from "I Just Saw JESUS"
Written by Paul Eshleman
finishing a showing of JESUS in a rural village in Thailand, film team
members decided it would be wiser to sleep there than to try to make
the trip home in the darkness. Although they had not been warmly received
by the villagers, they felt they would be given a safe place to stay
for the night.
They were told they could sleep in the Buddhist temple; they were not
told that this temple was known for miles around for its inhabiting demons.
Others who had tried to stay there either had been run out before morning
or had been found dead the next day.
The team gathered their equipment and settled down on the floor of the
temple. Shortly after drifting off to sleep they were awakened all at
once by the immaterial presence of a hideous beast. There in the corner
of the room appeared the most frightful image they had ever seen. Fear
struck them all like an icy fist.
"Let's do what Jesus did in the film," someone shouted. So together they
prayed, and cast the demon out of the temple in the name of Jesus! Sensing
that the demon had lost his power in the presence of the Son of God,
the entire team fell into peaceful sleep.
Early the next morning the villagers came to the temple to look for the
team's equipment. They were certain that, like the others, these too
had been driven away in the night, or killed. When they found them all
sleeping undisturbed, they were confronted with the undeniable fact that
God is more powerful than any other force.
* * *
a village in Thailand where JESUS was being shown, a gang of thugs
decided to rob the team of their equipment, hock it and make some quick
money. Creeping into the village during the night, they scouted the hut
where the team's equipment was stored. Security was simple. It would
be an easy job.
But as they approached the entrance, they were startled by two brilliant
white beings filling the doorway. Both were over eight feet tall and
brandished flaming swords. Frightened, the robbers ran into the darkness.
Hiding in the bushes, they convinced themselves that they had probably
seen a ghost and decided to try again. They went around to the back door
this time, but again, the figures appeared, blocking the entrance, keeping
them from what they had come to steal.
One of the robbers cried out,
"If this is the power of their God, we dare not steal from them!" Later,
some of the gang members ventured into the film showing and became believers.
It was one of them who told this story to the team. (pp. 112-113)
"The village of Pamongan is in the heart of the oldest Islam settlement
of Indonesia. The first fiery Muslim missionaries had swept across this
part of central Java nearly six hundred years ago, choosing Demak, a
nearby city, as the site of the first mosque to be built in the country.
No Christian church had ever existed in this steamy farming village,
and frankly, none of the churches in the Semarang region had even considered
doing evangelism here. Early attempts had all failed miserably. Pamongan
was "closed" to the gospel and everyone knew it. So God began to work
from the inside.
In Pamongan, Muslim merchant Subawi had grown restless in his quest for
God. Frustrated in his search for lasting peace of mind and troubled
by his crippling weakness for gambling, Subawi pestered the local mullahs
(Muslim teachers) for answers every chance he could. Questions burned
inside him like an unquenchable flame.
For weeks he sought help from the mullahs but the rituals he was told
to perform and the laws they instructed him to live by never helped.
Still he gambled, still he had no peace. Where was the freedom he so
desperately longed for?
His questions increased until one afternoon the mullah threw his hands
over his head in exasperation. "I do not have the answers you seek, Subawi!" he
said. He pointed to the bookshelves lining his wall. "There. Take what
you will from my shelves and find it yourself!"
Subawi looked at title after title, and the one called "Holy Bible" caught
his attention. A friend had mentioned it to him a long time before. He
lifted the black-bound book from the mullah's shelf, tucked it under
his arm and headed for home.
Subawi had heard that a very powerful mullah named Jesus was written
of in these pages; someone who had healed sickness and raised people
from the dead. Surely this mullah would have the answers he sought so
earnestly--if only he could find His name in the book. He opened it at
the beginning, looking for the name of Jesus, but, turning page after
page, he could not seem to find it. Then, almost at the end of the book
in a part called the New Testament, Subawi found what he was looking
With great hunger in his heart, he read the pages several times and knew
this was the truth he had sought for so long. He was not sure how to
make it a part of himself, how to draw it into his life, but he shared
with his family what he had discovered in this wonderful book the Muslim
teacher had loaned him.
Subawi's mother Sunarti, a widow now, was desperately afraid of dying.
She lay awake at night worrying about the afterlife, the superstitions
and black magic of the central Java culture casting fearful images into
her mind. She had sought the answer to her fears through a shaman, a
priest who uses magic. With his powers he could cure sickness, uncover
secrets, see into the future, and control events in people's lives, but
he could not reassure Sunarti about her fate after death.
