In August 2012 the first Wesleyan Cuban JESUS film team was trained. During the first week of February 2014, the second team was trained! Commitment, passion, and desire describe this new team that will be working in a completely different part of the island. They have a vision to plant six new churches this year. With a very strong strategic plan and strong desire to see people’s lives transformed and powerful churches planted, we believe that they will reach those goals. God is moving in Cuba, and you are a part of it through your praying and giving.
Somewhere in Asia: There were 68 people watching the JESUS film on this particular evening. Both Muslims and Hindus were present. No one watching the film had heard about Christ or seen the film before. Ramjan (name changed for security reasons) came to see the film from another village about three kilometers away. He watched the whole film, and Christ’s sacrifice for our sins touched his heart. He told us, “For the first time I saw how and why Jesus came to the world. According to the film and the Bible, Christ died and has risen from the death. If I trust in Jesus and accept Him in my life, I will go to heaven. So I decided to receive Jesus into my life as my Savior because I realized I am a sinner.”
The team members prayed with Ramjan, and the next day the team when back to share more about Christ. This new follower was eager to learn more about Christ. He decided to go to several places the JESUS film team was going to show the film so he could share Jesus’ love with other people. He was with the team for the next three days telling everyone about Jesus. Ramjan is a day laborer and is doing some farm work. With six people in his family, they are open to his decision to follow Christ. We hope and pray for Ramjan so that through him the Lord may open the door of the Gospel to his family, friends, and village and that new churches will be established.
The purpose of the JESUS Film Partnerships is to invite as many as possible to follow Christ, to experience life transformation, and to be assimilated into a healthy and growing church. Our training is specifically designed to empower teams to evangelize their people with the JESUS film as their tool, in their own language. Then they can follow up each decision with a discipleship strategy that will foster growth and place them in a community of growing followers of Christ. Many of these communities are small groups or “cell groups.” Others may be able to find community in an existing church or a new church plant.
Training for two new teams is scheduled for February 24-27 in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Please join your hearts with ours and other prayer partners for these days of training. Pray that unity, clarity, and that everything needed to be done will be achieved. Pray that all the equipment will function as designed. Pray for Dr. John Connor and John Croft as they do the training.
n March 3-17 John Croft will travel to North East India with Wesley Dean to capture video footage that will allow Global Partners to tell the story of what God is doing through the JESUS Film Partnership. They will travel with our two JESUS film teams to various villages to capture the stories of transformed lives and powerful churches. Pray for them as they do extensive travel in difficult areas. Pray that they will be able to capture the stories that God wants to be told.
We also want to invite you to pray with us for new partners for new and some existing teams. We have some partners that are concluding their partnership, but the teams will continue to operate. These teams need new partners. We have some new opportunities to partner with new teams. God has been providing, and we give Him the glory! Pray with us for individuals, churches, and districts of The Wesleyan Church to step forward as partners. If you are interested in learning about these opportunities for you, your church, or district, contact John Croft at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Croft and Dr. John Connor (email@example.com) are available to speak at your church, community, or district events. Their summer and fall schedules are already being filled. Contact them today and get them on your mission event schedule!
Do you like social media as a source for news? The JESUS Film Partnership has a Facebook page. It is updated with stories and pictures that will encourage your hearts. It is something you can feel good about sharing on your own Facebook page. By liking our page and then sharing it on your page, together we can reach many more people with the JESUS film story and the great things God is doing around the world. Join us today. www.facebook.com/jesusfilmpartnership
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
20/20: 2013 has been a year of awakening to the work of evangelism, and the work has not stopped. The seeds are being sown and we are trusting God for the rain and the harvest that we believe is to come. The JESUS film has been shown in schools, military barracks, city parks, streets, towns, and cities. The best experiences were when we visited the villages that are eager to hear the gospel message.
