Indivisible: A Fight to Keep a Fort Undivided

Indivisible

Indivisible: A Fight to Keep a Fort Undivided

This film was based on true events that happened in the life of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather.

He brought his wife and three kids with him to Fort Stewart. Heather took all the responsibility of caring for their kids. She also attends to the wives of other soldiers at the Fort while Darren was in Iraq.

In this kind of separation between husband and wife, we see two different perspectives. For Darren, it means self-sacrifice to go and serve his duty at an uncertain place for the first time. For Heather, it means containing her strong-will so she can take care of her daughter.  Setting aside her personal need so she could provide for her daughter’s needs.

In Iraq, the shooting takes a toll on the soldiers. Their physical energies and emotional strength deplete. At the passing of months, Darren keeps his communication with Heather and his daughter but his spirit weakens at the sight of dead soldiers and a dead girl brought to him to pray for before they bury the bodies. Darren realizes that each soldier keeps themselves alive for their loved ones while they try to save as many innocent lives as they can in the battleground.

Lance questions Darren about God’s will and why He allowed the death of innocent people. He is unable to quote anything from scripture at that time.

However, Darren’s caring ways have drawn Lance to rekindle his belief in God to the point of getting baptized. Another character that he influenced was his neighbour Michael who also has some troubles with his wife. Darren convinced him to call his wife and connect with her again.

To both Lance and Michael, Darren served as a guide and a brother that reminded them God is with them even in their personal battles. Before returning home, an explosion killed Lance and Michael’s leg got severed that it was to be cut off. The incident traumatized Darren until their homecoming. Heather faced a withdrawn husband who was even edgy towards their children.

And these scenes truly happen in real life. There are soldiers who get into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This film showed us how it developed, how to get help and how the afflicted and their loved ones address it so they all could go into a healing process.

Darren decided to leave the military service in favor of working at a flower farm. He and Heather continue with their counselling sessions with an elderly Army Chaplain until he courts her again.

Michael, already in a wheelchair, confronts him that what happened to them in Iraq was beyond his control and that they need to move on from it. He becomes enlightened and ready to reunite with his family again.

Indivisible presented to us a powerful and inspiring journey of a soldier’s personal struggles, a marriage strain, spiritual healing and restoration of faith.

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A Boy Called Po: A Special Child’s Wandering Thoughts

A Boy called Po

A Boy Called Po: A Special Child’s Wandering Thoughts

Autism is a delicate topic to discuss. A Boy Called Po is a film that talks about the challenges a widower faced while grieving the loss of his wife and being a committed father to a child with Autism.

David intentionally hid Beth’s passing from Po thinking that he might not understand. Little did he know that Po worries about the sadness he sees in him. We get to see David in us when we think it is better to wallow in our own pain than hurt our loved ones.

Five months passed and Po was still asking where his Mom was. He begins to drift into his fantasy world making it difficult for the teacher to get his attention. The principal told David to transfer Po to special education as he cannot thrive in a regular school.

The challenges he faced while dealing with therapists, insurance coverage, medical bills, and his projects at work. He is an engineer who experienced difficulty connecting with his son.

Po was actually a smart kid who loves complex math and enjoys reading the stock market pages of the newspaper.  Inside his fantasy world, he meets Jack who asks him for advice in whatever situation he gets into.  Po was normal on that other plane. He sings Dancing with Myself and tells Jack that for him, the song meant that he is confident being himself.  Since he gets bullied in school, he meets Amelia who talks to him and reads to him topics that interest him.  Later on in the story, we realize that Amelia is Po’s another imaginary friend too. We have seen here the picture of Po’s colorful mind.

There were several heartwarming father and son scenes throughout the film.  When Po used ketchup and mustard to draw a rainbow on the wall, David already turned his back and missed the boy’s remark you’re my rainbow Daddy. Once in a while, Po says don’t be afraid Daddy. Later on, he told him it means to not be afraid of him for the way he is.

David’s dilemma was whether Po stays in a facility so he can work. Meanwhile, Po was contemplating on staying in his fantasy world. Amidst the complexities in their intertwined lives, David finds comfort in Amy, Po’s last therapist who became his confidante.  Amy gave him moral support and encouragement on moments he needed it the most.  It was she that made him realize to choose Po over his career.

Towards the end, David reimbursed his 401K which turned out as a larger sum than he expected. Po asked for his signature and it allowed him to enrol at a high-risk stock trading that paid off. Finally, David told Po about his mom’s death, brought him to her grave and for a brief moment, he sees her in his thoughts and she held his hand. And having his thoughts wander is alright.

