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Beginning of Song Writing - 2001

Back in 2001, Kimberly was just leaning how to video edit. On a Sunday morning, she was trying to put together a video clip with pictures of happy children and the song “Thank You” by Ray Boltz. It was for a church function that night where we were going to be fundraising for Children’s ministries and the video clip was supposed to inspire everyone to give more money. Rob, and their two sons Trent and Taylor were out, so she had some uninterrupted time. Although video editing can be a complicated process, this time she was doing everything correctly and the computer just kept on playing up. After several hours of frustration, she finally stopped and said to God – “This is for you!! It’s not working …what do you really want me to do?”

At that point, she walked out of the study and into the lounge room. She picked up my guitar – which was covered in dust because she hadn’t played it for so long – sat down … and wrote a song. This was not something she had ever done before! It was as though God had been waiting for her to ask that question so He could begin to show her some of the plans He had for her. That was just the beginning. The next day, she wrote another song, and another… songs just kept on poring out. When she was driving to work, having a shower… they just kept on coming. 

A friend said to her, when you’ve written 12 songs come to my studio and record an album. Kimberly didn’t think that would ever happen, but 6 weeks later, she had 12 songs for an album. 3 months later, “Reach For Jesus” was being recorded on CD. (The songs are recorded on this CD in the same order they were written.)

Kimberly also needed to put the music into sheet music. The first 2 songs she scored with the help of with my friend on her computer. She really felt however that she needed to do this herself and buy the equipment. When mentioning this to friends, they responded that it was a silly move; just pay someone else to do it instead of investing that money in equipment. Kimberly felt impressed however, that they needed to get their own gear. She went a music shop to price it. I was going to cost $2000 to buy the music scoring program and a keyboard. She rang up Rob and he said ok to spend the money, so she brought the equipment home. Kimberly played guitar and had learnt some of piano when younger, but couldn’t play keyboard.?? She had to learn how to play the notes in on time on the beat - matching what I could hear in my head... continuing on my steep learning curve.

Their journey has gone on from there. As a family they have all been committed to following where God has been leading them. There have been lots of good times, many tough times, numerous twists and turns … way out of their comfort zone, doing things they had no idea they could do. But time and time again it has been proven true that if God has called you to do something, He will give you the skills or the people to help you to do it.

First Video
The next step was the visual part. We decided to put Reach for Jesus onto video. There was a huge amount of prayer to get this process through! They had one camera and borrowed another from a friend. They were planning to film the whole thing in 2 days. (Looking back now, it was a very optimistic idea!!)

The week before filming was to happen was horrific! Monday there was a thunderstorm in the neighbourhood. They had a golden retriever dog that was scared of storms. Kimberly came home from work and called their dog but she didn’t come -this was really unusual. She went looking for her and found her she had died – she had tried to jump the fence in the storm and ended up getting her collar stuck on the picket fence, and couldn’t get off. It was a very sad evening for the family. The next night,  turning on her computer - the one I was going to edit the video on- she and found that it had a virus. The next 2 days were spent trying to get rid of the virus. Lots of other little disaster kept happening that week. The biggest challenge was that it was raining. The day we were scheduled to start it was still pouring. We had a 2pm start time planned , It was the kind of set-in rain that you know is not going away. Friends asked us what our Plan B was. We replied there was no Plan B, if God wanted us to film, it would stop raining. We all sat in our lounge room and prayed – and at 2pm right on the dot, the rain stopped and kept away from where we were filming for the next 2 days – the cloud cover gave us great filtered lighting!

The next three weeks were school holidays which enabled Kimberly, who was a teacher, to edit the video. Finally it was completed, and a group of friends came around to look at it before duplicating it onto video. There were a few minor changes to be made, so after they left that evening, she went back to the computer to fix these and run off the final copy. When she turned on my computer, the whole Reach For Jesus project was gone! Kimberly spent most of the night praying and trying to find where the files were. Finally at about 5 in the morning, after being up and down checking the computer all night, the project returned? She then had to burn to CD the cover design, and even this little part of the project took over 2 hours!

