I saw the movie 17 Miracles this past weekend, and would have to say, I walked away happy that I saw it. I am not a big movie attendee (I find it hard to sit still that long), but a glimpse of my ancestors’ story in the trailer peaked my interest. And so for me, a rare trek to the theater occurred.
Growing up, my father would always tell us stories of our ancestors, the Cunninghams, who came across in the Willie Handcart Company. What would captivate me first was the thought of what it would be like to endure those elements. (I am such a wimp when the temperature gets below 60 degrees F.) After spending considerable time on the topic of being cold, my attention would then turn to the qualities my ancestors had. I would marvel at the Cunninghams' faith, determination (or some may say stubbornness), courage, and love. I found that as I read stories of other pioneers who made the trek, they had these same qualities. Watching 17 Miracles brought back these same thoughts as multiple stories unfold.
The stories of individuals and families in 17 Miracles gave me a glimpse into the disappointment and miracles for the Willie Handcart Company. I appreciated the brief background of Levi Savage, as it caused me to feel more familiar with who he was as he narrated the story. I enjoyed hearing multiple accounts of sacrifice and endurance as members of the company were followed in their various trials. I was so excited when the miracle of the Cunninghams was told, along with all the other miracles in this film. And I cried (which I rarely do in movies) when the struggles, disappointments, and losses were depicted.
When the credits ended, everyone in the theater slowly got up and quietly walked out. I think we all walked away with a little more determination to be like these pioneers, to trust in miracles, and to continue on our trek.
*Is your city's theatre not showing this film? Go to this web page to learn how you can help coordinate a private screening in your hometown while 17 Miracles is in theaters this summer. This would be a great activity for youth before your ward or stake's trek.
Ruthann Cunningham is the Circulation Coordinator at LDS Living.
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