I met with Ryan Geleynse about a week after he returned to Canada. He was joking with my son, complimenting the dry chicken breast I’d thrown together in his honour, and basking in the chaos that can be dinner at my table. Seeing him warmed me, like the return of a brother.
Ryan has been coming to New City Church for more than three years. He’s heavily involved in our church and in the Hamilton community. His faith is vivid, and his love for people, inspirational. Ryan has a television broadcasting diploma from Mohawk College, and since graduation has been networking to find work in his field.
When the opportunity to be a videographer for a five week media project came up, he jumped at it. The project was with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), an organization run by the Christian Reformed Church that responds to the needs of people suffering from poverty, hunger, disaster, and injustice all over the world. The videography job was to document a caravan of young people traveling from Kenya to South Africa on a social justice mission.
The We Have Faith- Act Now for Climate Justice caravan was traveling around parts of Africa petitioning a legally binding and just climate agreement to be signed in Durban, South Africa at the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the end of November.
The interfaith based caravan was organized by Norwegian Church Aid. It brought together a group of 170 young people who had come to Africa from all over the world. Ryan and his media team tented their way as part of the caravan. The 11,000 km journey brought people together and broke down religious and cultural barriers. The friends he made along this trail are the most memorable part of the trip for him.
The African youth signing the petitions were calling to wealthy nations (like Canada) for social justice. They were asking countries to make good their Kyoto commitments to reduce carbon output. This came at a particularly sorrowing time. In December, Canada backed out of the promises we made in 1997 to reduce our emissions. The critics would say we weren’t on target anyway.
Regardless of where you may stand as a Christian on the whole climate change thing, Ryan stresses that the conditions of places where people live on $1 / day are getting worse. In places where seeds have always been sown, plants no longer come up.
Climate changes in the last sixty years in Africa have brought unpredictable weather patterns with a decrease in rain. Less rain means less food. Very poor people are getting poorer. Ryan journeyed with young people who had grown up in these $1/ day communities. Their stories of struggle became very real to him.
Ryan is an artist; his camera work is thoughtful and soft. He genuinely loves people, and he expresses that through his videography, allowing his viewers to really understand the story and be moved. Check out some of his projects on his Vimeo account.
Until Ryan’s next godly adventure I’m happy to have him back in Canada. He makes everyone in my family smile from ear to ear. But I am also happy to see him inspired and moved. I know God will use him and the gifts that he has.
The mission of Intersection is to help our readers to see how the gospel of Jesus intersects & transforms all of life in a very real way. Our goal is to destroy the false & harmful dichotomy between 'the sacred' & 'the secular' by presenting a wide range of perspectives that focus on different aspects of life in the city. These stories, reflections, observations, & opinions all have one thing in common—the shared conviction that every arena of life can be holy & beautiful when it is lived out in full awareness of the gospel & in full submission to the leadership of Jesus. Although the Intersection team loves, values, & supports all of its contributors, the views expressed in their posts are ultimately their own & may not necessarily reflect the beliefs & values of New City Church.