Youth ministry programs

Movie Review: The Other Side of Heaven

The Other Side of Heaven

"For three years I've lived with people who possess nothing yet they possess everything." These were the words of John Groberg upon returning to the United States after having spent three years in the South Pacific on a small island of barely one hundred occupants. The movie " The Other Side of Heaven" produced by Walt Disney tells his story beautifully and honestly.

Our youth group in Deer Park watched this movie on November 11th as a result of a suggestion of Julian Victor of Malaysia on this website -see below. Thank you, Jullian, for an excellent recommendation.

The movie begins with 19 year old John heading off on a mission to the , to him and his family, unknown island of Tonga. An adventurous and unpredictable journey finds him landing at his mission field many days late and he is given his directive - "learn their language, build the kingdom". The movie depicts the differences in culture and language that lead to poor John inadvertently telling the native people that he comes to bring them "an outhouse."

The movie honestly depicts the sacrifices made by all who enter the mission field. John leaves behind his one true love and their correspondence of committment and concern is displayed with the ever persistent question - will this love last a three year separation at this vulnerable time in these young people's lives?

The movie depicts all of John's trials, tribulations and triumphs. At one point, after a tropical storm destoys all the homes, livestock and food of the island, John and his fellow islanders face starvation, John writes to Jean, "I don't know if I will be alive when you receive this letter... I have learned something difficult. There is a connection between heaven and earth. Finding that connection makes everything meaningful, including death. Missing the connection makes everything meaningless, including life".

I recommend sharing this movie, based upon the actual memoirs of John Groberg, with your youth group. John is on a Mormon mission and his commitment to sharing the gospel and the love of God is a testimony for all Christians. At the end of the movie I asked our youth members - "How many of you could commit yourself, at age nineteen, to do this? Don't answer the question. Just think about it."

Tim Ferguson, Community Presbyterian Chuch, Deer Park, NY

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