When Ebola was rampant in Liberia, in 2014 and 2015, 4,810 people died from the virus. At the time, many people turned to the local witch doctor so that their family and loved ones could be protected from the deadly virus. Offerings of money, clothes and alcohol were given; most of these people died lost. Now, with COVID-19 spreading in Liberia, there is an opportunity to share the love of God with those who are in search of hope and peace.
Our JESUS Film Church Planting Strategy (JFCPS) teams were uniquely positioned to provide COVID training for our newly planted churches. These 21 churches were planted between January and April 2020 before the government issued a mandatory country-wide shutdown in April. The Liberian Ministry of Health trained and certified our teams to provide the COVID training among these new churches. At the same time, this also gave us an opportunity to reach out to some of the Muslim communities that were resistant to having the film shown. Training was offered at no cost or obligation. Because of this, we were able to build many friendships with Muslims who understood that we cared for them.
In May and June of this year, we held 19 training sessions where a total of 344 pastors and leaders were trained, and 211 churches were present at the trainings. When the certified trainees took the new COVID training back to their villages, we estimate that they educated 172,776 people.
At the Voloblai Town COVID training, the local church in the village of Kpelle 1 reported that they have grown from 15 members to 25-30. “We have 1,300 to 1,400 people in our village. We have grown from 15 to what we are now. Praise God!”
When the team put on showings of the JESUS film in Kpelle 2, James Sumo was one of the villagers who made a decision to follow Jesus and committed to follow-up.
James said, “Tonight, this town is blessed by the presence of God to see the move of God in our town. I have been out there in the world for a long time, but tonight I turn over my life to Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour. What a great film! I would like to ask that you please come back to help our young people to live for God. Thank you people (JFCPS) for coming to our town.”
“The feelings of the JESUS Film Church Planting Strategy team members are that there have been many lives that have been spared due to th
In November 2017, Darren Child of The JESUS Film Church Planting Strategy (JFCPS) Canada, travelled to Liberia to visit and encourage the two Dan teams diligently working in the Nimba County, and to verify JFCPS churches they had planted in the region. Together with the in-country JFCPS coordinator, Nasahn, and the four JFCPS workers, Darren visited 42 church plants, the majority of which were planted in 2017. Out of the 42 churches, 37 experienced a growth in attendance with 16 at least doubling in number. More than 550 adults have been added to the churches, which is a growth of 75.6%. Many children are being brought to churches, too, and started early in the Word of God. More importantly, the JFCPS church plants are growing spiritually as church plant leaders who have been equipped with training, Bibles and Theological Education by Extension (TEE) books learn to live out and share spiritual truths with more clarity and confidence.
The feedback from new church plant leaders was overwhelmingly positive. They talked about how their own lives were being transformed and how the churches were doing well. Glory to God! Here are just a few of their comments:
“The church is fine and growing each day. I have been a Christian but now fully understanding the Gospel. The JESUS film is inspiring. It made me stronger.” – Rev. Teah of Karnpala Zone 1
“I was a drunk and always in fights with others. I was convicted by the JESUS film. The church is good and we are cooperating with one another.” – Belleh of Gbleyee village
“I used to worship idols and practiced voodoo. A person would get sick if I talked to them. Through the JESUS film, there are changes in my life. Now Jesus has control of my life.” – Morris of Zualay village
“The church is growing. The people used to bring lawsuits against each other, but the JESUS film has changed the story. We exist in love.” – Beyee of Gblan-Deavioaplay village
“I was careless and not serious in life. After Christ came into my life, I changed. God is helping me lead the church. It is growing. There is unity in the church. Baptism is on the way soon.” – Morris of Mahnzoplay village
Darren, who is a machinist and millwright, had an opportunity to discuss administrative issues with the teams to help them with reporting, the use of the GPS device, and the maintenance of motorbikes and equipment. He also verified a church building project and took part in its dedication ceremony. As well, Darren trained the teams on how to operate the new 50-pound portable equipment set he brought in from Canada for one of the teams. This included a projector, power supply, speaker, screen and accessories that fit in a hard-shell suitcase that can be strapped onto the back of a motorcycle.