"Our discouraged life turned into a life of hope," Rajkumar shared with the JESUS film team.
Rajkumar lives with his wife and three sons in a village in central India. Over 1.2 million people live in the district where their village is located. This is Rajkumar's story of finding lasting faith in Jesus Christ.
"I am happy to tell you about my traditional life. I am a daily wage laborer. We in our family were earning a good amount of money, but it was not enough. We felt that our income was being drained and therefore we were very much discouraged." For Rajkumar, like most people in his village, "daily wage laborer" means working on a rice paddy farm in the very warm and wet part of the country.
"Then one day some people came to our village to show us a movie about the life of Jesus. It was the first time in our lives that we could learn about the life of Jesus. There was a big crowd."
Ninety-five people from the village gathered to watch the JESUS film in the Marathi language on a Monday night in September.Through JESUS Film Harvest Partners, the Church of the Nazarene supports 322 JESUS film ministry teams that share the Good News with people in villages like Rajkumar's. Sixty-five of these ministry teams serve in India.
The teams use the JESUS film, EvangeCube, and other evangelistic tools to tell the story of Jesus. "Our hearts were filled with happiness! Our discouraged lives turned into a lives of hope," Rajkumar testified after he and 21 others from his village stepped forward that night and made decisions to accept Christ.
But Rajkumar's story didn't end when the lights were turned off after the JESUS film showing. The team immediately began the discipleship process with each new believer who went forward that night. "The next day the brothers came to our home. They brought books and told us more about Jesus Christ. Those brothers prayed for each member of our family by name! Now in our home we read books of Jesus' life and pray."
In India, ministry teams use a three booklet series called The Story of Jesus the Nazarene for follow-up discipleship with new believers.
The goal of each ministry team is to share the gospel in a new area, begin the discipleship process, and form the new believers into a new church that will remain a beacon of hope in the community. This ministry team partnered with another local church, called a "mother church", and a new mission church was started in Rajkumar's village. Rajkumar is now serving as lay leader of the new group in his village.
"We are hopeful every day and we are growing strong in our faith. Praise be to the name of Jesus!"
Brian Helstrom is executive director of JESUS Film Harvest Partners. Holiness Today, July/August 2008