Dear Friend of Jesus Film Project,
This will be my last letter to you as executive director.
For reasons of health, I am turning over the reins of leadership of Jesus Film Project® to my close friend and working colleague, Josh Newell.
Being a man of vision and rich experience, Josh is well-equipped to take this ministry into the most exciting and effective years we have ever seen.
I know he will follow in this tradition—by sending you stories of the amazing wonders of God, the work of the film teams around the world, and the fruit of your partnership.
You are greatly appreciated. For your many prayers these last six years, for your kind encouragement, and your faithful giving, I sincerely thank you.
Now, the most recent, wonderful report! This comes from a film team of a key ministry partner, Global Partners of The Wesleyan Church. This team is one of many of their teams who labor in a majority-Hindu nation.
Samuel smiled as a large crowd was building to see the film JESUS. With night falling, he went forward, picked up the microphone and began introducing the good news—what they were about to see. Suddenly a large man stormed through the crowd, heading right for Samuel. Furious, he led a small mob intent on disrupting the showing.
The lead man shouted: “How dare you invite this crowd and show this film! You are trying to dominate the village! You are trying to force us into your religion!” He rushed toward the film equipment, bent on stopping this “outrage.”
Samuel and the other team members moved quickly and stood between the mob and the equipment. Samuel attempted to calm the furious man: “Sir, we are not trying to force people into our religion. Our religion never dominates others.” But it didn’t matter. The man kept shouting, “You call other religions satanic!”
Finally, the Lord gave Samuel the words he needed: “Sir, I have a proposal. If you will consent to watch all of JESUS from beginning to end, and with an open mind, then at the end if you find anything in this film to be hostile to any other religion YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION TO DESTROY THE EQUIPMENT.”
The man agreed, calmed down and joined the crowd. Everyone watched JESUS in silence. The team said the eyes of the angry man were “glued to the screen.” He was just waiting for the moment when his beliefs would be confirmed so he could destroy their equipment. Instead, he witnessed Jesus heal diseases and show compassion on people who did not believe Him. He watched as Jesus sacrificed His own life in love, and not just for those who followed Him, but even for those who in anger, hated Him. And he heard the Word of God in his heart language, the story of Salvation.
When the film ended, Samuel again took the microphone and addressed the crowd. He called out to the man. “Would you come forward please? What have you learned from what you saw tonight?” The man spoke freely: “Please forgive us. I and the men with me knew nothing about Christ until tonight. We have heard the wrong things, believed the wrong things. But this film has shown us that Christ did not come to earth to divert us but to show us the way—the way to truth and life that can only be obtained by the blood of Jesus Christ.
“We now know the truth. We will not stop any Christians from sharing the good news about Jesus. In fact, we will go to church and try to learn more about Him. His sacrifice has proven to us that our sins can only be forgiven through Him.” All glory to His name!
Now this next report is equally amazing and comes from a team laboring in Nigeria, in a Muslim area. Working with a local church, a team secured permission from the village elders to show the film in the town. Then came the conflict…
The local Imam was planning a celebration for “Mawlid,” the birthday of Mohammed. This mosque leader went to the elders with a demand, “That film showing by the church must be cancelled.” The head elder refused, saying, “But I have already given permission. I will just tell them they have to show the film away from the city, at a school. It’s a bad location and no one will want to go.”
The elder told the church and the film team of the change. Wanting to be cooperative, the team went to the site, set up their equipment, but were not sure who would come. Yet it turned out that the location was actually ideal, within walking distance of most of the village. The team said a large crowd assembled, “larger than any we have ever seen for JESUS.” Even people from the town center walked to the school. The only one left in town was the Imam! Eventually, he too gave up and went to see JESUS, saying to the team, “Hurry up and show your film!”
That night, 392 people became followers of Jesus, a very large number for a resistant area. I haven’t heard if that Imam was among the new believers, but we can be certain he heard the Word of God, the life-giving gospel, understood in His language.
