Evangelizing with the JESUS film

10/26/07

This summer, after one week of getting oriented to the Malawian culture for the first time, I had an opportunity to accompany the older children of Mtsiliza village to evangelize in a nearby smaller village. Since this was my first trip to Malawi, I did not have a clue as to what to expect and was excited to watch and learn!

Thirty minutes into a bumpy (to say the least) drive over a dirt road, the trees suddenly parted showing we had arrived at our destination. Looking through the windows of the car I saw a beautiful open field full of children playing, men walking about, and women sitting in groups with their babies. In no time speakers were set out, microphones turned on and the singing and dancing began. Since my Chichewa (a tribal language spoken in Malawi) was very minimal, I could not understand most of what was being said, yet it was beautiful to see everyone—strangers and old friends alike, dancing and harmonizing together. After some time the young adults quieted the crowd and started speaking about Christ. Again, the language barrier was tough, though I could clearly see these people had a passion for the Lord and were excited to share the Word with their neighbors. After a few short testimonies and an introduction to how much Christ loves them, they were invited to come to the front where they were prayed for and given an opportunity to invite Christ into their lives! They all prayed over each other aloud in Chichewa and though I couldn’t understand exactly what was said, it was obvious it was a very holy moment.

As the sun went down the huge screen went up. I was told they had tried twice before to show the JESUS film, however, for one reason or another they were unable to do so. Tonight, however, was different. Everyone settled in the grass and watched in amazement as the movie began. As for me, I stood in the back in total contentment as I watched the JESUS film, translated in Chichewa, for the first time with my new Malawian friends! I know most of the people from the village had never seen a movie in their life, so part of the excitement was pure curiosity about what was going on. But as the movie progressed and the story of Jesus unfolded, I could see the excitement to know more in their faces. When the crucifixion finally took place, the noise and chatter stopped. By the end of the film I knew the movie had affected them since they did not want us to leave.

Driving away I could not help but realize what a holy experience I had just witnessed. These people that have never left their small village and would never otherwise have heard the message of Christ, now had heard the Word—and wanted more!