Facing Darkness, a documentary from evangelist Franklin Graham Samaritan's Purse, hits theaters March 30 and tells the amazing true story of Ebola-stricken missionaries who truly risked it all to follow Christ.
The film, directed and produced by Arthur Rasco, was shot in Liberia and the U.S. where the events took place and highlights the stories of Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, two missionaries who, while working to stop one of the deadliest epidemics this century, ended up contracting the disease themselves - a certain death sentence.
"This film highlights the Ebola epidemic, and the involvement of Samaritan's Purse in early 2014 and all the way through until May 2015," Rasco told The Gospel Herald in an exclusive interview. "When Dr. Brantly was diagnosed with Ebola, we were really thrown into a tailspin. So, all of the sudden, Samaritan's Purse had to figure out how to help him. And, not only him, but Nancy Writebol, as well. What unfolded was a modern day epic missions story of things coming together, a team working desperately, turning to God in prayer, and doing everything they could to save the lives of these two missionaries."
Ebola infected more than 28,000 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, and 11,000 lives succumbed to the disease. Once news of the missionaries' infection hit, the team at Samaritan's Purse worked tirelessly to return Brantly and Writebol back to the United States for treatment. Eventually, both of the Ebola patients were evacuated to the U.S. and were miraculously cured.
"Sometimes faith doesn't make you safe; following Christ can put you in dangerous situations," Rasco said. "But in Scripture, God promises that He will be there with us through these trials and circumstances. That was something that resonated with Dr. Brantly when he was sick - there was a song that he listened to that recited the words of Romans 8 - ‘nothing will separate me from the love of God.' That was something that he held onto, and I think that's something that we as Christians can hold onto and give us courage to face difficult circumstances."
In addition to combating Ebola, the missionaries faced other challenges when in Liberia. People in the country blamed the aid workers for spreading the disease, causing them to reject treatment and attack hospitals. However, such opposition didn't deter the missionaries from serving.
Rasco explained that ultimately, Facing Darkness is a story about compassion: "It's a Good Samaritan story set against the backdrop of Ebola where we have missionaries who are helping people who were left for dead on the side of the proverbial road. It was so difficult for these people to get good care, because everyone was so scared to interface with the disease. Dr. Brantly had compassion, and he allowed it to fuel courage, then to conquer and fight the fear of disease."
Liberia was officially declared Ebola free in January 2016, thanks in part to Samaritan's Purse, which was behind the massive public health education program that reached 1.5 million people.
"Dr. Brantly and Nancy are heroes of the faith," Rasco said. "And that's what this whole movie is about, young people who are heroes of the faith who stepped out in bold, courageous ways to share the love of God in the face of Ebola, in the face of danger, in the face of risking their lives. That's what the movie is about and that's why we are so pleased to tell this amazing story. We hope this inspires a new generation of missionaries, an army of young people to go out onto the mission field and to share the love of Christ just like these missionaries did."
Facing Darkness has already received an Award of Excellence from the Accolade Global Film Competition.
See the inspiring cinema event, "Facing Darkness" in movie theaters across the country on March 30 only. More info is available at: https://www.fathomevents.com/events/facing-darkness