BECOMING JESSE TATE:
JESSE TATE, a vivacious girl who has just turned thirteen, is trying to cope with life. She is confronted with the many usual choices that teens face. Take a look at her “My Face” page and you can watch her life unfolding. All her friends keep a “My Face” page, an internet site much like “my space” where you converse with your BFF’s (best friends forever), put up photos, and tell people about yourself. It makes it easier to cope with all the questions you have, like how to be a member of the “in crowd”, the weird new feeling that boys really aren’t that dumb anymore, the desperation to make the cheerleading team, keeping your Mom happy and your grades up. It’s a lot for anyone to handle.
During an emotional moment with her church youth group, and discouraged about a dark secret she hides from her friends, she responds to her pastor’s invitation to come forward and accept Christ. The pastor also says that because of her response, she is asked to help those in need, and do what Jesus would do in her everyday life. She is excited by the experience but is anxious about what’s next. She takes her decision seriously. She wakes up the next day to a reality check. Gone is the familiar safe feeling as she faces her new life. It’s a whole new world and she’s unsure of how to handle it. Does God expect her now to tell her friends about her secret? What is expected of her now that she has accepted Christ?
Her father, David Tate, has been in prison for two years now. That’s Jesse’s secret – a secret her mother has asked her to keep and not tell anyone, particularly her friends. That responsibility is a burden that grows harder daily, especially since she responded to her pastor’s invitation. Her father was accused of “cooking” the books for a firm that was posting fraudulent record earnings. The company went under, investors lost millions of dollars and he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for his role in the cover up. The real culprit was William Adams, the CEO of the company. While he and David were personal friends for many years and even went to church together, William never stepped up to clear his name and David remains behind bars serving an unjust sentence.
Mary Ellen Tate, Jesse’s mom, stopped attending church when her husband went to prison. She works double shifts at the hospital to make up for David’s lost income. Mary Ellen is fiercely protective of her daughter whom she sees as all she has left. She wants the best for Jesse but is rather uninterested in her daughter’s recent decision to become a Christian, she has her own problems. Mary Ellen drops Jesse off at church then picks her up after the services. She’s also at odds with her husband whom she has lost faith in and is considering the final chapter in turning her back on him…divorce.
Annabelle Adams, William’s wife, has always considered herself the perfect “CEO” wife. Attending church and volunteering in many important causes, she feels she’s living the way God would want her to live…until her husband’s company went under and David ended up in jail. Contrary to what her husband says, a part of her cannot ignore that she doesn’t feel that David is capable of committing a crime. If she pays attention to her conscience, does that mean that her own husband is guilty and she could possibly be sending him to jail by telling the authorities what she knows? More importantly, would she be willing to do it?
Aaron Myers is an exceptionally gifted thirteen years old. He’s gifted academically as well as athletically. He works hard to be with the “in crowd” yet often disagrees with just going along. And he also has a little crush on Jesse. When all the kids discover that Jesse’s father is in prison, they turn their back on her one by one, and Aaron goes along. He hates himself for being a coward but can’t stand the thought of the “in crowd’ shunning him. He begins to anonymously visit Jesse’s “my face” page sending her messages of encouragement and even sends an anonymous letter supporting her father in prison. Although he’s embarrassed for not standing up for her, he feels that that through “My Face” he’s still keeping a friend.
As she feared, Jesse is ousted from the “in crowd” when it slips that her father is in prison. She watches as one by one, her “friends” disappear from her “my face” page and her life. She’s replaced from the cheerleading squad just two weeks from finals. It’s lonely as she fights to keep her parents together and struggles with keeping faith in her father while hoping to clear his name. But through it all, she’s found an anonymous friend on her “my face” page who continues to give her support. That and her newfound faith in Christ help guide her through the trials and tribulations of life.
In a climatic ending, Jesse is at the Church when a raging storm hits her city. The cheerleading squad is returning from a game when the bus driver decides they will take shelter in his church while the storm clears. It’s coincidentally Jesse’s church. With the storm raging outside, Jesse proves herself and is able to demonstrate to her friends how living out her faith gives you strength in a time of need. In the vein of forgiveness and grace, Jesse rebuilds the relationships in a new way.
Unwittingly, the path she follows unfolds for her and she ends up helping all around her without even knowing it. Not bad for a thirteen year old who is trying to just have friends, keep her family together, and deal with life’s trials while…Becoming Jesse Tate.
A group of teens from LA's South Central find out there is a better way of life after spending the summer in South Dakota with cowboys on a working ranch. In the end they all return home to LA and return to their community helping others by using the positive lessons they learned.
CLOSURE: THE PROBLEM WITH MONEY:
On an otherwise ordinary day, prominent businessman John A. Money's life is thrown into chaos when a quirky donut-eating Angel of Death appears in a puff of smoke and announces that he's come to take John to the Pearly Gates.