Kings of Men: Changing the World Through Powerful Art


Recently, John and I took a trip to the UK with our daughter's family. I'm on the airplane, enjoying my economical, comfort-class wide seat on Virgin Air (highly recommended for long distances!). I rarely watch movies, but I browse through the selection of new releases, looking for something historical or inspiring. "Sound of Freedom" catches my eye. It's a movie I've been wanting to see since its release but missed in theaters. I want to take advantage of this opportunity, so I commit to watching it after dinner.

Discovering "Sound of Freedom"

Category King - Oil Painting by artist Elli Milan

"Sound of Freedom" is a true story movie about the life of Tim Ballard, a US government agent who courageously orchestrates an elaborate rescue operation of children being trafficked and sexually exploited in Colombia, with Jim Caviezel playing the lead role as Tim Ballard.

After dinner, John falls asleep for the night, and Dimitra and Jake take turns holding Zion, also trying to sleep. I start the movie and am deeply engrossed the entire time.

The film masterfully uses innuendo, providing just enough detail and footage of the trauma to make its poignant point without egregiously traumatizing the viewer. I am absolutely struck by Tim Ballard's selfless, heroic courage. He is utterly committed to the cause of rescuing these children and, against all odds, remains unwavering. I watch, completely inspired.

I hold it together until the end, but I am wet with tears as the final credits roll. As I sit silently sobbing, I realize that at this very moment, millions of children – yes, MILLIONS- are suffering in some demonic nightmare.

I'm completely undone. Just then, Dimitra turned around and asked me if I could hold Zion for a little while so she could rest. I have my precious grandson on my chest and feel his lovely, beautiful spirit relax and drift into sleep. I pray that God will forever keep him and protect him from such a hellish fate.

As I held Zion and continued to sob, I thought, what am I doing with my life? Being an artist feels trivial and pointless. I need to get off this plane and go to Colombia, Cambodia, or Cameroon to rescue children! How can I continue living comfortably, enjoying ice cream, or celebrating Christmas, knowing that children are tortured by these sick men in every corner of the earth? I must DO something!

A Call to Action

Then I quickly realize that I'm 5 feet 3 inches tall, don't speak Spanish, am 50 years old, and realistically cannot take on the militia of muscular, vile men who guard these networks. I don't even know how to shoot a gun! I cried out to God, "What can I do!? I have to DO something. I can't just sit here and wait for someone else to step up. God, rise up! Intervene. Save these children. Smite these wicked people. All of them!"

Suddenly, it becomes clear. In an instant, all the fragmented pieces come together, forming a cohesive plan of action that downloads into my mind.

The Vision of Kings

Warrior King - Oil Painting by artist Elli Milan

A year and a half ago, when I was in Greece, I felt like God inspired me and gave me a vision to paint kings. I envisioned kings of men in my mind, glowing with fire, surrounded by light, and wearing military-type clothes. I painted a couple of them but didn't understand why, so I stopped. Now, I could see that God wanted to release something through this art.

Without good kings, evil will prevail.

It is men who have built the sex trafficking industry. It is men who have groomed the female groomers. It is predominantly men who pay to enslave these children. It is the vile and wretched men who commit the most horrific acts on these innocents.

It is men, with their brute strength, who hold them captive and build fortresses around their evil kingdoms. It will require real men, kingly men, to topple these demonic structures. Kings who are protectors. Kings with integrity and valor. Kings of light and fire with blazing selfless love. The Bravehearts, the Gladiators, and the Robin Hoods must rise and fulfill their destiny to rid the world of such hell.

We can no longer tolerate this. As mothers, we must raise strong men. As fathers, we must be strong men. We must stop vilifying men; true men are not toxic in their masculinity. The only thing that stands between good and evil is strong, fearless men.

Changing the World Through Art

I realized that I must complete my paintings of the kings. Before God does anything on this earth, it is first sung, written, sculpted, or painted.

That movie changed me forever. I want my art to make a real impact and change the world. I want my paintings to shift culture, to wield magic, and be anointed for activation. I want my art to drive a cause, rebuild foundations, and tear down the dark structures. I envision my art as a bright light in a dark world, bringing hope to the hopeless and setting the captives free.