By this time, it was 10am in the morning. Kimberly said to her 2 sons, "before we take this video down to Gosford, we need to pray that God keeps us safe, because it seems really obvious with all that has happened that the devil does not want this video to be finished". They prayed, got into their four-wheel drive and started down the freeway. After driving for a while, Kimberly could tell that something was very wrong with the vehicle. The steering wheel was vibrating and the car felt like it was shaking. She pulled over, but couldn’t see anything wrong, so kept driving. Their oldest son Trent, who was 11 at the time, said, “Mummy, I saw something on TV where there was a car whose wheels fell off because the nuts were loose. I think you should check our wheels.” She pulled over again, and discovered that the nuts on the left-hand front wheel were so loose the wheel was about to fall off. They tightened up the nuts and kept driving – thanking God for keeping them safe and letting us safely deliver the project.

First Studio
After Reach for Jesus was completed, Kimberly felt strongly that that we could set up their own studio and do their own recording. She thought that if she could hear in her head how I wanted it should sound, she would just have to push some buttons around until she could hear what she wanted. This began the very steep learning curve on their sound recording journey. Because it was part of God’s plan, it happened! Rob researched and built a studio, a small vocal booth and Kimberly went to a music shop and bought the equipment she needed – a mixer, sound program, condenser microphone, preamp etc. The night before she started to record their “Just Jesus” album, she was asking the guys at church what the buttons on the mixer desk did. Looking back now, it is obvious to see that God had a big hand in leading the process.

With the studio finished “Just Jesus” album and “Link In The Chain”. Kimberly kept on writing more and more songs. She knew that God had not just given me these songs for my own enjoyment and really felt that there were people out there somewhere who needed to hear them. The challenge was to get these songs to those people.

Arnie’s Shack begins 2002 - 2004
Meanwhile, Rob had been very involved in puppetry, and had a real gift for making his puppets come alive. He had two special puppet characters Arnie and Shane, so the next CD we did, we decided to use puppets on it. The CD “Arnie’s Shack – Time For A Story” was produced. They worked with some friend putting together the DVD to go with this CD. It involved heaps of kids, puppets and fun.

Abide Family Ministries begins 2004
One day talking and brainstorming with friends we discussed the concept of a “family ministry”. Something that was not only ministering to children, or just to adults, but also creating something that would work to help whole families. This was the moment when “Abide” was born. The first project recorded under this new banner was the “There For You “.

We did some travelling around New South Wales and Queensland. Puppets Arnie and Shane were joined by our new mascot PJ the Postman. Because they all still had full-time job, this was limited to weekends and holidays, so it was very tiring, but also very rewarding. The pace was not something they could maintain, they needed to find a more manageable way to get the music out to where it needed to be.

Arnie’s Shack Series 1
Based on the concepts begun in the Arnie’s Shack “Time For A Story” DVD, they looked at developing a variety type of program for an Arnie’s Shack Series, wanting to promote positive Christian values to families. The message of the music was to be the basis of each program so they developed some topics including Honesty, Obedience, and God’s Protection. Segments were developed including puppet dramas, D.I.Y. for kids, a nature loving puppet Ranger Hardy, and Pastor Daron’s Balloon Kaboom segment. Series 1 was competed and aired internationally on Hope Channel, then was also picked up by Foxtell’s Australian Christian Channel. In February 2008, TBN’s Smile Of A Child network also began to air Arnie’s Shack Series 1.

Arnie’s Shack Series 2

To begin Series 2, they needed to upgrade our cameras form CCD to HDV, and also upgrade our computer so that it could handle HDV. Rob and Kimberly were asked to go to Fiji to help to lead out in a Children’s Expo. They paid for our tickets, and from that moment on lots of things went wrong. If they hadn’t already paid, they would have not gone on this trip. God was leading though, because while in Fiji, for only 5 days, they sold enough products to buy the computer, and also met the director of South Pacific Division Health Department for the SDA Church, who told them that if they were able to produce a puppet DVD for Pacific Island children, they would pay the money needed to buy the cameras their new cameras. God knew they needed to go on that trip! They purchased 2 Sony Z1P HDV cameras and filmed the first 6 episodes of Series 2. They also wrote and filmed and produced the new Series called “Betty’s Clinic” – about the dangers of Smoking and Alcohol.

