Moss Family Blog

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this blog is for those who would like to learn more about what is going on with our family - and in particular - the growth of our family through the process of international & domestic adoption…

Congo Unites Movie Update

January 23rd, 2014


First things first – Thank you to all of you who have sent nice notes, “liked” the Congo Unites Movie Facebook page, and have contributed to the campaign.  We now have 18 days left to raise as much awareness and as much funds as possible.  Right now we have raised $3,100 through 50 different backers and just over 100 likes on our Congo Unites Movie Facebook page.  That may or may not seem like much money to you, but it is great to us, we are excited and grateful for every person that gets involved.

So, where are we now?  Well, if you compare our IndieGoGo campaign to some others, you may see that some (very few actually) get all of there funding very quickly through thousands of backers.  These situations normally happen when an organization already has a very strong “following” through social media.  For example a large Facebook or twitter presence.  We, on the other hand, are trying to raise awareness and build a following at the same time that we are trying to raise funds.  That makes the job a little harder, but not impossible.

One of the main reasons we chose IndieGoGo as opposed to Kickstarter is that Kickstarter is “all or nothing”.  Meaning that you either raise all of your funds and meet your goal or you get nothing.  With IndieGoGo, we get whatever money we raise. So with that in mind, our goal is $50,000 – but what do we really need to get started?  About $15,000 will allow us to take our first trip to Congo to meet with and film on location some of the students who’s story we will be sharing through the film.  We would then come back with that footage and edit an even more compelling “trailer” of what this movie could become to ramp up the fund and awareness raising process.

So, can you help us?  As I said we have just 18 days left and we are asking for anyone that is able to help us financially with $20, $50, $100 – whatever you can to help us get this project off of the ground.  If not financially, please “like” the movie web-site and help us spread the word.  Share the links below with all of your friends and family and let them know about this great opportunity to be involved in bringing peace and reconciliation to an area of the world that desperately needs it.


IndieGoGo Page – Donate to the Campaign

Congo Unites Movie Facebook Page

Congo Unites Movie website

I will be sharing more about this soon, but we had our first “casting” meeting via SKYPE with 5 students from Congo yesterday morning.  These students may end up being some that we will be filming and sharing their stories.  It was amazing to hear their stories, many that had a common theme of fleeing war with their brothers and sisters to try and find safety somewhere other than their war-torn village.  I can’t wait to meet them in person and for you all to meet them through this film.   Thank you again for anything that you can do to support our project.

Congo Unites Movie

December 12th, 2013

After returning to the states Mike Kenyon and I started meeting, talking and praying about what a feature documentary might look like about the planned Congo Unites Future Leaders Conference in July 2014.  We started getting really excited about the story that God was calling us into.

After a few months of planning and assembling a small, passionate team of people that are behind the project – we have begun.  We worked out our budget for the film which is about $150,000.  After careful consideration we decided to raise $50,000 on IndieGoGo – a crowd-funding site.  That campaign started today, December 12th and we are hoping to raise the $50,000 in 50 days.  The $50K will allow us to get started on the production of the film.  Actually, it’s probably better at this point to send you over to the web-site so you can see the 5-6 minute video that we did for the campaign where you can hear Prashan, Camille & Esther and Mike and I give you a little more info on the movie and the fundraising campaign.




…. and that’s a good thing.  While in Kenya, many things happened – many friendships and relationships were started, plans were made.  One of the things that came out of my trip was meeting Prashan De Visser and learning about Sri Lanka Unites (SLU).  SLU is a peace and reconciliation movement that started in 2009 to bring hope to young students in Sri Lanka and break down years of tribal conflict and create a better future for the youth of Sri Lanka.  The concept (simplified here for brevity) was to take students from different tribes and provinces and bring them together for five days and do team building exercises, sports, art, music, reconciliation sessions, and bunking together as teams.  After five days of living with their “enemies” they learn that they are not very different from one another and on the last night something beautiful happened.  Check out this video of what happened the last night of their Future Leaders Conference.

Click Here to see the video.