Share your story in the comments below!


  • Heather

    Your podcast with Jake, about goalsetting, brought me here. Actually, the one with you & your mentor, just before that one, as well. I’ve done a lot of crying & nodding tonight. I had set a resolution (rare) on Jan 1 to take & finish my 2 art courses (Mastery Program after another I’ve already paid for), mainly bcz I’m disgusted with myself. But really I felt I needed a goal, in order to exist. Tomorrow (2 min from now), will be the 1 yr anniv. of the last day I had the love of my earthly life, my husband of only 4-1/2 yrs. He died unexpectedly on Jan 20 last yr. (I had waited 28 yrs to remarry.) I’ve been dead ever since. I don’t feel a sudden desire to live, but I’m not dying, so I felt I needed to plan in case I do live. So, I watched those podcasts tonight.

    On my way to bed now, I actually think I may have been lead to YouTube tonight bcz I realize now that smaller goals are necessary. And right now, simple tasks will have to be what pass as goals. But now, a strange curiosity seems to have cropped up inside me. Maybe it’s a feeling of taking a step forward? I’ll be praying it’s not just a passing thing. Thanks for recording those podcasts.
    Elli Milan Art replied:
    This is so powerful, how when we are ready little kisses faithfully some from heaven to draw us back into our life and purpose. Keep feeding that curiosity and stoke the fire of your passion with those small goals to keep yourself above the grief. Im sorry for your loss. Your art will keep you going.

  • Mimi

    That moment you felt struck about how innocent, pure souls are exploited physically AND emotionally…
    When you had that horrible realisation that this couldn’t be happening and felt an urge to do something (anything!) about it because it just felt so wrong to you is exactly how I felt when I finally ‘let myself see’ what we, humans, do to animals.

    The horror we put them through (indirectly, by buying and consuming dairy/animal products) and the justifications we find to allow this to happen (and to keep on happening) for me had to stop instantly.
    It struck a chord in me because I had been lying to myself, thinking I was a kind person who adores animals and yet, participating in this awful cycle.
    Working on myself to realign with my values not only is making me feel like a better person but is also impacting my work as an artist.
    Like you I don’t have have the physical and mental energy to go fight this ‘in the field’ BUT there are 2 things I can do:
    1. I became vegan overnight as I could no longer even think of using animals in any way
    2. I plan on using my art to express my feelings and promote love and positivity. I have always done that but my art did not have a meaning until this realisation/decision.
    I am yet to clarify how this is going to look on canvas because I want to add more meaning into my paintings but I hope the mastery program I am just starting will help me with it ;-)
    I think we need to do our part in any way that supports our mental health and for me (and you), it’s using our art for the greater good :)

  • Anya

    Hi Elli,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story!
    I am in the mastery class and struggling to find
    my voice.
    Even though I always had the idea in my head
    to connect what is important to me, in my case
    environmental issues and animal rights and art,
    it seemed to have slipped my mind. Even though
    it is so obvious. I have worked for bird protection organizatiosfor many years, I support stray cats. Why not connect it all?
    That is the beauty of connecting with people. Sometimes, by yourself, you just can’t see the obvious!
    Now I have a good focus for my art I can work on!
    Thank you so much!
    Elli Milan Art replied:
    oh!! I just got a vision for your art! What if you combined house cats and birds, who are normally enemies, but as friends rather than foe? Could be so sweet and a metaphor for humans and animals. I listened to a spiritual man named Justin Abraham and his podcast “company of burning hearts” and he said that we are coming into a season where God will heal the wounds of the animals and all for our years of abuse towards them. They will have a collective healing which will bring about a deeper connection with them and the vegan movement is like a forerunner for all of that. Im not sure if it is true, but so lovely to think about.

  • Janet Dicker

    (Thank you! Received my answer yesterday as to how to stand by and support Israel as an artist.)

  • Myrna Richards

    I’m with you on this. For many years I worked with homeless women and children. I feel that the skills I’m acquiring are specifically for such a time as this, to ring the bell, to be a voice for the silenced. Thank you for sharing.
    Elli Milan Art replied:
    Im so glad you are inspired!

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