Facing Darkness: Look Fear in the Eye

When we put a face on an issue, we have to choose whether we’re going to have compassion or react in fear, and pretend we’re totally ignorant. -- Kent Brantly

When Dr. Kent Brantly and hygenist Nancy Writebol went to West Africa to care for those stricken by disease, they never imagined that they would bring the world’s attention to the danger of ebola in a whole new way. In Samaritan Purse’s new documentary, Facing Darkness, Franklin Graham’s organization tells the story of Ebola, of the dramatic rescue of these two aid workers, and of a group of people who refused to let fear determine their decision-making.

Filled with firsthand accounts of Brantly and Writebol’s experience from the two aid workers, their coworkers, their families, and experts in the U.S. who were part of their recovery, Facing Darkness paints a breathtaking picture of how West Africa has been held in the clutches of this disease - and how faith in God’s awesome power made all the difference. Whether it’s hearing directly from these people, hearing from West Africans who have seen firsthand the tragedies left in the wake of the disease, or watching reenactments of some of the infected victims’ experience, the film is clearly more than a lifeless documentary. Samaritan’s Purse hopes that you will be moved to action.

When we look death in the eye, we have to decide who we’re going to be.-- Kent Brantly

As president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, Graham said, “Samaritan’s Purse workers were holding the last line of defense in a crisis the world was largely ignoring. Hundreds were dying and it was only growing worse. When the disease struck Dr. Kent Brantly and hygienist Nancy Writebol, we knew we had to get them home for treatment. It was their only chance, yet it was something no one had ever done.”

With tear-jerking details, the audience watches as Brantly’s family functions ‘normally’ as aid workers stationed abroad, but then deals with the immediacy of Brantly’s condition and the truth that he might not make it home. With faith mixed with desperation, Writebol’s husband shares how he was unwilling to give up on his best friend of more than forty years. With conviction, the audience hears from the Center For Disease Control, from leading researchers and doctors, and experts in areas (like transporting sick people via airplane!) All of this serves as a reminder of how extraordinary the story is.

No one had ever been transported that far (from West Africa to the U.S.) and rescued before, while infected.

Not everyone agreed with the decision, and the rescuers faced threats in West Africa and at home.

No one involved sees this as less than a miracle.

By faith, the organization and those allied with it to rescue Brantly and Writebol prevailed. By faith, they fought their fear, for themselves and for the two aid workers.

By faith, they championed for the infected, and remained resolute in their call to service.

Some documentaries tell a story, statically. Other documentaries, like this one, call us to action, to aid those who are helpless, and to answer when called. Facing Darkness will challenge you to think about what you fear, and to stand up with resolution in the face of that fear. In fact, Facing Darkness will dare you to not be afraid anymore.