'Heaven's Rain': Painful Road to Forgiveness
HOUSTON (BP) -- When Brooks Douglass awoke in ICU after enduring a gunshot wound, the last thing on the mind of the 16-year-old preacher's son was forgiveness.
After all, the two men who shot Douglass also hogtied his family at gunpoint, raped his sister Leslie, who was 12, and killed his parents Richard and Marilyn.
But after several decades and career changes, Douglass decided to share his journey to forgiveness by creating a movie, "Heaven's Rain," telling his story of faith and finding peace in the middle of life's turmoil.
"On a personal level, I want it to be a tribute to my parents and the people that they were," said Douglass, who hosted an early screening of the movie at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Houston. "It's not just about the power of forgiveness; it's about the power of God's work in our lives to help us to do things that we don't think we're capable of -- and we're probably not capable of."
A production of the Christian film studio EchoLight, the movie delves into the lives of the Douglass family, who served as missionaries in Brazil for three years and as Baptist ministers in Oklahoma City. Douglass, who attended law school, joined the military and served as Oklahoma's youngest state senator, produced the film and starred in the movie as his own father.
Leslie, who still lives in Oklahoma, also plays a singer in the movie.
Douglass said Heaven's Rain has taken more than five years to complete. But telling the world about his past was the last thing on Douglass' mind when he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his interest in filmmaking.
While taking a scriptwriting class, Douglass said the one topic he avoided writing about was his family's tragic history and his painful memories. But Douglass' writing instructor advised him otherwise.
"Where I come from, that's why you should write it," Douglass said his teacher told him.
In 2007, Douglass began writing the script for Heaven's Rain, which depicts his parents' faith, their untimely death and his battle to find justice and to forgive. The only details that are different from reality, Douglass said, are the actors' hair colors and a collapsed time frame of a few events.
His writing instructor helped Brooks finish the script in 2008. A year later, Douglass traveled to the jungles of Brazil to begin filming.
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