Dear Friend in Christ,
“Now all glory to God, who is able…” (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)
What an incredible time to be alive … to witness the amazing things our God is doing! As a faithful, giving partner of this global ministry, I know you will be encouraged.
There is a very dangerous country that shall remain unnamed, home to thousands of remote villages. Many communities are ruled by a tribal “head man,” the local religious leader. If you hope to influence a village for the gospel, he must invite you, else you face stiff resistance.
A family of 11 members in a nearby nation was called by God to become missionaries to these very people. These believers are one of many specialized teams recruited through a partner ministry (with whom we work closely and help support). Trained and equipped, they share JESUS and plant churches, going into the most difficult of places. This family felt the Spirit leading them to leave their jobs, their homes and their lives, to live permanently in an unreached village, so everyone there might understand the gospel.
They moved across the border. The family’s patriarch approached a village leader: “We are here to live among you. We want to start a business. Will you grant us land to build a house?”
The head man refused: “No, we will not! This is my land. You will leave. If you don’t go immediately, I am going to get all the armed men of the community to go to war against you. We will kill you.” The patriarch went back to their team area leader: “He is resisting and threatening us. What shall we do? We want everyone to follow Jesus.” Discouraged, but full of faith, they fasted and prayed, seeking the Spirit’s guidance.
The family remained outside the village, about a thousand feet away. From their temporary quarters they could see trouble building. The community was arming themselves, just as the head man had threatened. They continued to pray. Then one night, Jesus appeared to a team member in a dream telling him to ask nearby teams and other Christians to come join them for a day. The dream made no sense, but they obeyed, sent out word, and soon understood why.
The various other teams and Christians traveled to the village. The resistant tribal leader watched them arrive and, after over a week’s time, his fear began to build. He assumed they were soldiers ready to fight! He approached the patriarch and in defeat announced, “I give up. We don’t have nearly as many men to fight as you. We cannot win.” Imagine the head man’s surprise when the patriarch told him, “We are not people of war, but have come to introduce you to the Prince of Peace, to meet the God who loves you and offers you forgiveness for all your sins.” They did, by sharing their own journey of faith in Jesus and introducing them to the Son of God through the film JESUS.
It wasn’t long before this church-planting team who use JESUS sent out a message, “Every single day we are baptizing people from this village. People everywhere are hearing the gospel and learning about Jesus! Now everyone wants to learn about Jesus!” All glory to God … He is able!
Let me take you to another difficult area, to a very radicalized part of North Africa. Once again, a Christian family (also equipped as a film team) went to an unreached area—this time to start a cattle-raising business, to become a witness.
The team prayed, asking God for protection. They used sound farming techniques. Soon the people in the community noticed how well their cattle were doing. They wondered how these new people could prosper. For they were faithless, disobedient to the dominant religion. They didn’t even go to the house of prayer!
So, the community sent their own missionaries to live with the Christian family, to convince them to return to the “true religion.” Seeing the opportunity, the JESUS film family began praying and fasting. Soon, the missionaries who were sent to correct their ways were asking questions! One missionary elder asked the team leader to explain his Christian beliefs.
“Rather than answering your questions, would you mind if we showed you a film?” The team pulled out their backpack set, speakers, screen and projector, and showed him JESUS. The elder watched transfixed … again … again … and again … seven days in a row! He started reading a Bible the team gave him.
At the end of the seven days he gathered his family before the team, all 36 of his family, and announced: “I am ready to make a decision. We are no longer going to follow our religion. We are going to follow the Jesus in this film.”
Not only did his whole family come to faith, but over the next eight months, they planted 10 house churches sharing their new faith and using JESUS, going from village to village, in a radical area! Our God is truly able “…to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
May I take you to one more unnamed country in Southeast Asia? There is more freedom here, but people are still resistant, steeped in ancestor and spirit worship. A church-planting JESUS film team set up their equipment in a public square. It was the people’s first exposure to the gospel. Most left the showing without expressing interest.
But when the team had packed up, ready to leave for another village, a couple stopped them. They said they had been out in a field during the showing, watching their cows. They could hear the soundtrack, the Word of God in their language. “Can you show us this film?”
Rather than setting up, the team leader brought out his video tablet. The couple sat and watched. Afterward, he answered their many questions, personalizing the gospel, letting them know that “He died for you!”
They believed and joined a small, existing house church. Seven families in this house church now meet together with a JESUS film team every week to learn and grow in their faith. Pray that these few believers will become a shining witness to the love of God and show JESUS to hundreds more. Pray too that as the teams use digital tools such as video tablets, SD cards, live streaming and other means, their reach will be extended, that thousands will come to Christ. And one of the team leaders working there had a message for you. “If there is one thing I could say to the donors, it’s that it is a great privilege to have this equipment. It’s very helpful and productive. It’s exactly what we need for traveling from village to village. We are very, very thankful.”
So, I hope you have felt His pleasure as you have read. He truly is using your partnership in amazing ways. As you know, there remain hundreds of millions who have yet to understand the gospel in their heart language, much less hear the name Jesus. This is the reason I would like to again invite your gracious partnership. Each church-planting film team needs about $294 per week ($42 per day) to support their ministries. During that week, they could be meeting with a new house church, answering their many questions about the truth they have experienced, training other teams, or showing unreached people JESUS. In a number of places teams are doing this work safely online or by phone.
And during these virus days, many of the teams have also been using digital methods to share the good news: by pointing people to the Jesus Film Project app and live streaming, by using video tablets, activating the amazing NewLifeBoxes that set up virtual hotspots to show JESUS and our other films anywhere, and by giving out microSD cards.
So, would you again feel moved to have a part? Your gift today of $126 will shine the light of His truth by supporting three days of a film team’s ministry. Your gift of $294 will enable their work for one week. Or your very generous gift of $625 will help make half a month of ministry possible. It may be that even in these challenging days you have good financial resources. Would you feel led to support a full month of a team’s ministry through a gift of $1,250? You may have the ability to fund an entire year of church planting by sending a generous gift of $15,000. Give as He leads and enables.
One last report: During these COVID-19 days, I have learned of one couple who has taken a bold step in a very closed country. Exposed to the virus, they moved into a quarantine area, with 60 other isolated people. Entrusting themselves to the Lord, they are using a small video projector, showing these people the gospel in their mother tongue. Pastor Eric, the husband, reports that many of these 60 people had never heard of God’s redemptive power. Based on the reports I’ve shared; I would not be surprised to eventually learn that most of these 60 have come to Christ and started a church!
Today, however you feel led to give to support these film teams, your faithfulness is much appreciated. Your generous gift will once again go with these teams and shine His light into darkness. Go with them too through your intercession. Thank you for letting God work through you. He is truly able “… to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” May God bless you greatly.
Until everyone sees Jesus,
Jesus Film Project®
PS. During these days of COVID-19, I ask your prayers for the protection of the film teams. The ministry has well-thought-out procedures for their protection. Yet, all risks cannot be eliminated. Also, contributions for the summer months may slow, especially with the downturn in the economy. To donate today, please click the “give a gift” button. If you would prefer to donate by phone, please call us toll-free at 1-800-918-9929. Your gift, large or small, will make a difference in the lives of people who have never heard the gospel even once. Thank you.