When the JESUS film was originally released in 1979, requests poured in from around the world that it be translated into other languages. As people responded powerfully to hearing the story of Jesus in their heart language, the importance of translating the script and dubbing the film became more and more evident. Soon it became the goal of Jesus Film Project® to help everyone, everywhere have access to the gospel in their heart language, in a way they could understand.
To this end, recording teams from Jesus Film Project have traveled around the world to complete new translations of the JESUS film, working with local speakers to translate, record and review the film, ensuring that the story truly resonates in each heart language.
Partnerships, technological advances and the prayers of Christians around the world have greatly aided this work through the years. Now 43 years in, God has been faithful to allow completion of the 2,000th translation of the JESUS film into the Zo language.
Jesus speaks Zo
Although every recording has a unique story, the Zo translation represents God’s faithfulness through even the greatest challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic presented one of the biggest obstacles that Jesus Film Project has faced. Travel stopped. Plans were canceled. Yet the work needed to continue. Millions were still waiting to hear the gospel in their heart language.
Unable to travel internationally, our teams got creative: they began seeking contacts in immigrant communities across the U.S., many of whom represent people groups that have the least access to the gospel. That’s how we connected with Pastor Sing.
Originally from Myanmar, Pastor Sing is currently in seminary in Texas. He sees a great need for his people, the Zo, to have access to the story of Jesus in their language in a format they can understand. Though a Zo translation of the Bible was completed in 2019, it hasn’t yet been printed in Myanmar, and many of the Zo can’t read.
The Zo are a small people group of roughly 65,000 people. Many live in northwestern Myanmar and northeastern India. Due to discrimination and persecution, many Zo have scattered around the world. Some live in 28 cities around the U.S., including Fort Worth, Texas, where Pastor Sing leads a small Zo house church.
When we asked Pastor Sing about his interest in recording the JESUS film in Zo, he eagerly began the project. He helped with every aspect, including translating the script, contacting voice actors and coordinating the whole process. Pastor Sing was eager to have this engaging, powerful tool which could help him visually communicate who Jesus is.
Without the recording team’s determination and the partnership of Pastor Sing and the Zo community, a JESUS film translation in Zo could have taken a decade. But God’s desire that all nations know Him cannot be deterred, even by a global pandemic.
The work continues
As the 2,000th translation, the JESUS film in Zo represents a significant milestone. More importantly, it proclaims that Jesus speaks the heart language of not only the Zo, but millions of other people around the world. You can see all available films and resources available in 2,000 languages on our Watch page.
Many are still waiting to hear the story of Jesus in their language, so the work of Jesus Film Project continues. Our teams are ready to translate and dub the next 2,000 languages. To learn more about the Zo recording and about ways you can partner with us, click here.