These 6 days of “Real Life through Reel Stories” included 62 screenings of 10 feature films, 8 feature documentaries, 17 short films, 7 short documentaries, ranging from Coram Deo Studio’s Grace Unplugged, to When Quitting is Not an Option about NKMB member and marathon cyclist and orphan advocate Arvid Loewen.
Five “theatres” offered multiple film options at a given time and several screenings were followed by a talkback or filmmaker interview.
“I love my life.”
These four words spoken by a Kenyan child struck a chord with me as I watched this documentary. She is one of many children abandoned by family only to be rescued by Charles Mulli, founder of Mully Children’s Family (MCF). MCF has successfully saved 7,500 street children, many of whom are now studying at universities in Kenya and around the world.
What does this have to do with ultramarathon cyclist Arvid Loewen of Winnipeg? The member of North Kildonan MB Church member has raised more than $3 million for MCF.
When Quitting is Not an Option follows Arvid through several of his cycling endeavours and the numerous difficulties that come along with them. His story is told in clips from his latest Race Across America (RAAM) in 2013 and his race across Canada in 2011 that earned him a Guinness World Record.
Arvid shares his journey that started with his initial meetings with MCF, including an encounter with a little girl named Charity who made the cause real for him.
In one scene, we see Arvid biking across Canada. His legs have been retaining fluid and he has been hallucinating. He nearly gives up, but as he remembers the children at MCF and the adults who failed them, he knows he can’t be one of them. After resting 17 hours, he gets back on his bike. Shortly thereafter, he meets with Charles Mulli who prays for him, giving him the resilience to keep on going.
Arvid’s motivation for all this effort? “As Christians, we need to put actions into what we believe.” That’s a good reminder for all of us.
Some people might think that biking across a whole country is only for radicals, not ordinary people. Although we may never pick up a bike and cycle thousands of kilometres, we should remember we can accomplish much, if we just allow God to take control. The documentary is an inspiration to turn to God when faced with adversity.
The release of the documentary corresponded with the launch of a book of the same title, written by Arvid’s son, Paul Loewen.
—Gabi Penner is a member of North Kildonan MB Church’s youth group in Winnipeg.
Note: Arvid Loewen’s 2014 project is challenging the Guinness World Record for the fastest person to cycle 10,000km. The record currently stands at 22 days, 15 hours, 34 minutes.