Dear friend in Christ,
“How great are the wonders God shows us!
How powerful are the miracles he performs!
God is king forever; he will rule for all time.”*
What you are about to read is the result of your intercession, your obedience, your generosity, the courage of film teams … and the power of our Lord!
For reasons of security, I can’t tell you the locations. Just know that all of this happened in a very dangerous and volatile nation.
There is a person here, a tribal man I will call Samson. Sixteen years ago men from a neighboring tribe came to his village and murdered two of his people. In return, his village sent men back to them to settle the score, killing two of their people. Back and forth, this went on for years, revenge killing after revenge killing.
Samson became depressed. His friends and neighbors were dying––he saw no end to the killing. Revenge killing had been their way of life for hundreds of years. So Samson prayed to his god, whom he believed to be fearful and distant: “Please, please hear me! The killing must stop. Will you act?”
There was no reply … nothing. His god didn’t respond … there was only silence. And the killing continued. Then Samson had a dream, but from the living God who appeared to him, saying: “You are to be the person of peace in your tribe.”
Samson had no idea what the dream meant, only that it was powerful. He told his wife. They were both confused, expecting that the opposing tribe would soon come and kill again. Broken and fearful, but remembering the dream, Samson again cried out for help, “Stop the killing!” Then came the answer.
The next day a group of people arrived at his village. “Who are you?” Samson asked. “Why are you here?” They replied, “May the peace of the one true and living God be upon you. We are not from your common religion, not your sect. We are part of the Jesus tribe and have come to bring you peace.”
That got Samson’s attention! “How do I find this peace?” he asked. “We have brought a film about Jesus that will bring you peace.” (They were members of a JESUS film team.) Samson, his wife and the entire tribal village watched. For the first time in their lives, they saw and heard the gospel, brought to them visually and in their heart language. Samson and his wife responded with many tears. They and their whole village prayed to receive Christ!
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”**
For hundreds of years, generation after generation, their tribes had been caught in endless cycles of killing and revenge. Samson and the village leaders immediately made a request of the film team: “We have to go to the warring tribe with this news, to tell them about Jesus, how to find peace. Go with us—show them this film!”
They went and the opposing village received their enemies and the film team. Together, they watched JESUS. Many put their faith in the Lord and laid down their arms. The killing stopped. And then peace began to spread, from village to village, showing to showing.
The president of the partner organization who shared this amazing report happily announced there are now 7,000 house churches in this radical-dominated region—where for 2,000 years precious few had heard of Jesus. Now film teams you help support are showing them JESUS and winning hearts for the Lord.
In the same part of the world is another village, which was also reached by a JESUS film team. After experiencing His Word in their heart language, they too received the Lord. Transformed, they sought His will praying, “Holy Spirit, what do You want us to do?”
An idea came to them. They asked the film team to show JESUS to all the children in their village. This would be a step of courageous faith. Here, to depart from the religion of one’s birth is a capital offense. But despite the danger, the tribespeople invited the children—700 in total—and showed them The Story of Jesus for Children (the children’s version of JESUS). Children of all ages fell in love with Jesus and hundreds gave their lives to Christ, including teens and some young adults. Immediately after the showing, four of the boys approached the film team.
“We have been moved by this film, but you have to understand, we are very bad people. We are orphans, training in the next village to become suicide bombers, along with 200 other orphans. In two weeks, we are to leave and kill people, to become martyrs. Those orphans are our friends. Will you help us rescue them so they can watch the film and learn the truth?”
So under the cover of darkness, the film team and some villagers went into the camp and rescued the children and teens, bringing them to their own homes, safe from the radicals. The teams showed them the film and afterward urged the young new believers, “Your life is not about evil and killing. You have been rescued. Your job now is to turn people away from the evil you were trapped in and instead, lead them to the love, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus.”
We are all waiting to hear that some of these teens are indeed forming their own film teams. And it’s entirely possible. You see, the respected president of the partner ministry, who shared this powerful report, declared: “The JESUS film is the most powerful tool of evangelism I know. We now have 718 full-time film teams of five people each following the leading of the Holy Spirit, working in the most dangerous nations on earth.”
He has also announced: “Last year, our teams reported 807,000 people made decisions to follow Jesus. Nearly all came from radical backgrounds, from unreached, unengaged areas where traditional missionaries wouldn’t last more than a few days. But these film teams can reach them. They are from the same people groups, the same tribes and culture. They show the film in the peoples’ heart languages. Over the last three years, through these film teams, 290,000 house churches have been established.”
“How powerful are the miracles he performs!
God is king forever; he will rule for all time.”
So today, I write today to affirm your partnership, to share these amazing reports, and to say thank you, but also to invite your partnership. For the pace of evangelism and church planting is quickening. More and more film teams are going to where the church is not, where the name of Jesus has never been heard, even once.
And we all feel a sense of urgency to go to those places, like Samson’s village, to reach orphans who are being exploited for evil. This truth should move us all: Hundreds of millions are destined to live out their lives in spiritual darkness without ever hearing the gospel unless someone sends them the good news. Today, will you help send that news? As He leads, will you shine the light of God’s love into their lives? Would you help increase that pace of evangelism and church planting where the church is not?
If you have been a supporting, praying friend of the ministry, you know that, on average, each church-planting film team needs about $42 per day. During that day they could be meeting with a new house church, answering their many questions about the truth they have experienced, or showing more people JESUS. Many film teams also serve in a training and mobilization role, helping to equip and train partner film teams.
Seeing how God is working through your partnership and the film JESUS, may I gratefully invite you to make a gift today of $126 to support a film team for three days? Your gift of $294 will enable their work for an entire week. Or your very generous gift of $625 will help make a half of a month of ministry possible. And should you have the resources, can you pray about a gift of $1,250 to fund a month, or even a full year of showing JESUS and planting churches through a most generous gift of $15,000? However you feel led and are enabled, it will make a difference. Thank you.
Above all, give glory to our magnificent Lord for the miracles He performs, for His many wonders! His kingdom will never end and it’s our joy to partner with you, to be obedient, to follow His leading, to help build that kingdom. Thank you!
Until everyone sees Jesus,
Jesus Film Project®
PS. More than 1,500 ministries and organizations are using JESUS as a core strategy to shine light in the darkness, to bring millions to the cross. It’s our privilege to help support and directly provide resources for these teams, made possible by your prayers and gifts. The pace of church planting is indeed accelerating. Every week new film teams are being raised up, often from people who themselves once walked in spiritual darkness until someone showed them JESUS. They are going to unchurched areas, where the light of the gospel is so very much needed. If you can, please mail or post your gift online by July 31, 2019. Please click the button to give now, or call (800) 387-4040. Every gift, large or small, will make a difference in the lives of people who have never heard the hope of the gospel even once. To make a tax-wise stock, or IRA gift, or from your donor advised fund, call Anna Pratt or Debbie Williams at 888-278-7233, or simply email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
*Daniel 4:3, Good News Translation
** John 14:27 New American Standard Bible