In Choco, Colombia, in an area outside the city called Vereda de Buenos Aires, the team was settin up for a showing when torrential rains began. The team thought that it would have to be canceled because no one would show up, but everyone was shocked when over 100 people showed up to see the film. Umbrellas were used to protect the equipment and the show went on. An invitation was given to attend the local church services the next day and that the team would be back to ferry the people to the church. When the team returned the next day, 20 people showed up from the night before to attend church, and all 20 accepted Christ that day! It was a glorious service with God working in the hearts of the lost.
The pastor of that church is now organizing the establishment of a church in the place where the film was shown. The team is committed to return and help with further evangelistic outreach and discipleship in the region.
High Flyers: No film of any kind has ever been shown in this place where there are no roads but only trails for foot traffic and horses. The trip was scary as we had to cross the river by cable suspended 100 meters above the gorge, but we did it! It was worth it, watching the faces of the kids and adults who came out to see the JESUS film. Three people accepted Christ that first night! We thank God for the amazing equipment and donors that allows us to reach these hard places.
Jesus Heals Their Daughter: It was the last day for our team to be in the village showing the JESUS film and preaching. While we were preaching, we saw a vehicle approaching us, which in this area was unusual. When they reached us, they called to one of our team members to come because they had a very sick daughter in the car. They had taken her to various hospitals, but her condition only worsened.
They had heard about our ministry and decided to bring the girl to where we were showing the film so that the team members could pray for her. The girl was unable to eat, sleep, or even walk. The team laid hands upon the girl. Immediately she got up and started to walk. She asked them for food and water. Someone brought her rice and stew, and she ate everything.
Her parents are Muslims but because of answered prayer they allowed their daughter to accept Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. The girl is now a member of our church in her village. It is now our prayer that her parents will also one day accept Jesus as their Savior and become a part of our church’s fellowship. We thank God for His healing power upon His people!
–reported by our JESUS film team in Burkina Faso
I Will Worship Your God: During the film, a 13-year-old girl called Abigail came with her mother and joined viewers to watch the film. The woman came forward with Abigail after the film. She shared with us her story that anytime Abigail goes to bed in the night, between the hours of 12-1 p.m., she will start shouting, “Mama, Mama they are chasing me with weapons. They want to kill me. Help me!” Her mother said that this nightmare has happened on many consecutive nights. She had sent Abigail to various types of prayer centers but, they could not help solve this problem.
The team prayed for this girl that night. The mother met the team the following day to share her joy. For the first time in a long time, her daughter was able to sleep the night after she was prayed for and the nightmare was gone. “I will worship the God that you are serving,” the woman said. The woman and her daughter have joined the cell meeting. It is the Lord who has done this. We give glory to Jesus. Amen!
The Woman from Jiran: In a place called Jiran, a 43-year-old woman who had suffered a stroke seven years earlier was carried to the place where we were showing the JESUS film. After the film ended, she was brought forward and asked the team to pray for her and her healing. God touched this woman! She had instant healing and was able to stand up on her own for the first time in seven years.
That night she was able to slowly walk home, praising God along the way. The team visited her some weeks later only to see her fully recovered and carrying a bucket of water from the well. She shed tears of joy that ran down her face as she recounted her healing experience, praising God for saving her from the bondage of the evil one.
At that moment she fell down at the feet of the team leader and stretched out her hand to him. There in the dust this man of God prayed and led this woman to Christ. She confesses openly and accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. Now her husband and two daughters have also given their lives to Jesus Christ. They are all coming to cell meetings regularly. Thanks be to God almighty for His deliverance of lost souls. Amen!
Due to inclement weather, the showing in collaboration with Sarah Wesleyan Church was held indoors. A woman from the Hindu faith visited the church for the first time for the showing. She was one of seven people that responded to the altar call and received Christ as Lord and Savior.
