By Elaine James
A mere 7 hours after contestant Floyd Nolan was voted off of TLC′s THE MESSENGERS, the remaining 9 contestants were driven to a remote farm in Oxnard, CA, where they were introduced to Steve and Jason Tamai, the owners of Tamai Trucking Farm. The contestants are to spend a full day working alongside the migrant workers on this 15 acre, fourth generation family farm.
As the contestants toil away in the unforgiving sun, picking peas, broccoli and berries they gain prospective from the other workers in the field. The migrants there not only enjoy sharing their stories with their guests, but also enjoy knowing that they are masters are their work while THE MESSENGERS struggle to tell the difference between strawberries and weeds.
Throughout the day, they hear the Tamais′ moving story about how they family has struggled for generations to make the family farm a success, overcoming everything from Japanese internment camps to economic hardship in their pursuit of the American dream. After a backbreaking day′s work, the Tamai family welcomes everyone into their home and graciously prepares a hearty meal for the contestants. After bonding with their hosts, the contestants receive the topic for their next speech: Struggle.
Many of the contestants made it personal by relieving stories of personal struggle to the audience, then tying in their experiences on the Tamai farm to present several moving speeches. While Cornelious Flowers was told by panelists Richard Greene and Bobby Schuller that like Chinese food, he delivers and they were left wanting more, 22 year old author Kent Healy was told that he, himself was struggling and his speech was wandering and unsupported. Healy′s tale of moving New Zealand didn′t illustrate the message of struggle and wasn′t enough to move the studio audience. His lack of experience and thoughtfulness was cause enough for him to be the second Messenger voted off.
The foundation of each episode, airing Sundays at 10:00 pm EST, is a field trip designed to give the speakers a profound learning experience - the opportunity to live life by walking in someone else′s shoes. In subsequent episodes, field trips will range from the participants living as a blind or wheelchair-bound individual for a day, to sharing in a powerful moment of forgiveness between a man convicted of vehicular homicide and the deceased mother. At the end of each trip, the group is given the speaking topics and will appear before a studio audience. At the conclusion of the series, one speaker will be crowned "The Messenger" and will be awarded a publishing deal and the opportunity to host their own TLC special.