- (Photo: Contributed)
After only 10 days of fulfilling a vow to fast up to 40 days to raise $12,200 to finish a film God inspired him to make, a former pastor-turned-filmmaker, Eric "Doc" Benson, managed to raise more than enough money to finish his project, and he is thanking God for showing up.
Last Wednesday, just three days into his fast, The Christian Post reported on Benson's efforts to raise $12,200 through a crowd-funding campaign on indiegogo.com to finish a movie about a small church's struggle to deal with change in its congregation, titled "Seven Deadly Words". Benson had run out of funds to cover post-production costs and other expenses to finish the film and decided to seek God's help through his fast.
"I poured every hour, every dollar I could spare into making this movie happen," Benson had explained last week. "My wife, Annette, my boys, and I have emptied out our savings and invested our time and talents, because we feel God wants this film to be a blessing to people. Now, the only thing I have left to give is...myself," he said.
On Friday, the former pastor reported his victory to CP and talked about how quickly God helped him meet his fundraising goal, even in the face of serious doubters. Up to Friday evening, with 28 days left to fund his campaign, Benson had already raised $15,535 – more than he had asked for.
"Seeing the way God used believers from all over the world to support, pray, and encourage us in the effort renews my faith in His provision and people. I always felt that God had a special purpose for this movie, and now I KNOW he does. I can't wait to see what he is going to do next!" wrote Benson in an e-mail response to questions from CP.
He explained that the response to the incredible support his project has received so far has been a mixture of shock, joy and relief among his friends and family. "[The reaction to the public support has been] mostly shock," noted Benson. "I don't think anyone expected it to happen as fast as it did. My wife was really relieved. I could tell she was a bit concerned about me potentially hav[ing] to go the whole 40 days.
"There were also a few people, let's call them 'friends of Job', who were less supportive and doubtful as to our chances. I haven't heard much from them since we met the goal," added Benson.
When asked to describe the most interesting thing about his fasting experience, Benson explained that having a cause he believed in to make the sacrifice was perhaps the biggest motivation behind his commitment to his pledge.
"I've tried fasting for shorter periods before, with mixed results. It was hard to stay focused and committed on the fast. But this time, I had a purpose and plan to back the commitment. I think that having a reason in the sacrifice helps to remind you of the importance of your commitment. I know a fellow who went over 30 days and wrote a book during the times he would have been eating. The commitment to the book infused his fast with another layer of life and purpose, and helped him stay on track," said Benson.
He said since meeting his fundraising goal he has been slowly reintroducing his body to food. "My first meal was an apple and a bit of salad two days ago. I am up to solid veggies now, and hope to have some meat by tonight or tomorrow. After 10 days with nothing, you can't just jump into a sirloin," he said with a laugh.
He said he wants people to see from his experience that God is faithful when His people make sacrifices for Him. "When you take a faithful stand in your convictions, God will meet your heart and bring you forward with his power into his purpose. I hope my experience inspires others to make bold commitments for God, and step out in faith when you feel called. Also, I would definitely recommend fasting. It seemed that when I was at my weakest, God showed his greatest strength," explained Benson.
He encouraged the public to feel free to continue to support the campaign until it expires in April as any additional funds will be used to help share the message of the film. "We still have people donating, and that is really great. Anything that comes in now above and beyond our goal will go towards film festival attendance and other means of getting the word out about this movie. Our editor, James Burgess, is hard at work on the project, and we look forward to showing "Seven Deadly Words" at several festivals and events. We are also actively pursuing distribution partnerships," he said.