Berlin! Today, it is host to an unmatched mixing of Christians and Muslims as many refugees end their journey here.

Once we settled in we began praying and brainstorming about what ministries we wanted to focus on during our four weeks. By the end of our time in Berlin, we had done a large list of ministries that included opportunities like “Encounter Night”, Chai & English, game/movie night, women’s painting night, speaking at a local church, volunteering at the homeless shelter, refugee house visits, a flash mob, prayer walks, street evangelism, and more. Whew!

It’s been said, “If you build it, they will come,” but we actually had to do a lot of reaching out to refugees in order to make these ministries effective. To do this, nearly every morning we would go to LAGeSo (lah-gey-zo) where the refugees wait to receive their monthly benefits from the German government. This one-city-block area was a perfect place to meet different refugees every day, and since it is the only camp to serve the city’s 100,000+ refugees, there are extremely long lines and people waiting everywhere, which made them easy to approach and open to conversation. They are some of the most friendly, warm, and welcoming people, and it was a privilege to hear their stories. Sometimes we would pray for them; other times we would just listen to them talk about their life back home before war and what they went through to get to Germany. We would invite many of them to come to one of our ministries – mainly Encounter Night and Chai & English. One day in LAGeSo that stood out was when we met a refugee who we served tea to in the Moria camp in Greece! It was so good to see that he and his family of fourteen had made it safely. He surprised us, though, when he thanked us so much for all that we did for him, his family, and his fellow Afghanis during their journeys. This was very confirming of the path that God had put us on for outreach.

These daily jaunts into LAGeSo were vital in order to fuel our weekly ministries with as many people as possible. The Encounter Night is an evening of food, community, worship, and talks about Jesus, specifically geared towards Muslim refugees. It was run by YWAM Berlin, our team, and other outreach teams from Brisbane, London, and Kona. On average, 20-30 Muslims from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere came to Encounter Night each week and got to see how Christians worship and hear exactly who Jesus is. We got to pray for Muslims, answer many probing questions about our “religion” versus theirs, and even see physical/emotional healings and salvations! Praise God for this historic opportunity. Our main focus was to show that Jesus is a relational, loving, caring God, not a legalistic, far off ruler. I believe we mainly accomplished that by showing the refugees that we, as Christians, wanted to have a relationship with them, that we love them, and that we care about them, their families, their stories, and their struggles, just like Jesus.

The second main ministry we did was a free English class for refugees called Chai & English, which YWAM Berlin wanted our team to pioneer for them to continue when we left. At first we were skeptical that refugees, who are already required to learn German, would want to spend their extra time learning English as well. But this ministry was surely a gift from God because our first class had 18 students! Many came back each week, and we got to not only improve their English skills, but offer them community and conversation on a personal level.

We did so many things during our 4 weeks in Berlin, it’s hard to tell all the stories, but here are a few more highlights. We went to church each Sunday at Reset Berlin, a small cafe-style church led by a Californian pastor, which offered translation between German and English for our team. This church was a huge blessing to our team, and we were also able to bless it as well. A Christian refugee from Syria is in charge of the church’s refugee ministry. He organizes a game/dance/movie night every Friday for refugees that our team attended, translated our Encounter Night talks into Arabic, and set up our team’s house visits to refugee families. Not to mention he cooked our team a huge Middle Eastern dinner before we left! He was seriously such a huge blessing to us. Our team was also able to share 4 testimonies during Reset’s services, and Connor and Tommy helped the church start its renovations.

One of our favorite ministry nights was serving at the homeless shelter. We liked this night because it was much like serving in the refugee camps: although there was a language barrier, it was so good just to be able to serve these peoples’ physical needs before pouring into them emotionally and spiritually. After dinnertime, our team held worship and spoke a quick sermon before sitting down individually with the tables of people. A few of them really opened up during this time. You could see their struggle in their eyes and simple gestures like a firm handshake or hug. One woman got healed emotionally and recommitted her life to Jesus. It was an amazing night where each member of our team was able to use his/her gifts to the fullest.

We did so much more each day, but you will just have to catch up with us over coffee sometime to hear every detail! We will leave you with some pictures of our time in Berlin, mostly from our days off when we explored the city. We saw a castle, toured the city’s coffee scene, ate amazing German and Italian foods, visited the Berlin Wall museum, and took a bazillion trains, subways, trams, and busses everywhere!

Berlin was the culmination of our outreach, and it also marked the terminus of the refugees’ journey across Europe. We met their physical needs in the Greek camps, and once those were met as they settled in Berlin, the refugees were so empty emotionally and open spiritually. This is truly a historic time for the mixing of Muslims and Christians, and God is clearly using it to bring His truth and love to so many of His children that previously weren’t able to receive it. We are thankful and blessed to be included in the refugees’ journeys and in God’s will during this season. We pray that our journey through DTS and Outreach may open your heart and mind to not only receive more of what God has planned for your life, but also to be seeking and recognizing God’s will for the Syrian Refugee Opportunity (not crisis).

Thank you for following along, and an extra big thank you to everyone that supported us on this journey and made it possible! We are forever grateful.

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Our team at the Brandenburg Gate

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Brandenburg Gate

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The dream team at the Reichstag Parliament building

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Reichstag

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Our setup for our Chai & English classes 

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Teaching English to two Syrian teenagers and one Iraqi man. I look really tired and unhappy haha but I promise I wasn’t! This ministry was one of my favorites!

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One of our teammates giving a short sermon during Encounter Night

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A Syrian refugee family that had us over for dinner at their house one night. One of our best experiences was getting to know them!

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Another ministry we organized was a women’s painting/cupcake decorating night which ended up being exactly the rest that our team needed!

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Visiting remnants of the Berlin Wall all around Berlin

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One preserved section of the Wall with a “no man’s land” in between

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This portion was the first section of the Wall that was built, and the first to be torn down.

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We toured Charlottenburg Palace on our day off and it was beautiful!

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Inside of the palace. That’s the ceiling painting reflected in a mirror.

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The gardens outside of the palace

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Valentine’s Day date at an old crematorium turned coffee shop. It sounds creepy, but it’s symbolic of Berlin’s effort to move on from its troubled past.

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Found a cafe named after my initials! 

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Pretty excited about it!

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Apricot baum cakes are the BOMB.

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Outreach was amazing. I never want to forget any part of it – good or bad. God has been faithful and good through it all!