For as long as Rachel Fortunato can remember, hearing and watching mission stories every Sabbath morning thrilled her and gave her a chance to travel to faraway lands. She never dreamed that one day she would travel to the other side of the world to be part of capturing mission stories.
Rachel, 19, a third generation Seventh-day Adventist who grew up in the Dominican Republic, became the grand prize winner of Adventist Mission’s first-ever 2017 student film contest called “Mission is.” Rachel studies communication at Montemorelos University in Mexico.
As part of the grand prize, Rachel was able to travel to Thailand and Cambodia in March to assist behind and in front of the camera for an episode of Mission Spotlight. She conducted interviews and even assisted in location scouting with the production team.
Her short film was chosen over dozens of submissions from student filmmakers from Mexico to the Middle East.
The goal of the contest was to inspire mission-minded young filmmakers to express their feelings about mission and its importance in today’s world.
“I had never been part of something so amazing,” said Rachel. “I learned so many things from a spiritual perspective, a production perspective and learned to connect more with people who are making a difference out in the mission field.”
“Mission is actually a way of living,” said Rachel. She believes that being a missionary is not only about sharing Jesus somewhere else around the world, but about sharing Jesus right where you live. When Rachel was 10, she led her next-door-neighbor friend to Jesus. Today, she has experienced firsthand the impact mission offerings can have to further the work of the gospel around the world.
She considers her experience with Mission Spotlight producers a life-changing experience and encourages other students and young people to get involved in this year’s Adventist Mission’s student film contest.