We chatted with Aimeé Spurlock, wife of Rev. Michael Spurlock; about faith, hospitality and their true story which is featured in the movie All Saints. Aimeé worked as a reporter and producer for several years with Reuters Television, Showtime, the BBC, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the United States.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a Christian
I am the last child from a family of five children. My parents were very active in the church and there was never a time in which I did not go to church or believe in Jesus Christ. I was blessed with a good singing voice and the ability to play the flute, so I was always playing or singing every Sunday in the choir. It is a double-edged sword in that when you are a young person who is constantly active in the church, it is just assumed that Christ is understood in your heart.
It is a beautiful thing to see young people engaged in worship, but on closer inspection, they may be on auto-pilot. This was the case with me. By all accounts, I looked as if I were engaged. I believed in Jesus Christ, but I don’t think I ever really fully understood the true power of the cross as God’s answer to our brokenness until one Easter Vigil when I felt the Spirit of the Living God take over my life. Life for me was never the same again. I felt so humbled that a complete stranger would put himself through death on a cross to cleanse ME of my sins. It was a glorious moment in my life and still touches me today.
Was it easy working in the media as a Christian? Was your faith ever challenged?
Sometimes it was difficult. We, as Christians, are the outsiders in many fields of work and media just happens to be one of them. My bosses at the various different news outlets I worked for knew of my sincere faith and worked hard to keep that in mind as certain stories would crop up. They also knew that if it was a difficult story or one which required a certain sensitivity, they could count on my faith-based care to shine through. One example is a story in which I had to interview a Somalian women whose young girls had been mutilated through circumcision. This was a very difficult topic of conversation and one in which the women felt incredibly afraid and ashamed of what had been done to them. My bosses knew that I would be able to speak with these women in a loving, caring and compassionate way. That was a gift from The Holy Spirit.
The only time I truly felt challenged was shortly after 9-11. During that day and the days which laid ahead, I saw so much death, saw so much heartache and felt the pain which permeated the streets of New York City. My heart ached and I struggled with God, asking him, “If you are so awesome, so powerful and a good and gracious God, how could you let this happen. WHY did you let this happen?”
The answer came to me through my Mother, who is a firm believer. She said, “Since the fall of man, The Lord God gave us ‘free will’, and with that comes the opportunity for man to commit sin in a variety of different ways. This tragedy unfolded through the sin of some which affected millions across the globe. It was this gift of free will imparted to all that was used for a wretched purpose”.
I felt so blessed to have it explained to me in such a loving and forthright way.
For Christians working in the media how would you encourage them?
I would encourage all Christians working in the media to always look to the gentler nature of the people they may meet. Perhaps seeing Christ in all whom we meet may bring about a good change in the way in which stories are reported. I would also encourage them to tell the stories that may not be “popular”. The ones that aren’t salacious. Tell the “good news’ stories. Fight for your beliefs in the telling about the lives of the wonderful, beautiful people who are working to spread God’s Kingdom one random good deed at a time. These inspirational stories can really change lives for the better.
Looking at All Saints, how was it seeing you and your husband’s story on the big screen?
During the first screening of the film at Sony Studios here in New York City, I happened to be sitting next to a very prominent man. I was so moved by those opening images my hand immediately leapt off my lap and grabbed on to the seat next to me. He was concerned for me but then I believe he realized, as did I, that I was so overcome with emotion I was off balance. I was so embarrassed and felt so silly! But then what had been real life, then words on paper, suddenly became alive on the screen. It’s as if I was in a dream during those first few minutes and then I began to be drawn into the story even further, which was funny because I knew how it all turned out!
How did taking in refugees affect your life and faith?
As a family, our faith was strengthened by our time with our Karen neighbors. God tested us during that time. He tested our ability to realize that only through our work together would the situation improve and eventually succeed. We learned so much from our Karen friends and they still teach us these lessons today. Their commitment to one another, their love for the earth and their unwavering faith and belief in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
How especially at Christmas can we share love through hospitality?
Hospitality is not just about plates and matching cutlery, although I do love a beautiful table! It is about opening our hearts to “the least of these”. It is serving people not just from our homes but from our hearts. As it is said in Leviticus 19:18 “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
How important is it to show hospitality?
God calls us to show hospitality for he is a lover of strangers as is reflected in His will for Israel (Deuteronomy 10:18-22). If we are to be holy even as He is holy, we must keep in mind not only our closest friends and family but also the stranger. For what credit is it to the Christian if we love only those who love us in return.
How would you encourage people to reach out to others?
The gifts of Hospitality can be shown in so many different ways, by inviting someone into your home who might not have any family to share their time with. It may be about taking a plate of cookies to an overworked store clerk, or most especially, just a warm smile on an otherwise chilly day to brighten a stranger’s life.
What is your hope and prayer for this Christmas time?
My prayer this Christmastide is one of peace, joy and understanding. We must love the least, but most especially our enemies, for only through love comes true forgiveness and redemption in Our Lord that we may have a clean heart to celebrate His birth with joy.
What do you hope people will take away from watching the film?
My hope for people who see “All Saints” is they will have their own conversations with God to allow Christ to take over in their lives and watch their own miracles unfold. We may not know the journey in which Christ is leading us, but we must be faithful in all that we do and he will show us the way. The signs and miracles which happened in the film were all true. God never left us empty handed. He used this group of unlikely farmers from across the globe to unite us and remind us to make Christ the center of all that we did. The beauty of the story is that none of us knew how we would make it work, but we knew if we relied on each other, God would be our partner in this glorious adventure.