I also had a chance to meet Pastors Camille & Esther from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  They have an amazing story of ministering to the people of DRC through their organization, Africa New Day.  Congo, similar to Sri Lanka, is torn apart by tribal wars for decades.  So a few years ago at the Fearless Conference Camille, Esther and Prashan got together to discuss the idea that what SLU was doing in Sri Lanka is exactly what is needed in the Congo.  Fast forward a couple years and on this trip to Kenya we all got together to talk about the idea of Congo Unites – modeled after the first Sri Lanka Unites Future Leaders Conference.  Plans were in place to have Congo Unites 2014 in July of 2014.  The prospect of students in the Congo getting together to create a better future for the Congo was exciting to discuss and was the possibility for an amazing story.  A story that many people should be aware of.  A story that many people should be able to see.  Hmmm…

How could people see it?  A feature length, professional documentary.  Congo Unites the Movie.  A few of us met while we were still in Nairobi – Prashan, Camille, Esther, Ken Oloo, my friend Mike Kenyon, among a few others – we all got together to talk about the possibility of the Congo Unites 2014 happening and also the idea of making a documentary.  Mike volunteered to Produce the documentary and ask me if I would produce it with him.  I said, well, I have never produced a film before but that I would help in any way I could.  We all agreed to pick this idea up when we got back to the states to see if this might be something that God may want to happen and whether or not he may want us to be involved.


(Mike, Camille, Esther & me)

So, what was that sentence again – you know the one about students learning to tell a better story with their lives through film… in Africa.

So here’s the thing…

December 1st, 2013


(L-R: Shireesh, Ken, me, Shaban)

So here’s the thing.  Once I got cleaned up and started doing my job as Director of Photography – I desperately needed some help.  Enter Shaban, the guy in the yellow shirt above.  This guy knew exactly what he was doing and was such a kind, teacher.

But here is the real thing… heading into Kibera, the sights and sounds and smells were pretty overwhelming.  It’s worse than I could have imagined.  I am not sure that I consciously was having any anxiety about getting close to the people that I was working with, but it would not have been out of the realm of possibility – they lived in Kibera, many with few clothes and no shoes – maybe somewhere in my subconscious – I was feeling uncomfortable with the prospect of getting close to these people.  Well guess what, before we could hardly get started, I fall into a hole, get bloody and covered in sewage.  Who is the one who is smelly, dirty and no one would want to be around.  Well, guess where my teacher was for the next couple hours – right next to me, often times with his arm around my shoulder helping hold the camera and even cheek to cheek a couple times – and I smelled… really bad – I didn’t like smelling myself.  It was incredibly humbling experience as I felt uncomfortable, being so smelly and dirty having anyone working near me or close to me.  It didn’t really hit me until later that night, back at the hotel as I threw away my shoes, socks and jeans – how well Shaban and his FJ team treated me with such love and care, regardless of the state I was in.  Wow.  Thank you Shaban.


(me and Shaban getting the shot)

Filming with Ken & FJ in Kibera

November 1st, 2013

If you have followed the story this far, you know that one of the main reasons I was in Nairobi was to visit Ken and his students at Filamajuani.  Well after a few days attending the Fearless conference, which was great, I was able to spend some time with Ken.

The plan was to take the members of our team from Mariners to Kibera, which is the largest urban slum in Africa.  Ken works with students that live in Kibera and teaches them about the elements of story, how to use cameras, audio and teaches them the craft of filmmaking – right in the middle of the largest urban slum in Africa.

We took about 20 team members to Kibera and split up into two teams.  Each team of people from Mariners would join up with students from FJ and we would together come up with a story to film about one of two topics, hope or love.  My team decided to take Love.  We sat together for a short time and worked together to come up with a very short look at two people, a boy and a girl, the boy from America and the girl from Kenya.  They meet at a Chapati stand in Kibera, we called it “Chapati Love”.  We cast our characters, outlined a script and within 30 minutes we were on our way deep into Kibera to find our main location, a Chapati stand.

