Samford University will host two events centered around a new documentary on the role of missionaries during genocide.

The Disturbances,” the new feature film from, chronicles how Christian missionaries and Nigerian pastors saved lives amid a tribal genocide in 1966 Nigeria. The film is being released in September to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the events.

First, the Global Center at Samford’s Beeson Divinity School will screen a clip from the documentary on Sept. 15 at noon.

On hand to participate in a discussion will be documentary participants Bill and Audrey Cowley as well as co-producer/director Cliff Vaughn.

The Cowleys were Southern Baptist missionaries who founded the Baptist High School in Jos, Nigeria, in 1961.

Bill later served on the religion and speech faculty at Samford while Audrey became national treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union.

An endowed scholarship fund for MKs (missionary kids) attending Samford bears their name.

“Dr. Bill Cowley was a faithful and inspiring professor for many years at Samford,” says David Parks, director of the Global Center. “We are excited to welcome back he and Audrey for this event that gives us more insight into their lives as missionaries during a genocide in Nigeria.”

The Cowleys’ story, which includes hiding a handful of faculty and staff during the genocide, is told for the first time in “The Disturbances.”

The Sept. 15 event is part of the Global Center’s Global Voices series of presentations about how God is at work in the world. More information about the free event, which is open to the public and lasts an hour, may be found here.

Then, a full screening of “The Disturbances” documentary will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10.

The screening, co-sponsored by Samford’s Office of Spiritual Life (OSL) and the Global Center, is part of Samford’s homecoming schedule of events.

The Cowleys and Vaughn will again be in attendance for this full presentation of the 75-minute documentary.

“So many of our current and future cross-cultural missionaries are influenced by the stories of those from the past,” says Renee Pitts of Samford’s OSL, “so we are honored to have the opportunity to remember the story of one from our own Samford community who can continue to inspire us toward sacrificial service for the sake of the Gospel around the world.”

Heidi Hall, who reviewed the film in The Tennessean, said, “Your documentary is smart, well told and has so much heart. I hope everyone sees it.”

Writing in UK’s Christian Today, Mark Woods said, “The Disturbances is a first-class piece of documentary that recovers a vital piece of history that could have been lost forever. But it’s also a window into how Christians responded at a time of terrible danger and distress, and how they remained faithful to their calling. It is not just informative, but inspirational.”

For a list of more screenings, please visit the screenings page at

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