THE JESUS FILM BRINGS THE LIGHT OF HOPE
In 2012 The Wesleyan Church was officially established in Bangladesh with the goal to spread the good news of salvation among nonbelievers. The national church initially started with 11 churches and has currently grown to 50 churches with about 95% of its church members coming from new communities. This amazing growth became possible due to the evangelism initiative of showing the JESUS film and conducting teaching afterwards. Two JESUS film teams have been bringing the gospel to the southern and northern parts of Bangladesh.
In a village* in the southern area of the country, JESUS film team members found that the villagers were living in darkness because they had never had an opportunity to know the true gospel.
The team started visiting the village with the intention to build relationships with some of the villagers. Finally, a relationship was established with Mr. Lavik.* He invited the team to show the JESUS film in the south part of the village that consisted of about 25 families with a population of 150 people.
The team didn’t receive any positive response from the villagers after this first show, so the team decided to conduct a second show the following month. After the second show, the villagers were more open to the team members and started to talk about the film and the life of Christ. The team invited them to join them in the follow-up classes, which continued for four months.
The book Knowing God was used in the follow-up classes. The team answered many questions by sharing the Scriptures. Initially, the villagers thought of Jesus as prophet, like the many prophets they knew from their religious background.
But after a few sessions, they recognized that Jesus is different. They would say:
There are no gods in our religion who were raised up from death, but Jesus did. Even Jesus accepted all the trials, tribulations, and punishments. Through this process, Jesus showed his power to overcome all these circumstances. Jesus was special and accepted all those circumstances as he loved the people.
The team members taught that Jesus accepted the punishment for every person’s sin and ensures salvation for all the people in the world who believe Jesus is Savior
Now the villagers in this part of the village have started to believe in Jesus. By accepting Jesus into their personal lives, about 30 people are now followers and believers of Christ. They are gathering and having short and informal weekly worship in one of the villager’s home. We believe that their identity will be changed in this locality and a new church will be established soon.
Establishing the church among the nonbelievers is very challenging in a country where Christianity is below one percent. But the initiative of the JESUS Film Ministry made this challenging work much easier. Without the JESUS film, we know that we would never be able to share the gospel in such an easy way and to bring nonbelievers to the light and hope of salvation within such a short period of time.
In order for them to be true followers and disciples of Christ, now we need to continually care and teach these new believers to grow toward maturity in their spiritual life. Proclaiming the gospel, baptizing nonbelievers, and establishing a new church is important, but most important is to make them true followers and disciples of Jesus! So, we strongly recommend taking initiatives to ensure proper development in their lives. And if we could continuously support the JESUS film teams and ensure regular care for the new believers, then the scenario of Christianity would be changed in this country.
* Names and locations omitted or changed for security reasons.