I remember in January 2013 in the area of Pormagot we had begun showing the JESUS film. Everything was working fine, but suddenly the film stopped. We managed to get it restarted, but after a while it stopped again. The people started heckling us saying, "What happened?” They became agitated. The team and I prayed to the Lord for it to begin and it did, but when it came to the crucifixion it would not play. It was a time that caused us to lean on the Lord and grow spiritually and become more mature in our faith. God was teaching us how to face the difficulties in the ministry.
Another story that I very much remember was in April. We had to leave very early to get to the place we were going to show the film. We must take a car from the capital city to a place where we would then need a motorcycle for two hours. It was cold and raining, and the next part of the trip was to walk four hours to finally get to our destination. All the while we are carrying our backpack equipment. I stumbled many times but was managing. My team member fell three times, but God protected the equipment. It was one of the most special moments in my ministry. Please do not forget to pray for my team and me, JESUS film leader Pastor Dominique Lea.
Note: For this year we want to plant five churches: one at Port-de Paix, one at Jeremie, one at Mirebalais, one at Petite Rivierre de Nippes, and one at Miragaone.
It’s always exciting and interesting to begin a new year. It is like a clean slate. We usually reflect back on the past year with happy remembrances and sad regrets. I often begin to dream about what might be in store for the new year. What will God do with this new beginning?
In the next few weeks, the reports from our 39 teams around the world will begin to come in. I will spend some exciting time reading over the reports, tabulating the statistics, and dreaming with the teams as they pour out their hopes for 2014. I will celebrate the wonderful things that God did in 2013. Then I will share all those things with you once they have been collected and put into a presentable format that you can read.
Just as God has been faithful in 2013 in giving favor and blessing upon the JESUS Film Partnership, we are expecting 2014 to be even greater. As many of the new teams gain experience and traction, we believe 2014 will be another banner year. What we do need is for our prayer partners to keep these men, women, evangelists, and church planters before the Father in intercessory prayer.
This year we will be adding more new teams. A second team will be trained in Cuba in February, and later in February two teams will be trained in Myanmar. In April a new team will be trained in Suriname. Other countries are asking additional teams to be trained and funded, but funding is the issue that determines if these requests can be met. Nepal has increased its team total to eight without additional support! This is because they take very seriously their vision to see 300 Wesleyan churches in Nepal in the next 20 years. How seriously will we take our vision to see 300 church planted through the JESUS Film Partnership over three years? We are in year two.
If, in 2013, you joined us as a prayer partner or you just simply followed our story through this newsletter or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jesusfilmpartnership),I want to extend an invitation to invest this year in this “most effective” ministry of our Church today. In order for us to sustain, expand, and strengthen the ministry, it takes additional funds and that means additional people getting involved financially.
Here are a couple options for doing just that:
In either case if you want to make this a monthly gift you can chose to do that. Online you can make that distinction. If you mail your contribution, just add a short note that you want to make this a monthly commitment for 2014. Thanks for praying! Thanks for giving!
The JESUS film ministry is all about transformed lives and powerful churches. In years past that used to be the motto of Global Partners. It is the everyday reality for our teams on the ground. Here are some of those stories from the places and people you are praying for.
New Church Family: There is a new church plant in Indonesia. These new believers raised $800 to build a place of worship they could call their own. They hope to have it finished in October. Fifteen members of one family were converted in this village, along with other.
(All names and places have been changed or removed for security reasons)
A Renewed Mind: After the JESUS film was finished, we asked the crowd if they understood the film. We asked if anyone in the crowd was willing to change his or her life and come to Christ to have eternal life. If anyone is suffering from any kind of sickness, we are here to pray for you; you will be healed by the grace and power of our God.
From the middle of the crowd, one old uncle came with his wife. He told us, “I am a man with old thinking. Maybe my thinking will not measure up to your thinking, but I have one request. This is my wife; her name is Shreyashi. She is suffering from an unusual disease. I have taken her to many hospitals and showed her to many doctors. She has taken medicines for years, but nothing has helped her. She is still suffering from it. She has suffered because our god (in Hinduism) has shown his anger towards her. So, you think your God can heal her?”
