ORLANDO, Fla. – Representatives from Jesus Film Project® recently traveled to one of the most remote places in Ethiopia to premiere the 1500th language translation of “JESUS” in Daasanach, which belongs to an ethnic group inhabiting parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan.
November 11th, in a dusty field set between two villages, a crowd of 300 people, which by the end of the film had almost doubled in size, witnessed the gospel of Jesus in their own language for the first time. At the end of the presentation, close to 90 percent of the Daasanach in attendance indicated they would like to begin a relationship with Jesus. Among them, 79 gave their names to begin immediate follow-up and discipleship.
“After giving for three years to a people group we had never heard of, it was surreal and humbling to sit among them in the dirt as they watched the life of Jesus for the very first time,” said Gospel Patrons Founder John Rinehart, who with his wife Renee funded the translation and attended the premiere. “Seeing the Daasanach witness the story of Jesus for the first time in history is one of the highlights of our lives.”
Prior to the premiere, 200 local Ethiopian leaders and believers gathered for a sneak-peek of the Daasanach version of the “JESUS” film. At the end of which a chief demanded to speak on behalf of his tribe and said, “Today, our prayers are answered. God’s word is coming alive for our people.”
The Daasanach are a people group with 70,000 in number and most of them have never heard the gospel. With the lack of available, affordable education, many are illiterate. Rinehart believes that without a visual representation of the gospel such as in “JESUS,” they likely would never hear it.
“We wanted to see the Daasanach people get the film in their language because ‘JESUS’ has proven to be the most effective evangelistic tool in history,” stated Rinehart. “Our hope is that going forward the Jesus Film Project staff and local church-planters will continue to use the translation to make disciples, plant churches, and reach people among the Daasanch who otherwise would never have the chance to hear the gospel.”
Since the initial release of “JESUS” in 1979, Jesus Film Project’s resources and strategies have been utilized in 7.5 billion gospel presentations in more than 230 countries and for many individuals in remote areas around the world. In fact, according to “The Guinness Book of World Records,” “JESUS” is the most watched film in history.
“When you show the ‘JESUS’ film, it becomes an instant tool for church planters,” said Josh Newell, Director of Marketing and Communications for Jesus Film Project. “Watching the story of Christ unfold from the Gospel of Luke puts viewers right into the Bible. After two hours, you have the raw ingredients for a fellowship.”
The powerful impact of seeing the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection in their heart language has resulted in more than 490 million indicated decisions for Christ following a film showing.
“As we watched the people glued to the screen, seeing the story of Jesus, it was awesome to think that God was speaking to them in their own language like never before,” said Rinehart. “We know that Revelation 7:9 says that in heaven there will be a great multitude of people around Jesus’ throne from every tribe and language, and we believe some of the Daasanch will be there, in part, because they were able to see the story of Jesus through the film.”
“JESUS” is available on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally through Jesus Film Project app, available on IOS or Android. In addition to “JESUS,” Jesus Film Project offers additional tools such as “Magdalena,” a film that specifically addresses Jesus ministry toward women, and “The Story of JESUS for Children.” For more information, visit http://www.jesusfilm.org/.
The “JESUS” film was envisioned by Bill Bright, co-founder of Cru, and was produced in cooperation with The Genesis Project. Jesus Film Project continues to carry out Bright’s vision of showing this film to people in every country of the world. For more information on Jesus Film Project, go to http://www.jesusfilm.org/.
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