Our Story (Part 2)
Helping young people love the Bible again
Should we share our testimony?
"So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” –1 Thessalonians 2:8
When I tell you how Crosspaint started, my sole intention is to glorify God and to encourage you:
God is in control, He "writes history" with each one of us.
Nothing has taught and changed us like biographies. I hope that this small extract from my (Natha’s) life can really help you to pray better and more concretely for Crosspaint, and to be fired up for the Lord.
Are you ready? Let’s go.
Can God turn your broken life into something good?
"To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ…" –Ephesians 3:8
As a child I actually had everything a boy needs:
- an intact family structure
- and above all: bros!
Together, we’d bring terror to the woods behind our house and drive the forester (ranger) crazy!
As I grew up basketball, music and skateboarding became my thing.
It's still a mystery to me today how one can, willingly, add so much pain to his own life (especially with skateboarding ).
During this time I'd also work with other Christians on gospel projects and save up money to participate in summer camps in the USA.
Sounds perfect, doesn't it?
But it wasn't. I was just a great hypocrite. I knew the Bible very well and knew exactly what I had to say – to whom and when – but I didn't know the most important part: God.
Maybe I knew Him a little. But through my deeds I denied Him. And so the silent cry began inside of me.
A cry for glory. So I looked for fathers in Christ, entrusted myself to pastors… and every single time came back bitterly disappointed. My soul searched for more. More and more.
"For whom the Son sets free, he is free indeed.” –John 8:36
I read my Bible and was fascinated by it, but the gap between God's glory and my fallibility kept on growing bigger and bigger. "Yes, Jesus died for me”… I probably could have recited John 3:16 in a coma!
But the word indeed in John 8:36 was driving me crazy. I wasn't really free… therefore Jesus wasn't really my saviour.
Out of the comfort zone?
"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her” –Hosea 2:14
My studies (International Relations) took me to Reformation City: Geneva.
One morning, while I was doing my morning Bible reading in my dorm, a verse caught my eye:
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
"Yo, but there aren't many orphans and widows in Geneva," I thought to myself, “and prob none that are in affliction”. But deep inside I knew it was all an excuse. I could just hop on a plane and fly to another country. Countless of them have millions in need... And this is how I found myself on my way to India.
When I arrived in India, I was thrown into cold water. I still don't quite understand why – if they just made a terrible guess of my age, or something else, but they made me a regular preacher in the region... I was 20 years old!
Regular preacher means 2 sermons a week + daily pastoral work with both the young and elderly from the village.
I threw myself completely on God. Only six hours of electricity a day, no internet, no computer, just my Bible and another book... These were the most lonely, yet most beautiful hours of my life.
This was the birth of Crosspaint.
Summer 2005 in a small village in India. YouTube? Didn’t even exist yet. Plan? Nothing fixed. Yet it was clear: this would not be a sprint, but a marathon. One thing, above all, was certain: the mission. To inspire my generation with the Word of God. But first I had to man up.
A secular job or Bible school?
"Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, His wondrous works in the deep” –Psalm 107:23-24
Okay, I'm not going to go into too much detail in this part.
I started my career in the financial industry. Not because I like finances, but because the company was just awesome. And I was into the challenge of learning.
And that's what I did. The job was super exciting and had paradisiacal conditions. After two and a half years with a young and dynamic team, I switched to sales. This job was tailored for me. I was given responsibility and climbed the career ladder.
But that was it. I was 30 years old and wanted to pursue the mission received in India. So, much to the amazement of my colleagues, I quit.
Now what? How would things go from now on? I was in Switzerland (a country which is not cheap) and had to live somewhere with my wife. So I tried to connect my mission with a job. My plan was to open a gospel café.
But a phone call with a good friend smashed the project…
The machines were sent back, the architect's plans discarded… and there I was, no clear direction. I was left with my self-created Frozen Yogurt.
Lord… and now?
How can a servant make a living?
"I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities…" –Acts 20:33
Well, that's how I sat there... No help from outside and little financial means, but a the mission in my heart. Where should my money come from? What will feed me? Should I contact a church or a mission group, and work for them? This question was quickly taken off the table. It was important for me to be able to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and not depend of any institutions. But this stance still didn't answer my question...
I wasn’t a computer guy, but young people, who through online businesses quickly set-up passive income systems encouraged me to jump in. So I started an online business.