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The Least of These: The Life Story of Missionary Graham Staines

The Least of These

The Least of These: The Life Story of Missionary Graham Staines

This film presented events in the life of Graham Staines, an Australian medical missionary who brought his family to a remote village in India. His intention was to serve the lepers and to build a home for them.

In the late 1990s, there are governmental laws against Christians who use inducements to make new converts. Indian journalist Manav moved to the town to uncover speculations about Graham. In exchange, his editor promised to pay for his wife’s hospital bills after the birth of their daughter.

Manav’s motive was to expose and pin Graham for doing something illegal. To his amazement, what he saw was a selfless act of serving the people with leprosy. Graham showed Manav the meaning of God’s compassion and love for the lepers.

However, Manav later found out that the leper on the bus works for Graham at a hospital-home that he built for the lepers. How ironic that a foreigner cared more in aiding the locals deemed as outcasts of society.

A subplot showed Manav taking a video of a Christian pastor baptizing a woman in the river. These scenes exemplify the risk taken by every Christian who goes to non-Christian countries. They are considered unwanted outsiders and their safety get placed in jeopardy.

There were two short scenes that show how common it is for us to judge people based on deformities that we see. The scene showed a leper got kicked out of a bus while another one gets booted out of a village. Due to the fact that they carry a contaminated disease.

These events showed that most people would rather throw them out and ignore the opportunity to help alleviate them from their condition.

Truth always seems to cost something. This line speaks volume in meaning as Manav continued to investigate Graham. We see the admiration in his eyes witnessing Graham’s relentless work. Considering he stoked the anger of Hindus at outreach by inciting that the head of the snake must be cut off.

His speech put Graham in constant danger. And as a result, they burned the Rover which causes the death of Graham and his kids. Manav felt guilty and seeks forgiveness from Gladys. She forgave him and continued the work of her husband. Gladys taught us the power of forgiveness to overcome hate.

The Least of These is a thought-provoking movie that narrates the life of a Christian missionary. The fact that Christians in some areas around the world are suffering from persecution. This movie is dedicated to everyone who served and sacrificed their lives to share the Gospel. And may this film serve its purpose so that we could bring everyone to love one another, especially the outcasts and the least of these.

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Ashes of Eden: The Price of Redemption

Ashes of Eden

Ashes of Eden: The Price of Redemption

The film Ashes of Eden took its inspiration from The Bible verse in 1John 2:15 that tells us not to love the things of this world for we cannot serve two masters, this world and God.

Police arrested Red due to some misbehaviour. At the time of his release, he met his friend, Vargas, who convinced him to join a gang party. The police raided their venue and his cop mom Dana sees him. In the next scene, Red’s younger brother Jake convinced him to attend church service. He went to the church but abruptly left during the sermon.

Subplots were in disarray. However, it showed Red as a troubled teenager who grew up without a father figure in his life. This bad reputation placed him in some consequential mishaps with others. But lacking a father’s guidance is not enough reason to run away from his mother’s admonitions. Dana showed that she is a mom who intends to protect her son no matter what happens and a cop who is out to help straighten his ways. She turns to prayer for inner strength.

The school principal Tony suspended Red due to a complaint that he stinks in class. On a personal note, he is wooing Dana so he came to her house to tell her about Red’s status in school. Dana pleaded for another chance but Tony was firm in his decision. Had Dana been open with his kids about Tony’s intention to become part of their lives, he could have acted as the father figure that both Red and Jake needed.

Red’s girlfriend Angela spells trouble too. Her brother Carlos and cousin Poncho were drug-dealers. They hid the packed drugs in the toilet. While they took some packs, the remaining ones Red stole then he connived with Vargas to resell them. There’s a scene where a desperate mom hands Vargas money in exchange for drugs. Red felt sorry about this mom’s daughter who pleaded to them not to give her drugs. The story progressed towards Red’s conscience that led to his meet up with Dana at the cemetery. The short exchange of words was poignant for both mother and son who acknowledged their shortcomings.

Carlos as an antagonist showed pure evil ways. He beats up his cousin Vargas and eventually killed him while he was in a coma with no hint of remorse. Then he pretended to comfort his aunt, told the cop, Sean, that Red had a fight with Vargas. He knifed his other cousin Poncho when he accompanied Red to get the money from drug-dealing that Jake hid in the bookshelves. After that, he pointed a gun to Jake’s head and at the turn of events, the child Jake was the one who shot Carlos dead.

