Our Christmas celebration began with the showing of the JESUS film at the request of a new Jula (JEW-lah) believer named Ike. The showing was a lesson in how powerful it is to hear the Word of God in one’s own language.
We showed the film in the new believer’s courtyard with 100 people watching. In the part where Jesus heals a demon-possessed man, several people laughed. A friend of ours—who is not a believer—told everyone, “That really happened.” After that, most became thoughtful and interested. One man said he previously had seen the film in French, but that this was the first time he understood what was being said since it was in his native language, Bambara (BAHM-buh-ruh).
After the film, we read Scripture verses leading to the birth of Jesus. At this point, people were hungry, children started playing and distractions were evident. I felt discouraged because people weren’t listening.
Then Ike began to read the Christmas story while noise and distraction continued. God revealed a miracle before me. Here was a man who had never read in his heart language before he started studying the Bible. Here was a man who was sharing his new faith in his own courtyard. Here was a man who was celebrating his first Christmas!
Many prayers were answered for this event to happen. We don’t know the results of this night, but God promised that His Word does not return void—and I know that His Word impacts greatly when spoken in one’s own language.
—D., WEST AFRICA
Beth Moore and International Mission Board, Voices of the Faithful: Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving around the World (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010).