Dear Friend in Christ,
What a joy it is to share with you His wonderful deeds! They will never come to an end! Truly, our God has no equal!
➤ For security I can’t disclose where this happened, except it occurred in an African nation, one that was torn apart by decades of civil war. There’s a dedicated pastor/evangelist there who leads a small church.*
Pastor Kami† had a heart to reach a remote people group. But they lived about 60 miles from his church, on the top of a mountain. Civil war had kept them isolated—resulting in no contact from the outside world. With the war over, the Lord gave Kami a desire that they might see and hear the gospel through “JESUS.”
Kami organized a film team: himself, a western missionary and three local Christians. They drove to the base of the mountain, loaded up their backpacks, all their supplies, plus the portable showing equipment. The mountain loomed above them, promising three days of arduous climbing.
They hiked all day, then set up camp and spent the night. The second day’s hike became more difficult. Again, they set up camp and spent the night. Around noon, on the third day, the western missionary became deathly ill, horribly nauseated and suffering great pain. They had no choice but to stop. Would they have to turn back? I imagine they were praying: “Lord, why?! Heal our friend. These people need to receive the gospel.”
Unable to keep going, they again set up camp. All they could do was wait. Kami wondered if his missionary friend had food poisoning. But that wasn’t likely because they had all been eating the same food. Then, with the dawn came relief. The missionary arose and said he felt great and was in perfect condition. He was famished! They ate a large breakfast, packed everything up and resumed their trek. After some hours they made it to the top of the mountain….and a waiting surprise.
The entire tribe of around 500 people was there, including the chief. He told them: “We saw you at the bottom of the mountain, and knew you were coming. No one has come to us for many years. We knew it would take you three days, and upon your arrival, we planned to kill you. But you didn’t come on the third day. We could see that you stopped and we didn’t know why. So, our leaders met and decided if you arrived on the fourth day, we should not kill you. Because you must be coming with an important message for us. Please tell us what it is.”
The team, of course, was relieved. God had gone before them. They set up their equipment—the screen, solar-charged projector and speakers. When it was dark enough, they started the projector. The people had never before seen a film, much less “JESUS,” and they were hearing the gospel in their own language. Some sat behind the screen and walked around to the front, marveling at the spectacle. One asked, “How did you get the people into that sheet?”
But soon they all found themselves engrossed in the story. They listened to the words of Jesus, saw His miracles, felt His love and were moved by His crucifixion. Through the Holy Spirit, they realized that Jesus was dying for them. They rejoiced at His mighty resurrection. And when the film concluded, about 80 percent became followers of Jesus! Today there is a thriving church on the mountain numbering about 350 people, more than two-thirds of the village…all because God used what seemed to be a grave sickness to spare the lives of the team and plant a church.
➤ Here’s another wonderful account. A man who partners with Jesus Film Project® gives out portable radios in North Africa. Nassar ministers in a desert area, with few broadcast stations. But the radios he distributes also play audio from microSD memory cards.
He inserts the memory cards containing the audio drama of “JESUS” (cards that you supply!) into the players. And he superglues them into the slot, so that’s all the people can hear!
Although there is much opposition to Christ in his country, he is bold. In fact, some believers call him “The Wild Man.” One day Nassar was driving through the desert, approaching a town. He saw people setting up a stage by the road, with a PA system, speakers, a generator, and campaign signs. It was a political rally.
So he drove a half mile further, closer to town. He found a field and set up his screen, PA system, projector, speakers and generator. As evening approached, the people began walking from town to the political rally. They came to Nassar’s film showing and sat, mistakenly thinking it was the rally. Instead they watched “JESUS.” Only about 15 people attended. But they were moved by the experience and told others about “JESUS.” Nassar showed the film the next night. More came. He showed it a third night, now attracting 250 people per showing! This went on for a week.
All the while, no one was attending the political rally a half mile down the road. Finally, the politician figured it out. He went to the police who stopped Nassar from showing the “JESUS” film, but not before 76 people came to Christ in this difficult nation! Another miraculous deed!