The final scene of the movie Ashes of Eden showed Red preaching the parable of the prodigal son inside the prison. He too was once lost but found his way to pay the price of redemption.

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Broken: A Tale between Vengeance and Forgiving

Broken

Broken: A Tale between Vengeance and Forgiving

The film Broken opened its story with a caption New Zealand (1836). The murder of a girl changes the course of history. The astonishing acts of forgiveness that follow bring peace between the warring tribes. The spirit of this story is inspired by hers. From these words alone, we were given a premise that the film’s main theme is the act of forgiving.

Main character Logan used to lead a gang called The Mad Bulls. He left them to raise his daughter Tori and settled himself as a boxing coach at a gym. Both of them enjoyed surfing just in time for sunrise. That morning, Logan’s former mate Murphy showed up on his dock to coax him to return to their brotherhood. Logan declined his offer even after knowing that the rival gang Pouakai was after him. All he wanted was a quiet life with his teenage daughter and nothing more.

Tori was a Christian. She invites her dad to come to church with her but he refused. She and her friend Josh picked up Jess so she can witness a worship performance at church. Jess later confessed that she planned to commit suicide if not for that invitation. These scenes remind us how a simple act of encouragement can save a life.

The story turned when the worried dad decided to fetch his daughter at church after not being home by the promised time. Logan drops by the boxing gym and sees his friend hurt, told him to find Tori sooner. He was still on the road when Tori picked up the phone at home. Men came and shoot her for dead with dad hearing it on his phone. Logan showed us how anger translated to wanting to avenge his daughter’s death. During Tori’s wake, he decided to put revenge in his hands and joined The Mad Bulls again.

Another pivotal character in this tale is Pouakai gang leader Cruz. He took Tori’s laptop in search for information but ended watching her video message about forgiveness. His mother was already confined at hospice care. In a short intimate chat, she told him to forgive everyone and himself so he could be set free. It was the same message bespoke by Tori.

Logan and Murphy came to kill Cruz’s mom. Logan was unable to act on it so Murphy pressed a pillow on top of her face. She was barely alive when Cruz came to see her. She reminded him to forgive everyone before passing on. Cruz made a noble act and that was to face Logan. Both men understood that they wanted to end the impending bloodbath. As it turns out, Murphy used Tori’s death as a match to ignite the fire between the two gangs so theirs can take over the town. He got shot dead as well.  In the end, Logan wore Tori’s cross necklace as a sign of his newfound faith in Christianity.

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Grace Unplugged: A Plug and Play between Dreams and Realities

Grace Unplugged

Grace Unplugged tells a story about a teenage daughter and dad relationship. Having just turned 18, Grace felt that singing alongside her dad Johnny at the worship band was constraining her. She felt that she’s missing opportunities elsewhere. She grew up knowing that her father was a famous rock star.  Who hit the charts on Billboard and she was only a shadow of his fame. She becomes defensive in having her way with her life.

Regardless of a Christian upbringing, most teens are out to prove to their parents that they have gone past childhood. Believing they can handle life’s issues without their upper hand. Grace only knew her dad as a singer.  But she missed to realized his love for family and God that outweighs fame.

The story came to a turn when Johnny’s former manager Mossy came to visit. His father’s former boss offered to include him on tour but he declined. Grace recorded her version of Johnny’s hit song Misunderstood and emailed it to Mossy. After a heated argument with her dad, Grace boldly goes to LA to pursue a singing career. Her naiveté towards her new audience excites her. Having a car, her place, getting dressed up by an image maker and meeting the boss of Sapphire Music provided temporary happiness.

These scenes remind us about having desires that please our eyes and feelings. But it diverts our attention away from God.

Ego overcame Grace that she turned her back when dad asked him to come home. She enjoyed the cheers and the spotlight, but when she’s in her room, she felt the loneliness of being alone and away from home. Grace learned that her new circle of people has underlying motives and adding up the pressure to compose a new song, she felt losing her game.

The self-pressure we impose upon ourselves is no different from what Grace has shown us. We have ego instead of acknowledging that we needed God’s direction and our elders’ guidance to show us a better way than we think we are capable of doing.

Amidst the odds, Grace kept her morals like when she walked out on the TV personality upon overhearing his plans to take her to his place. Another was when she resisted the song about the one-night stand. Quentin who handles Grace’s wardrobe became an unlikely friend. Incidentally, he and his Christian family has seen Grace and Johnny sing together at church a while back. It reminded Grace about getting back into God’s favor. He gave her a book that she read while on the tour that helped her realize that her family and the church was her home.