We answered him, “Christ has said that if anyone believes in God through me, then there is nothing impossible.” We gave him surety that his wife could be healed by the grace of our Almighty God. Then we asked him to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. We requested him to invite Christ into his and his family’s life and see how God can work in them. At that moment we started to pray for her.
We confess, it was a long prayer. After a few hours of intercession to God, Shreyashi said she felt something good and better happening in her body and in her spirit. We were excited to hear it. That moment her husband said to us, “Really your God can do amazing things. Me and my family are ready to follow Christ this moment.” Praise God for He still heals the sick and gives sight to the spiritually blind!
Opposition Silenced: The crowd was really big and growing. As the crowd continued to gather, I spoke some words from the Bible, sharing the gospel. As I, along my teammates, prepared to show the JESUS film, one guy who is a member of the Army of Shiva (Hindu organization) came to us and threatened us. He said to us that without permission how dare we invite this crowd and show this film. He told us that our religion is “cow eating” and trying to divert all Hindus into our religion. He even tried to destroy our projector and other ministry equipment. So, at that moment I stood in front of him and told him, “We are not trying to divert any other people into our religion. Our religion never dominates other religion.”
But he did not listen to us. In fact, he was blaming us for calling other religions a Satan. We could not keep on arguing with him. So, I said to him that it would be better if you would watch this film, and if you find any negative thing blaming other religions, then you can destroy everything we have. But I request that you watch JESUS film from beginning to the end with a positive view not in negative way. So he agreed to watch.
Everybody in the crowd was watching the film very silently. He was watching it so carefully so that he might find any mistake to accuse us. As he was watching the film, there he saw the sacrifice of Christ and at that part many people were crying. As the film finished, I asked the crowd not to go anywhere and called this man to the front of the crowd. I asked him what he saw, knew, and learned from that film. This film is from the book of Luke, which is true. He asked for forgiveness from us. He said, "Please forgive us that we did not know anything about Christ. We had a negative image about Christ. We have heard the wrong things about your religion, and we believed them. But this film has shown us that Christ did not come to earth to divert us but to show us the way—the way to truth and a faithful life that can only be obtain through the blood of Jesus Christ. Now we know the real thing about Christ and this religion. We will not stop any Christian to share the good news of Christ. In fact, we will go to church and try to learn more about Christ. Really, His sacrifice has proven to us that our sins can only be forgiven through Him."
Thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for His love and mercy to the people. His simple message, His simple work can change the life of any people even in this area. Thanks to JESUS film ministry. To God is the Glory.
Madman Captured by Christ: Amend Pokhrel is a man from a poor family. He has three children and a wife. For the past five years, he has been indwelled by an evil spirit. Because of this, his life has been filled with many problems. Many of his actions were that of a madman, throwing things and beating people in the village and running around the village like an idiot. Because of this, he was kept tied up by rope in his home by his hands and legs. He would have to be dressed and fed by his wife.
For five years Amend has been carrying out these activities in the village, and so everyone was very irritated by his behavior. This was a tremendous burden on the family. People of the village suggested his family take him to the witch doctors; they did, but the witch doctors could do nothing. He was taken to more than 15 witch doctors, but they said it was the result of the sin he committed in the previous life. Then he was taken to some famous doctors, but they had no answers. They had lost their hope, and thought it might be the will of the gods.
One day the JESUS film team arrived in this place to show the film. Amend was one of those that came to see the film that night. He was captivated by the many miracles that Christ did, including casting out of demons. He believed he would be cured if he placed his faith in Christ, and as we prayer over him, God did deliver him. He is now learning to walk in Christ and is being discipled. He shared how he is happy more than ever before being in CHRIST. All praise and glory to Jesus our Lord and Savior!
