Help Translate "JESUS" in Their Heart Language

#2570846 - New Language Translations of "JESUS"

It’s such a privilege to tell you the acts of our God…the fruit of your gracious partnership, the results of your giving and praying. May He be glorified!

A partner “JESUS” film team had come to a small town in Northern Ghana. About 85 percent of the people here are animists. The remainder follow Islam, which is aggressively spreading across Africa.

The chief gave his permission to show the film, a lip-sync translation of “JESUS” in the Mampruli language. He sent one of his representatives with the film team to choose a showing site. They found a suitable place, but it was right next to a very noisy grinding mill, processing grain. The team’s speakers were small, so they were afraid the people wouldn’t be able to hear.

The team could do little else but proceed in faith. With night falling they set up their projector, screen and speakers. The loud grinding continued. They were probably praying, “Lord, these people need to see and hear JESUS.” Then it happened. The whole town went dark. The electricity failed. Even the grinding mill came to a halt. The team said it became completely quiet. God had intervened! They started “JESUS.”

With lights out throughout the town, and many businesses closed, the people began making their way to the showing site—drawn by the sound of a film in their language and the light of the screen and projector. Soon a large crowd had gathered.

The team marveled as the people listened intently to the Word of God in their mother tongue, Mampruli…heard clearly and authoritatively through the speakers…the Living Word. For the first time in their lives they were hearing and understanding God’s plan of salvation.

As “JESUS” was coming to the end, close to where the narrator summarizes the gospel, all the lights came back on, but not the grinding mill, nor the noise. For some reason, the workers delayed restarting, perhaps because they too were watching “JESUS”!

The team reported they were thrilled because “…everyone in the crowd stayed and heard the gospel,” staying even to the end of “JESUS”—everyone, both animists and Muslims. Many indicated decisions to follow Christ. Thank you Lord for what You alone did that night! As the Scriptures say, “…he’s famous for great and unexpected acts; there’s no end to his surprises” (Job 5:9*).

Today I write with my own sense of surprise and wonder…or better…a sense of joy! This year we are recognizing a key milestone, the 1,500th language translation of “JESUS”, of which Mampruli is but one. And that number is growing weekly. To date, 1,561 translations of “JESUS” have been completed, plus language dubs of “Magdalena,” “The Story of Jesus for Children,” “My Last Day” and other Jesus Film® products! To every person who has given for these translations, to many generous donors who made this historic milestone possible, thank you! You are proclaiming His Word around the world.

Perhaps you have heard of Mission 865, a major effort to create a translation of “JESUS” for every remaining people group of 50,000 or more speakers. We pray that 67 are completed each year, a pace that could lead to all 865 language versions being completed by the year 2025. May He receive the glory!

As you know, each translation represents considerable planning, recording work, travel, time and expenses, editing, with attention to detail…and sometimes opposition and danger. To give you a feel for what the process can be like, let me quote from a recent translation team report. They were working in a very closed nation:†

“We had heard that the region of our target language was referred to as ‘hell’ because there is so much turmoil and persecution of Christians. We expected greater spiritual warfare than any other language we’ve recorded. We prayed with each voice actor before they entered the ‘studio.’ We needed the Lord’s hand over every voice and piece of equipment.

“One of our voice actors said he remembered watching JESUS in Arabic years ago. During the scene where the crowds begin shouting to crucify Jesus, a woman shouted along with the crowd in the film, ‘Yeah! He’s a criminal! He deserves to die!’ After {the film} a pastor came up and explained the scene, the same woman began weeping, and repented, all because the film wasn’t in her heart language.

“When we finished recording all the voices, and held a ceremony of thanks, I and others on the team had trouble holding back tears as one older woman began crying. This new translation of “JESUS” is perhaps something she never dreamed of seeing in her lifetime. She clearly understood the magnitude of what this can mean for her people.”

That “magnitude,” her experience of awe and joy, is being repeated for every new language translation of “JESUS” as it is released, thus enabling tens of thousands to hear and receive the gospel. A colleague who works with film teams in the former Soviet Union describes what happens when they show “JESUS” in a local, ethnic language:

“People may have seen and heard JESUS in a trade language like Russian, or a tongue they understand to some degree. But when they hear it in their primary language, they say, ‘We realize for the first time Jesus isn’t just a Russian God. He is the Lord God only—He’s the God of all of us.’ We hear this consistently.”

Some missionaries have even described newly released translations of “JESUS” as “game changers.” Heard in a people’s heart language, with voices from their culture, “JESUS” quickly, simply and powerfully communicates the gospel story. With their eyes they see Jesus heal the sick and raise the dead. With their ears they hear Him speak God’s love and forgiveness. And with their hearts they believe—the divine work of the Holy Spirit.

Would you help people hear and understand the gospel story for the first time in their lives? Hundreds of people groups await their own translation of “JESUS”. Your gift of $160 will help translate, record and edit 30 seconds of “JESUS”. Your gift of $320 will enable people to understand one minute. A larger gift of $1,280 will cover the cost of translating, recording, editing and releasing four minutes of “JESUS” in a people’s heart language.

Your gift could help unreached people understand this segment from the film where Jesus is in the synagogue on the Sabbath day, reading from the book of Isaiah: “‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recover of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’” … “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-19, and 4:21**, that’s 30 seconds).

Your Gift         Will Translate

$320               60 seconds of “JESUS”

$640               Two Minutes of “JESUS”

$1,280            Four Minutes of “JESUS”

If you have the financial resources and sense the magnitude of letting an entire people group understand the gospel, perhaps you can pray about sponsoring a section of a lip-sync version for an unreached language group (what we call “a share”). Should you have the ability, and as He leads you, would you consider a gift of $3,200 for 10 minutes, $19,000 for half of “JESUS”, or $38,000 for one complete translation? (Please feel free to call the phone number on the information sheet.)

Also pray about a “Single Voice Narration” (SVN), for a smaller, least-reached people group, perhaps of a few thousand speakers. In these specialized translations, one speaker narrates the film, becoming the voice for all the characters in the film, like a master storyteller. Should you have the financial resources, you can give a smaller people group “JESUS” through a gift of $17,000. Hundreds of Single Voice Narration versions are needed.

I encourage you to seek His mind and heart. Perhaps He wants you to pray—a vitally important ministry. Or He may lead you to support the foundational work of creating the basic script for the narrator and all the voices, faithful to the Scriptures. Each script, on average, requires $1,500.

Then, as translations are completed and released, as people watch and understand, this Scripture can take on new meaning: “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13.††).

However you can help, by covering a few minutes, several minutes (a share), or all of a translation, you will make a difference––an eternal difference—for people yet to receive the good news. Any size gift will help, to be combined with the gifts of many other friends of “JESUS”. For whatever you will do, thank you!

Until Everyone Sees Jesus,

Erick Schenkel
Executive Director

P.S. I trust the enclosed information sheet will be helpful. By just supporting a small portion of a translation or a share (a few or several minutes), you and other partners can together make the difference. You can help produce a “game changer” for a people group who has yet to hear and understand. Dozens of language projects are currently in need of funding. If you prefer, you can send your gift safely online at Or, give via credit card by calling (800) 387-4040. If possible, please send your gift by November 30, 2017.

You can also play a crucial role by giving through transfer of stocks, securities, real property, or IRAs. For giving opportunities, please visit: Thank you.

* The Message

† I’ve edited these reports for security and clarity. Thanks for understanding.

** New King James Version

†† New American Standard Bible

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