In a nutshell, the film tells us that all of us may fall short in our roles in life, be it a parent or a child. When we do, we can always turn to God’s love to keep us connected in spite of differences in perspective.

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October Baby: A Quest to Redeem an Identity

October Baby

The film October Baby has dramatically dealt a sensitive topic about failed abortion and its consequences. Main character Hannah was a freshman student who suffers seizures due to being born prematurely. After fainting onstage at a school play, her protective father Dr. Jacob consults a neurologist about her complications. Hannah overheard their conversation including that he read her journal where she noted feeling unwanted. She then insisted to know the cause of her health issues.

As it turns out, Hannah survived a failed abortion and that she was an adopted child. This revelation led to a quest to find her birth mother. Hannah wanted to know what happened to her mother and why she considered her as a case of unwanted pregnancy. These scenes showed us the emotion of a confused teenager with an identity concealed from her. We also saw the love of an adoptive father who kept the circumstances underlying her birth for as long as he can.

Right in time for spring break, Hannah travels with her childhood friend Jason and his buddies so they can drop her off to Mobile on the way to New Orleans. Jason’s girlfriend Alana gets jealous over Hannah so she called Dr. Jacob to confront him. What’s good about Jason is that he proves to Dr. Jacob that he can trust him as his daughter’s friend and companion. He left his buddies and girlfriend so he can go with Hannah. There was a chance for them to sleep in one bed in a hotel but they ended sleeping at a couch in the lobby instead. What they showed is young love that has pure intentions for each other.

There were several heartbreaking scenes in this film. Nurse Mary described in details to Hannah what happened when she and her twin brother was born. The incident left a trauma in her even at the passing of time. The second poignant scene was when Hannah’s birth mother Cindy saw her note on the table. In it were the words I forgive you and a hospital tag she used when Hannah was born. Cindy broke down in tears realizing the weight of her sin. She didn’t acknowledge Hannah as her daughter when they met. The pain was still there between them.

However, Hannah chose to forgive her even when she didn’t ask for it. The third tearful scene was when Dr. Jacob brought Hannah to her twin’s grave and told her about the lengths he and his wife took in order for her to live. Hannah finally had closure with her past and understood that it was her adoptive parents who wanted her in their lives.

Ultimately, the story’s message was as we are forgiven by Christ, we forgive those who sinned against us not because they deserve forgiveness. We have the power to choose to forgive because we deserve to free ourselves from the burden that hatred and regrets bring to our souls.

New Hope: Facing Transitions in Life with God’s Guidance

New Hope

The film New Hope released in 2012 deals with the aftermath of teen suicide. It boldly tells a story about the depths of guilt and hurt in the lives of those affected by this tragedy.

Main character Michael and his family moved to a small town called New Hope. Being the son of a preacher, he is already accustomed to moving from place to place. What bothers him this time is adjusting to his new school in his senior year. Throughout the film, Michael showed us what it is like being a preacher’s son. Like any other teen, he confronts a dilemma of fitting in. The difference is that he valued his parents’ upbringing. He didn’t fight back his antagonist Lucas when he could. He didn’t take advantage of his liking for Jasmine when she was still feeling broken after losing her long-time boyfriend Chase who committed suicide a year ago.

This film has drawn its power to a commendable script. There were several noteworthy scenes. The preacher’s counseling session with Chase’s parents showed us grieving from their perspective. They showed how a mother’s love clings to guilt for as long as she could and a father who contains his hurt so he could keep his sanity day by day. These scenes reflect how each parent wants to get involved in our lives. The same goes with our heavenly Father God who can take our anguish so we don’t wallow in our sorrow for too long. We need to only ask and pray that He guides our way.

Lucas’ character is also powerful in this story. He used his ego to cover up his deep hurt for losing his brother Chase. Lucas pushed himself to become the star player in his school’s basketball team. He bullied Michael as a façade because he couldn’t admit to anyone he is feeling empty inside, not even his parents.

Another noteworthy scene was when he released his anger on a tree. He bought a handful of baseball bats and used each one to hit the tree. We get to feel the hurt he has and releasing it alone than hurting other people. Later on, Lucas admitted to Michael he feels he didn’t amount to anything. Michael reminded him about winning the championship game. He also mentioned not giving up on Lucas.

There were several nuggets of lessons in this film. It is suitable for teens as well as parents. It teaches us about bullying and where it is coming from. By having the right mindset to care for a bully and parental guidance to teens. We can also do it by reaching out to other people. And encouraging one another that God will guide us through no matter how difficult the trials that we encounter in our personal lives. Filling our hearts with God’s love will set us free from past hurts so we can move forward to a hopeful tomorrow.

