Christ died over 2,000 years ago, yet, only in the last 24 years has the New Testament been translated into the language of the Cabécar people group. It took over two years to make JESUS, a film about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus based on the Gospel of John, available to these village residents.
Recently, a team of 13 people from (JFHP), traveled across 15 rivers to one of the most remote regions of Costa Rica to premiere the film.
Many children and adults attended the JESUS film showings held in the village schools. One couple was passing through the village of Boca Coen and decided to stay when they heard about the film showing. They both later accepted Christ.
The principal of Gavilan School, Rosemary Medina Alvarado, explained how the JESUS film in Cabécar brought both cultural and deeper linguistic meaning for their community. Some Cabécar people also speak Spanish but understand things better in their mother tongue.
“Showing the film in Cabécar is very important for the students. They feel there is an effort to reach them in their mother tongue. The film also feels like an effort to identify with their culture, to be more interested in who they are as a people,” Medina Alvarado said.
One hundred and twenty-five people made decisions for Christ in response to the two JESUS film showings.
One girl was watching the film with Nazarene District Superintendent Rev. Sirlene Bustos, and told her, “Jesus speaks Cabécar! I feel something in my heart.” Bustos said in response, “Wow, I was not able to do anything more than hug her and tell her, ‘Yes, Jesus speaks, understands, and listens to you in Cabécar!’”
Giselle, another Cabécar woman, considered herself a Christian most of her life, but everything changed when she saw the JESUS film in Cabécar. She realized the seriousness of the message as well as learned a new way to communicate with God.
“It was great, what the pastors said about prayer being not only in Spanish but rather in our own language. I never prayed in Cabécar because I hadn’t been taught that. So today I tried…and I really liked it,” Giselle said.
One trip participant, Caleb Mingus, was impressed by the church’s preparedness to take in new believers, even in remote areas.
“There’s a system in place for people to become a part of a church and become discipled,” Mingus said.
JFHP Assistant Field Services Coordinator Daniel Herrera, explained this discipleship plan.
“Before, the Cabécar people had the New Testament to help them disciple new believers. Now, the Cabécar church members will be able to use the JESUS film as another tool. There is potential for more intentional evangelism and discipleship,” Herrera said.
Herrera believes the film will create a lasting impact on the community through discipleship and local leaders arranging to show the film.
Mingus saw how excited the local leaders were to receive the film. He realized it was not “just one or two times” that it will be shown, but how it will be shown to “all the different tribes in the area.”
One villager, Sofonias, is a teacher in two Cabécar schools. He has already made plans to share the JESUS film with his schools and in many more communities, even if it means walking hours to reach them.
“It’s important to have Christ in our lives. After people see how much our Lord suffered for us through the film and with an explanation, they will understand how important this is. And being in Cabécar, they will be able to understand it even better. Thank you very much,” Sofonias said.