Showing God’s Love to the World

#2571179 - "JESUS" Film Teams

Dear Friend in Christ,

Thank you for your prayers and gifts, for being a faithful friend of JESUS.

May you be blessed and encouraged by all I’m about to share.

Several months ago, I brought you a moving report about a man I called Tawab (not his real name, changed for security). Since I wrote, we have received additional information.

You may remember Tawab. He had come to a secret meeting of 12 men in the desert, from eight different nations—countries where Christians are always in danger.

Hidden behind closed doors, they were there to be trained to use the film JESUS and learn to share their faith. Each gave his testimony. Some had become followers of Jesus just in the previous few months. And nearly every one of them came to faith when he watched JESUS.

These former radicals were on fire for their Lord, wanting to set others free from the lies that had enslaved them. They were living examples of Isaiah’s great prophecy, “… For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine” (Isaiah 9:2b NLT).

Now it was Tawab’s turn to talk. He confessed that he had killed many people, including 16 children. He said he had felt uneasiness in his heart for what he had done. He really had the attention of the trainers.

“For most fighters,” he said, “it’s nothing to them, all the killing.” But he confessed he felt a growing disquiet within. So Tawab said he took a leave from the fighting. Two days after arriving in his home village, he learned that a film team of men had also arrived. They were showing a film privately in homes and it was in their mother tongue. Tawab recounted how he had no intention of watching. But God had another plan.

“By accident, I watched the JESUS film. I had never heard of Jesus before. I had never heard this message of peace ... and I became a follower of Jesus.”

Tawab found himself transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, as he heard the Word of God, the gospel. The “worst of the worst,” a murderer of innocent children, was forgiven, at peace, clothed in the righteousness of Jesus!

Set free, he told the trainers how he had asked the film team to come to his own home so his family could watch JESUS. Light shined in their darkness and they all became followers of Jesus. The next night 45 families in his village gathered to watch and they all became believers—about 450 people in all—in this highly resistant area!

Since then, in just four months, 75 members of his former fighting organization have laid down their arms and become believers. Today, each one of them leads a home church and they are passionately and boldly reaching the people around them, mostly by using JESUS. “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29 NLT).

As Tawab finished telling his story, he mentioned two things that stuck with the training staff: “I want to thank the people who helped bring the JESUS film to [my country] ... Without them, I would still be [fighting in a holy war]. Thank you for helping us know Jesus.”

Then he asked of them a deep question: “When I was born and when I grew up, where were the Jesus followers? Why did no one tell us about Jesus?”

Thanks to you, the impediments to reach people in closed areas are now being overcome. Film teams in Tawab’s country are growing in number. They are expanding, going to unreached villages. They are telling their own people about Jesus. And some of them are former radical fighters, now fighting to shine light in the darkness. Trained and equipped, they are doing the work of evangelism and church planting. Glory to God! For your part in their ministries, thank you!

Next, I want to tell you about a man I will call Reza. Like Tawab, he was fervent in his faith, a religious leader and much respected. The ministry partner who shared this man’s powerful story works with Arab refugees in Europe and described Reza as having been full of rage.

Among his religious duties, he presided over a yearly, brutal ceremony in which the devout engaged in self-flagellation. As Reza sang portions from their holy book, the faithful would strike their own backs, chests and heads with whips, knives, and swords, drawing considerable blood. As they suffered, they sang in mourning, seeking to atone for the sins of their ancestors and families.

But now, despite his devotion and years of service, Reza’s life was in ruins. His only son was born with congenital damage, having six toes and six fingers. He was almost blind and could hardly speak. The doctors told Reza and his wife that their son would not make it past four years of age.

The situation worsened. Reza’s wife was involved in a serious accident and became extremely ill. Reza could not understand. How could all this happen? He had been so faithful.

Feeling abandoned, he became gripped by deep resentment and anger toward his god.

But then, just like Tawab, because of you he was given the chance to watch JESUS, likely by watching online. For such a dedicated and devout follower of his religion, the gospel story was very difficult to understand. So, he would watch again … and again, and yet again … ultimately seven times! He said that he cried often, touched by the love of Jesus. He could not shake the power of what he saw and heard. Finally, Reza believed.

Then God showed Reza more love. He healed his wife and his son. Rather than dying by age four, the boy astonished everyone and according to Reza, “developed brilliantly.” Reza is now living in Germany as an asylum seeker, seeking to have his family join him. He is part of an evangelistic team in Germany and, according to that partner, “burns with a zeal to bring his people to their wonderful Savior.” He regularly shares his testimony and helps people to see and experience JESUS.

When I receive these reports, when I spend time with ministry partners who share these miracles, I cannot help but feel joy for all that God is doing. What a privilege to have a part, to join with you in showing JESUS to the world, until everyone, everywhere has experienced this powerful portrayal of the gospel in their heart language.

One of the most effective ways to reach everyone, everywhere is through the work of film teams. Some are able to present JESUS in outdoor settings, others behind closed doors, and still others by digital means, engaging seekers through social media and other methods. They are all busy, committed, and zealous to win their people to Christ and follow them up, to make disciples. It’s why I am writing today, to invite your partnership.

The average worldwide daily cost for one film team is $42. This amount helps make possible their travel, room and board, the training of new film teams and church planters, discipleship literature, and equipment to show JESUS. Teams like these are also at the core of planting new churches and helping them thrive. Through their work, by both staff and ministry partner teams, and by other ways by which people watch JESUS, one person is coming to Christ every second! More than 800 churches are being planted every day!

Would you feel led to go with these film teams and take the good news to people like Tawab and Reza, to people who have never heard? May I invite you to send a gift of $168 for four days of a film team’s ministry? Perhaps you can fund a full week through a gift of $294. You can also sponsor a team’s work for half a month with a gift of $625 or an entire month by sending $1,250. With your gift of $5,000, you can help keep a film team in the field, reaching people, following them up and guiding them into churches and discipleship groups for four months. You may also feel led to help equip a waiting film team by supplying a Church-Planting Backpack Set through a generous gift of $3,240.

According to your financial ability, may I suggest you pray about sponsoring all the work of one film team during a complete year for a generous gift of $15,000? A gift of any size will help show people JESUS, disciple and follow up new believers and help plant growing, reproducing churches. Your every gift can make an eternal difference in the lives of unreached people.

Currently, more than $1.3 million is needed for the support of the film teams in seven key countries for the next few months, to help plant thousands of churches. Many friends of JESUS are therefore needed to join in partnership, through prayer and giving.

As you give, please remember what the apostle Paul wrote long ago: “Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God” (2 Corinthians 9:11 NLT).

Thank you for going with the teams through your intercession and gracious giving.

Thank you for taking the gospel to people who have never heard. God bless you for making the many teams’ eternity-changing ministries possible.

Until everyone sees Jesus,

Josh Newell

Executive Director

Jesus Film Project®

PS. It seems that almost every month we hear of new Christians who are from radical backgrounds being trained to show JESUS as a film team. They, more than anyone else, know how dark the chains of ignorance are until someone is sent to tell them about the Savior. Transformed, they live for Him and are even ready to die so that others might see the light, the glory of God in the face of Christ. Film teams the world over join me in expressing our thanks to you. More than $1.3 million is needed for team support in seven key nations. Teams and ministry partners are ready if friends like you will equip them. 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.

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