Ken gave me the role of Director of Photography and my new friend Shireesh the role of Director.  We had the help of the students from FJ, who really knew what they were doing.  But now it was time to set up our first shot.  Our plan was to have our leading man, Zack, come walking down toward our Chapati stand along the railroad tracks that run through the middle of Kibera.  So I took a look up the hill and said, “Well, in order to get Zack coming down the hill coming this way we will need to step back…” and as I stepped back, I fell in to a hole of water, mud, sewage and rats – that I didn’t know was directly one step behind me.  Here is a picture of that hole…


So, on our very first shot, before we even got the camera ready to shoot, I was basically covered in shit from the waist down.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, in an effort to catch myself with my hands as I fell backwards I cut my right arm on the cement sewer/drainage pipe bordering the pool.  So, very quickly everyone came to my aide and pulled me up.  Several people quickly pulled out clean water, bactine, neosporin, bandaids and cleaned my bloody arm off and quickly bandaged me up.  Other than feeling really stupid and humiliated, I was ready to do what I have been waiting to do – film with these students.  After assuring everyone, that I was fine – we set up our first shot.


(Picture of the arm, post clean-up back at the hotel, 12 bandaids and a full tube of neosporin)

We shot our movie so quick because of our schedule, but we had a blast doing it.  Here is a very quick edit, of our very quick shoot.  Enjoy.

 the part where i panic and take a step…


Ok, so yes, I blew it.  I freaked out that a director of a Tom Cruise film was who I was supposed to connect with and talk to about my idea or my sentence or whatever it was – so I didn’t (more details in the part 2 below).

Fast forward to spring of this year.  Pastor Muriithi from our partner church Mavuno in Nairobi, Kenya comes to speak at the Irvine campus of Mariners Church (our home church).  He spoke about being irresistible and spoke about two front-line ministries that we support in Nairobi.  One of the ministries that Muriithi mentioned was Filamajuani (FJ), which is a swahili word that means “Films in the Sun”.  Muriithi told us all that FJ and it’s founder, Ken Oloo, does something like the following… “Helps students learn how to tell a better story with their lives, through learning the process of filmmaking…”  and this is happening in Nairobi, Kenya – which does happen to be in Africa.  That is extremely similar to the sentence that I wrote in my journal almost a year before at the Storyline conference.  To me this was another chance.  I was too afraid last time I had an opportunity, and regretted it – this time was going to be different.


(Ken Oloo, center in tan Filamajuani shirt, on location in Kibera)

It just so happens that Ken was in the United States raising awareness and support for FJ.  I had a chance to meet with in late May, just the day before he left to go back home to Nairobi.  Ken and I hit it off and talked for quite awhile about what FJ was all about and some amazing stories of how the students involved with FJ’s lives were changed through learning about story and the process of filmmaking.  Our time together was a little too short, but as we parted he said I should come to Kenya sometime.  I said – yes, that would be great, thinking that was very unlikely.  But God had a plan – there was a team from Mariners already in the late stages of planning for a trip to the Fearless conference in Nairobi.  I spoke with the leaders of the trip and after hearing my story, they were able to open up one more spot on the team.  I was on my way to Nairobi.

the part where i panic and give up…


So when we last left the story, I made a promise to myself to step out and try to find these people, maybe at a church in LA called something or other, that were maybe doing something like what I wrote down in my journal at Storyline Conference (see part 1 below for more details).

After the conference I was back at home for a few days and sitting at work.  On my lunch break I decided to do some searching of the internet about this church in LA.  I managed to find the website and made my way through the staff page maybe looking for someone in the list that I could contact and ask “Do you know anyone there at the church that is working with students in Africa, teaching them story through filmmaking?” – easy enough right?  Well, while scrolling through the list of staff i find the name Daley Hake.  This is really strange as Daley is a friend of mine who is an amazing photographer and musician.  He took this picture of my kids (one of my favs).


What?  Daley doesn’t work at a church.  How can this “completely random” connection be possible.  I actually got goosebumps and at the same time started to get scared of what was happening.

So I texted Daley – guess what – he just started working at this Church in LA – THIS WEEK.  Wow, I told him why I was asking and said “So do you know anyone there that might….” about the students, film, Africa thing and he said no – but he was heading into his first staff meeting so he would ask around.

