Film strikes the heart of poverty

By October 5, 2011

USA (MNN) — What if someone told you they were going to end extreme poverty? What if they told you they could do it in 24 years?

That is exactly what Compassion International is working toward with their premier of “58: THE FILM” last night at Cinemark’s Tinseltown USA in Colorado Springs.

Compassion International teamed up with nine other Christian organizations to put together a film featuring the work of Christians around the globe to end extreme poverty by 2035.

This idea may seem incredible, but according to Compassion International’s Web site, between 1981 and 2005, the number of people living in extreme poverty (living on less than $1.25 per day) went from 52% of the world’s population to 26%. That’s half of what it was! The whole motivation now is to see that percentage reduced to 0 in our lifetime. That’s where the film comes in.

“58: THE FILM” highlights principal photography in over 15 different countries where Christians can get involved in the battle against extreme poverty. It also includes inspirational stories from those in poverty, challenging words from leaders, and astounding facts and statistics about poverty.

“The film is a catalyst for action,” says director Tony Neeves. “It will move people to respond together; therefore, the distribution plan is designed to allow as many groups of people as possible to experience the astonishing stories of the global Church rising up to do the unimaginable in our lifetime.”

Makers of the film were inspired by Isaiah 58 which focuses on how we can honor the Lord by serving the needs of others. A meet-and-greet was held after the film where attendees got to interact with the co-producers and directors — Tony and Tim Neeves, and the architect for the "58: Initiative" — Dr. Scott Todd.

They plan to forge ahead now with their distribution plan, which will include screenings in 50 different cities, online availability of the film, and showings in currently 7,500 churches as well as colleges and other organizations.

“If you want to be part of something truly life-changing and earth-shattering, this film is a 'must see,'” says Wess Stafford, president and CEO of Compassion International. “Extreme poverty has devastated our world long enough. The tools we need to wipe it off the globe are in our hands.”

Compassion International isn’t new to this battle against poverty, having fought it since their founding in 1952. They work not only through monetary donations, but also by partnering with local churches who seek to heal the whole person and deal with the physical, educational, economic, physical and spiritual needs.

Together, Compassion International and the 9 other organizations who partnered in the making of this film represent work in 50 different countries. Collectively they hope to draw in other brothers and sisters in Christ in their struggle against extreme poverty.

Ultimately, in healing the bodies and circumstances of the suffering, Compassion hopes to open a doorway for Christ to heal their hearts.

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