I started shooting Challenges & Joys: Autism in January of 2014. At the time, I had a different story in mind. Originally, the film was going to be a story of identity as a business owner. As I sat and prayed about it, it was clear the story needed to change. The story evolved and became focused more on Autism Spectrum Disorder, something I didn't know very much about at the time.
I started researching, talked with my friend Robbie who sat for the first interview. We started talking about autism. I knew I wasn't going to shed any new light on the disorder, there are new things coming out everyday it seems. What I wanted to do was look at life with autism and how the gospel applies to it.
Friends from church, Daniel and Megan whose son Calvin was on the spectrum, came to mind. I approached them one Sunday and told them what I was doing, asked if they would be willing to be interviewed. I shared the goal of the film, to show that Christians struggle with the same challenges and the celebrate the same joys as any other parents do. The distinction is they look to Jesus for grace in the challenges and praise Him in the joys. Daniel immediately agreed, he told Megan, she agreed. They were on board and excited.
In May, I interviewed Daniel and Megan in their living room. I brought my friend Neil along to help. By the end of the interview there wasn't a dry eye in the room. It was beautiful to hear how Daniel and Megan look to Jesus and apply the gospel everyday. Daniel shared about how he's learned so much about God as a father and His unconditional love, patience, and grace. Megan shared how she desires to control things and has had to wrestle with God and relinquish that desire to Him and allow Him to be God.