Against All Odds

How do you show your neighbors that Jesus loves them? Our aviation partner in Cameroon recently hoped to do this when they planned an event with CRU to show the JESUS film to their neighbors over two nights, a Friday and a Monday.

They ordered printed devotionals. They cleaned the hangar, rented 150 chairs, and arranged them in rows inside the hangar. They set up two projectors and sound systems, one inside and one outside for overflow seating. They planned to show the video simultaneously on both. They also readied snacks and drinks for 300 people.

Then … it poured rain.

The downpour drenched the overflow area, but the aviation team was prepared to continue the showing in the hangar.

Then, with an hour to go …. they still lacked the necessary approval, and the only person to give it was nowhere to be found. “We put everything away and planned on Monday night being ‘the night,’” Matt, the aircraft mechanic, said.

Matt drilling a portion of a flight control off to perform a repair

Monday came … and went … with no approval and more rainstorms.

Tuesday morning the aviation team returned the 150 chairs to their rightful owner. The devotionals they ordered had never showed up. “To say we were frustrated and disappointed,” Matt recalled, “was an understatement.”

Then, on Thursday … the team received a call about 3 pm giving them approval to show the film … but only that night. They gathered to discuss this new opportunity. “We decided that if God was going to open a door for us, we had to walk through it and trust him with what was on the other side.”

So the group stopped work, moved airplanes outside (thankfully it hadn’t rained that day), and cleaned while others ran to locate a projector and sound system. They made frenzied calls to CRU, only to learn that the man who was going to share the gospel had gone to another city for a speaking engagement. By God’s grace, other personnel from CRU, including an evangelist, stepped in and came to speak to the attendees.

The empty hangar waiting to receive people

As darkness swallowed the sky, people arrived … 547!

Through the night, stragglers came in, and by the end, close to 600 people viewed the film. It was clear God used the gospel message and film to stir people’s hearts: instead of immediately leaving at the end, some sat thinking about what they had seen and heard.

The Aviation team’s first try to show the JESUS film

The aviation team wanted to show “Walking with Jesus”—a film created for the African context—the next night, but didn’t know what to expect. Someone told them that acquiring approval would be unlikely.

But—late in the day—they received approval, so they scrambled to prepare the hangar. Their devotionals had finally arrived, and they had 1,000 French New Testaments and 50 English New Testaments donated by the Gideons.

Again, over 500 people showed up and viewed “Walking with Jesus” with rapt attention. Again, someone shared the gospel, and people seemed moved by the messages. 

The aviation team was excited to see what God had done over these two nights. “How small our faith, that we thought we would only have 300 or so and only rented 150 chairs for inside the hangar. Little did we know that God would instead, with only one projector and sound system, put four times that number in the hangar!”

Matt and his team stood humbled and awed at how God’s perfect plan for their neighbors reached far beyond theirs.

How are you serving your neighbors? Here are some ways to learn more about Bible translation and serving our Bibleless neighbors.