The story of missionary Graham Staines is the focus of the film "The Least of These" which is now showing in theaters nationwide. And while it doesn't have a happy ending that most moviegoers like to see in films, its message of sacrificial love is encouraging.
“The Least of These,” tells the life story of Graham Staines who was martyred in India in 1999. The film details the events leading up to the murders of the Australian Christian missionary and his sons, Philip, 10, and Timothy, 6, who were in India helping a community of lepers.
Featured in the film are Stephen Baldwin as Staines, Shari Rigby as his wife, and Sharman Joshi, who plays Sharman Joshi's Manav Banerjee, a journalist and skeptic who tries to make his big break in the press by proving that the missionary’s motives in helping lepers was to forcibly convert them to Christianity.
Cinematically stunning, “The Least of These” was shot in India and gives viewers a sense of the culture in the majority Hindu country and what a missionary's life there might be like.
The film has subtitles to help the audience understand what’s being said by some of the actors who have strong accents. At times the script is underwhelming. But if you stick with it, it picks up 40 minutes into the movie when Banerjee incites a Hindu mob to fight against Staines who they accuse of Christian proselytizing.
The call to arms eventually leads to the murders of Staines and his two sons while they were on one of their ministry excursions. Banerjee changes his mind about Staines after watching him closely and seeing the sincerity of his work. Although the reporter tries to deescalate the conflict with the villagers, but he's too late.
The film is a memorial to Staines and the work his family continued in India even after his death. In times of such uncertainty, Staines' message of love over fear is one that needs to be seen and heard.
At the National Religious Broadcasters conference in Nashville, Tennessee, last year, Baldwin told The Christian Post that the film divinely came to him.
"I know God called me to the 'Staines' movie," said Baldwin who described the film as an answer to prayer "empowered by the Holy Spirit."
For more information on "The Least of These" visit the film's website.