Many people have become familiar with the life story of Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini after the 2014 film Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie. But while a good portion of the film captured his life, the Zamperini family is eager for the rest of the story to be told in the sequel, Unbroken: Path to Redemption.The movie starring Samuel Hunt as Zamperini will explore Zamperini’s marriage to his wife, Cynthia, his post-traumatic stress disorder, and the infamous Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles that would forever change his life. We interviewed Hunt in 2018 and talked with him about the marriage relationship between Lou and Cynthia Zamperini and what others can learn and the impact we can have on other people.
Hunt shares what he took away from Lou and Cynthia’s relationship as it is portrayed on-screen.
“Absolutely. I’m a firm believer that we wouldn’t have gotten the Lou that we’ve come to admire so much without Cynthia. There is a good chance that we would have heard his story, and then heard about the tragedy of what happens and survival, but there certainly would not be all the change from the work that he did with children and the work that he’s done for the telling of his story.Without Cynthia, I personally doubt very much that any of us would have been able to have that as something to draw from. She is as much part of his experience and this journey, and Lou, as anything.”
“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”2 Thessalonians 3:3-5
Hunt reflects on some of the people he has become friends with over the years and the impact they’ve had on each other.
“When I’m in Los Angeles I’m really fortunate to have some really wonderful people in my life. Some friends that I’ve had now for the last ten years that I consider family. This one friend in particular, he’s probably lone of my closest friends- I was best man at his wedding. As twenty-somethings, we sold all of our possessions and went to Europe. Then there was a moment where we driftedpretty far apart. But what happened shortly after I got this part, we hadn’t spoken in about a year-and-a-half and he called me and said,
Man, I’m getting married in Mexico.’ His wife is Mexican. “I’m getting married. It’s in Mexico. I need you to come down here and be my best man.’ This is after not a word for almost two years. I said, ‘Okay. I’m coming.’ That decision, in that moment, for him to ask me and for me to say yes, has been one of the most influential decisions of my life; because the number of times he’s supported me and they’ve supported me, is immeasurable.”
Be a faithful friend. Friendship can be difficult. Whether it be our busy schedules, work, school or even living far apart, it can be hard to connect with our friends. Take time this week to reach out to one of your friends and see how they are doing. Ask them if you can pray for them. If you live close by, meet up with them for coffee or a meal. It might mean waking up earlier or rescheduling something so that you can meet. If they live far away, try to schedule a phone call or facetime with them. Catch up and see how you can be praying for them. If one of your friends is going through a difficult season, pray about how you can serve them and their family. It might mean making a meal, babysitting, or helping with household chores. While everyone would love to have fun times with their friends, sometimes friendship means walking through the difficult seasons.
Reach out to someone new. It can be easy as we get older to stick to the people that we know. God has placed people all around us that need to experience His love and grace. Take time this week to pray and ask God to show you someone in your life that you can reach out to. It might be a classmate, person you see at church, or new co-worker. Invite them to sit with you at lunch. Ask them to come to your small group. Offer to grab them coffee. Make time to ask them questions to get to them know. It is easy to use the excuse that we don’t have time. The reality is thatwe have plenty of time, we just have to make time for things that are important.
Share your story. You may not feel like your story of faith is significant, but the truth is that God wants to use each of our lives to impact those around us. If you haven’t shared your faith story before, take time to write it down. Make sure to include what your life was like before God, how you met God and what made you decide to give your life to Christ. If there were events or circumstances that were pivotal to you becoming a Christian, share those too. Don’t forget to share about what God has done in your life even after you became a Christian. Write about the different trials and challenges you have had and how God has developed your faith through them. Pray and ask God to show you who to share your story with. It could be a friend, family member or even a group. Ask God to soften the heart of the person that you are sharing with and that they would come to know Him.
To read our entire interview with Samuel Hunt, click here.