Dear Friend of Jesus Film Project,
What you are about to read is truly incredible and so are the many, amazing opportunities before us all to reach everyone, everywhere.
As a faithful partner, may I encourage you to read this account to your family, Bible study group, Sunday School class—even to your church. I’m sure they too will be praising our King.
Deep in the vast Amazon basin are thousands of isolated communities. The people of these scattered, unreached villages are often dominated by fear, cutoff from the gospel. Their lives are steeped in demonic oppression, shamans, and for some…revenge killings. And there is one particular people group that is greatly feared by all.*
The locals call them the “Skull Splitters,” a title earned by their violent use of weapons.
Years ago a Brazilian Bible translator, a woman I will call Suz, succeeded in establishing herself and her ministry in one of the many villages along the Amazon. For 14 years, she translated the New Testament. Recently, she married a local Brazilian missionary. I will refer to him as Baho. To commemorate their marriage the people of the village held a celebration, a time of feasting and dancing. Almost 2,500 people from 80 different tribes came. Baho used the occasion to baptize new believers.
Suddenly, during the baptism part of the celebration, five armed warriors walked out of the jungle into the village. They were enemies of this village, members of the Skull Splitters. They were dressed in loin cloths, armed with bows and arrows, blowguns and deadly poison darts. A pall of fear fell over the celebration. Were they going to kill these people? Instead, the five got into line with the other new believers! They had seen the film JESUS and wanted to be baptized!
Being careful to avoid the tips of their poison darts, Baho baptized each of them. For the next five hours, he taught these warriors. He told them about Creator God—the Father, Jesus the Son their Savior, and the Holy Spirit. He said that as he talked, “their eyes shined.” Baho also learned that these warriors had walked 10 days through the jungle just to be baptized!
After several days, he asked a jungle aviation service to fly these new brothers back to their village. The plane would land on a grass airstrip, as close to their village as possible. Even then, the warriors faced a four-day trek through the dense jungle. Before boarding the plane, and after many tears, the men asked Baho and Suz to come and tell their own people more about Jesus.
But there was great danger if they did. Missionaries had tried to reach their villages four decades earlier, but were met with great threats: “Leave us or die.” No missionaries had returned since.**
Worse, Baho heard that some Skull Splitters had recently slaughtered 45 gold miners somewhere in the area. But after much prayer, they decided to go, committing themselves to God. Baho and Suz arranged for a flight to a nearby airstrip, along with three Christian members from the tribe Suz had served. They would help translate into the various dialects.
Baho: “The pilot dropped us off. As the plane and its roar disappeared over the horizon, we were left totally isolated. Then fear and dread filled our hearts. We came to realize that this was the same place where those 45 gold miners had been massacred just 18 days before! All we could do was stop on the airstrip, join hands and ask for God’s protection.
“As we were praying, I heard a noise and looked up. I saw the most incredible scene. Hundreds and hundreds of men, women and children had surrounded us. They were armed with bows and arrows, blowguns and poison darts. But they also were wearing western clothes: they had rifles, watches and cell phones, all of which they had taken from the miners they had massacred.
“They began walking towards us and lifted their weapons. They took aim. I thought our time had come. Then we heard shouting from the midst of the crowd. ‘Stop! Stop! Today is not a day of death.’ Another cried out, ‘Do not hurt them. These are the ones who say there is a True Creator.’”
Out from the crowd stepped the very warriors they had baptized weeks earlier! They were smiling, their eyes filled with joy over their arrival. They took Baho, Suz and the Christian tribal members to their large round house, their place of meeting. There the team fulfilled their request and told the people about Jesus, the Son of God, that He was living inside those baptized men.
Baho: “Everyone was so stunned by what they heard that they began singing the message back and forth, their traditional way to spread news. Night after night people were repenting, sometimes going until 5:00 in the morning. This went on day and night. I answered so many questions and at the end we held another baptism. More than 400 Skull Splitters came to Christ!
“Two weeks later we returned to the village (again by plane). We brought the JESUS film and a small solar-powered projector system, so these new believers could see and hear the story of Jesus, the Son of God Who had brought them joy.”The people put out the word to all the surrounding villages: “Come see and hear the story of Jesus, to learn of His love and forgiveness.” They sent runners to everyone living within a 10-day foot journey. Then the people came. Every night the team showed them JESUS.