When Subawi shared with his mother what he had read Sunarti knew he had
found what they both had been looking for. Swandini, Subawi's brother,
joined them as they named themselves Christians. Only Subawi's wife remained
opposed to their ideas about this Jesus they spoke of. She treated them
all as if they had gone mad.
Several weeks later, friends from Semarang told of a film they had seen
in their village. It was about this man called Jesus. Subawi asked permission
from the village chief to show the film in Pamongan too, but he was refused
because there were no Christians to sponsor it. "I am a Christian," he
said. "My mother and brother are Christians as well. We will sponsor
the film together!" And arrangements were made.
A few nights later, the film JESUS was started for the first
time in Pamongan. Within the first three minutes the amplifier blew out.
After all the waiting and preparations, there seemed nothing to do but
cancel the showing, until the Muslim mullah in the audience offered the
amplifier from the mosque. It was hooked up and the showing proceeded
without a hitch.
At the end of the film, when the villagers were given the opportunity
to receive Christ, Subawi, Sunarti and Swandini were the first to take
a public stand for the Jesus they had loved for many months. Two others
stood with them that night: a fifty-year-old laborer named Parti, and
a Muslim mullah.
The next night some of the team members were to meet in Sunarti's home
with those five who had taken a stand in their new faith, but eight people
were there, including three who had been too afraid to stand publicly
the night before. The little group met weekly and quickly grew to twenty,
then fifty and soon more than one hundred. One year later, Campus Crusade
officially turned the Pamongan congregation of two hundred believers
over to Baptist church leaders for supervision and pastoring. One active
member of the congregation is the former leader of the mosque." (pp.
"With the hundreds of church buildings in the United States [and I might
add England also] that sit empty on Sunday mornings, it is sometimes
difficult for Americans [and Britons] to understand the excitement about
church planting. But to those involved in foreign missions church planting
is the reason they are there. So often, though, the methods used make
it a futile effort.
The ambassador to the United Nations for Swaziland told me,
"You missionaries do it all wrong when you come to our country. First
of all, you start with the women. We are a patriarchal society. If you
reach the men, the women and children will follow. "
Second, you bring too much written material. We have been working hard,
but still we have only 28 percent literacy in Swaziland. Bring films,
conduct dramas. Involve the children in plays about Jesus and the fathers
will always come to see their children perform."
JESUS has proved to be an excellent solution to this challenge.
Everyone comes when the film is shown in a village--it is a civic event,
and often a novelty, since many of the areas where the film is shown
do not even have electric lights.
After the showing everyone is given a chance to "come to the light" and
receive Christ. JESUS serves as a filter to find those who are
ready to accept Him as Savior. The film also presents the gospel clearly,
greatly reducing the chance of leaving people with misunderstandings.
And teaching is begun the next day when follow-up sessions are offered
to those who have professed Christ. New Christians are taught how to
study their Bibles, how to share their faith, and how to continue meeting
together for growth and edification. Out of these small groups have come
new churches on every continent.
Paul McKaughan of the Presbyterian Church of America said, "The JESUS film
is the greatest tool for evangelism that God has given the church in
the last hundred years. I believe it is one of the finest church-planting
tools we have ever had." (pp. 121-122)
The results of the JESUS ministry are remarkable. It is not
just another collecting of "spiritual scalps." Follow-up counselors are
found and trained long before the film is shown, and the home Bible studies
and study groups that are organized afterward help those who meet Jesus
through the film to grow in their new faith.
We are not seeing emotional responses to a moving film but decisions
that change lives and breed the desire to share what they have found
with those who do not know Him. It is pure, unbridled joy to be a part
of this. (p. 124)
TIME TO REAP
town of Whitefield, India, lies just outside of Bangalore...A stately
old town square is crowded now with a jumble of makeshift stalls set
up in dusty spaces. The once regal whitewashed pillars of the general
store are flaking and encrusted with the stain and disrepair of years
of neglect, and in their shadow leathery-skinned women in ragged clothing
sell their fruit and vegetables to anyone who can buy. Gaunt, hollow-eyed
men sit cross-legged in the dirt holding out coconuts to passerby, while
goats and dogs vie with the flies for the garbage rotting at their feet.
And everywhere the children play, barefoot and dirty, unconscious of
the stench rising from the streets around them.
