Media that Sparked a Movement to Christ
(Reposted from Create International eNews)
Our Create International staff are encouraged by the unfolding stories of unreached peoples coming to Jesus as a result of seeing one of our indigenous gospel films. Over the past several years we have not only been made aware of numerous fellowships planted; but also multiplying movements of churches sparked by indigenous workers using our films to reach their people. One such unreached people group is the Banjara of India.
The Banjara is a Hindu group of nearly 60 million people scattered throughout the country. More than 15 years ago Create International was asked to produce an indigenous gospel film for this people group. Our team traveled to the outer villages of Hyderabad, India — found actors and cultural advisers and crafted a script together with the people. Filmed on location and field tested, the film entitled, “Transformation” was then handed over to the local workers to be used in their church planting work.
After five years had passed Carol and I were invited back to India to celebrate what the Lord had done through the showing of the film. We were to join a gathering of people at the location where they were planning to build a Bible School. We traveled by taxi for miles on dusty dirt roads until coming upon a banner strung across the top of a hill that read, “Welcome Conkeys”. This was completely unexpected, but the shock of this was nothing compared to what we saw next. As we drove over the dusty hill, there in the valley below were 12,000 Banjara people gathered together singing and dancing. They had created temporary shelters made of bamboo and cardboard that covered several acres of land. After exiting our taxi we were quickly rushed to the stage where we joined with others praying and anointing individuals with oil. The line was so long that it took us three hours to pray for everyone – men, women, children and even animals!
We met and took pictures with several of the actors and participants in the film. While interviewing some of the church planters who also had roles in the film, we were told that more than 10,000 Banjara people had already come to Christ after watching the film. When we asked the Banjara workers how they used the film they told us, “We show the film, people give their life to Jesus, and so we start a church in that village. This is how we have more than 500 new churches!” They continued telling us story after story of miracles and families being set free by Jesus. Naturally, we were so encouraged and spent several days rejoicing together with the Banjara believers. They brought their non-believing friends and family to watch the film being shown at night. What an incredible privilege to play a part in what God was doing to reach these precious people.
“We show the film, people give their life to Jesus, and so we start a church in that village. This is how we have more than 500 new churches!”
But the story was not over yet. As has happened several times in the past, these stories seem to have multiple layers of revelation. Just three months ago while researching how our films are being used on Youtube, one of our staff discovered that an actor in the Banjara film uploaded it to his own personal Youtube account. The viewer count verified that the film had been watched by 750,000 Banjara speaking people! Once again, something was happening that was beyond our knowledge and expectation. Confirmed when attending a Disciplemaking Movement (DMM) strategy gathering, Dr. Bill Smith, a renown DMM strategist shared about his recent trip to India. He witnessed a significant movement of hundreds of thousands of people coming into the kingdom. When he mentioned that the name of the group was the Banjara people, Carol and I nearly fell out of our seats.
Upon returning home I emailed our missionary contact and Banjara workers in India to try and find out what the Lord was doing. They very quickly responded and excitedly thanked us once again for the film that we had produced for the Banjara people. “We have just finished an info-graph illustrating the present status of the work, I will send it to you”. I then recounted the story of the 10,000 Banjaras that had come to Christ several years ago. His response was, “Oh brother, it is not 10,000 believers, it is 2 million!” Two million Banjaras had now given their life to Christ, and they had trained 10,000 church planters and are now working in 23 states reaching out to 200 different unreached people groups. The largest nomadic people group in India: Saved—transformed and now nomadic missionaries throughout India.
Praise the Lord for this unfolding Story. We pray many more unreached people groups will also recount Jesus transforming their people! Joy to the world –the Lord has truly come to the Banjara people!
- Calvin C.