Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Resource Review: 58 The Film

As I sit down to begin this Resource Review, I have to be honest with you – I feel a little like the kid who brings her large diorama science project into the classroom only to realize that the rest of her classmates chose the 3-page paper option.  My resource may not fit the mold of what you are expecting…

The resource I want to tell you about today isn’t a parenting book, it isn’t an adoption story, and it isn’t a new attachment theory.  It IS an incredibly moving documentary that paints a vivid picture of what it is like to live in poverty around the world and what is needed to eradicate extreme poverty in our lifetime.

I believe this resource to be useful to any and all people to gain a broader worldview.  Additionally, I have noticed that families who adopt tend to have a heart for the poor and underserved populations in the world and therefore may be interested in the film.  And finally, for those families who have adopted a child born into a poverty situation, from a country stricken by poverty, or who have adopted an older child who was living in poverty, this film will provide an incredible window into the hardships that stare down these children from birth.

So what is it?
58: The Film is a documentary created as part of a grassroots movement to eradicate extreme poverty by 2035.  It was created by 10 major international Christian organizations, the most notable being Compassion International.  It is called “58” because the documentary and movement are based on Isaiah 58, a Biblical passage where God commands his people to, "loose the chains of injustice... to set the oppressed free...to share your food with the hungry... to provide the poor wanderer with shelter...
when you see the naked, to clothe them.”  Read the whole chapter of Isaiah 58 here.

The film combines powerful stories of individuals and families living in extreme poverty in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Brazil, and India with words from Isaiah 58 and stories of Jesus’ life and teachings.  Additionally, Wess Stafford (President Emeritus of Compassion International) is shown visiting the places where Jesus taught some of his most influential teachings about caring for the poor.  The way the film alternates between all of these pieces creates a strong message that the need is great, the time is now, and the Church and its people need to step up.

While the film is sobering because the hurts of the world are revealed with names and faces, there is a measure of hope throughout.  Additionally, there is an extensive website located at www.live58.org/ where numerous ways to participate in the movement and “Live58” are listed.  I liked that the end of the film wasn’t the end – there were additional resources I could access on the website to continue the journey.

I believe the film to be better-suited for mature viewers age 16 and up because it can be heavy for kids.  It is not graphic or gory, but it does accurately portray the conditions and problems of extreme poverty and some children may not be ready to face these realities.  The Live58 website could be used by a family working together and talking through the material and action steps, and there is also a game on the website that I’d recommend for teens and up.  It’s called "Survive 125"and the objective is to survive for a month on $1.25 a day when faced with realistic obstacles and decisions.  The first time I played I survived 4 days – I had a lot to learn!

And finally, a disclaimer: I saw this movie for the first time three years ago and it changed my life then and continues to influence my life today.  Something about it got through to the very core of who I am and changed me in ways for which I’m incredibly grateful.  Viewing this movie may deeply affect your life too.  

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