Starting with One

JESUS Film God Christianity Vasil*, a Bulgarian Christian, knew it would take a loving work of God to transform the lives of people living in a distant village—many of whom were Turkish speaking Gypsies. Although from a Muslim background, Vasil committed his life to Christ and his spiritual passion grew rapidly. He attended a conference about leading people to faith in Christ and establishing the new believers in churches that would then reach out and plant other churches.

In 2013, Vasil and three other volunteers working with JESUS Film first showed Magdalena in Turkish to about 100 people in this one remote village. Next, a local family opened their home for those who wanted to meet and learn more about the God of the Bible. Soon about 30 villagers were attending this home church, many of them now devoted to Jesus.

One of the families asked for Vasil and his team to help start another church nearer their home. Again the team showed Magdalena, and an interested group of people began to meet as a new church, led by one of the team members. Numerous baptisms followed.

Because of Vasil’s initial tenacity to believe God was leading him to take the gospel to one specific village, he and his team helped establish seven churches in the community, with plans to eventually minister to the entire region.

Since 2010, the JESUS Film staff and about 250 volunteers have used the ministry’s evangelistic films and discipleship tools to plant 127 new churches throughout this region of Southeast Europe.

*Name changed for security purposes

It’s Just the Beginning

Lights - SquareWhile some predicted the world would end according to the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012, no one could predict the enthusiastic response of the Mayan people to the gospel two months later. In February 2013, a team of JESUS Film® ministry partners from the United States traveled to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for the premiere showing of Magdalena: Released From Shame in the Mayan language.

Hundreds of people including pastors, students, villagers, and others watched Magdalena. Many viewers prayed to receive Christ as Savior. The team also showed the Mayan version of The Story of Jesus for Children. In one village, nearly 260 people watched the film and some 250 of them indicated they accepted Christ. “We gave out DVDs to families so they can watch the story of Jesus over and over. They can then share it with their friends and family,” trip participant Leah Richardson explained.

Along with a local Mayan church team and two other ministries—Message for Mayans and Feet That Move—the Americans also went door-to-door to distribute 240 pairs of new Croc-style shoes and washed the feet of the leader of each household. The Message for Mayans and local churches will continue to use both films for evangelism and follow-up. Now for the more than 700 new Mayan believers, instead of the world ending, their new lives in Christ are just beginning.