➤ This last “wonder” comes from a populated region in India that is also resistant to Christ and His followers. There were only 250 known believers in the entire area, a tiny percentage of a large population. Then a person like you gave to equip Pastor Raja with a Church-Planting Resource Kit.
A partner ministry, Missionary Ventures, provided Pastor Raja with a motorcycle. He and three workers began showing “JESUS” to several groups, including a caste known as the “the lowest of the low, the rat catchers,” of whom 95 percent are illiterate.
Once again, people were deeply moved, touched by the power of God and His Word contained in “JESUS.” To date, Raja’s film team has used this portable showing set, the motorcycle and “JESUS” to lead 1,500 people to Christ. And they have planted several churches, all in a difficult area. Further, they have identified five separate castes and 26 villages where they plan to use the equipment and show the people “JESUS.” As one worker said, “This harvest is so amazing!”
These three accounts of the Lord’s deeds are the result of prayer, the commitment of these workers, the power of the Holy Spirit, and your generosity. Yet there remain hundreds of millions who have not heard the gospel, seen the film, or even heard the name of Jesus. I write on their behalf, to encourage your continuing prayers and giving.
You may already know that each film team requires, on average, $42 per day. This covers their travel, lodging, food, and follow-up literature (including picture books for the new believers who cannot read). This $42 also enables them to follow up and disciple new believers.‡
Would you enable people who have never heard the name of Jesus to experience the power of “JESUS”? You can be the one to make that possible by providing a $42 gift for one day of ministry, or two days through a gift of $84. You might be moved to sponsor a week of ministry with gift of $294, or a month for $1,250. Perhaps you can fund a full year of a team’s work through a very generous gift of $15,000. Or you can equip a film team with a Church-Planting Resource Kit through a gift of $3,240. Those are both large amounts, but you can still help by funding a portion, joining others who “stand in the gap.”
Supporting the film teams is so critical, the opportunities so numerous, that generous donors have issued a Challenge Grant of $100,000. They invite you to follow their lead, essentially doubling the impact of your partnership. Give as you are led of God and according to your ability.
In closing, we often speak in terms of the numbers of showings, decisions and churches planted. And that is all wonderful. But remember, every statistic represents individual changed lives. So if I may…one more wonderful story…a life totally transformed:
“I was the drunkard of our village. My husband tried to stop my addiction by throwing away my alcohol. I responded by trying to poison him. That didn’t work. I asked the witch doctor to place a spell on him. That didn’t work either. Then ‘JESUS’ was shown in my village. I saw how Christ died for my sins. I gave Him my life, and now I love my husband and seven children. I no longer have a desire to drink. I want to live for Christ the rest of my life.”§
This is what happens when you make it possible for people to experience the power of the gospel through “JESUS.” With Christmas and the end of the year approaching, would you seek His guidance? As He may lead, I invite you to give unreached people the greatest of all gifts, Jesus our Lord. May this holiday season be your best ever as you experience His love in an ever deeper way.
Until everyone sees Jesus,
Jesus Film Project®
PS. The Challenge Grant is for film teams working in West Africa and India. It presents a wonderful opportunity to multiply your impact when your gift is combined with theirs. Also, consider a tax-smart gift of stocks or appreciated property as well as a transfer of a qualified IRA. You can learn more at www.jesusfilm.org/planned-giving, call (888) 278-7233, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. (Some restrictions apply, but substantial tax savings are available. Please consult with your tax advisor.) Transfers of property, securities or retirement assets must be completed by December 31, 2018. You can give online on this page or call (800) 918- 9929. Thank you so much.
* This report was passed along from Wycliffe Associates, a partner of Jesus Film Project.
† I frequently use pseudonyms for security. I know you understand.
‡ The living expenses/salaries of some teams may be covered by partner ministries or other means.
§ This report is from ministry partner, JESUS Film Harvest Partners.