The Sound of Freedom

The Sound of Freedom Calls You to Do Something

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans12 Minutes

Watch The Sound of Freedom (the new Angel Studios movie) and the cry of Matthew West’s song, God, Why Don’t You Do Something? will reverberate in your heart.

Hopefully, the conclusion of the song will echo just as loudly: you need to do something!

The depth and pervasiveness of evil in this world is our responsibility. Jesus sent us to be Light in the darkness and protectors of the innocent. Let’s talk about the truths revealed in the movie – and what we must do.

The Sound of Freedom plunges you into the reality of modern-day slavery. While some scenes are “made-for-the-movies,” overall, it provides an accurate, needed exposé of a horror we must stop. This is a real-life account of Tim Ballard, a family man with integrity and faith, compelled to rescue the children caught in human trafficking. Ballard’s career with Homeland Security involved investigating internet crimes against children, but catching the pedophiles felt inconsequential in light of the truth that the child victims remained in cruel captivity. Ballard’s courageous commitment to bringing children home is the foundation of the movie.

Behind the Movie

As powerful and life-changing as The Sound of Freedom is, the real stories behind the movie offer even greater insights and inspiration to act. Here’s just a quick look at some of the backstories found on O.U.R. Rescue site:

Timothy & Katherine Ballard – In the movie, Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus Christ in The Passion portrays Tim Ballard. Both men have dedicated their lives to bringing Light into the darkness, and Ballard made the appeal for Caviezel saying, “I don’t trust Hollywood, but I know one thing about Jim Caviezel … I know he loves Jesus, and that is important to me, someone who loves the Lord. I can at least trust in that.” presents some fascinating facts as well as quotes from Mr. Ballard that reveal his passion and his humility. In a charming glimpse of Ballard’s character, he is also quoted as saying. [Jim Caviezel] makes me look way cooler than I am, I promise.” The Ballards had six children when he quit his job, gave up vesting in his retirement, and set out to rescue stolen children. Since that time, they Ballards have added three more (rescued) children to their family.

In the movie, Tim Ballard is portrayed as a fearless hero, but he says it was his wife’s courage, not his own, that propelled him to step out in faith. Despite the risk of losing both her home and husband, Katherine pushed Tim to take action. She gave him spiritual encouragement by pointing to their own salvation through Christ, and the need to honor that gift of life.

Beyond the personal expenses and risks of Ballard’s endeavor was the financing of the investigations and rescue operations. While the movie doesn’t tell us – and little has been in the media, research reveals Glenn Beck to be the one who stepped up to help the Ballards respond to the call God put into their hearts.

Giselle – The movie follows two Honduran children, Rocio and Miguel, who fall prey to a beautiful but deceptive abductor (Giselle) who promises fame and fortune. Giselle invites both children to audition at an upcoming talent show.  The doting father agrees, but when they arrive at the audition, Giselle insists that he leave the children and pick them up “sharply” at 7 p.m. He returns to an empty room and the start of a nightmare. Giselle is based on a real-life beauty queen (Kelly Johana Suarez) who was known as Miss Cartagena in Columbia. Her modeling agency served as a front for child trafficking, and she now sits in prison awaiting trial.

The important part of knowing this truth is that Suarez’s style of abduction is the most common way children are trafficked.  Promises of success and acts of grooming for exploitation (i.e. gifts, attention) lure the vulnerable into a living hell. The reality of child trafficking is that the predators look like someone you can trust – they are often coaches, talent agents, teachers, and neighbors. Parents need to educate themselves and their children on how to recognize danger signs.

Vampiro aka Batman – Although not quite as colorful in real life, “Batman” is a child rescuer who began fighting trafficking because of his own dalliance with a prostitute. In real life (as opposed to the movie), he learned the woman’s child was being trafficked while she worked the streets. The darkness of that reality nearly drove him to suicide. The movie recounts “Vampiro” as saying he sought out God in the depths of that darkness and was compelled by Him to act. As The Sound of Freedom portrayed, his determination to intervene on behalf of children continues today.

Slavery in the 21st Century

Human trafficking is a $150 billion-per-year industry, eclipsed only by the trade of illegal guns and drug trafficking. The money involved in this human exploitation far exceeds the revenue of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL combined. To our great shame, the US is the number one consumer of child sex victims. Awareness of evil precedes action against evil and The Sound of Freedom aims to utilize the power of movies to motivate change!

After decades of pursuing the criminals who fuel the trafficking of children (pedophiles), the horrifying reality of the young victims led Ballard to leave his career to establish Operation Underground Railroadan organization that dedicates all its efforts to bringing freedom to those in captivity. Let the facts they share in their web-based media kit settle into your heart:

  • 70 million files of child pornography existed in 2019 – 78% involving children under 12.
  • Sex trafficking is the most common exploitation of victims in the United States. In other countries, victims are often forced into domestic servitude, migrant labor, sex-tourism, military operations, sweatshops, and street begging. When the person’s earning potential declines, their organs may be harvested for sale.
  • 40.3 million persons are trafficked globally today – 10 million of those persons are children.

And just in case you think this doesn’t pertain to you, consider this:

  • “At any given time, there are an estimated 750,000 child predators online – and they all have a key to your house via the Internet.” (FBI)

God Has Done Something. Will you?

The Matthew West song that we began with plaintively cries out to God about the horrors in the world today – and poignantly calls each of us to account. In answering the singer’s plea for Him to “do something,”

God replies, “I did. I created you.”

The Sound of Freedom gives the same call. You may leave the movie overwhelmed and doubtful that you can contribute, but that is just another lie of the enemy. 2 Timothy 3 is the perfect passage of Scripture to meditate on as you ask God how to help. Like Esther in the Old Testament, we are here at this time in history by God’s design. For such a time as this, you were born.

The daily news, The Sound of Freedom movie, and 2 Timothy 3 attest to the reality that we are living in the last days:

For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. Avoid such men as these. 2 Timothy 3:3-5

But God has equipped us with everything we need to live with purpose and power (2 Peter 1:3). We can make a difference in this world as we focus on building the Kingdom of God.

There is a very touching thread throughout the movie that reveals both God’s expectations and His intricate involvement in the work He calls us to do. Early on in the movie, Rocio gives a necklace inscribed with 1 Timothy 6:11 and the words “Man of God”  to her little brother, Miguel, as a symbol of hope that they would be rescued.

In the movie, and in real life, Miguel gave that necklace to Timothy Ballard. It was Tim’s child who pointed out that his name, Timothy (Timeteo) was on the necklace. In Philippians, we read the words of Paul as he speaks of Timothy: “I hope to send Timothy to you soon … I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare.”

The world needs Timothy’s, doesn’t it? He cared about the needs in front of him. You have needs in front of you. There is darkness all around. How will you bring light into the darkness today, tomorrow, and until God calls you home?

To find a theatre near you, visit The Sound of Freedom ticket site. Parents may want to check out this family-friendly movie as a way to discuss this important topic with children.