Archives for April 2, 2021

The Girl Who Believes In Miracles * A Christian Film About Faith and Miracles

Unlike most people, young Sara Hopkins is willing to take God at His word. So when she hears a preacher say faith can move mountains, she starts praying. What begins with a mysteriously healed bird leads to people suddenly cured of their misery and misfortune all over town. But the overwhelming crush of notoriety and press attention soon takes its toll on Sara. Will her family be able to save their miracle girl before it’s too late? KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S. comments, “The moral of this film is to always let faith guide you. Even as Sarah’s health declines, she never loses her faith. She stands by God and understands that everything happens for a reason, unlike her family who try to fight the ticking clock.” See her full review below. 

The Girl Who Believes In Miracles

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

The Girl Who Believes In Miracles is a lukewarm Christian movie with a weak storyline. The few heartwarming scenes aren’t quite enough to keep this film afloat. With a strong performance by the ensemble’s youngest actress, the movie does not have enough storytelling to deliver a wholly satisfying movie experience.

The Girl Who Believes In Miracles centers around a little girl named Sarah (Austyn Johnson) who has seen God and can grant miracles. She helps cancer patients, and even blind and paralyzed teens. All the while, Sarah’s fame increases, with people knocking on her door to grant miracles. Sarah’s health declines, too, but she keeps up her faith.

The movie makes it clear from the beginning that Jesus is praised, and that this is not a modern version of the Messiah’s story. It is unclear, though, why Sarah holds this power to grant miracles as she has done nothing significant except have faith. The Girl Who Believes In Miracles is confusing in this way and may leave the audience wondering, “Can anyone be a Messiah?”  However, the actors deliver empowering performances. In the scenes in which Sarah’s health weakens, her suffering is absolutely heartbreaking. Austyn really has the audience pulling for her. Sarah’s grandfather, Sam (Peter Coyote), also has a heartfelt monologue in which he talks to God and says he would rather die than Sarah. His love shines through, along with his pain, creating a tear-jerking scene.

The moral of this film is to always let faith guide you. Even as Sarah’s health declines, she never loses her faith. She stands by God and understands that everything happens for a reason, unlike her family who try to fight the ticking clock.  As a Christian, I did find the film somewhat offensive in its message that anyone with faith can perform miracles.

I give The Girl Who Believes In Miracles 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters April 2, 2021.

Francesco * Wonderfully Complex Film Showcasing Pope Francis’s Thoughts on Modern Issues

Through his work on climate change, immigration, religious tolerance and other issues, the Pope has embodied the meaning of inspired leadership. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S. comments, “Francesco is a wonderful and complex film that showcases one of the world’s most famous figures. The audience has a clear visual of Pope Francis’s thoughts about modern issues. With exclusive interviews and audio recordings, this documentary is not to be missed.” See her full review below.

Francesco

By Heather Suarez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Francesco is a wonderful and complex film that showcases one of the world’s most famous figures. The audience has a clear visual of Pope Francis’s thoughts about modern issues. With exclusive interviews and audio recordings, this documentary is not to be missed.

Francesco is a documentary composed of rare videos, interviews, tweets and audio tape recordings about Pope Francis and his ideas about contemporary problems. The issues addressed are refugee camps in Lesbos, migrants and he also talks about his ideas on homosexual marriage.

There’s so much to learn from this film. It really gives insight on how the Pope thinks and how he has changed ideas for the Catholic religion. Giving his opinion on homosexual marriage is a huge statement; he believes they are entitled to have a family like any other person. This shows how he has come to embrace everyone with open arms. Pope Francis stands out from popes before him, which is why this documentary is so important. He isn’t just a figurehead; this film shows how relatable he is as well. He is well aware of his impact on the world, such as how he helped the Muslim refugees in Greece. The film shows that Pope Francis doesn’t see religion, race or sexual orientation as barriers, he just sees people. I loved seeing so many never before seen videos and recordings in this film. We see the Pope in Lesbos helping out whoever he can, and see how a woman thanks him for his help.

This film shows that not everyone is as they first appear to be. The media often portrays the Pope in a godly manner. In this film we see that he does not think that of himself. He seems to be like any other guy, just doing the work of God. There are no triggers for this film, but mature topics discussed include immigration, religion and homosexual marriage.

I give Francesco 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages (13 to) 18 plus adults. It releases on DVD March 28, 2021.

