How This Pilot Is on the Frontlines Bringing the Gospel to the Ends of the Earth
By Movieguide® Staff
President and CEO of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) David Holsten has decades of experience on the front lines of bringing God’s word to the ends of the earth.
Holsten shared his heart for MAF’s mission to Indonesia in the upcoming documentary movie ENDS OF THE EARTH and prays that fellow Christians are stirred to follow God’s call of the Great Commission.
“I’ve always had this passion for the story that we [MAF] have, stories of the work that we do, and it’s always been my desire to tell that in a way that people can more clearly understand the realities,” he told Movieguide®.
“We wanted it to be something first and foremost, that would really show a picture of how the gospel can bring change to people’s lives who are living in really remote situations,” he added. “We wanted to tell a story or provide a picture of what MAF ministry looks like and then, finally, that all of that would be used to stir the hearts of the viewer to consider what their role would be in great commissioned work.”
The Fathom event movie, which is set for an exclusive theatrical release on Oct. 18 and Oct. 21, tells of the history and current ministry of MAF.
Holsten said that COVID-19 added additional challenges to filming the documentary.
“What we didn’t know [when we started] was that we were getting ready to go into a global pandemic, that we were going to go into one of arguably one of the most disruptive times that our ministry has ever faced,” he said. “So we thought we had an idea of the story that we were going to tell. We began to go down that path, and the production company that we’ve been working with, they wanted us to understand that you need to be ready to tell the story of what’s happening and sometimes it’s going to be something that you didn’t anticipate.”
“The primary writer on the project, Chris Burgess, made the comment that, you know, in a normal movie the director is God, but in the documentary God is the director,” he added. “That was thought-provoking for us and what we saw play out, was that a very different story was told.”
Despite the change in their story, Holsten said that he and MAF recognized how God remained faithful through tragedy and triumph.
“God had a plan that we didn’t anticipate, and here we sit in the fall of 2021, the world has really been focused quite inwardly as individuals, and you sort of forget that there’s a hurting world out there that needs to hear the good news that needs the help of people to come alongside of them to address physical and spiritual brokenness,” he said. “It’s our prayer that people’s hearts will be stirred, that they will look beyond their own circumstances that they will sit in the tension of what God has called us to do, and that they will really wrestle with that and go, ‘what is my role in this? How am I going to be involved in it?’ That’s, that’s what we’re praying the documentary will do in people’s lives.”
Holsten, who served for 17 years with MAF before becoming president, confessed that obedience to God includes great cost.
“Telling an authentic sort of story, that was really important to us,” he said. “We just wanted to be real about it. We wanted to talk honestly about the hardships, the cost that may come with this sort of work, things that you hope you never experience but you might, and you need to wrestle with, is it worth it?”
“The film really accurately depicts the realities that many people around the world actually live in. To a North American audience, to an audience who lives in the developed world, so to speak, you’re somewhat insulated by the brokenness that people live in,” he added. “When you’re isolated in a way culturally, spiritually, geographically, the brokenness that you live in, it can be horrific. So many of these things are taking place because there’s not the motivation to love each other in a way that we’ve been commanded to love each other, to care for each other, to walk with God.”
Just as undeniable as the hardship, are the joys, Holsten said.
“We wanted to show an authentic picture of the joy that can come out of it as well,” Holsten explained. “Both things can be true, you can have this intermingling of grief and loss, right beside, and intermingled with joy and hope. And that’s kind of a mysterious reality but it’s true of the Christian life.”
“We think it’s important for people to have a clear picture, a clear understanding of the change that the gospel can make in people’s lives,” he added. “This film offers a great opportunity for people to witness that, and we’d love people across the country to go watch it, and to see it, and may God get glory for all it!”
Read the full Movieguide® review of ENDS OF THE EARTH, set to hit select theaters on Oct. 18 and Oct. 21.