The JESUS Film has been translated into eight new languages for 6.5 million people living in South Asia, who have never heard the gospel of Jesus.
The JESUS Film Project is an evangelical organization founded by Bill Bright in 1981 to reach out to people from "every nation, tribe, people and tongue" with the message of gospel shown through the movie released in 1979 to various linguistic groups, big or small, spread around the world.
"It was utterly amazing to go to this location and have community members from eight different language groups gathered together. All of us thanked God for what He's done to dedicate these to God's glory. Our hope and our prayer is there would be transformation and [that] churches would be started as a result of this," said JESUS Film Project spokesman Joe Class.
"I don't believe The JESUS FIlm Project has ever had a dedication for this many languages all at one time. So it was quite exciting to see the acceleration that's taking place in the translation and the dubbing of The JESUS Film globally," Class said.
The JESUS Film was premiered in each of the eight languages in May.
As translations can now be done in shorter spans of time, the movie can now reach those areas where people have not seen the film in their heart language.
Earlier, one JESUS Film translation took about two to five years to complete, but now it can be done within weeks.
"With new software and new methodologies, we're able to maintain the Bible translation standards of excellence in terms of making each product accurate, understandable and clear; and we have done one in under six weeks. Most of them are taking generally a couple of months. Most of them are taking generally a couple of months," Class said.
The JESUS Film project is not limited to movie translation and distribution, but the group also actively works with other church planting organizations to continue evangelization in those villages. The project is carried out using the film to convey the messages of Jesus.
Bright, the founder of the JESUS Project, had also set up Campus Crusade for Christ (now 'Cru') in 1951, with its headquarters now located in Orlando, Florida. The group has about 25,000 missionaries serving in 191 countries.
The Project involves the local community in the translation process, so as to closely engage them in the evangelization efforts under Active Community Transformation Strategy (ACTS).
"It's a strategy of The JESUS Film Project to connect with language communities and make sure they're involved from the beginning of the translation through the creation of the JESUS Film and on through the transformation of the community through church planting," says Class.
"We like to equip and then let them deal with how they're going to use it.... Some of the partnering organizations that The JESUS Film works with have tracked this for well over ten years, and as much as 70 percent of their church plants are a result of using the film initially in a particular region. So God's really using this film in amazing ways."