For JESUS Film team members in Havana, Cuba, showing the JESUS film is much more than pushing play on a projector. Teams physically and spiritually prepare for the ministry of evangelizing, discipling, and planting churches, from before sunrise to beyond sundown.
Here is a snapshot into the energy and time a JESUS Film team member* commits to ministry each day.
The team member dedicates her first hour to the Lord in devotion with her husband. They then go on a walk to physically prepare for the day. The entire JESUS Film team fasts once a week and prays at the same time every morning, no matter where they find themselves.
When she isn’t fasting, she usually eats an omelet with bread, fruit extract, and coffee before heading out the door for JESUS Film ministry.
She begins her trek to the JESUS Film destination strategically chosen ahead of time based on the community’s need for the gospel. Teams in Mesoamerica get together every year and focus on places that do not yet have a Church of the Nazarene. She travels to these communities with her team by rental car, horse-drawn taxi, or bus. Sometimes the team must walk or use the motorbikes that were recently given to the JESUS Film team to reach more remote areas. It takes hours, and in some cases days, to reach these places.
The teams’ lunch varies based on what is available in that community. Some common examples are congrí with pork (Cuba’s version of rice and beans), fried plantains, boiled vegetables, or yellow rice and hot dogs.
The team rests for an hour and then evangelizes door-to-door. They supply gospel tracts, use the EvangeCube, and hand out invitations for the JESUS film showing, encouraging all community members to come.
The team sets up the projection equipment and prepares the film showing location at a church or in someone’s backyard since they cannot show the film publicly without a government permit. Music is a core aspect to Cuban culture and identity, so her team plays music to welcome people as they arrive.
The team shows video testimonies of people whose lives Jesus has transformed, and the JESUS film begins an hour later after prayer. Following the film, the team opens a discussion with the viewers by asking questions like “How many of you liked the film? Did you understand the message? Did you pray at the end with the narrator?” The team members invite people to pray with them and write down the new believers’ phone numbers and addresses to help them begin their discipleship journey. Nearly 86,000 people have made the decision to follow Christ through the JESUS Film teams’ work in Cuba.
“We give glory to God — most people make a profession of faith!” the JESUS Film team member said.
New believers are invited to start discipleship at the community’s new preaching point. The JESUS Film team uses the Bible Story Cloth and audio Bibles to engage people in God’s Word. The team stays in this area from one week to 15 days, making sure to leave a leader in place for the preaching point. This leader’s role is to continue discipling the new believers.
The team member typically goes to bed by midnight. Her favorite part of the day is seeing people respond to the invitation and confess their faith.
JESUS Film teams are as diverse as their country and culture. Because it takes years and significant paperwork for a church to be considered official in Cuba, there are approximately 100 official churches. Unofficially, there are more than 1,000 preaching points flourishing within the country.
The 17 Cuban JESUS Film teams serve in many areas of the island, but their hope is to have a team in every province. This means the goal is to double the number of teams in the country.
*Team members’ names withheld for their security.