During the development phase one thing quickly became clear to me: The Internet wouldn’t only put bread on my table, but become part of my ministry. Today this makes so much sense! Where are all the young people?... on the web. It fell like scales from my eyes. Parts of my assignment, that I couldn't understand in 2005, now made total sense.
So I started to go through the whole process of what in the future would become Crosspaint. Writing, recording, drawing, animating, sound effects, composing, etc. I created two videos to fully understand all parts of the process.
How much is the kingdom of God worth to you?
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” –Matthew 6:33
I quickly realized how much work was behind producing videos... and I knew that a lot of money would be needed. Should I try to earn the money myself and then put it into the project?
The circumstances indicated exactly that yes, I should. It didn’t take long at all and I got an incredible opportunity, to earn a lot of money in a relatively short time... So I pursued it.
But when I had already invested a lot of time, effort, energy and money in this business project and was so close to it, God showed me: This is not my way for you. Leave it all and start with Crosspaint.*
In those moments David Livingstone, the pioneer and missionary to Africa, came to my mind. Once, while just strolling down his way, he spotted a diamond… just laying on the floor.
Now here’s a secret about diamonds: if you can easily find one on the way, you can be sure that right underneath much more can be found... He could have become a rich man!
But that would have flooded the area with “explorers” and diamond-seekers… evangelism would have been impossible.
What did Livingstone do? He new his goal! He threw the stone into the jungle and kept on.
And so one of the most difficult months – for my wife and I – began.
*This decision was exclusively related to the lucrative business project which popped up, and not to my internet business, which still finances me today.
Do not expect applause...
"In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” –Psalm 4:8
I call it a cave community. The time David had with his friends in the cave. It's not easy, but it's pretty special.
Ok, so our bank accounts were quite round (0) and we had a giant mission ahead of us. I went to church that evening and prayed: "Lord, talk to me".
"But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant.” –Judges 7:10
The next day I was on the street with my Bro Felix (my wife's brother) who is pretty good at video editing. I shared my thoughts with him and he was really excited: "Crazy - I asked the Lord this morning what I should do with my video editing skills, and now you share this with me!"
We concluded: the Lord wants us to start, and so we began the sketches for the first video.
But exactly at this time our bank account went into the red... yet the Lord blessed, and at this very moment, donations came in.*
The interesting thing is that nobody knew about the project. Everyone thought that I did some youth work and had my internet business on the side.
But the Lord saw it and kept us afloat.
In the next months others followed. Joas was the second in the boat. So slowly the conviction grew in one or the other and a team began to form itself.
We worked beside our worldly work, on holidays and weekends. The videos were at the beginning very complex and we had no animation experience. Learning-by-doing. The first videos lasted 100 hours. We hardly had any clicks. But we continued to work. Because we are not focused on a sprint, but on a marathon.
It was a tough fight and it still is. But, we are overwhelmed to see people being deeply changed and we believe that this is just the beginning.
We are very happy to see how many people understand our mission, share our concern and stand behind us in prayer and action.
*This was specifically given as a donation for personal use. Till this day, we have not used any Crosspaint donations to cover personal needs.
What is Crosspaint today?
We are 10 team members from different corners of the world, aged between 23 and 40. We're people of different trades – from an IT guy to two teachers, an entrepreneur, a doctor, a carpenter, some graphic designers, and… kinda everything else in between.
And yet, we all pursue the same goal: #backtotheword.
We want to inspire our generation again for God's word.
Young people have to be reached where they are: on the Internet. That's why this is our focus. Through short animation videos we explain important points and connections in the Bible, and offer a good overview of Bible books.
Through workbooks we want to help others to go deeper in personal Bible study. With livestreams, personal contact and answering questions, we help young people in their very diverse and specific situations.
But many challenges are coming. As much as we are happy about: the growth of our YouTube channels, many many comments and daily WhatsApp messages - we must admit we are reaching the limits of our current capacities. And here you can help us.
First things first: Pray.
For us, for the project and for the young people we want to reach. If you want to be up-to-date with what's going on, what's challenging us and what's pleasing us - subscribe to our Crossletter.
Secondly, we need people to pass on – share – our content. Share the YouTube videos with your youth and friends.
And third, we need money. A single video costs many hours of work and many of us do it in addition to our day-to-day job. With more donations we could produce more – and better – videos, reaching more young people and changing more lives...
Wow... you really read everything up to here? What are you? Over 30?
No seriously, it's great that you are so interested in us and think about us.
God bless you.
Until the nets are full,
Natha and the Crosspaint-Team