Month: March 2017

Three Things I Learned from Making Facing Darkness

By Arthur Rasco, FACING DARKNESS Director and Producer

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The film FACING DARKNESS is not just about Ebola. It’s about survival, life, and courage.

While most of us have obviously not faced Ebola specifically, we have encountered frightful, scary times in our lives. We’ve encountered loss, danger, car accidents, needs of others, diseases, and other adversities. And they can take our breath away.

But in sharing the story of Dr. Kent Brantly in FACING DARKNESS, I wanted to be able to share a story that would help and encourage people through tough times.

At the time we started to build the story architecture of FACING DARKNESS, my father had just moved into my home so my family could help care for him as he was in the final stages of a battle against cancer.

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He was getting very thin and frail. Every night I put lotion on his back to help moisturize his dry skin, and as I rubbed it in, I could feel every one of his ribs and vertebrae. His appetite wasn’t much, and he slept a lot.

Honestly, we didn’t talk about cancer much. Because the disease took so much from us, I didn’t want it to take our time and joy as well. But no doubt this was scary for him.

As David Schroeder, my co-writer on FACING DARKNESS, and I started to lay out the storyline, I told him, “I want this to be a story that will give my father courage to face cancer bravely and not to be afraid of death.”

Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul was convinced that nothing would separate those who have faith in Jesus Christ from God the Father. Nothing. Nothing in life, nothing in death. Nor any other thing. And so that faith and trust in Christ can give us courage to face difficult circumstances. No matter what, we belong to Him, so let us be able to move past the fear of what we are facing now or may face in the future. Faith can give us courage to move past fear.

With this in mind, I found myself learning several lessons while making this documentary:

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Fear leads to death, but courage leads to life
When Ebola first came onto the scene in West Africa, many didn’t understand what it was and what was happening. They didn’t even trust the doctors and the hospitals. They were afraid, and that fear kept them in the villages, where they infected more people. The governments of affected nations were afraid of how the epidemic would interfere with commerce and trade, and that denial kept the epidemic growing. But courage to face the disease head on, on a national scale and on a personal scale, helped save lives. Courage fueled by faith and compassion helped save moms, dads, and children.

Choose compassion over fear. Compassion can fuel courage.
Dr. Brantly chose compassion, just as Jesus did (Matthew 9:36). When Dr. Brantly treated Liberian patients, he treated them like they were family. As he did that, his compassion gave him a reason, a “why” if you will, to face any fears. Compassion allows us to put others first. Our fears are self-centered. We can see how loving others can be a more powerful element in our lives than self-centeredness.

God is with us
Deuteronomy 31:6 says “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” As we see in FACING DARKNESS, we will encounter challenging circumstances, frequently while serving in the name of Christ. However, God promises not to leave us, and He will give us everything we need to remain faithful to Him.

I hope this film inspires you to face whatever challenges you might be going through right now.

See FACING DARKNESS in theaters for two nights: Thursday, March 30 and Monday, April 10.

Get Your Tickets Here

A Second Showing Added for Facing Darkness!

Now You Can See it March 30 or April 10

Second Showing

FACING DARKNESS will be in theaters NEXT Thursday, March 30. But what has long been planned as a one-night event in theaters has just become a Two-Night event!

Because of your incredible support of next Thursday’s showings, Fathom Events has already announced an encore showing on Monday, April 10. Tickets for the second showing are now live on the website.

We are excited to offer this second opportunity for people who might otherwise miss out on seeing this award-winning documentary on the big screen.

So whether you’ll be going next Thursday, March 30 or on Monday, April 10, know that you will be supporting the works of Samaritan’s Purse as you are being inspired by everyday people willing to do whatever it takes to share the love of Christ with a hurting world.

Get Your Tickets Here
If your theater doesn’t have ticketing up yet for April 10, be sure to check back. Some theaters will be adding that information in the coming days.

Spreading the Word

Nancy Writebol

Word is getting around about FACING DARKNESS, which arrives as a one-night event in more than 700 select theaters on Thursday, March 30.

Greta Van Susteren, one of the first news people to report on the gravity of the Ebola crisis, shared the movie’s trailer with her more than 1 million Facebook followers and encouraging them to see the film.

And if you haven’t recently seen the Endorsement page on the movie’s website, you have missed some great new thoughts about the movie.

Phil and Al Robertson
“What an incredible true story about love and faith in the face of such grave danger! Dr. Kent Brantly and his team showed fierce courage and miraculous faith treating so many who were infected with such a killer like Ebola. Jesus said there is no greater love that that of someone willing to lay down his life. That is what this movie and Samaritan’s Purse is all about. Go watch this movie and be prepared to be inspired and challenged to do what Jesus commanded us to do.”

