Sometimes you have to move
oneMESSAGE.tv note: Last week, Paul Wynn shared about an exciting opportunity that arose for our missionary partners in Colombia to go into a new community where they have not worked before. The leader of this new community saw one of our Bible storying videos and invited the missionaries to come show the videos during a "movie night" that was open to the people in the community. The blog post below was written by Tony Hudson, a friend of oneMESSAGE.tv, who was in Colombia visiting the missionaries last week when the videos were shown in the new community.
When you’ve been doing something the same way, in the same place, with the same people, “moving” is the only way you’ll be able to see something in a completely different light. That, in a nutshell, is the story of me and oneMESSAGE.tv’s Bible storying videos.
Just like oneMESSAGE.tv, I had been working in Colombia for quite some time. I’d been helping missionaries produce Bible storying videos for indigenous people in a different region of the country. But last summer I sensed God leading me in a very different, but completely unknown direction, so I stepped away from the work. Fortunately, Paul and Doug are killing it with their work.
Recently my family and I began attending a new church and last weekend, I traveled with a representative of that church’s mission team to investigate a possible partnership with a church in Colombia. For quite some time, I’ve known Mike and Tisha who are the missionaries that have been working with oneMESSAGE.tv to produce Bible storying videos. Last Friday, my church friend and I, along with representatives from our potential partner church and Mike and Tisha, traveled to a nearby indigenous community for a “movie night” event.
There are many indigenous communities nearby and leaders in this particular pueblo had actually been asking Mike and Tisha to come and share Bible stories with the people there. Unfortunately, Mike and Tisha can only be in one place at a time, so they’ve not been able to make it to this community as often as they like.
The promise of a movie night (and popcorn) drew a crowd of probably 70-80 indigenous people. They came and watched oneMESSAGE.tv’s Bible storying videos that told the story of creation, Abraham and Isaac, and Moses and the Passover. I’ve been in these settings before and I’ve seen indigenous people watch these videos. But for someone like me, who’s heard these stories since I was in preschool, watching people watch these videos is always an affecting experience. These are people who do not have Scripture in their language and this is the first time most of these people have ever heard these stories.
But, like I said—affecting experience or not, I’ve seen that before.
What I necessarily haven’t seen is what we witnessed the next day. We went from home to home in the community and sat and talked with people. The first man we met had not attended the movie night event. But since he lived just below the pavilion where the videos were shown, he heard the sound. He told us that he’s always wanted to know more stories from the Bible, but he cannot read Spanish and there is, of course, no Bible in his native language. He asked when we would be coming back and showing more videos.
Then, we met young people who had attended the event. They recognized us and we recognized them. We remembered their names. There was already the beginnings of a relationship that had begun over popcorn and Bible story videos the night before. Evangelistic conversations came easily and naturally that day.
We returned home to the U.S. several days later with plans to come back to this indigenous community with our new partner congregation in Colombia. With the Bible storying videos, we will have a tool to draw more people in, build relationships and initiate Gospel conversations.
I’ve always seen the Bible story videos as an ingenious way to introduce Gospel truth to people who have no access to Scripture. But it is more than that. It creates openings for Gospel conversations. And it gives local (and U.S.) churches a tool to extend the Gospel into more and more indigenous communities where our missionaries don’t have the time or capacity to reach.
I’m glad I got moved so I can see how God can use these videos in ways that are more complex than I had ever thought possible.