In the midst of it all are the ever present signs of man's eternal search
for God. Hindu women, the marks of their cast on their foreheads, enter
an ancient temple across from the market; Muslim women, covered from
head to toe in garments of black, bargain with the vendors for what they
need; and the seller in a shaded stall offers pictures and the literature
of the Sathya Sai Baba.
But the smiling reverend is not discouraged. "What God is doing here," he
said, "is remarkable!" The whiteness of his teeth struck a contrast with
his smooth, brown skin and his black eyes flashed with excitement. "Let
me tell you how the JESUS film has helped us here. "Many missionaries
have ministered in Whitefield long years with no results, only discouragement
and Satanic oppression. Walter Cowen and his wife came from North America
and became so disheartened that they deserted their faith and gave all
they had to Sai Baba. "These few who have dared to follow Christ were
openly persecuted by others. One radical Hindu group entered a home where
several Christians had gathered, beat them severely and told them they
could no longer meet to worship Christ. In spite of it all, God is in
"One day, I heard about the JESUS film and the training in evangelism
that Campus Crusade provides. I remember praying earnestly one night
that somehow God would let us use this film; I asked Him for ten showings
in our area. The very next day God sent Charlie Abro from India Campus
Crusade to my house. He explained that he was training film team
workers to go into north India and he wondered if I would like to use
them for the next forty days!"
He laughed out loud, remembering the excitement of God's answer to his
prayer. "I can't tell you how wonderful it was, Paul. Hundreds responded
to the message."
"How many people are in this area?" I asked. He took me to a hand-drawn
map tacked on the wall. At the top he had written in large letters. "Goal
for Evangelism and Church Planting." He tapped the center of the map
with his finger. "In about five square kilometers there are thirty villages
and thirty-three thousand people. But you know, during the forty days
that the film teams were here we reached every one of the thirty targeted
villages and between a thousand and fifteen hundred came to each showing.
Fifteen to twenty in each village accepted Christ as we followed up."
The reverend was completely absorbed in his ministry. It showed all over
him as he talked with great animation of what the Lord was doing in Whitefield...
The reverend's living room was nothing more than a small cube furnished
with two old chairs, a cabinet overflowing with follow-up literature
and stacks of New Testaments, a few books, and room to park his motorcycle.
I could not help but wonder how many others would even consider living
as simply as he did, yet to him to be part of evangelizing Whitefield
was a God-given privilege that he loved.
"How many of the thirty-three thousand have seen the film, Reverend?" He
smiled proudly. "All of them have seen it at least once. So far, twenty-three
thousand have seen it twice." "Tell me about the results." "We have four
churches now and at least twenty-five people in each have been baptized
and become members. Many more attend each week who have received Christ,
but you must understand that in this Hindu culture baptism often results
"Anyone may attend the church but we require baptism for membership and
we don't baptize new believers until we are sure they have counted the
cost of their new commitment and really understand what it could mean
to them personally. It's not unusual for a new believer converted from
Hinduism to be beaten severely by his own family. Some have had their
clothing burned and been thrown out of their homes. Disowned.
"But people keep coming. Besides the four new churches we also have five
new prayer cells with twenty to twenty-five members in each. We are praying
these will also become churches, but we need more pastors first."
How different from in America where we so often feel the need to court
and entertain our church members to keep them coming. Here in India,
in the face of persecution and hardship, this incredible brother is pastoring
four churches and leading five prayer cells. What just a little help
would mean to him!
Miracles happen every day in places like Whitefield. As the reverend
went from house to house distributing invitations to a film showing he
asked a woman to come. She pointed to her daughter with the pain of dysentery. "I
cannot come," said the worried mother. "My daughter is too ill. She has
been like this for days."
"Would you come if your daughter were well?" he asked. The woman said
she would, and the reverend prayed, asking in the name of Jesus that
the child be healed. As they watched, the pain left the child's body
and she stood to her feet, strong and well, the dysentery gone. That
night the mother came to the showing as she had promised, and she brought
thirty friends and relatives. Nearly all of them are now believers. (pp.
The film is often well received when other evangelistic methods are not.
In a village in Karnataka a gospel team trying to conduct open air meetings
was driven away as nationals threatened to burn their van and literature.
