Some movies are like a little blip on the radar.
You see ‘em coming; you watch ‘em for a little while; then they’re gone. And once they’re gone, they’re so gone, you wonder if you ever really saw them. I saw at least two movies like this in 2016. Fences and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Now, before all my Star Wars friends and my Denzel Washington friends get all up in my grill, please note that I’m not saying these were bad movies or that I didn’t enjoy some parts of them; I’m just saying that they really didn’t move me or affect me past the point of actually seeing them.
Facing Darkness is going to be with me for a long time. I’ve ministered in more than one third world country, so the clips and B roll of poor, suffering people were not a total shock to me. Still, the abject poverty of the people in Liberia moved me. Their physical situation is graphically portrayed in this documentary.
Movie trailer here
But what really grabbed me in Facing the Darkness…well there were two things that will stay with me for a long time.
First Grabber – FEAR
The documentary told the story of Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia as they rose to meet the overwhelming challenge of history’s worst outbreak of Ebola. Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian relief agency that ministers throughout the world. Known primarily for distributing millions of shoeboxes to poor children (over 135 million shoeboxes have been given out since 1993), Samaritan’s Purse is one of the most widely recognized charities in the world.
Since Liberia is relatively poor, Samaritan’s Purse had full time staff present and working throughout the years to bring the good news of the gospel and meet as many of the physical needs of the people there as possible.
When Ebola pandemic broke out in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in 2014 two relief organizations were on the front lines of the battle and rose valiantly to meet the challenge. Or at least they tried to meet the challenge. The situation was so desperate and devastating, that existing resources in place were quickly overwhelmed.
Facing Darkness documents the epic struggles of Samaritan Purse and three of their employees as they warred with Ebola personally. Dr. Kent Brantly, nurse Nancy Writebol, and nurse Barbara Bono tell their stories of the exhaustion, the terror, the sadness of watching their patients die and then the horror of realizing that they too had been infected with the deadly disease. The movie also follows the families of these health professionals as they wrestle with their deadly diagnosis.
I live thousands of miles from Liberia, but I remember the fear I felt when I learned that some of the Ebola victims were being flown to the USA for treatment at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. One of the most pervasive feelings that the film communicates is fear.
More on Facing Darkness, and the second grabber of the film on Friday. I will still be thinking about this movie…more than I can say for Fences.
Facing Darkness can be seen in select theaters across the country on April 10. Click here to purchase tickets at a theater near you.