A JESUS Film Harvest Partners team recently traveled to one of the most remote regions of Costa Rica to premiere the JESUS film to the Cabécar people, a group who only in the last 24 years has had the New Testament translated in their language. The film was a two-year effort.
Villagers of all ages attended the JESUS film showings. One couple, just passing through, decided to stay when they heard about the film showing. As a result, they both accepted Christ, along with 123 others.
Rosemary Medina Alvarado, the principal of a local school, explained how the 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 native language.
“Showing the film in Cabécar is very important for the students," she said. "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."
One girl was watching the film with Nazarene District Superintendent 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," she said. "I never prayed in Cabécar because I hadn’t been taught that. So today I tried ... and I really liked it."
One trip participant, Caleb Mingus, was impressed by the church’s preparedness to take in new believers in remote areas.
“There’s a system in place for people to become a part of a church and become discipled,” Mingus said. He said it will be shown to "all the different tribes in the area."
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," he said. "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."
Sofonias, a Cabécar school teacher, 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," Sofonias said. "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."