Aaron Shust, Christian Recording Artist and Worship Leader
“Through tears, my wife Sarah and I just finished watching FACING DARKNESS. It is incredibly well done, and a beautiful spotlight on the love of Christ to a hurting world.”

Steve Green, President of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
“This movie is a powerful story of the human spirit at its best. A story of an epidemic that could have been even more catastrophic than it was, had it not been for those who courageously and selflessly determined to do all they could in spite of extreme danger. A must see!”

Plan ahead and get your tickets today to see FACING DARKNESS on March 30!
Get Tickets Here

A Reluctant Hero

Nancy Writebol

Nancy Writebol has an incredible story to tell. And on March 30, you will be able to see her story—and the story of so many others serving and living in Liberia during the Ebola crisis—when FACING DARKNESS arrives in select theaters across the U.S.

Along with Dr. Kent Brantly, Nancy became one of the names and faces Americans associated with Ebola after she contracted the disease. The incredible and faith-filled story of how both Kent and Nancy survived is at the heart of FACING DARKNESS.

Nancy recently shared part of her story about serving Christ in Liberia on the His Radio morning program.

“I’m so grateful not only that Kent and I both survived, but also so many of our Liberian brothers and sisters have survived,” Nancy shared on air. “When people say we’re heroes, we don’t really think that way. We think we were just doing what God called us to do. The Liberians are really the heroes.”

Watch the full interview with Nancy here

And then get ready to be inspired and awed by the people God chose to use and the miracles He authored in West Africa!

FACING DARKNESS is a one-night event in theaters Thursday, March 30 only.
Get Tickets Here

Serving to Lead

By Bev Kauffeldt, Samaritan’s Purse Liberia

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“Servant leadership” has been a catchphrase in leadership circles for many years. There are many definitions floating around in the business world, churches, sports, and politics. In most cases, leaders want to serve those they are leading, but may not always know the best way to carry this out. For some, however, this is a new and very challenging concept, especially for those with beliefs and cultural customs where leadership is a license for power.

One of the teachings that we do in our Samaritan’s Purse post-Ebola programming in Liberia is servant leadership training with local community leaders. The motivation for this program stems from many community leaders stating that they didn’t know how to lead and protect their community during the Ebola crisis. I remember very vividly talking to one clan chief who was apologizing for running our staff out of their town during our Ebola campaign. Unfortunately, their community lost many people to Ebola. He sorrowfully stated, “We were confused, scared, and didn’t know what was happening. We didn’t know what was best for our people. We are sorry.” My heart broke for this old papay. You could see the sorrow and regret he carried with him.

Much of the training focuses on the Biblical teaching of Jesus and how He taught what real leadership is. One of the lessons caught my attention when I was reviewing the curriculum. The lesson is based on Mark 10:42-45 where Jesus addresses James and John, who are seeking the world’s view of leadership—a high position in heaven next to Jesus. That’s exactly how the world views leadership: it means being powerful, self-promoting, and served by others. Worst of all, it means being focused on yourself rather than those you are serving. Jesus uses the opportunity to teach His followers a different way; some would call it revolutionary or a counter-cultural way of leading. Christ’s definition of leadership focuses not on yourself, but defines success as serving others first and taking the time to identify with people—serving to lead.

As our staff go through the servant leadership lessons, they work through how they can better serve their community and, most of all, how can they better lead their community through a future traumatic shock like Ebola. Servant leadership is about serving others every day while God might be preparing you for a time of crisis when He needs you to lead people through a tough situation. All those days of serving to lead will give people the confidence to follow you through a crisis. You will be able to lead with love to the point of sacrificially giving of yourself to keep others safe through that crisis.

Fallah Assah, a young Liberian man participating in leadership training with Samaritan’s Purse, said, “I have been encouraged by the leadership training because it provides the practical knowledge and skills for leaders. I am the youth leader in Mendicorma and the knowledge and skills I have acquired from this training has helped me carry out my leadership responsibilities with courage and patience.”

It is our prayer that leaders like Fallah will continue to follow Jesus in their leadership. There may be a time when Fallah is called upon to be that courageous leader in a time of crisis. There may be a time when he has to be patient with those he is leading to safety. It is our prayer that he will be serving to lead through every situation.

Please continue to pray for our staff as they teach and that the hearts of the leaders in these classes would be touched by the teachings of Jesus and be serving leaders for their communities.

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