Something I’ve wanted to do for years is present The Jesus Film in rural communities. Amazingly, we are probably the only organisation equipped to take a film out into villages locally where there’s no electricity—we have a generator as well as a laptop, projector and speakers—accumulated for showing the FGW agri-training DVDs in the Training Hall. But there was one thing missing—no film! I’d heard about it, but had never come across it…….
However, two days after I arrived, Wendy, a lovely, zany American lady turned up on the doorstep. Her parents had been missionaries to this part of the world and she came to visit the churches they’d set up. She was based in a local village, and armed with tent, backpack and a wreck of a motorcycle, she preached in the churches and showed the Jesus film on her laptop.
I watched the film for the first time and was struck by its content. We showed it in our Training Hall the next week—just inviting staff and their families mostly. But we had to lock the gate midway because the Hall was packed with about 200 local people all eager to watch. I was deeply impacted that these people, even the Christians, didn’t seem to know much about Jesus—and as I thought it over, I realised that even those who could read probably didn’t have a bible, even Pastors—so how would they know? This film, based on Luke, in their own language, was portraying the man, honouring the miraculous and challenging each heart with the good news of the gospel. Most were awe-struck.
Wendy moved on and left the DVD with me. When Dave arrived we had invitations to show the film in 4 villages. By the time it was dark and the film in progress at the first location, I felt overwhelmed by the occasion and the rapt attention of the crowd gathered under the starry sky—a very precious moment. Afterwards, Dave preached and invited people to come for prayer. Not knowing the language I had no idea of the needs that we were praying for, but God knew and His Presence was vibrant.
The following week we visited 3 more villages with the film, the first was where our milk-drop is. The day before, we were there starting the new Likuni Phala programme, and discussing other issues with the Chief. As we talked she seemed painfully uncomfortable so we asked if she would like us to pray with her.
Apparently, for some time she’d had pain in her upper arm from elbow to shoulder, which eased as we prayed. By next day she was excitedly pain-free and after the film asked us to visit a friend of hers who was sick Out into the dark we trudged with just head torches penetrating the deep darkness. Eventually we came across a gaggle of people, in the midst of which was Lesta, the Chief’s friend.
She was sitting on the floor, paralyzed, unable to stand, weight-bear or use her hands, and had severe pain in her upper leg. We asked if she knew Jesus—yes, and we started to pray. After a while we checked up on progress and she felt sensations through her body and warmth down her spine. We carried on encouraged that God was working and by the time we left, things were settling down but she was free from pain and could move her hands. When visited the next day, Lesta was delighted that she’d had the best night sleep she’d had for years—without pain! Others will continue praying with her.
One of the most exciting things was the coming together of the “film team”. This was not OHP “work”, it was personal, but we still needed help with driving, setting up and translation. Four of our staff volunteered and a special bond formed. By the end, it was a privilege to be transported in the car, surrounded by choruses sung and enjoyed by these guys as they worshipped.
Our Field Officer’s husband is a pastor so it was a pleasure to take the film to their village. Every showing was different, this was the most local to the Trading Centre, and was punctuated by drunken heckling and raucous laughter. However, after the film the pastor gave an invitation to receive prayer, and 15 were saved, amongst them, 3 muslims, several who had been healed, and the drunken hecklers! In total at least six were healed that night and many more prayed for with ongoing results …..
The final showing was at a very remote village, an hour away over rough terrain, but the local church were desperate that we show the film in their area. The weather was awful, we had to rope down the bed-sheet screen, the wind was ferocious, whipping up the dry soil to shot-blast us all. Sporadically, all around, the sky was brilliantly lit up by an electrical storm, but though constantly threatening, the rain did not materialise.
Once again, many requested prayer, lives were changed, and the local church will follow up.
A Village Head, with an orphan she cares for, later healed and spreading the word …..
Setting up at our first location, by the time darkness fell, hundreds had gathered to watch the film