"… He has caused us to be born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3, ESV).
I had the privilege of seeing our common hope being lived out during a recent trip to Kenya.
As I sat in the gathering dark, surrounded by dozens of beautiful children—elbows and feet everywhere—Jesus' death and resurrection played out on the screen.
Joshua, a 12-year-old boy, knew I couldn't understand the language, so occasionally he'd lean over and narrate:
"Those are bad men; they shouldn't be doing that."
"This is the good part,” he whispered, “when people can repent."
Watching the story of Jesus' love through Joshua's eyes, I felt the need for hope. Hope for Joshua and his dear band of friends.
He lives in a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi. Only 40 years ago, the dirt lot we sat on that night hosted animist worship and sacrifice, including the abandonment of infants. To this day, churches are not welcome.
But followers of Jesus from 13 African nations sat around me in the darkness—men and women committed to advancing the kingdom of God on their continent.
A few rows over sat Bruno, a five-star pastry chef from Mauritius, called out of his glamorous kitchen and into the backyard of an orphanage where he was told to feed the children with two potatoes and some water. "Holly," he told me, face beaming, "I prayed over every slice of those two potatoes. By the end, every child licked their bowl and declared it the best soup they'd ever had. I never left home again without some spices in my pocket because I didn't know what I would have to create each day!"
Near the back stood George who, at 12 years old, saw his life changed forever after viewing JESUS in his village square. Today George creates cutting-edge technology that enables gospel tools, including the film equipment we used that night, to go faster, further and more economically for the gospel.
Earlier in the day, I met Gerta, an NGO official. Gerta told me with tears in her eyes, "Occasionally, we are sent into the field, so our juniors don't think we have lost touch with the people. I traveled for two and a half days in an armored car to the border of Kenya and Ethiopia. It's the poorest place I've ever been. They don't even have a hotel, so we stayed with a Catholic missionary and his son. The people there practice female genital mutilation and marry their girls off at ages 12 or 13. I couldn't even give them money to buy food because there was nothing to buy. They are completely forgotten, and no one I know has ever heard of them. I want to raise funds to build a boarding school so we can give these girls a better life."
And guess what? JESUS was recently completed in the heart language of this "forgotten" people group. A newly released 12-minute film tells the story of the Daasanach tribe and how God is weaving together a community of people committed to bringing them hope. Watch this film, Ends of the Earth, now.
Today, hope is taking up residence in the lives of Jesus' followers, and lives are changing for eternity. "Thank God for his gift that is too wonderful for words" (2 Corinthians 9:15, CEV)!
Here are some simple ways you too can live out hope in your part of the world:
- Send a film clip or JESUS to a friend from the Jesus Film® app or from our website at jesusfilm.org/watch.
- Go on a Jesus Film mission trip. Learn more at jesusfilm.org/go.
- Join the Jesus Film Project Enthusiasts and receive posts for your social media platforms so everyone, everywhere, can know Jesus. Go to jesusfilm.org/enthusiast for more information.