“What do I need to do to know Christ?”: The film ended and we shared further from the Bible the works of Jesus. It was during this time that we met one young lady whose husband had left her. This is a great disgrace for a woman in this culture. Because of this, she is shunned by society. She was living with her two children in a small house, given to her by her husband. She faced many challenges and struggled greatly. It was difficult for her to look after her children, as she was the only one responsible to look after them. With all the disappointments and problems in her life, she was unhappy. No one was there who could help her. She wanted to live a happy life and wanted to be free from the problems.
he was Hindu, like everyone else in the village. She told us how she liked the film and asked if Jesus could solve her many problems. She wanted to live a happy life so she asked us, “What do I need to do to know Christ?” That night we had the privilege to lead her to Christ. Today she is very happy with her life. After she accepted Christ, she has also received the abundant blessing of Christ. Her son is living in one of the Christian’s home, and it has helped her a lot. Now that she does not have to look after him, she can easily afford to properly care for her baby daughter.
Also, amazedly the people in her village have been accepting her better. So many changes have come into her life in such a short time. She shared that she has a great vision on Christ. She wants to glorify the name of Christ all over the world. She hopes she will be able to do it for Christ.
Thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ that He helped us throughout the year. He blessed us so much that we were able to show the JESUS film in many places. Thank you Jesus for all of your love and care for the people of the world. Praise the Lord!
Darkness Surrenders to Light: During our trip to Grand Bassa County, we met a man named Charles who told us stories about the town along the St. John River where we were showing the film and where we would soon be baptizing new converts. He explained that during the civil war in Liberia, the rebels arrested him and threatened to kill him if he didn’t join them. He said that the rebels tied a huge rock around him and threw him into the St. John River as their last attempt to kill him. Because of his power in another world (satanic power), to their utmost surprise, he found himself on the other side of the river. They left him alone after that.
He told us about another attack on his life but this time from the dark world. He showed us an island in the middle of the river where the last battle took place. He said that the battle was usually fought at midnight in the spiritual realm and was named “The battle of ownership of the land.” During this battle, most of his opponents died. He told us how the elders of the town came to him after the final battle and told him that they were leaving the island and the community because he had won the battle. He said that during the time period of this battle, attempts were made by several churches to plant a church in and around the community but to no avail. Charles said that after he had won the battle, he encountered the Lord Jesus through a local Wesleyan preacher and surrendered his whole life to him.
After this encounter, he said The Wesleyan Church planted the first church on the land. In his final words to the team leader, he said it was better to surrender his life to Jesus Christ who surpasses all power in heaven and on earth than to the rebels or the dark world. Mr. Charles, who is now one of the elders of the Pipeline Wesleyan Church, has promised to give some portions of the redeemed land for the mission. Pray for the leadership of the church as they embark on the erection of the church building on this land.
The Macedonian Call: The village of Malokoh is situated in Lungi (western area). It is a Muslim dominated area. This village was blessed with the JESUS film in April 2013. Many lives were transformed. An active and growing preaching point currently exists in this village. The small space they use for fellowship is now overcrowded, with a great need for a bigger space and benches. Even when it rains heavily, the people are desperate to worship and receive the good news. A great request for the showing of the JESUS film again is at our door.
Healing Ushers Salvation: In the village of Kamandia (northern region), a mother decided to receive Jesus Christ because of her son. This happened during the follow-up visit by a team member. The son was sick for some time, with many traditional healers consulted, but with no positive results. But the fervent prayer of the team members raised the boy up, and he experienced healing. The mother was deeply touched and moved in her heart. She had no option but to give her life to the lordship of Christ. She is now happy with her son and enjoying peace.
The Power of Forgiveness: A lady in Kamaseh village watched the JESUS film in her native language. She was deeply impressed and convicted when she saw Jesus, in pain, offering forgiveness to his offenders. She realized that Jesus Christ is God’s Son who came to forgive the sins of this world. She gave her life to the Lord during the invitation.