The film team arrived the next day and was given immediate permission
to show the picture. More than five thousand people came to see JESUS
and asked the team afterward to take it to other nearby villages. (p.
early evening, in a vacant lot in Usulatan, El Salvador, Pablo and his
film team were finishing the final preparations for the showing of JESUS
that night. Several hundred people had already gathered and others were
coming down the dusty roads alone or in small groups. They stood or sat
together in nervous clusters, involved in a hushed chatter but not relaxing.
And then they heard it: the sound of an approaching plane. A common enough
occurrence, but to these people there was a difference. They had learned
to listen for and identify the sounds of an impending attack. It was
part of the skill needed to stay alive in El Salvador now.
The aircraft strained as it climbed into the sky above them. It was the
first of the signs--and all they needed to hear. Everyone ran from the
vacant lot to find cover. Overhead the plane seemed to stall, then suddenly
it dropped toward the earth, broadcasting a chilling scream as it fell
toward its target.
Within seconds no one on the ground was in sight. Everyone was hidden,
trembling, waiting inside the surrounding adobe huts, which provided
little more than the feeling of protection. The plane roared low, flying
a line just across the street from the lot where the movie screen still
stood. The pilot strafed a row of red tile roofs with machine gun fire
and a swarm of frightened young men with M-16s slung over their shoulders
bolted from the doors and windows to take cover in the denseness of the
No one moved for several minutes; they were waiting to see if the plane
would make another attack on the village. Pablo lay in his shelter, telling
God of the disappointment he felt that no one would come to the showing
of the film tonight. They would have to wrap up the equipment and try
again the next night.
When it seemed safe enough to come out, he stood to his feet--and was
surprised to see what was happening. Several of the villagers were already
making their way back into the lot and settling down, waiting for the
picture. Pablo couldn't help grinning. There was a showing that night
with over five hundred brave souls coming back into the open to watch.
El Salvadorans are responding to the film in surprisingly large numbers.
During one week of some of the fiercest fighting, the film was shown
in Santa Telca, a city of fifty-two thousand. Some twenty-three thousand
people came and more than fifty-six hundred made decisions to receive
Christ. (pp. 131-132)
ALL THE BARRIERS
nearly four years Vek Huong Taing, Campus Crusade's leader in Phnom Penh,
had been missing without a trace. Then he was discovered in the Taphraya
refugee camp in Thailand, just north of Aranyaprathet and one mile from
the Cambodian border. He and 140,000 other forgotten people were jammed
into makeshift bamboo huts, grateful for a cup of rice twice a day and
a tin of sardines once a week.
Living conditions were unbelievable. People were reduced to the level
of animals, made to work at hard labor, deprived of the smallest pleasures,
such as clean water and a chance to bathe. Sickness flourished, spirits
weakened, feeling people became numb to the pain they could not escape.
Through a series of diplomatic miracles, Taing was allowed to come to
the United States with his wife and son. But behind him, in the squalor
and stench of that fearful place of pity, he left thirty relatives, three
of them tiny, newborn babies. A few months later Bill Bright and I returned
to the camp carrying a few cloth diapers and a copy of the JESUS film
dubbed into Cambodian by Taing and other refugees in America.
By the time Bill and I arrived there was a large bamboo church in Khaoidong.
It had been started a few months before by the first Christian refugees
relocated here. Now they numbered eight thousand, and met in hundreds
of home churches throughout the camp.
They were open about their meetings and met with permission, but it remained
dangerous to name the name of Christ. Persecution was common and cruel.
Severe beatings were widespread, and one believer had been thrown in
boiling water, almost costing his life.
In cooperation with Food-for-the-Hungry, Campus Center refugee coordinator,
Paul Utley, secured permission for the JESUS film to be shown
by the pastor of the bamboo hut church. Working around the early evening
curfew and other intrinsic problems, the believers began showing the
film every day after we left.
One year later I returned to the camp and could not believe what I saw.
The face of the grounds was not the same. Eighty thousand refugees had
been relocated, and those who remained had begun to take hopeful pride
in themselves and their meager surroundings. Gardens had been planted,
and a return of caring for the welfare of others flourished as well.
The Cambodian pastor beamed. "It is because of the film," he said. "We
showed it every day until our six-month permit ran out, but by then we
did not mind. Everyone in camp saw the film; many saw it over and over.
Thousands came to Christ through JESUS and lives changed. You
can see it all around you." Tears filled his coal-black eyes. "Thank
you for the film. It gave us back the source of life."