The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association Launches Walk For The Wild On Earth Day – April 22nd

Photo Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo.

The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) is launching its first-ever fitness fundraiser—Walk for the Wild—on Earth Day, April 22, to raise critical funds to support the Los Angeles Zoo and its species-saving work. From April 22 through Endangered Species Day on May 21, participants will take a virtual walk “around the world” to explore the global conservation impact of the L.A. Zoo and learn about efforts to save threatened species. Participants will be rewarded throughout the journey with digital fitness and fundraising badges, exclusive content, plus rewards based on fundraising level. Join individually or as a team and participate in a little friendly competition to win prizes. Proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Zoo and GLAZA, the nonprofit organization that supports the Zoo and plays a central role in making its vital conservation work possible. Registration begins on March 9, with registration levels that include a commemorative T-shirt and medal. To learn more and to register, visit www.lazoo.org/walkforthewild.  

“Because it’s easy for anyone to participate, Walk for the Wild encourages the entire Los Angeles community to engage in a lifelong philanthropic relationship with the L.A. Zoo’s wildlife conservation mission, from schoolchildren to grandparents. Whoever you are, you can save species from extinction and be a conservation hero,” says GLAZA President Tom Jacobson.  

From now through May 21, participants can register and create a fundraising page, set fitness goals, get moving, and make an impact on wildlife conservation. Leading up to the virtual Opening Ceremony on Earth Day, there will be fun weekly challenges that will prepare and inspire participants for the walk and help them meet their fitness and fundraising goals. Starting on April 22, participants choose when and where to walk (or bike, run, swim, dance etc.), tracking their real-world movement on an integrated virtual map to eight global destinations, including Paraguay, South Africa, and India among others, and receive special content at each stop. Participants’ goal is to walk a collective 14,000 miles across the globe to raise awareness and funds for work to save endangered species. The event concludes on May 21 at 11:59 p.m. The winners of the Largest Team, Top Individual and Team Fundraising and Longest Distance awards will be announced on May 22, as well as the total amount raised by this incredible global fitness adventure. 

Walk for the Wild is open to the public, and participants of all abilities are encouraged to participate in the activity of their choosing – any physical movement will propel them towards their fitness goal. Fundraising rewards start at the $150 level (inclusive of registration fee) and include a plush toys and Walk for the Wild branded merchandise. To get inspired and to learn more on how to participate, please visit www.lazoo.org/walkforthewild

Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo.

How to Talk to Your Loved Ones About Moving to An Assisted Care Facility

Nobody likes the idea of getting older, but it happens to everyone.  If you have begun to realize that your loved one is becoming too old or infirm to live on their own, you may have thought about moving them into an assisted care facility.  It can be one thing to think about it and quite another to convince your loved one that it would be their best option though.  What are the best ways of helping them see the benefits of assisted living for themselves?

Listen to Your Loved One

It can be easy to go full steam ahead if you know you are right about something, but you may find you get a better result if you stop and listen to your loved ones.  They may have objections to moving into an assisted living facility that you have not thought of.  If you do not listen to what these objections are, you will not be able to overcome them and help them realise why assisted care would be the best option.

Sell Benefits Rather Than Features

This is a technique salespeople use time and time again.  It is one thing to tell your loved one what the features of moving to assisted living communities are, but you need to sell the benefits.  For example, some Assisted Living Communities provide activities for their residents.  This may be true but what does this mean to your loved one?  Instead of offering them a feature of the facility, sell them the idea of what it will mean to them.  Something along the lines of ‘You know how much you love to do your hobby?  Well, I have found a facility where you can do this with other like-minded people and make new friends.  They have people to assist you with any parts of it you have been finding difficult.’ This line of conversation will help them to see why they would want to make the change rather than just providing them with a meaningless list of features.

Think About the Future

Many people do not want to move into care facilities because they don’t want to give up their independence.  However, some assisted living communities offer the chance to be independent as part of their package.  Your loved one can have as much help as they need with day-to-day living but if they do not need this, they will be allowed to retain their independence.  As they get older, they may find that they do need more support with day to day living or help with memory care. Even if they do not need these facilities now it can be prudent to make the move while they are still independent and then change their requirements in the future if they need to. This is something they may not have considered.

It may not be easy to convince your loved ones to move into an assisted living facility but follow these guidelines to help you persuade them of the benefits.

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/hands-human-old-human-age-seniors-4051469/