Daley got back to me the following day via email and sent me the info of a couple that attended the church and had been doing something with film and students in Africa – but they were not just “any” couple.  The email went on to say that they may not be available right now as the guy is out of country filming as a unit director on the latest Tom Cruise movie.  What??  After reading the email and seeing what was happening and who was handling it, I panicked – I didn’t follow it up – I was too afraid.  The End.  I blew it.  Oh well, end of story…  or is it.

Part 3 coming soon…


(Blue Like Jazz screening, L-R: , me & Donald Miller)

In the post below I mentioned Ken Oloo from Filamajuani (FJ), or Films in the Sun.  He is an amazing guy and one of the main reasons that I was a last minute add to the Kenya Fearless trip.  Ken was in the US for about 70 days drumming up awareness and support for his organization when I had the chance to meet him.  Well, wait – let’s back up just a little bit – how did I even end up getting on this Fearless Kenya trip?

On June 8th, 2012 I cashed in on a gift that my beautiful wife, Sandi, gave me – which was to go to Donald Miller’s Storyline Conference in Santa Barbara.  The conference was two days and was centered around understanding the story that your life is telling and how to tell a better story with your life.  You know, when you are on your death bed and the credits roll on your life, looking back – what kind of story was it…  Right up my alley and as a huge fan of Donald Miller’s writing as well as being a huge supporter of the Blue Like Jazz movie Donald, Steve Taylor & Ben Pearson wrote – I was very excited to attend.

One of the exercises that we did while at the conference was to get away, find a nice quiet spot in the hills of Santa Barbara and listen to what new subplot God might have in mind to add to your story.  I did that and felt that God was saying to me “Help students learn how to tell a better story with their lives, through learning the process of filmmaking, in Africa”.  This was an odd statement for me as I only knew a little bit about the concept of telling a better story with your life, I knew next to nothing about filmmaking, and I live in Irvine, California – which you may or may not know, is not next door to Africa.  But I wrote it down and told a couple people, including Donald Miller.

So then, a couple things happened.  When I spoke to Don after the conference about the sentence that God gave me about the next possible subplot in my life, Don thought that was cool.  He actually said something like – “Hey, I met a couple people from LA that may be doing something like that – you should talk to them.  I think they were at a church called….”  So I thought cool, somebody is already doing that so what would they need me for?  I made myself a promise that I would take the next step and try to find out who these people are.  Let’s see if I actually do.

Part two – coming soon…

Thank you!

July 20th, 2013


(L-R: Matt Olthoff, Mike Kenyon, me & Kyle Zimmerman)

Wow… what an amazing opportunity that I had to go to Kenya and be a part of the Fearless conference.  I also had a chance to work with my friend Ken Oloo, who runs Filamujuani, which means Films in the Sun.  I also had a chance to see some other front line ministries that we support like Eco-Post that I mentioned in the story below, “Waste is not Waste until it’s Wasted”.

Other than working with Ken and some of the other front-line ministries that we support I had the chance to meet, speak with, listen to and learn from some amazing people.  Prashan De Visser from Sri Lanka, Camille & Esther Ntoto from the Congo among many others.  What a privilege – I’m so grateful for the experience and the relationships.

So before I post anything else about my trip – I wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you who supported me, both financially and through prayer and encouraging words and notes.

Thank you – and more stories from Kenya coming soon.


After a quick stop at the hotel to drop off our bags we were quickly on our way to meet and spend some tim with one of the frontline ministries that we support.

This video is a quick look at our visit with Lorna Rutto, a former bank executive who, on a giant leap of faith left her executive job to start an organization called EcoPost, which recycles plastics to make aesthetic, durable and environmentally-friendly plastic lumber for everything from fencing to landscaping. She cited the story of Abraham and how he didn’t know where he was heading, but he had tremendous faith. God showed him the way and provided. Lorna personifies that kind of faith. As she stated, “… by praying together and by the grace of God” she now employs over 500 Kenyans, and she hopes to employ up to 5,000 within the next year. She is not only working to protect and preserve our environment; she is creating job opportunities showing that serving isn’t about being self-serving, and that “waste is not waste until you waste it.” Today was a powerful example of redemption. The Kingdom of God is not about pride or gain; it’s about restoring what was broken to make it whole again.

