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Finding God’s Purpose In Unlikely Encounters

Orange Leaders
Orange Leaders Tuesday September 29, 2015
<? echo $type; ?> Finding God’s Purpose In Unlikely Encounters

“What is my purpose?”

This age-old question has been perplexing individuals since the beginning of time. In 2002, it was the catalyst for Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life,” which became the best-selling, non-fiction hardback book of all time selling more than 33 million copies worldwide. The popularity of the book proved the deep desire to understand the meaning of life.

This same desire is what saved Ashley Smith’s life in 2005.

Living in Atlanta, Georgia, Ashley was a widowed, single mother, addicted to meth. Desperately wanting to pick up the pieces of her broken life and prove to her family she was fit to be a mother, she began attending Celebrate Recovery to find healing for her hurts, habits and hang-ups.

But it was March 11, 2005, that forever changed Ashley’s world. That is the day Brian Nichols, a murderous fugitive at the center of a citywide manhunt, took Ashley hostage in her own apartment.

“I knew I wasn’t going to make it out of there,” Ashley said. “I knew I was going to die.”

Unsure of the future, Ashley turned for guidance to a copy of “The Purpose Driven Life.” While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each found themselves facing a crossroads.

In that moment, God’s words penetrated the hearts of both Ashley and Brian. Soon after, Brian released Ashley and turned himself into authorities.

This miraculous true story of the seven-hour hostage situation drew the attention of the entire nation 10 years ago. Now, the dramatic, thrilling spiritual journey of Ashley and Brian is hitting theaters in the new film, “Captive.”

Starring David Oyelowo, best known for his role in last year’s blockbuster hit, “Selma,” and Kate Mara, most recently seen in “Fantastic Four,” the film will release September 18, and remind audiences of this powerful true-to-life story.

For Oyelowo, who plays Brian Nichols, the story of “Captive” is one about which he is personally passionate.

“My faith as a Christian, it’s the cornerstone of my life, and ‘Captive’ is a universal story, to me, of power of a modern-day miracle . . . I think this film shows two broken people who unexpectedly—for them—find light in the darkest of places,” Oyelowo said. “This unexpected episode brought about Ashley’s literal ‘come to Jesus’ moment. That to me is the power of the story, how the light can truly infiltrate darkness in an unexpected way.”

“Captive” is a story that proves God’s grace can penetrate even the toughest of human hearts, and will remind all of us that every life has purpose.


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