* * *
few months ago I was in Washington, D.C., on business, and I got to talking
to the Cambodian maid who cleaned my hotel room. Before long I discovered
she was a Christian too. "How long have you been a Christian?" I asked.
She smiled broadly and in her broken English said, "More than one year." "Where
did you hear about Jesus?" "In a refugee camp in Thailand," she said. "I
saw a film called JESUS." (PP. 142-144)
PAY A PRICE
summer thousands of students and lay people raise the money to cover
their expenses and travel to Asia, Africa, and Latin America on film
teams. They give up comfortable beds to sleep in hammocks on an Amazon
river boat, a straw mat beside a Philippine rice paddy, or a sleeping
bag on the floor of an African mud hut.
Their schedule is demanding, the work is hard and the difficulties endless.
For every showing in every village, they must locate a place to stay
and a way to feed themselves, and they must adapt to diets that are strange
to them. In most places they battle language barriers, unable to express
even the simplest thought without an interpreter. There are cultural
barriers that confront them, and the threat--and reality--of diarrhea,
dysentery and malaria.
In every new place they must establish hearings with town officials and
gain permission to show the film; then they have to involve local churches,
train couselors, and do personal evangelism. In many places religious
prejudice precedes them, creating situations of very real danger, and
in other places national unrest and war threaten their very lives.
Under unpredictable and sometimes frightening circumstances, they show
the film, guide non-believers to new relationships with Christ, and begin
discipleship groups that continue in local churches long after the team
has returned home. Because of the continuous strain place on team members,
there is time set aside daily for personal quiet times with the Lord,
Bible study, and team prayer. Every week or two they have a few days
for rest, recreation and spiritual restoration. Team members testify
to incredible personal growth, and to learning new lessons in spiritual
Every day teams around the world are called upon to bring their equipment
into remote locations and show the JESUS film to those who wait
for the message. Of the hundreds of teams in eighty-five countries, less
than fifty have the luxury of using a jeep or an all-terrain vehicle
to haul necessities. The rest make do with what they can find. (pp. 146-147)
Surprises, danger and hardship remain, but the life of a JESUS film
team member is seldom dull. From every kind of background, every walk
of life--Campus Crusade staff members, church members, college students,
laypersons and nationals--these are people with a vision of reaching
the lost for Christ, and they are doing something about it!
In Thailand a team supervisor had just finished threading the film into
the projector when he felt the cold steel of a gun barrel pressed against
the back of his head. The gunman demanded that the team leave the area.
Frozen with fear, no one moved.
"I am not afraid to die for Jesus," the supervisor said. "If I were afraid
to die, I would not be here."
The gunman looked at him for a moment, then pocketed his gun and left.
The film showing went on as scheduled...
Charlie Abro, coordinator for JESUS in India, says, "Every film
team in India has been beaten and stoned. We don't even think about it
anymore. Everyone has problems to face; this is just one of ours."
Bandits roam and plunder in large sections of India. Many are better
armed than the sprinkling of police authority. In one small village the
film was just about to begin when runners breathlessly warned of bandits
on their way to attack.
Frightened villagers fled and when the bandits arrived only the team
remained with their equipment. Most Indians love movies, and bandits
are no exception. The showing that night was an exclusive screening for
bandits only. Several received Christ, and the village was spared. (pp.148-149)
In the light of all they face, it could be hard to understand why a bright,
eager college student or business-person might sacrifice vacation time,
or take a leave of absence from a lucrative job to spend their time as
part of a JESUS film team. Judy George explains it best.
"People are lost without the Lord, and if we don't help them know Him,
maybe nobody else will. When I help train Filipino students to share
their faith, I can see the results. Entire villages are reached for the
first time with the message of God's love, I've had something to
do with that."
She flashes a quick, contagious smile. "It's not always easy," she says, "but
I've never been bored!" This life is rewarding beyond anything I've ever
experienced." Judy looks toward the mountain where she spent her summer
with the team, then adds thoughtfully, "I never understood how great
the Lord is until I had nobody to rely on but Him." (p. 157)
Joe, the local coordinator for showings of JESUS, pulled around
an oxcart and stopped the car next to a soupy irrigation ditch. "We've
shown the film in eighteen villages in this area," he said. "This is
one of them."
I followed his gaze out the dust-laden window toward a scattered settlement
of thatched huts.
"There are about five hundred people who live here, Paul. Before we showed
the film seven weeks ago there were no known believers in this village.
