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Movie Review of a True Story: 'Faith Like Potatoes'

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about various topics including celebrities and entertainment.

Faith Like Potatoes is a Christian-based movie centered around the true story of Angus Buchan who struggled as a farmer until a change came over his life. The movie tells what happened to the Buchan family starting with their move from Zambia to South Africa and what happened that changed their lives after they settled into a different land. The book was written in 1998, and the biographical drama film was released in 2006.

Angus Buchan rejoices over his bountiful crop of potatoes that grew in unusual circumstances.

Angus Buchan rejoices over his bountiful crop of potatoes that grew in unusual circumstances.

Why "Faith Like Potatoes" Is Perfect Title

Potatoes are vegetables that grow underground. Farmers cannot see how or if they are growing until harvest time. With most crops, you can see what's going on with the crop as it grows. If Angus had planted cucumbers, watermelons, tomatoes, beans or cabbages, he would have been able to chart the vegetables' progress along the way. He couldn't do that with potatoes. He had to rely on what God was doing underground.

Potatoes incubate in the ground, silent and unseen. Farmers hope for a harvest but cannot see if that will be true. The potatoes were a great metaphor for what was going on in Angus Buchan's own life after he accepted Christ Jesus. Faith Like Potatoes is the perfect title for a biopic based on the true story of Angus Buchan.

Potatoes grow underground

Potatoes grow underground

Plot of 'Faith Like Potatoes'

The plot of the movie centers around Angus Buchan, a farmer who takes his family away from Zambia because of political unrest at the time. He wanted a better life for him and his family. Therefore, he packed up his trailer and traveled to Zulu and lived in the trailer with his pregnant wife, Jill and his three children. The family named the trailer "Shalom." The Hebrew word means "peace." That was contrary to the way Angus felt at the time because his life was far from being peaceful.

Angus solicited the help of Simon Bhengu, a Zulu foreman. At first, Angus was mean toward his helper because he was bitter about the way his life was going. The family was struggling because of the challenges they faced. Angus spirals out of control because of what was going on inside him just as much as what was going on around him. Angus became extremely angry and latched out at everyone around him.

Because flies off the handle at a moment's notice. Jill suggests anxiety medication, but deep down Angus knows that his rage is a spiritual problem instead of a medical one. When Jill manages to persuade her husband to go to church, he receives the shock of his life when the sermon leads him to give himself and his family to Christ.

Shift in Angus Buchan's Life

The shift in Angus Buchan's life came when Angus attended a local Methodist church. The testimonies of other farmers who had struggled in the past influenced Angus' decision to give his life to Jesus Christ. After Angus confessed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, his outlook takes a complete turnaround, and miracles began to occur in his life and in those around him. This is the shift in the story. Angus becomes calm and is no longer filled with anger. He no longer was mean to his foreman and others around him. He begins giving his testimony in different towns. He eventually gathers thousands of people in a huge stadium for prayers for the nation and for the land.

Beginning of Evangelism

Angus's pastor challenges him to tell three people what about what God was doing in his life. By telling about his experience, Angus discovers a boldness and passion for evangelism. He wants other men like himself to know that work alone will not save them. When a chance fire threatens to spread to a nearby farm, Angus challenges his Zulu farmhand Simeon Bhengu to pray with him for rain. Simeon scoffs, because it's not yet the rainy season. However, the clouds gather, and the raindrops fall, and the fire is extinguished. This is just one of several miracles witnessed by people around Angus.

Why Planting Potatoes Was Risky

Buchan was a maize and cattle farmer, but in Zulu he believes he was led by God to plant potatoes. Farmers had been warned that it was risky to plant potatoes because there was no irrigation. By faith, Buchan plants potatoes in the dry dust. Buchan did not know whether his crop would survive until it was harvest time. When harvest time comes, there is a crop of giant potatoes.

Perhaps Angus Buchan's story about his crisis of faith can help others when they struggle. We don't have to be farmers planting potatoes, but we should remember that God is working underground in our lives, and we will reap a harvest if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)

Angus Buchan Today

The Angus Buchan viewers got to know from his story in Faith Like Potatoes is still evangelizing. In 1980 Angus and his wife, Jill, started Shalom Ministries. Angus has become a full-time evangelist while the farm is now being run mostly by both his sons.

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In 1998, Angus wrote a book about his life, Faith Like Potatoes, the book was turned into a film by the same title in 2006. After Faith Like Potatoes, the farmer turned evangelist wrote another book, Angus Buchan's Ordinary People in 2012. It is a semi-biographical film that tells the story of the growth of Buchan's ministry from the 1970s to the present.

The 69-year-old farmer-turned-evangelist receives no money for evangelizing. He lives in the same small house that he built on his farm. He drives the same old car. He doesn't even have medical aid. Known as "Uncle Angus," he is a full-time evangelist going around South Africa and Africa drawing very large crowds. Buchan's view on homosexuality and women have banned his from preaching in his native Scotland, according to his Facebook page.

"Faith Like Potatoes" Shown At Church During Bible Study

Faith Like Potatoes was shown during Bible Study on Wednesday, August 10, 2016, at New Canaan Worship Center in Richmond, Virginia. Dinner before the movie consisted of loaded baked potatoes. During the movie, participants were treated to popcorn popped in coconut oil that was so delicious. Viewers discussed the movie, and many theological viewpoints were pointed out.

  • Angus Buchan left Zambia because of political unrest; however, unrest was within him that he took with him to South Africa.
  • Before salvation, Angus Buchan was angry, fearful and mean to those around him.
  • After salvation, there was a definite shift in his life. He went from zeal to being mean to zeal for spreading the gospel, much like Saul/Paul in the book of Acts.
  • At first, Angus was reluctant to receive the gospel. After he did, it changed his life.
  • Angus' pastor told him to tell three people about his experience. That led him to evangelize to a huge stadium of people.
  • Angus' faith was like the potatoes he planted. It wasn't until harvest time that it became evident that God was working underground.
  • Today Angus evangelizes full time. His sons takes care of the family farm.
New Canaan Worship Center, Richmond, VA

New Canaan Worship Center, Richmond, VA

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Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on August 21, 2016:

Tamarajo, thanks for reading and responding to my review of "Faith Like Potatoes." I love the principle that the potatoes were growing unseen underground until harvest time. I showed the movie at my church and the people loved it.

Tamarajo on August 21, 2016:

Excellent review of this faith inspiring movie. I have seen it and his testimony and story are riveting. I hope your article will inspire many to watch it.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on August 21, 2016:

MsDora, I have begun to encourage myself after seeing the movie and discussing it in my church. I repeat out loud, "Faith Like Potatoes" several times during the day to remind myself that God is working underground on my behalf.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 21, 2016:

Thanks for the review. The title is such a great summary of the story, and I'm sure the phrase "faith like potatoes" will become regular usage for me. I will also look for the movie.

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