Christian Healthcare Ministries has given us the flexibility to achieve our career goals, one of which is Run The Race, a faith-based film to be released in theaters nationwide on Feb. 22.
Charity: A number of years ago I worked at an elementary school as a campus aide and after-school program leader. I loved interacting with the children, but the main reason I stayed as long as I did was so that Jake and I could keep our health insurance policy.
One day in 2013 the children were at recess and I was chatting with a substitute teacher named Verna who told me about CHM. She made it sound too good to be true when she described how she had been a member for 30 years and the ministry shared medical bills for the births of her five children, as well as the cost of a major accident one of her daughters suffered at age 12. (Editor’s note: To read Verna and her family’s testimony about being CHM members for 30 years, see the January 2019 issue of Heartfelt Magazine.)
Excited, I told Jake what I’d learned and we decided to take a leap of faith to try it out. That September Jake became a CHM Silver member and I joined the Gold program because I knew it was the best one for women planning to have children.
As a result I was able to leave my elementary school job and pursue my dreams. I was in a great position to become a stay-at-home mom while operating a home-based side business providing facials and skin care. I was also able to devote more time to helping Jake with Run The Race.
Jake: The idea for the film came to me in 2004. It’s a combination of my own story with the experiences of my best friends during childhood. I cherry-picked all of our “big moments” to create the film’s storyline.
Run The Race is about two teenage brothers—Zach and Dave Truett—as they face the challenges and disillusionment of sports injuries, personal loss and family problems. One of the brothers is running from God while the other clings to his faith. It’s an honest and true-to-life look at how our faith can be tested that we believe will resonate with non-believers and Christians.
I have professional acting experience and in the film I play the part of Cody, a likeable “good ole boy” who is friends with everyone and attends all of the small town’s high school football games.
In developing the script I collaborated closely with Trey Brunson, a friend from my college days and former associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. Trey signed on as an executive producer and eventually introduced me to brothers Tim and Robby Tebow, who also attended First Baptist.
Tim Tebow, a former NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner, is an executive producer in Run The Race. Robby, who helps handle Tim’s professional endorsements and off-field activities, also believed in the upcoming film’s message and became an executive producer.
Other collaborators include Zach Smith and Jason Baumgardner, personal friends who have written a number of other film scripts, including the screenplay for the film Samson, released in Feb. 2018. While working with Zach in 2009 we decided on the name Run The Race, based on Hebrews 12:1-2.
Charity: While the film was in post-production, we learned we were expecting our first child. I contacted CHM to learn what to do about prenatal visits, the hospital bill, etc. I spoke with a number of staff members and each was kind and helpful, especially Jill Price in the Member Assistance department. (Editor’s note: See CHM's step-by-step maternity guide.)
Our son, John Silas McEntire—who we call “Silas”—was born Sept. 3, 2017. We praise God that there were no complications and that CHM shared over $24,500 for his birth!
Jake: Christian Healthcare Ministries has been a huge blessing to our family both personally and professionally. Over the years we faced many challenges trying to keep our dream alive, but CHM’s affordability helped make it possible for us to still pay our bills while getting the movie off the ground. Even when the film’s initial funding fell through and we had to sell our house as a result, CHM was there and has been such a kind, honest and caring organization.
The long process of creating a film—writing the script, refining it, lining up funding, casting, filming, post-production and a million other details—is kind of like giving birth to a child. Your first film is your “baby” and I’ve invested a lot of myself into Run The Race.
The most important thing we pray that moviegoers will learn from the film is that as long as you have Jesus, you have everything you need.