Last Sunday we baptized a hundred and thirty-eight. All of them found
Christ through the film, and we've established a prayer cell which meets
in that little shack over there.
"New believers meet there three or four times a week to pray and read
the Bible," he went on. "The Church of South India is trying to send
them a pastor, but in the meantime one of our village evangelists meets
with them twice a week to help them grow in their faith." He opened the
car door. "C'mon," he said, "I want you to meet some of them."
Each person I talked to said they had decided to follow Christ after
seeing JESUS because it was the first time they had heard how
to know God. And that is what they wanted: to know God.
One young couple I spoke with invited me into their home. It was a painfully
crude shack and it was easy to see they did not have much. When I asked
them what it was they liked most about Jesus, the man said, "He cares
about poor people like us."
Softly his wife added, "I knew He was poor like we are because He never
carried a suitcase."
Another couple smiled and said, "We have been so worried because we owe
others a great deal of money. But when we saw the picture, we learned
that Jesus said that if He took care of the birds and flowers of the
field, He would also take care of us. We still are not sure how we will
repay our debts, but we know Jesus will help us find a way."
The next new believer I met was Samuel. Samuel was in his eighties, sporting
a few short, white hairs on the sides of his head, and peering at me
through round spectacles taped to broken frames. His brown, leathery
skin hung in folds around his thin frame, and he dressed in a few pieces
of dingy white muslin. At a quick glance, he could have passed for Gandhi.
Samuel had lived in this sad little village all his eighty years, but
now he knew Jesus.
"I let some of my children become Christians," he told me, "but I was
always against it. Then when I saw the JESUS film, I understood
for the first time in my life that Jesus never died for Himself--He
died for me! When I learned that, I knew I had to accept Him." He
shook his head, as if angry with time.
"If I had received Christ when I was young we would have a big congregation
here, and a church." He looked me in the eyes and said in a strong voice, "We
need a church and a pastor. Can you get them for us?"
As I was getting ready to leave, Samuel grabbed my arm. "My Hindu name
used to be Muni Swami. That means "little guru." He smiled broadly, "But,
I was baptized last Sunday and my Christian name is Samuel." I will remember
Samuel. (pp. 160-161)
In a gray and hopeless prison in Port Sudan the invitation to receive
Christ was given after the showing of the film. Would these hardened
convicts be open to such a simple message? Of the one hundred twenty
who attended, eighty desired to know Christ.
One who responded was a man who had killed five people. He could not
understand how God could forgive him until he saw the gospel explained
clearly on the screen. He wept openly as he received Christ, and he said
afterward that he could die without being afraid because he had peace
in his heart. He knew the first face he would see after his execution
would be the face of Jesus. A few days later he was shot by a firing
The breath of the Spirit of God is blowing fresh across the world. We
are in the midst of the greatest harvest of the centuries, reaping the
results of the work of faithful men and women of God who have gone before
us. But the harvest is great and the workers are far too few..unless
you and I are willing to live our lives on the edge of a miracle doing
whatever is necessary so that one more village can hear. (p. 164)
It was late, and the moon hung low and bright over the Caribbean as we
struggled against the waves threatening to capsize our dugout canoe.
Warm winds blew hard through the palms on shore, churning the sea to
a tempest while the thirty-five horsepower outboard strained to pull
us through. Several inches of water sloshed around us and our equipment,
and I watched the two native boys bail it back over the side as fast
as their arms could manage. There were no oars, no moon, and no life
jackets and I prayed earnestly that God would get us to shore.
We were headed along the coast of Honduras with missionary David Dickson
bound for a Garifuna village where the gospel had never been shared. JESUS was
scheduled to be screened for hundreds of Black Caribs in the language
of the Garifuna Indians, and we did not plan to disappoint them. Finally,
we headed the canoe toward shore and were soon unloading on an isolated
In a tropical paradise that stretches along the coast of Honduras, Guatemala,
Belize and Nicaragua, one hundred thousand Black Caribs coax their livelihood
from the sea as fishermen. Descendants of 19th century black Africans
who escaped from slave ships and settled with Carib Indians, they have
been almost overlooked by those with the Good News--but not quite. In
1955 a young Wycliffe translator named Lillian Howland went to Central
America to begin translation work on the New Testament. Thirty years
later she completed the translation but few Garifunas had responded to
the gospel. David Dickson heard that she had mastered the language and
began to study it under her tutelage and is now the only white man to
speak it fluently. As he learned the language, his burden to see the
Garifunas reached increased. He saw the JESUS film as an opportunity
to spread the message quickly.
