By Judy Reed
The shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 was a tragic event that people will not forget. And the stories that came out of it—like the shooting of Rachel Joy Scott—the first victim, are a reminder of the courage of many of the students.
“I am not ashamed,” a movie that tells her story and is based on Scott’s diaries, came out last fall. It will have a special showing next weekend, April 30, at North Kent Community Church, 1480 Indian Lakes Rd NE, at 5:30 p.m. Payton Christian, an actress who plays a Columbine student in the movie, will be on hand to give her own testimony during the 10 a.m. service April 30, and will speak to youth at the community-wide screening at 5:30 p.m.. She will also speak to youth at the En Gedi Youth Center on Monday, May 1, at 2:45 p.m. at Red Hawk Elementary.
Payton is an 18-year-old actress and model who lives in Erin, Tennessee. Her faith and family are both important to her. She lives on a 200-acre farm called Christian Farm, with her mom, dad, and grandmother. She was homeschooled from about second grade on, because of an auto-immune deficiency. “I would be sick all of the time, catch colds and flu really easy,” she explained. So her mom decided to keep her home and homeschool her. It’s gotten better as she’s gotten older, but it’s still with her. “It’s just something I have, it doesn’t stop me,” she said.
When she was 11, she was watching New York fashion week, and told her mom she’d like to do that. So they looked at agencies, and chose a Christian-based agency. “They told me I was a little short for modeling but they could put me in a movie here and there,” she explained with a chuckle.
Her first movie was “Rumors of War,” when she was almost 12. “It’s an intense, faith-based film about the end of days,” she explained. “Not for kids under 13.”
Payton has done a variety of movies—both secular and Christian, but said her heart is with faith-based movies. “I love God and love doing films about Him and his word, and how he’s worked through people’s lives,” she said.
The Post asked Payton how she became involved with “I’m not ashamed.”
“I had seen some talk about it, and I helped with some of the casting. My agency was doing the casting and I was there that day, and I listened and watched as the actors read for their parts. I later talked to my manager about it, and said ‘If there is anything I can do to be a part of it, I want to do it.’ So I was there from day one to the last day,” she recalled.
She said they were all happy with the response to the film. “So many people showed up at the premier, and huge groups came to see it,” she said.
When Payton is not acting, modeling, or speaking, she likes to spend time reading—“I have 500 books in my room,” she confessed. She also spends time with the animals on their farm. The farm is home to an array of animals, including regular farm animals as well as camels, zebras, and birds. But one of her favorite things is working with the rescue horses they take in. “I feed and help them put on weight and just love on them. I have a real passion for that. It’s a humongous this for me,” she explained.
Payton’s big heart is not just for animals. She is also involved in a foundation called “To write love on her arms,” a depression awareness and suicide prevention cause. And she also just started a new foundation called Bibles in Battle, a foundation to provide bibles to every soldier fighting overseas. She said she would have a donation box set up when she comes to speak in case people want to donate to that cause.
Payton said that she feels faith should be important to everyone. “People are worried about everything. But whenever we leave this earth, those things we worked so hard to get won’t be important. God doesn’t care how much money we make, where we live, what we drive. He cares that we love him and follow his word. He should be our number one priority.”
When she talks to the youth in Cedar Springs, she will try to impress on them that no one is ever perfect. “Don’t try to make yourself perfect. To God you are already perfect from day one—he loves you the way you are. It doesn’t matter what group you are in; you don’t need to prove yourself. You have God and that’s enough,” she said.
What does Payton see in her future? “My goal is mostly to do what my heart tells me—what God wants me to do—to spread his message and do as much good as I possibly can,” she said.
Payton has never been to Michigan, and is looking forward to it. “I’m overly excited that I get to be here and talk to everyone,” she remarked. “And I’m looking forward to seeing the sights!”
For more information on the showing contact Pastor Craig Carter at 616-550-6398 or email@example.com.