Extreme hunger due to famine in Ethiopia has not distracted from people's spiritual hunger.
An urgent desire for God's Word in the East African nation is not only keeping one ministry leaps ahead of their goals, it's also causing the gospel to spread like wildfire.
Ethiopia has a long history of undervaluing its women, says Ethiopia ministry director for Jesus Film Project, Damtew. Yet, the Jesus Film movie Magdalena: Released from Shame is an adaptation of the Jesus film that speaks directly to this overlooked group. As the Jesus Film project has started to show the film, they've been unable to stop its progress.
"Women are being healed at showings as they watch. Demons scream out and are then cast out," says Damtew. "It's just so amazing."
The progress is staggering. The Jesus Film Project team in Ethiopia had planned to train 100 women to set up and show Jesus and Magdalena: Released from Shame in a three-year period. But the demand for the films grew so high so fast, that in only six months, the team has trained 564 women.
The team has trained and equipped 900 leaders to disciple new believers using the Reflection of Hope Bible Study series that accompanies the Magdalena: Released from Shame film.
If anything, the number of trainees is too small. The response to the film has been astronomical. Women can't get enough of hearing how Christ loves them. Damtew says women really do feel as if they are being released from their shame, as well as being released from illnesses, demons and other strongholds.
At this point, the biggest challenge is equipping these leaders with DVDs and equipment to show the films. The Jesus Film Project hopes to bring 10,000 women together in August for training and mobilizing in order to respond to the demand for the film. The best way to equip these women is through mini backpacks that include small projectors and other resources to show the film.
The backpacks are especially vital because they are mobile and allow people to watch the films in their own homes. Many prefer to watch the films in private due to security concerns. Although nearly a fifth of Ethiopia is made of evangelical Christians according to the Joshua Project, the nation remains a target for persecution. Ethiopia is listed at No. 38 on the Open Doors World Watch List, only two places behind Syria for church persecution.
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