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Exceptional storytelling has the innate ability to elicit a range of emotions from its audience. Whether thoughtfully curated through music, dance, art, or theater, the intricacies of stories leave imprints on our hearts. One of the commonalities uniting all of mankind, regardless of socioeconomic background, gender, nationality, personality, or occupation, is that we all have a story to tell.

 

Countless narratives are created every day, highlighting graduations, promotions, to weddings, and anniversaries. However, the narratives that challenge our faith and resolve, whether a cancer diagnosis to a contentious divorce, requires unwavering faith in the face of adversity. This is faith under fire! To this end, the valiant story of a Georgia academy bookkeeper who courageously saved hundreds of school children from a mass shooter in 2013, was adapted for the big screen this year!

 

This is the true story of Antoinette Tuff. As a single mother who served as the bookkeeper for the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia, Tuff was contemplating suicide the morning that a deranged gunman entered the school, with the intent of killing everyone inside. Juxtaposed to a seemingly despairing situation, Tuff’s courage played an integral role in rewriting a narrative intended for a tragic ending. Although suffering from depression as a result of divorce, Tuff’s steadfast prayer and trust in God guided her away from ending her life, as she would not fulfill her purpose. As Tuff calmly engaged the gunman, she soon realized that her divine purpose also included saving the shooter’s life. Executive Producer T.D. Jakes and Director Vondie Curtis-Hall are the visionaries curating Tuff’s courageous story by way of the Lifetime movie – “Faith Under Fire.” Additionally, this original film is inspired by the book, Prepared for a Purpose: The Inspiring True Story of How One Woman Saved an Atlanta School Under Siege by Antoinette Tuff, Robin Miles, and Alex Tresniowski.

 

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On Thursday, January 18, T.D. Jakes invited staff, family, friends, and the film’s cast to enjoy a private screening of “Faith Under Fire” at the Potter’s House in Dallas, TX. The star-studded event attracted the attention of various news outlets, among other media. The evening included red carpet interviews in the lobby with T.D. and Serita Jakes, Antoinette Tuff, as well as supporting interviews from Tamar and Towanda Braxton, sisters of the film’s leading actress and seven-time Grammy® Award winner – Toni Braxton.

 

At the conclusion of the film screening, T.D. Jakes opened the floor for an engaging Q&A session with Toni Braxton and Antoinette Tuff. Here’s some of the conversation.

 

T.D. Jakes: “It’s a real story – a reminder. We don’t know when we’ll need to communicate compassion to help someone. She saved the lives of hundreds of children for the betterment of this world. What was going through your mind when that happened?”

 

Antoinette Tuff: “If someone would have told me that was going to happen, I would have stayed at home.”

 

T.D. Jakes: “What does it feel like when you see that on screen?”

 

Antoinette Tuff: “God always prepares you for a purpose. Are you ready for the call? Oftentimes we ask God to use us, but we’re not ready.”

 

T.D. Jakes: “How involved were you in the making of this film?”

 

Antoinette Tuff: “I wanted to make something that would save lives for the Kingdom! They may have not heard about God before; however, through this movie they will be able to see there is a God.”

 

T.D. Jakes: “What did you think when you heard that Toni was going to be in the movie?”

 

Antoinette Tuff: “She’s from Atlanta and I knew that she would be able to capture the role well.”

 

T.D. Jakes: “Usually when I do a project, I don’t know the person, but I know Antoinette personally.”

 

Toni Braxton: “I thought it was brilliant to see her courage…”

 

T.D. Jakes: “What was it like on the set working with the assailant?”

 

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Toni Braxton: “He kept his distance on the set because he had his role to play. He is a talented kid. And with Antoinette, once she said that she realized it wasn’t a dream, a sense of bravery came over her. I admired that about her; she talked about being hopeless and every woman would identify with that feeling.”

 

T.D. Jakes: “This is no easy role. The range of emotions, from the fears to the tears and courage…exuding it all at the same time. Is there a place that you went in your head to convey those emotions?”

 

Toni Braxton: “I had to keep my mind on that scripture: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want…” I believe that was the toughest part, having to turn those emotions on and off.”

 

T.D. Jakes: “Some actors keep their character “on” during breaks, but you took breaks. It’s not just about a role; it’s about doing that (acting) thing day after day.”

 

Toni Braxton: “Yes, I knew Bishop was attached to it, and I know that anything he touches turns to gold. I knew I had to do it. I wanted to make her proud.”

 

T.D. Jakes: “There are a lot of takeaways from this film. There’s a realization that this is more than just a movie; this message actually happens. There’s a message that people who do the most hideous things, including pointing guns toward kids, are not beyond redemption. What do you want them to get out of this film?”

 

Antoinette Tuff: “I want them to get out of it that I’m taking that moment; no matter what cards I’m dealt, I make the choice of how it turns out. There are kids who I mentored that will see me. So for me, it’s like I’m making a “domino effect” in the world. We are saving lives for the Kingdom! If we can help them develop a vision, we can help them change their lives. My organization – Kids on The Move for Success – allows me to bless babies all over the world.”

 

Toni Braxton: “That day started out as a possible tragedy but ended so differently. God puts angels all around us!”

 

Whether you’re suffering from depression, anxiety disorders, or struggling with any other life challenge,  “Faith Under Fire” is a reminder to us all of how God’s hedge of protection and love illuminates the darkest of circumstances! Additionally, we encourage you to seek professional counseling and/or therapy if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and/or need to talk through your concerns. Stay the course; your life is definitely worth living. God designed you with purpose!

 

Senior Pastor and Executive Producer T.D. Jakes invites you to join him in watching the incredible true story of Antoinette Tuff. Mark your calendars for Saturday, January 27 at 8/7C for the world premiere of the Lifetime movie – “Faith Under Fire”. Check your local listings for showtimes.

 

Explore TPH Store for the perfect “Faith Under Fire” inspired offerings, including encouragement cardsdevotional cards, and women’s Bibles (while supplies last).

 

#FaithUnderFire

 

 

 

 

 



Written by: The Potter's House

January 26, 2018