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Soul Surfer: A Girl’s Determination to Beat Her Odds

Soul Surfer

The film Soul Surfer tells an inspirational story about Bethany, a 13-year-old surfer who enjoys the waves of Kauai Island in Hawaii. Her parents Tom and Cheri were both surfers and equally supportive of her passion. She and her best friend Alana vie for a regional surfing competition, and that is all that mattered to her at that time.

The opening scenes showed us how idyllic life is by the waves and by the shore. Young as she is, Bethany valued her passion for surfing and knew that it was her source of joy. Her character reminds us to identify our God-given talent and make good use of it as it gives pleasure to our soul.

The turning point of the story was when Bethany chose to practice surfing at a far off beach with Alana’s family then join the youth fellowship mission to Mexico. She sends a box of goods instead. She aimed to become the best surfer in the competition. All of a sudden, a shark attacked Bethany and bit her arm away. They met the ambulance halfway en route to the hospital.

In the scenes that followed, we see that Bethany’s parents never blamed Alana’s dad or God for what happened. Alana even had a nightmare about the shark, felt sorry to see Bethany with a missing arm and was by her side until she was able to surf again. The close-knit relationship between the two families showed sincerity and concern over one another well-being.

Several scenes were uplifting in this film. The Islanders called for Tom to see that the shark they killed was the one that attacked Bethany.No one mocked or teased her when she fails to surf in her comeback. Instead, there’s a speedboat waiting for her if she needs to get back to shore. Such is an ideal human relationship where compassion and genuine care prevails.

There’s a brief scene where Bethany questioned why having one arm be part of God’s plan for her. The fellowship teen minister Sara replied that terrible things happen sometimes, but something good will come out of it. True to Sara’s words, she joined the mission to Thailand. She saw the aftermath of a tsunami that hit the town. Bethany was able to share her courage with the kids there and encourages them to swim and surf again. Upon her return to Hawaii, fan mails came stating how her act inspired kids from other places.

The letters encouraged her to join a national surfing competition once more. Her family helped her train to become a strong contender. She almost got first place if not for the biggest wave to come after time ran out, so her final score did not count. Nonetheless, the self-fulfillment was enough for her.  She knew the value of life like surfing, and that is to get right up every time she hits an impact zone, and with faith, anything is possible.

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Reconciliation: A Father’s Selfless Love

Reconciliation

The film Reconciliation released in 2009 takes us into a heartbreaking story between father and son Jeff and Grant who have lived separate lives in the last 24 years. The movie started with a scene of the father and son playing cards. Grant was happy and he loved his father. Fast forward to Grant’s adult life, his wife Sara complains about his being distant during her pregnancy period. Unknown to Sara, Grant had apprehensions about facing fatherhood. He hid from her about Jeff’s existence because his father is gay. These scenes show us how an unpleasant childhood affects us when we become adults.

Grant and Sara’s confrontation scene teaches us that marriage works by having trust and honesty with each other. Trust bonds a husband and wife to face life’s challenges together. Morality is the key so one can support the other. Sara demonstrates an encouraging wife who nudges her husband to soften his heart so he can make peace with his past.

There’s a brief scene where a preacher talks about self-hate and shame, and that all sins are forgivable when we repent to God. The sermon may also mean that prolonged sorrow we allow to linger for years cripples our soul. Self-doubt, when nurtured, may make us believe that we are less of a person we are. Society does not dictate our identity. We find our value in our relationship with God.

The story turned when Sara received a call informing that Jeff’s condition is terminal and requesting for his son Grant to see him in his remaining days. Grant’s hatred for Jeff may not come as intense as it was in his younger years. However, he still holds an invisible shield to keep his emotions at bay when he finally came face to face with his father at the hospital. These scenes remind us how old hurts hurt more the hater than the hated person. We get angry for a while that turns into hatred over time, and when numbness hits us, hate turns to indifference for as long as we can bear it. Grant was initially showing polite indifference towards Jeff until he gets confronted by his partner Patrick. His role is also of the essence of the story. He fills the gaps about Jeff’s life that Grant missed.

Finally, Jeff and Grant were able to tell their separate story after they parted ways. As it turns out, Grant’s father and mother kept their friendship until her passing. She was able to share snippets of his teenage life to Jeff. In turn, Grant told his pain of humiliation and what he went through to become a responsible Christian. What is beautiful in this story is the act of forgiving. It is the same as surrendering our brokenness to God. A father gives out his selfless love to his child much like Our Father in Heaven.

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