An Open Letter From Your Neighbor
Jesus Film Project partnerships provide ways to link arms with U.S. churches, organizations and individuals to reach internationals both overseas and in America. When opportunities arise, these partners offer a "JESUS" DVD to immigrants and foreign visitors. Below is a thank you note from Cindy Dake and her family in Texas:
It was summer when we took in an 8-year-old Eastern European orphan through a hosting program. It was our job to show Petya* what American family life is like. The orphanage suggested we get "The Story of Jesus for Children" in his native language, so we did. But we forgot about it for some time.
Petya was with us for five difficult weeks. When his bio said he spoke Russian, I assumed we could use Google Translate, but he couldn't read Russian yet, so he couldn't type back.
It was painful to hear the wonderful discussions other host families were having with their orphans who spoke English or used Google Translate. As the weeks wore on, the lack of communication made his visit more difficult. His fascination with America diminished. He was crankier and didn't want to interact with us much.
We were unable to discover what else he was thinking. We only got yes or no responses from Petya or food requests like ‘peeza, cheeken, or gamburgers.’ Xbox was his escape from those with whom he couldn't communicate.
Finally, God broke through. Two nights before his departure, we finally watched "The Story of Jesus for Children," with English subtitles for us. I worried he would balk at giving up an hour of video games. But once he heard the Russian language, he was completely taken in—never budging throughout the movie.
Our entire family piled on the bed, watching this young boy hear the gospel for the first time. He happily giggled when Jesus (speaking in Petya's mother tongue) performed miracles. He was visibly touched and wiped his eyes when Jesus was crucified.
At the end of the film, when the child actors explain what it means to ask for forgiveness, follow Jesus and receive eternal life, Petya enthusiastically nodded and responded. He wanted Jesus to forgive his sins and be Lord of His life. Then he prayed to receive Christ.
Wanting to be confident he understood what he just did, we hit rewind, backing it up to the beginning of the salvation message, making sure he heard it again. It was obvious the film made the incredible love and forgiveness of God clear to this little guy. I know God will honor Petya's childlike step of faith.
When he left us a few days later, we sent with him versions of this film and the original, classic "JESUS" film to share with the orphanage. We were told the hosted kids often bring home DVDs, and the directors appreciate this because all the kids benefit. We also sent a Russian children's Bible, so one day, when he learns to read, he will have it.
It is humbling to watch God break through an impossible obstacle to reveal Himself to someone for the first time. I’m so grateful for the person or organization that funded the Russian language translation of this film. What a blessing it’s become.
*Name changed for privacy.
If you'd like to learn more about how you can use the "JESUS" film to reach people in your community, go to www.JesusFilmStore.com.