Join me in giving praise and glory to our Lord for what He alone has done through these teams, through your partnership. As the Apostle Paul wrote: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)*
This is why hundreds of new film teams need to be mobilized and equipped, especially in areas where millions have never once heard the gospel. Reaching people in these areas is so important that a very generous donor has offered a $100,000 matching gift. He will match what you send for film teams, doubling your impact. With that matching gift in mind, I think of two critical needs:
➤ One is for new film teams to take the gospel to civil war refugees who have fled South Sudan. The refugees are living in crowded camps in northern Uganda. Staff there have a deep, burning desire to train and mobilize many pastors, who will form these new film teams. They will go to the camps, into rural and urban areas presenting JESUS and other films like Magdalena. Once mobilized, trained, and equipped, South Sudan staff want to plant 9,000 churches in three years! More than $397,000 is needed for this historic mobilization.
➤ Several new translations (dubs) of JESUS have been released for Mission 865 language groups—24 largely unreached peoples in Tanzania and Zambia. Teams need to be mobilized and equipped to take JESUS to these people, so they might learn of the gospel in their heart languages, the languages they understand. Reaching them now is critical. Islam is spreading into these nations, offering money and schooling for the poor. Without news of the gospel, they could easily yield to the aggressive advances of a religion from the North. Twelve new teams must be launched with new translations of JESUS.
Would you feel moved to take the gospel to people who have never heard, by making these much-needed teams a reality? And would you also help support existing church-planting film teams? That $100,000 matching gift offer will apply to both new and existing teams.
As you may know, the cost to support one church-planting film team averages $42 per day. During a day you support, a team could be meeting with new fellowship groups, answering their many questions about the exciting new life they’ve each received. Or a team may meet with a church’s leaders, mobilize new outreach groups, or they could be traveling to a remote showing site, preparing to show as many as 3,000 people the gospel.
To send these teams to reach South Sudanese refugees and unreached people in Tanzania and Zambia, as well as other teams, could you send a gift of $168 to support four days of a team’s ministry? The matching gift offer will double your gift, resulting in more than one week of ministry (up to a maximum received of $100,000). You may be able to send $126 to support three days of a team’s work. Doubled, your gift will still make six days of ministry possible. Perhaps you can give more people the good news through a gift of $294, which can also be doubled, resulting in two weeks of showing JESUS.
And should you be among those who have greater financial resources, perhaps you can cover the cost of one month of a team’s work through a gift of $1,250 which can also be doubled, resulting in two months of ministry. Your gift of $2,500 (when doubled) would send a team out for four months—the entire summer, proclaiming the good news and following up and discipling those who respond. If you can support a team for an entire year, please pray about a very generous gift of $15,000. The matching gift offer could also double your influence and impact, resulting in two teams reaching the unreached.
Lastly, may I invite your regular intercession for these teams. As more and more go into difficult, resistant areas (like the reports I shared), they face broader, more fervent opposition. They need much prayer! So ask for the mighty angels of God to go with them, to surround them, and enable their work, unimpeded…all to His glory.
Again, thank you for your years of encouragement, prayers and giving as I have led Jesus Film Project. These are times my wife and I will always treasure. Josh joins me in expressing our collective thanks.
May there be a great outpouring of support for these committed film teams who are working in some of the most challenging places on earth. As you pray for and go with the teams, you are making it possible for millions to be rescued from “…the domain of darkness and transferred…to the Kingdom of His beloved Son….” Thank you!
Until everyone sees Jesus,
Executive Director (outgoing)
Jesus Film Project®
Executive Director (incoming)
Jesus Film Project®
PS. Jesus Film Project is honored to serve in a key partnership role with many ministries, churches and denominations, providing translations of JESUS, training and equipment. Church-planting film teams help mobilize, train and equip lay people to plant churches. More than $1.1 million is needed to mobilize these new film teams and support existing teams for the next few months. As you pray and give, you will be going with the teams, making their ministries possible, working in partnership with dedicated workers as He transfers unreached people out of the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of His dear Son. If possible, please mail your gift by July 31, 2018. Or you can give securely online on this page or by calling (800) 387-4040. And please know that every gift matters. Gifts for film teams through stock, IRA and donor advised funds are all eligible to be doubled through the generous matching gift, up to $100,000 received. Thank you for however you can help.
* New American Standard Bible