Pastor, wife behind 'Sound of Hope' film share how obedience to Holy Spirit led to adoption of 77 foster kids

'Sound of Hope' hits theaters on July 4, 2024.
"Sound of Hope" hits theaters on July 4, 2024. | Screenshot: "Sound of Hope"

The real-life pastor and his wife behind “Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot,” shared how the Holy Spirit prompted them to spark a movement of compassion in their small Texas town, eventually leading to the adoption of 77 hard-to-place children out of the foster care system. 

“Sound of Hope,” from Angel Studios and directed by Joshua Weigel, tells the story of how, in the 1990s, the Rev. Wilbert Martin (Demetrius Grosse) and his wife, first lady Donna Martin (Nika King), who led Bennett Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, adopted children through foster care, inspiring 22 families in their church to follow in their footsteps.

In an interview with The Christian Post, the Martins, who ultimately took in four children in addition to their two biological children (including one with special needs), reflected on their journey of answering God’s call to care for “the least of these,” even when it wasn’t easy. 

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“You don't have a testimony until you go through stuff,” the Rev. Martin said. “You have to go through the test to have a testimony, and many times, we fail the test, but I'm one of those people who believe if God called us to do it, we can do it.”

“Because God was with us, we could succeed,” he declared. “You can see the evidence; we have children who are in college and getting degrees. That’s the evidence from all of those struggles. It wasn’t easy … but life is full of ups and downs and setbacks and problems and everything. But we’ve got to have that force in us, we’ve got to have that anointing where we say, ‘I won't give up. I'm going to continue because the Lord is with us.’”

Rated PG-13, “Sound of Hope” highlights some of the challenges the Martins and other families faced as they raised children out of the foster care system, many of them victims of abuse and neglect (one young girl is so traumatized by her past that she pretends to be a cat most of the time). It depicts how, at times, the Martins and other adoptive parents struggled with despair, waiting for their own basic needs to be met, financially and emotionally.

“Raising children, I did not focus on what we were going through. I didn't focus on the challenge, I focused on meeting the need. And so, to see that on the big screen takes me back into every moment, and I say, ‘Oh, my God, did I really make it through this?’” Donna Martin reflected. 

Despite the challenges, Donna Martin said taking in children in need of love and compassion just “made sense.” It was her own mother, she said, that instilled in her a desire to nurture and unconditionally love others, no matter how difficult — and through it all, God was faithful. 

“It made all the sense in the world to bring in children,” she said. “After the Holy Spirit spoke, immediately, I caught hold of that. I didn't question Him at all … it increased my faith; it became a daily faith walk because it was totally different from the way I was raised. I was not raised in trauma; I was not raised in neglect. I was not raised in abuse; I was raised with gentleness and kindness. So it definitely took the Holy Spirit to help me to thread through all those emotions.”

“You teach your children to do what's right, and then they're calling you crazy, ‘This is wrong, I don't want to accept this and you're treating me bad, and you don't love me,’ and all this kind of stuff,” she added. “It took faith in God, knowing that when He calls you, He will qualify you.”

King, who plays Donna Martin in “Sound of Hope,” said the film gave her a chance to “talk about God” — something she said is typically “taboo” in Hollywood. 

“This has never happened,” she said. “I've been in Hollywood for 20 years. It's taboo to bring up Christ's name. It's taboo to talk about your faith. And here I am in a movie, a real story about real people, talking about the love of God, and having Christ in you, and doing the things that you don't want to do and being obedient and trusting God and sacrificing … this is the happiest I've ever been in my life, in my career, because now I know why I have this gift that God gave me, and it's to glorify Him.”

For Grosse, portraying Bishop Martin was a profound experience. "I've gained a different understanding of the power of faith and the importance of legacy,” he said, adding that the film, though faith-based, “transcends” the faith-based community and “has the potential to change minds and win hearts, even in the secular world."

The Martins, who today advocate for children in foster care around the country, said they want the modern Church to know that faith, when coupled with determination and trust in divine guidance, can lead to profound accomplishments and the fulfillment of God's will.

“The challenge I want to give to this whole world is that 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life,'” Donna Martin said. “My challenge is that Christ Jesus gave us life; let's give somebody else a purpose-driven life.”

The Rev. Martin reiterated that when God calls someone to a task, they are inherently equipped to fulfill it, even if the path is not immediately clear. The Church, he stressed, must not back down or be discouraged from carrying out God's will. 

“I will simply tell the Church today that you can do this with everything that God gives you,” he said. 

“God would not allow the devil to make Him out to be a liar. When God calls you to do something, you are able to do it, although you may not see all the ins and outs of how God wants to lead you and guide you. But if you just stay with the process, you’re going to go forward.

“I encourage you not to back up and not to let anything discourage you from carrying out the will of God,” he added. “If we’re going to be the hands and feet of Jesus, then we know that even Jesus Himself went through some problems. He had some things He had to deal with; He had the weight of the world on His shoulders. But yet, He said, ‘Not my will, but Thy will be done.’ We have to just speak the Word of God … the Word of God will carry you. God said He'd stand watch over His Word, and whatever His Word is set out to do, it will accomplish. We've been able to accomplish the will of God because the Word was spoken, and we were able to do it.”

“Sound of Hope” hits theaters on July 4.

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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