In 1984, David and two Garifunas left the palm-lined beaches and jungles
of Honduras and flew to San Bernadino, California, to dub the film into
their language. A few months later our team returned with the film ready
to be shown to the Black Caribs.
In one scene Jesus greets a small child with a greeting known only to
these people. "What are you doing?" Jesus' Garifuna voice says, "Nothing," the
child responds, and the Black Carib audiences break into applause and
delighted laughter. "This man knows Garifuna!" someone says. "He speaks
our language. He knows our greeting!"
As the film progressed, Dickson moved among the crowd of two hundred
chattering people to hear what was being said about the film. When Jesus
healed someone, comments like, "Look at that! Can you believe that!" were
heard. One woman said to her friend, "Who wouldn't believe in Jesus?
Did you see Him heal that blind man? Anyone would want to believe in
The Garifunas were especially please with scenes that involved the sea
and the fisherman's way of life. They loved watching Peter and the disciples
haul straining nets filled with fish into their boats. And when Jesus
spoke to the winds and calmed the sea, everyone in the audience related
to what they saw because all of them had lost family and friends who
drowned in angry storms at sea.
They talked throughout the film, but the message got through. After the
showing, fifteen men and twenty women gathered under the lights to make
decisions to trust Christ. On the final evening, the team showed the
film in a large village to a crowd of eighteen hundred Garifunas. Everyone
came--drunks, unruly children, even witch doctors performing incantations
as the film was shown. But the Spirit of God is strong enough to meet
any challenge, and that night one hundred fifty-five made decisions for
The need is there--an insatiable hunger for the God of love. And through
the film JESUS, the message is being told and understood. On
our three-day trip to the Garifunas two hundred of them prayed to receive
Christ. Churches are being established, disciples are being made, and
their faith is being built up. "Come back," a Garifuna village chief
said. "You must come back again and tell us more about Christ."
This year David Dickson will take the film to forty more villages. He
believes that as many as ten thousand may respond to the message. The
Garifuna and Tarahumara Indians have been called "unreached people." The
JESUS film may be the key to reaching them and thousands of other groups
like them around the world. (pp. 168-171)
HOPES AND DREAMS
I could choose any time in which to be alive, this would be the time!
We are beginning to see the fulfillment of the prophecies of Matthew
24, and we are in one of the most exciting times in human history!
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, His disciples asked Him what would
take place just before His return to earth. He gave a number of signs
including an increase in earthquakes, lawlessness, and wars. But
in the fourteenth verse of that chapter He says, "This gospel of the
kingdom shall be preached for a witness to all the nations, and then
the end will come."
Can the world be reached with the message of Christ in our generation?
Can we make some major advances by the year 2000? Let me give you a brief
overview of our plans.
Two thousand years ago, the angel appeared to the shepherds outside the
village of Bethlehem proclaiming, "I bring you good tidings of great
joy for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Savior which is Christ the Lord." Two thousand years later,
as we approach a new century and a new millenium, the body of Christ
is being captivated by new thoughts and new vision, new hopes and new
dreams that perhaps in the coming decade a movement might be launched
that would make sure this Good News of the Savior gets to every part
of our earth.
We live in a unique time in history. Never before have we had
the technology, the finances, and the trained Christian workers that
we have available today. In addition, we have seen the barriers between
churches, denominations, and Christian missions breaking down. There
is a new spirit of cooperation and encouragement in this century. [And
that is what this web page you're reading this on is all about, helping
to bring together in spiritual union all the differing churches, denominations,
and Christian missions, for the accomplishing of this goal Jesus set
before us all.]
For forty years the watchword of our organization has been "the fulfillment
of the Great Commission in this generation." But no single
organization can do it alone. The magnitude of the task is awesome. The
immense complexity of the world is almost beyond our understanding. Yet,
the need to give every person on earth at least one chance to hear His
message drives us on. And, this idea that perhaps we could present His "Good
News" to everyone at least once before the year 2000 is captivating.
Our plan relates to the two facets of our Lord's Great Commission:
"Preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15) and,
"Make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:20).
how is this possible?
DIVIDE THE WORLD INTO 5,000 AREAS
Every task is a little easier if the task is divided up. The basic unit
for all our plans is an area of one million people, called a Million
Population Target Area (MPTA). There are a little over 5,000 MPTA's.