Other Projects

During 2009, Rob and Kimberly continued to travel to Pacific Island countries. They went to the Solomon Islands and filmed the second episode of Betty’s Clinic – on Healthy Food and Exercise. This helped them to buy some of the studio lighting that was needed. They also filmed and “Arnie’s Shack in the Solomon Islands episode while they were there. September 2010 they went to Papua New Guinea to help to run an Adventurer Camporee for 500 children aged 6-9 years, While there, they filmed an Arnie’s Shack in Papua New Guinea DVD. They also travelled to Vanuatu for a pathfinder Camporee and filmed and “Arnie’s Shack in Vanuatu” DVD.

Our next Big Dream begins 2013

Rob and Kimberly were impressed to praying for new studio – a larger film and sound studio to use in conjunction with their vocal booth. Rob and Kimberly still continued to pursue the dream that God gave them now over 10 years ago. During that time, God has sent many people to help them to fulfil this dream. They continue to stay open to His leading as to where He wanted them to go. Both continued to hold down full-time jobs to fund the ministry. Kimberly working as a teacher and Rob as a Fitter and Turner. They used their evenings, weekends and holidays to devote to ministry time. All their holidays consisted of ministry trips. While there was some financial return with sales of DVD’s and occasionally networks paying for episodes to go on air, their regular wages were needed to help fund ministry cost and equipment.

Plans were drawn up for the new studio. Once the approval came through, they put down the concrete slab foundation. They both agreed that they would not go into further debt to fund the new film sound studio as their ministry would be even more difficult to do if they were paying lots of interest on funds borrowed. They still had a mortgage on their house. Rob had the skills to do the building but was lacking both time and money to go any further.

During this time, they had been working on a “Arnie’s Shack Noah’s ARK” DVD, based on a scale model that had been built by Kimberly’s father. During the 10 months or so that they had been working on the DVD, Kimberly had been trying to get a good photograph of a rainbow. She did not want to pay for a rainbow picture, as rainbows are something that you often see. Every time it had rained, she had the camera ready, but no rainbow would appear. Rob had been working at Sanitarium as a Fitter and Turner for almost 34 years. One Friday afternoon he came home and said that for the first time, Samarium was going to be offering voluntary redundancies. Because he had been working there for so long as was one of their most experienced tradesmen, it would be unlikely that he would usually get a redundancy as it would cost the company too much money. Rob was unsure about taking this step however, leaving a secure fulltime job. He went outside and Kimberly prayed that if it was God’s will for him to take this redundancy to give them a sign. As she was praying, Rob called out “quick, get the camera, there is a rainbow outside”. Rob took the redundancy, which enabled them to pay off their remaining mortgage, and began working on the studio.

Current Project Needs

For the past 3 ½ years, Rob has been working predominantly on the studio, doing some occasional casual work to supplement their income. Kimberly continues to work as a teacher full-time. The redundancy payout has enabled them to build the studio which is now ready for sound treatment. They are still out of debt.

They are now looking at the equipment needed to run the studio including lighting and lighting mixers, sound desk, computers and hardware, Video mixer, screens and cameras. This application is to request financial assistance for the purchase of this equipment.

 

Anticipated Studio usage

We have no doubt that God has led to have this studio built. While we know that we will be using this to continue to film our “Arnie’s Shack” projects, we know that God has a bigger purpose for the studio than just this. Media is one of the major ways that the Gospel message will reach the world. Good quality Christian content is desperately needed and most studios are financially out of reach for many people to access. We are praying that this studio will be able to produce quality content that will enable everyone to know that Jesus wants to be their best friend.