The entire process starts with people pulling the plastic bags and other plastic materials out of the dump and selling those materials to EcoPost.  We started off with a visit to the dump and then spent quite a while working at the EcoPost factory.

Enjoy the video and more to come soon…

Waste is not waste until it’s wasted from doug moss on Vimeo.

Arrived in Nairobi

July 1st, 2013

After a brief stop in London, where we were able to take a quick ride on the “tube” and grab some fish-n-chips between Heathrowe & Downtown…


…we have arrived in Nairobi.  We landed on-time at 6:30am and were greeted by some friends at the airport in Nairobi.  We briefly stopped by the hotel and headed out to visit some of our friends that have front-line ministries here in Nairobi.  I will try to put some pictures up from today a little later.

On my way…

June 30th, 2013

Well, the Saturday & Sunday services at church went great.  I left church around 1pm and then had two hours with the family for a quick lunch and final packing before meeting at the church at 3pm for our trip to the airport.  There are 32 people going on this trip to Kenya and 24 of them left yesterday (Saturday).  The remaining eight people were involved in weekend services so we are traveling out today (Sunday) and will join the rest of the team when we arrive in Nairobi on Tuesday morning around 6:30am.

After hugs, kisses and goodbyes with the fam, I am on the bus and heading to LAX.  Next note may come after I am in Kenya.

Thanks again for all of your kind words, support & prayers.

So this was happening…

June 29th, 2013

the week before my trip to Kenya…



VBS at church.  2,500 kids and 1,200 volunteers.  I was playing bass with Tim Timmons every morning and then heading to work in the afternoons.  The kids were up on stage with us doing the motions…


After a full week of VBS and weekend services Saturday night and Sunday I will be leaving the church at 3pm to head to LAX to begin my trip.  If only I had started packing…

Daisy’s Story

June 20th, 2013

daisyOne of the people that I will be spending some time with in Nairobi is Daisy Warimi.  Daisy goes to our partner church, Mavuno Church in Nairobi and she was sharing with us at one of our services a couple months ago the story of her ministry.

Last year, Daisy was going through her church small group curriculum, they were studying the section on social justice and she was not sure how this would be applicable to her.

The next morning her babysitter asked her for a loan because her husband was jobless.  Daisy was very broke herself and didn’t really have any money.  Daisy told her babysitter she would think about it.  When she arrived at work, the caretaker of the grounds stopped her and asked her for a loan.  Daisy thought that was weird, two people in about 30 minutes asked her for a loan. She told him that she would think about it.  As she was leaving work, the night watchman told her that he had been meaning to ask her for a long time, if she could give him a small loan.  So that was three people in one day.

She wondered why her, but since she was studying social justice she told them each that she would give them a loan.  She was bluffing because she had no idea how she was going to give out loans.   Daisy told them she would give them the loans if they would do two things – 1) The loan must be for an income generating activity, that way you pay back the loan from what you are doing.   And 2) They must save money for the activity as well.  Daisy agreed to give people 3x what they saved for the loan.  And since there were just three of them she told them to invite a friend and they could get together at Daisy’s house on Saturday to discuss the details and start a small group around this venture.  Daisy thought that maybe they would have six or so at her house on Saturday, but when Saturday came around 43 people came to her house from Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa.

Today her ministry gives micro loans to over 2,000 people in the slums of Kibera.

I’ll introduce you to another person and their story in the next day or so.