These are further sub-divided into ethnolinguistic people groups and
a strategy is developed to reach each group.
PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY PERSON IN EACH AREA
How? Wherever possible, through the JESUS film--in theatres, national
television, 16mm film showings, and videocassettes. In some very media-sophisticated
areas, other evangelistic approaches will be used.
"MAKE DISCIPLES" IN EACH AREA THROUGH TRAINING
Although the Scripture is quite clear that we are to proclaim Jesus to
everyone, it doesn't say how many disciples are to be made before the
Great Commission is fulfilled. However, we would like to see at least
1,000 multiplying disciples established in each area who could lead groups
of new converts to grow in their faith.
These small group leaders would be prepared in Mobile New Life Training
Centers where they would receive 100-150 hours of classroom and practical
field instruction. Cooperating churches and missions provide trainees
who are equipped to start new home fellowships, often called New Life
Groups, in unreached areas.
At least one training center will be established in each MPTA--5,000
PLANT ONE MILLION NEW CHURCHES
The New Testament portrays the first churches as thriving home fellowships.
Church history is filled with examples of dynamic movements begun in
homes, including the present-day example of the thousands of home churches
Our experience has shown that as we start New Life Groups, they eventually
combine to form new churches. The New Life Groups provide the support
and instruction that is vital for new believers...These young churches
will be adopted and supervised by different denominations, who are willing
and able to give good supervision. No church will bear the name
of Campus Crusade for Christ.
The JESUS film is helping scores of missions each year to present
the claims of Christ to millions who have not yet found freedom in Christ. It
is a tool that God has given the WHOLE BODY OF CHRIST, not just one organization.
It is our privilege to serve over three hundred missions currently. Far
beyond entertainment, the film evangelizes, edifies, teaches and makes
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
The Scripture says that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous
man availeth much. It is the power of prayer and the working of God's
Spirit that we depend upon for the mighty challenges of the days ahead.
As we move into new areas, untouched by the gospel, we face incredible
spiritual opposition. Your prayers can help prepare the way.
A second great need in the project is for financial support. It will
take at least five years to reach an area of one million people with
the JESUS film and set up the training center to follow up the new believers.
The cost will be about $50,000 a year for the first three years. The
center should be self-supporting after that.
Consider challenging your church or a group of friends to underwrite
one of these areas. One million people could be touched by the gospel
and as many as 100,000 or more brought into the kingdom. Hundreds of
new home groups and home churches would be formed to keep taking the
gospel to future generations.
Today many people are coming to Christ in areas where there were no Christian
churches. Between 1976 and 1989, the number of believers in Nepal grew
from five hundred to more than one hundred thousand. Approximately 90
percent of these believers meet in homes. Yet, there are not nearly enough
leaders for the thousands of home Bible fellowships that are meeting.
The JESUS film works hand in hand with the training center,
local churches, missionaries, and the whole body of Christ to be a tool
of evangelism in the presentation of the gospel. The impact of the JESUS
film is just beginning. It is as timeless as Scripture itself, for that
is what it is. It is Scripture brought to life. And wherever it is shown--even
in prisons of oppressive regimes--it brings freedom."
of January 1, 1994 the "JESUS" film had been shown to more
than 530 million people in 201 countries. It had been translated into
285 languages and was being used by over 400 Christian organizations.
More than 35 million people had indicated decisions to receive Christ.
The story of the "JESUS" film continues. You can play a part
by helping to provide the translations, films and equipment still needed:
A translation of the "JESUS" film into a new language Costs
A set of equipment for each "JESUS" film team including a projector,
screen and portable generator costs $4,175.
One showing of the "JESUS" film costs $120.
This is a strategy that is working. In the time that it took you to read
this book, many thousands were presented with the message of forgiveness
through Jesus Christ. Hundreds will have placed their faith in Him. That
is good news!
The sad news is that so many millions have not yet had the opportunity.
Our ability to keep reaching out with the film is dependent not only
on prayer, but also on sufficient financial resources.
Join us as we work together toward the incredible challenge of seeing
the Great Commission fulfilled in our lifetime. It can be done!
If you would like to be informed of the continuing impact of the film,
to know current needs, and receive updated reports write to:
The "JESUS" FILM PROJECT
P.O. Box 72007
San Clemente, CA 92674-2007