As we celebrate the birth of our King, Christ the Savior, let us not forget those who live and serve around the world in realities that are much different than ours. Your support of the JESUS Film Partnership in prayer and giving is vital to tens of thousands who will not know the “story” except that our JESUS film teams go, taking the Word in film in the languages of their people.
The Wesleyan Church of Bangladesh commissioned their first JESUS film team in November 2013. Bangladesh is a new country for Global Partners and The Wesleyan Church. It is a predominantly Muslim country, but there are very wonderful opportunities to bring the gospel to nonbelievers. The following is a report from national leader Joshe B. about the team’s first experiences:
We experienced, in different ways, that Satan does not want us to implement the JESUS film. We faced problems from the very first day of planning until we were about to show the film in the village. Floods, violence, travel difficulties, and more. Somehow, finally, we were able to overcome all the barriers and were able to show the film.
In September the political situation completely changed. Due to election protests, the whole country was completely blocked. People were stuck in their homes week after week. Many people were injured, burned, and died every day by public transport fires, dying from a train derailment, as the protesters opened the train splitter. Many different ways were used to destroy people’s lives and assets this year. Throwing petrol bombs made in glass bottle burned many people.
In spite of this, as a national board, we made the decision to continue the JESUS film in the face of all the uncertainty. We decided that the team would conduct the showings close to our churches and other Christian communities. We didn’t want to stop before we started. Though the team could not follow the plan 100%, they were still conducting the show to the best of their abilities. We are equally thankful to Lord that our team was completely safe during this political unrest, even when we sent our team to the most fundamental areas of Bangladesh.
On November 4 the show was conducted beside one of our Wesleyan churches in the evening. The show took place right along the village road. The team’s estimate is that 60% were Muslim, 35% were Hindu, and 5% were from other religions like Christian. Most Muslims are very fundamental and do not want other religions to have their own religious activities. More then 160 persons watched the show from beginning to end, and we give thanks to the lord. By the way, much of this area is still under water from some powerful floods. It is very difficult for people to move without a boat. Some of the people saw the film by sitting in their boats.
Let me tell you about one young man in attendance named Sukiti, a student of higher secondary. He is 18 years old and comes from a Hindu family. He lives with his parents and two siblings about a half kilometer from the place we were showing the film. His father is a common day labor.
He watched the complete film from the birth of Jesus to His ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection. It greatly touched his life, especially the way Jesus suffered for people’s lives. Sukiti and his family worship many gods, but not one of these gods ever sacrificed for his life. He was able to compare the life of Jesus with the idol gods he worshipped.
Sukiti was telling that “the life of Jesus touched my heart, especially the way He suffered for people’s sins. His love is different from the entire god I have.” He also gave thanks to the team members to show this true story through film in his village in there own language.
Sukiti started to come to the Sunday service at the church. He is ready to accept Christ by baptism as the team member were following-up and shared more about sin, salvation, and Christ’s blessings.
We are praying for Sukiti and his family since he is the only one from his Hindu family. We know that he will face many barriers to follow Christ. Pray God’s Spirit may stay upon him to overcome all the barriers and threats in his life.
Would you like to make a Christmas gift to the JESUS Film Partnership to ensure that our team in Bangladesh and our teams in 22 other countries are cared for? You can help support these teams, providing equipment, resources, and helping them follow up on new believers and planting new churches. We have an online “Christmas Catalog” where you can go and give a Christmas gift towards this ministry. Maybe you want to make an end of year gift. Here is the link for the JESUS Film Partnership online Christmas catalog: www.wesleyan.org/jesusfilmcatalog.
We invite you to get further acquainted with the JESUS Film Partnership by visiting us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jesusfilmpartnership.
We at the JESUS Film Partnership and Global Partners wish all of you reading this a blessed Christmas and a fruitful 2014!
In His Grip,
Director of JESUS Film Partnership