Beacon Features: A look at ‘The Great Reverse’

By Nicholas Murray
Contributing Writer

From the documentary film-makers of the “Nomad” series comes a new  documentary known as “The Great Reverse.”

This film details the experiences of nine young men and women who, guided by the love and influence of Jesus Christ in their own lives, voluntarily step outside of their figurative fish bowls in order to minister to both children and adults living in West Africa.

About the plot
These fresh young men and women find themselves in a country that could be considered by and large destitute and impoverished in comparison to their own.

The environs are worthier as a dwelling place for cattle than human beings. The makeshift homes are falling to pieces and the neighborhoods look like a collection of shoddy unkempt structures.

These young missionaries are in a land plagued by disease and fragmented by incessant violence, internecine strife and seemingly perennial political turmoil, not to mention the deplorable state of the economy.

Undoubtedly, simply observing the everyday occurrences and goings-on of people going about their daily routines in such wounded land is daunting.

Nonetheless, they discover a land that is culturally rich and find that one of the most precious things in the eyes of their dark-skinned brethren are the relationships that people share with one another.

Characters’ challenges
Though the young travelers have come to teach others with the ultimate goal of furthering God’s glory, they themselves also take on the roles of pupils, learning from observations made on the events that are at the core of the human experience and where God’s breath is so often found.

Four months of the team members’ lives are devoted to the missions trip to West Africa.

For the first month they participate in training sessions that will prepare them for the actual field mission. The following three months finds them traversing the countries of Ghana, Benin and Togo, bringing the love of our Father to the rest of His children, members of the spiritual family of which we are all part.

Despite the conditions of the living quarters where the nine travelers stay during their time in Africa, the joy and contentment which the young men and women in the documentary note as characteristic of the natives can be seen in their own faces as if they had caught something contagious.

The raw humanity and grit of the film is one of its strongest points, evident in all that occurs in the film from the interaction of the youthful missionaries with the people they meet to the conversations that the mission’s team members have amongst themselves.

Powerful scenes
There are specific moments in the documentary that summate the vibe of unfiltered, unconditioned reality captured on camera, such as when one of the team’s members named Rheagan is videotaped calling home and the ensuing exchange between her and her parents is heard.

Another of these moments is found in the scene where Christophe, one of the team’s male members, is faced with the mystery of his luggage which went missing upon the team’s arrival at an airport in West Africa and the misfortune is revisited in another scene when it is announced that his luggage has been found.

Moments such as these abound in the film and serve as points of relation, allowing them to recall their own experience of losing their luggage, a trouble that befalls even the most experienced traveler or perhaps inducing them to remember the time they called Mom and Dad from some place far away.

Going beyond the film
One has to look a bit deeper though when watching this documentary, for it is a film founded conceptually on principles rooted deep within the human mind and concern the human soul.

At its heart, the film is a reminder of the human race’s common spirituality, and a call of remembrance  to whom we owe our very being.

The film is a call for help for those in need and although we are in a position to give, that does not mean there is nothing for us to gain. Truly the relationships that the travelers have forged with those they met enriched them far beyond any material measure, and taught them that even in a place severely lacking in tangible effects, the face of joy and contentment could be found.

“The Great Reverse” is an excellent and uplifting film that not only documents one of the greatest pursuits of life, but the spirit of He who inspires us to these great humanitarian acts that are themselves dwarfed by the spirituality motivating those acts.

Right movie for you?
If it puts a smile on your face to see God’s great love embodied in the commonplace individual, a person just like you, then this is a film for you.

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