Baho: “At the end of our stay we gave the equipment to those five warriors who had come out of the jungle to be baptized. We trained them in how to use the equipment and charged them to take the good news to everyone.” An indigenous film team was born in the Amazon!
“Later, we returned again and found that by using JESUS, this new film team had already reached 21 remote villages and 4,600 people with the gospel. They report there are now believers in every region, in places where we are not allowed to go. The warriors are doing what we can’t. We are living a true revival in the heart of the jungle!”
Today, I want you to learn how God is working in another part of the world, where courageous film teams are walking right into the darkness and danger, sharing the good news. There is an area in northern Nigeria (heavily Muslim) where radicals burned down 149 churches. But there are also 2,000 Christian leaders in the south who are preparing to reclaim the area for Christ—by using JESUS.
These and other teams are laboring to reach even members of Boko Haram, an African version of the Skull Splitters. These radicals are brutal, engaged in evil deeds, not knowing the God who loves even them.
Yet, when partner teams are sent and show them JESUS, workers enthusiastically tell us that thousands are responding with tears, actually laying down their arms. And like the five warriors who emerged from the jungle, some of these “former radicals” become film teams!
This brings me to a key reason why I am writing. Many of these teams lack support, which runs about $42 per day.*** They cannot go unless they are sent.
Hundreds of those teams work in urban areas. Others labor in remote regions. They need tools of transportation to reach and mentor as many as they possibly can in remote places.
Now, if you have traveled in mountainous, tropical or desert areas of the Developing World (such as the Amazon basin or rural areas of Africa), you know that the roads can be incredibly bad. At times the best description is “What roads!?” This is why many teams are asking for rugged trail motorcycles, “Universal Terrain Vehicles (UTVs)” or even team trucks.
The potential to increase a team’s effectiveness is why ministry partners have given a generous challenge grant. For your gift of any size to help send teams and equip a them with a motorcycle, UTV or team truck, their gift will come alongside yours and match it with an equal amount up to $150,000 received, doubling your impact.
You can also make the essential ministry work of one of thousands of film teams possible. Your gift of $126 can provide three days of ministry, showing JESUS, mentoring new believers, and planting churches. A gift of $294 will provide one week of ministry. Perhaps you can do more through a gift of $625 for two weeks, or a month by sending $1,250. A gift of $5,000 puts a team in the field and keeps them going for four full months of ministry. And should you have the ability, is it possible you would feel called to support one team for an entire year through a generous gift of $15,000? Many teams are in urgent need of support…and prayer. So please do what you can. And consider the challenge grant offer. A gift of any size will make a difference.
In closing, thank you, for allowing me to share these amazing reports. Thank you for your partnership. Let God’s will work through you. Help everyone, everywhere to learn the glory of the gospel, what Jesus our Lord has done for all who will believe.
Until everyone sees Jesus,
Jesus Film Project®
PS. Research has demonstrated that every $100 you give to the overall ministry will enable 1,000 people to experience JESUS, of whom 100 or more can receive Him as Savior and Lord. Moreover, through the work of many film teams and partners worldwide, JESUS is being used of God to plant 1,000 new churches every day! Many teams are ready to go now. They are just waiting for funding to begin sharing the good news. So if you can, please send your gift by September 30, 2018. You can enable their work by mailing your check, giving online by clicking the "Give a Gift" button or by calling (800) 387-4040 and giving by credit or debit card. For gifts of stock or from an IRA, call (888) 278-7233 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much for however He leads and enables.
* This moving report came through David and Stephanie Palusky, of Renew Outreach, a key partner of Jesus Film Project®. Like you, their hearts beat with a desire to reach everyone, everywhere.
** The government has a policy that these indigenous people are to be left alone. Traditional missionaries are not allowed in. However, national Christians are still able to visit.
*** $42 is an average worldwide cost to support the ministry of a church-planting film team. These funds help cover travel, room and board, materials to reach and follow up new believers and to mentor new church leaders.