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April 16, 2001
Carrying a film projector, a generator, a screen, and our personal
belongings on their heads, a procession of eager Nigerian men and women
escorted our family up into the remote, rocky hills of the Eggon people, one
of 450 Nigerian people groups. Though
apprehensive about our family ascending into the hills, the Eggon chief was
nonetheless thrilled that the film “JESUS” would be shown to his
people. He had sent word to his
tribe residing in the hills, and these porters had come down to assist our
Nearly a century ago, many of the Eggon people descended from these hills and settled in villages and towns in search of more fertile farmland and opportunities for trade. Living among the Eggon between 1988 and 1992, we had trained teams of community health evangelists to meet physical and spiritual needs in their villages. During those years a seed was planted to dub “JESUS” into the Eggon language. We had dreamed of taking the “JESUS” film in the Eggon language to the original tribe, still residing in the hills. With the timely completion of the Eggon film last December, now was the time to pursue our dream.
With the script taken straight from the Gospel of Luke, “JESUS” is
recognized as the most accurate depiction of the life of Christ ever put on
film. This powerful film has been seen by more than 4 billion people worldwide
and has been dubbed into 654 different languages.
We led a team that included our children, two Eggon women who helped make arrangements for the trip, two medical students from Loma Linda doing an elective rotation with Tom, and the film setup crew. Following a laborious two-hour expedition, we arrived at the small church that serves the Eggon people scattered among the hills.
Near the church we visited the grave of the first missionary to the Eggon people, who had established a mission there in 1926. We were surprised to find that the current pastor of the church in the hills was one of the community health evangelists we had trained 10 years ago! After a happy reunion, we visited with some of the people, set up our tents and prepared to show the film.
Exactly 100 people came to see the Jesus film. Clapping and cheering at the miracles of Jesus, their hearts were clearly stirred by hearing the words of Jesus in their own language. Indicating they had received Christ, 35 people remained after the film for further counseling. We were reassured to know that these new believers would be led by a capable pastor to help them grow.
Following our descent the next day, though sweaty and exhausted, we
returned to the “palace” of the Eggon chief, where he graciously served us
lunch. As we described how God
had worked among his people, the chief was tremendously encouraged to hear of
the response to the gospel as presented in the “JESUS” film.
Your faithful prayers and giving have allowed us to witness some of the
fruit of ministry, both past and present.
We are grateful for your partnership with us in the gospel.