Support Update

June 15th, 2013

Hello All.  I just wanted to take a minute and say thank you for all the nice notes and comments that you have sent my way.  I have just two weeks left before my trip and I have raised around $1,200 of the $4,500 for the trip – Thank you!!  If you haven’t had a chance to read the long post below about support here are the highlights again of the two ways you can be a part of this trip through support…

1)  Pray for…

  • Sandi and the kids while I am away, for safety and fun and as much peace as is possible with four kids under 11
  • that our team would be bold and fearless
  • that we would listen to God’s leading and guiding during the trip
  • that we would grow closer and deepen our relationships with our friends and partners in Kenya
  • that I would come back a different person than when I left

2)  Financially contribute here…


Here are the two pieces of information you will need for either online giving or via a check:

  • Faith Adventure Name:  Kenya/Fearless July 2013
  • Team Member Name:  Doug Moss

Thanks so much again!  And more info coming soon…

I am heading out on a faith adventure to Nairobi, Kenya with a group of leaders from my church, Mariners Church, here in Irvine, California.  While in Kenya, we will be attending a global church leadership conference called “Fearless” hosted by one of our global partner churches, Mavuno Church in Nairobi.  The trip is 11 days, from Sunday 6/30 to Thursday 7/11.

The “Fearless” conference will run for just over 2 days of trip.  The rest of the time will be spent working alongside Mavuno Church serving, listening and learning.  Mavuno Church is a little over four miles from Kibera, which is the largest slum in Nairobi and the largest urban slum in Africa.

I am so excited to have this opportunity and am excited to share the opportunity with as many of you as possible.  There are two ways that you can be a part of what our team will be doing in Kenya.  First is to commit to pray for me before and during the trip.  Here are some things I would love you to pray for:

  • Sandi and the kids while I am away, for safety and fun and as much peace as is possible with four kids under 11
  • that our team would be bold and fearless
  • that we would listen to God’s leading and guiding during the trip
  • that we would grow closer and deepen our relationships with our friends and partners in Kenya
  • that I would come back a different person than when I left

The other way that you can be a part is by supporting me financially.  Each team member needs to raise about $4,500 to cover the cost of the airfare, transportation, food, accommodations and insurance.  Anything that comes in above and beyond our needs goes into the general country fund for future ministry projects.

You can give online at, or by clicking the big “start” button below.  Follow the instructions on the page to either give online or via mail under the “Checks” section.

Here are the two pieces of information you will need for either online giving or via a check:

  • Faith Adventure Name:  Kenya/Fearless July 2013
  • Team Member Name:  Doug Moss


I am planning on updating this blog with trip updates and pictures before, during and probably right after the trip.

Thank you so much for your love, support and friendship.

4 and 1/2 years later…

June 12th, 2013

Hello everyone.  Before I get started talking about another adventure that at least I (Doug) am going on – I thought i would put an updated picture of our family here – but actually, I can’t.  The reason is we have a new addition to our family, a seven year old girl that we are going through the Foster-to-Adopt process here locally in southern California.  Until the adoption process is final, we cannot post any pictures for public viewing.  But don’t worry, as soon as we can, we will – and it currently looks like the process may go through sometime before the end of the summer.

The last time we used this blog was to chronicle our international adoption story and I can’t believe it has been over 4 1/2 years since we brought Deacon home.  Here’s an updated picture of Deacon…


He is 6 1/2 now.

Here is Drew…


She just turned 9.

And Beck…


Just turned 11.

So…. now you are up-to-date…

If you want to see many more pictures with captions of the family, feel free to check out our smugmug site @  This site requires a password to view the pictures, so just shoot us an email @ and we will send you the password.

Stay tuned for more info about my latest adventure.

New Pictures

March 23rd, 2009

Well – it’s been a while… so – here are some new pictures of the family and what we’ve been doing over the last eight months…  click here to see our Picture web site… there is a password to get into the site – so just drop us an email at or just leave a comment here with your email address and we’ll send over the password… enjoy.

Episode 16 – Our trip home

September 30th, 2008

Well it took a little while to get together but here it is… episode 16, our trip home… enjoy

Episode 15 – Part 1 & 2

September 18th, 2008

Here is Episode 15… this is just a two part video blog from our last day in Ethiopia… just covering some of the stories and specifics of our stay… it’s two parts… enjoy… (Episode 16 is probably going to be our trip home and Deacon meeting Beck and Drew, so stay tuned)…

part 1

part 2