How Books and Movies Inspire Me

Everyone is talking about 2020—what books they will read, what 2019 did (or didn’t) do, and making resolutions they will break by January 31. We’re all seeking meaning and purpose. Books help us find it.

I read books from authors I may not 100% agree with and books of authors that I can trust and count on. Everyone should read books that help us become better thinkers.

My books and Movies from 2019:

My Life by Sevasti Kyrias Dako: An autobiography of a woman who pioneered female education in Albania. She fought hard to retain the Albanian language. She believed in her work and suffered for it. As I read her words, I wondered,

  • What am I willing to suffer to see this vision come to fruition? How far am I willing to go? When you get into missionary work, you think raising support would come easy. For pioneering work, it is the true act of trailblazing. When I think of trailblazing, I think of brambles with thorns, fighting through the wilderness, and wild animals. For Sevasti, female education was a lifelong passion and work.
  • Sevasti was helped by wise people to see her potential and direct her passions. I am grateful that God is providing those wise people around me.

Visioneering by Andy Stanley: I stumbled upon this book when my husband was reading it for his group. Some of the quotes snagged my interest and I am reading it again. What I learned,

  • Nehemiah is a great book in the Bible when you are building something. It is still very relevant today.
  • Persist in the vision and sift through criticism. Take what is helpful and discard what is not helpful.

Kon Tiki: A man discovers new research about how Polynesians didn’t come from Asia but came from Peru. He builds a raft and takes a group of men to drift in the currents to Polynesia to prove his theory correct.

  • Missionaries, especially trailblazers, face a steep climb to 100% funding. Watching this movie and reading this book, showed persistence to get the funding he needed to build the raft.
  • The lingering glance in the movie of the gap between the cement pier and the raft with the water in between showed second thoughts. As the tug boat started to bring the raft out to sea, I saw his courage as he faced his fears and the uncertainty of dangers and of being wrong.
  • People said it couldn’t be done. He proved them wrong by showing up. We don’t have to prove anything as Christian leaders. We just need to show up when God calls and participate. He does the work. We just need to have faith in the journey and pray.
  • The joy of feet on dry land, of proving his theory, was evident. His actions inspired his crew and others in generations to come to trailblaze new theories and try new things. I know I trailblaze a path for people to come behind me. Therefore, my story will be God’s story. He will get the glory.

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

3 Ways to Hinder Jihad

A Review of My Son, The Jihad, a Netflix Movie

Lessons we can learn from this movie:

  • When Thomas couldn’t keep a job, the extreme group gave him economic security.
  • When Thomas wanted to belong, but felt on the outside, the extreme group gave him a sense of belonging.
  • When Thomas’ girlfriend broke up with him, the extreme group gave him comfort.

His father and mother divorced, leaving Thomas broken on the inside. He got into trouble, couldn’t keep a job, and his mom, Sally, tried to reach him, and was kept at a distance. The movie described the home of Sally and Thomas as “non-religious.”

Sally mentioned God once in a while, but was she a believer? The movie was helpful in understanding why and how someone becomes radicalized. Then, a tweet on one of my other sites made me sad.

Seemingly focused only on the political angle of the refugee issue, someone’s tweet stripped the humanity away from the situation. While not related to the movie, it made me think of those three things that attracted Thomas to the terrorist group in the United Kingdom:

  • Economic Security.
  • A Sense of Belonging.
  • Comfort.

How we can fill those needs as a compassionate people? What would it look like to love a difficult person? Granted, we can only help so much, but what would radical prayer look like? What if we put our faith wholly in God and pray fervently for the lost? What if we grieved for the lost like a mother her son; even if that lost person was different than us?

So let’s go over these points again:

  • Economic Security.
    • Help them discover job skills.
      Help them with job applications.
    • Mentor them to keep a job.
    • Suggest volunteering to acquire job skills.
    • Teach them English so they can keep a job.
  • A Sense of Belonging.
    • Thomas’ father left him at a crucial time. A father figure is very important and does affect a child’s development.
    • The father figure in a person’s family affects their outlook on who God is.
    • Be understanding of someone’s background.
    • Learn to listen.
    • Be a mentor or someone else will.
    • Let that person into your inner circle.
    • Learn about their culture.
    • Learn how to build cultural bridges.
  • Comfort
    • Very simply, the gift of giving of your time.
    • Saying nothing and listening.
    • Withholding judgment sometimes.
    • Being gentle.

The refugee situation and radical Islam are complex situations, and like you, I am learning, too, what it means to minister to the unreached, the unloved, the peoples on the move, and the unchurched. We must really examine why someone like Thomas could become a terrorist and how refugees are a target for terror; sometimes, even a scapegoat.

Pray as I:

  • Learn more about “Peoples on the Move.” According to CNN, there will be 110,000 refugees by 2017.
  • Stay on top of the latest news on this.
  • Raise support so I can do this full time and reach people like Thomas who needs a friend.
  • Develop as a missionary.
  • Grow in the Word.

How do Persecuted Christians Find Joy?



A movie I watched had this great story line (minus the anti-God statement). Two kids venture into the forest and it comes alive, but it doesn’t really come alive with mythical figures. It’s really just the children’s imagination. Secret places of escape can be in your mind.

When I watch the persecuted church, I can’t imagine living in a place where you could be put to death for your beliefs. When I look into the faces in the photographs and read the headlines, the first question that oddly pops up in my mind is: How do they find joy?

How do they find laughter in the every day knowing that day could be their last? Or that they could face years of torture, pain, and imprisonment for a belief in Christ?

The mind is a wonderful instrument. Like the movie, we can disappear to a different place, focus on the Bible verses we love, and find courage in the mundane. That’s how I look at persecuted Christians. God must give them an escape, a peace that “defies understanding.” Like an abused child can go into her imagination to be free, the persecuted Christian must find small escapes and simple joys where even their enemies can’t reach.

In reading the stories, I see my life in a different light. In America, we’re all a couple of paychecks from homelessness. The delicate balance we strive to keep could crumble. If we lost everything, what would we value? What would we have left?

Would you still find joy? Or would your circumstances grow you bitter?