PROVIDING AN INTERNATIONAL RESOURCE
Have you ever been present when a child learns something new for the first time? The light in their eyes sparkles with comprehension, and a crooked smile of awe appears when their mind makes the connection between what they used to know about the world and the new piece of information that just changed everything.
That is how I imagine the expression of the disciples who unknowingly walked with Jesus after his resurrection. They were trying to make sense of the events of the previous week, including the crucifixion and the reports of the empty tomb, and Jesus explained all about himself from the Law and the Prophets (Lk. 24:27). When he finally allowed them to visually recognize him and then disappeared, they reflected on what he taught them from the scriptures and how it had affected them, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us” (Lk. 24:32)?
At the end of July, I accompanied 3 other Christians to the African country of Mozambique, to help lead a preacher training event for 12+ men and their families. Our goal was to help further equip these modern circuit preachers, who travel between multiple congregations all week. As three of us worked with the men, one sister taught the women and children. Multiple times during that trip we were blessed to witness men and women make connections as God’s word was presented!
One of those moments had to do with using visual aids. Some of the visual tools we use to facilitate teaching at home were not available. We did not have a projector to show a powerpoint presentation. There wasn’t a white board or even a chalkboard. Some of these preachers work in communities that do not have electricity, and would be blessed if the local church building had a roof. Even the coloring sheets and crayons brought for the children were a special treat!
Knowing that our use of visuals would be limited, I brought my iPad loaded with all of the daily recap videos of Appian Media’s trip to Israel in June. The men squeezed together on wooden benches and leaned toward the screen as I held it up. A translator stood next to me to explain what we were seeing. I told them the story of Jesus’ birth and how an angel announced his arrival to shepherds at night and we then saw a the video of a young bedouin shepherd tending his sheep in the foothills of Jerusalem. We discussed how during Jesus’ ministry he taught in the synagogues around Galilee, and then showed them videos of the first-century replica synagogue in Nazareth village, as well as the first century synagogue at the active dig site of Magdala.
Watching the eyes of these brothers light up with comprehension and connection was a joy! These men who live and serve the kingdom of God half-way around the world, who have limited access to visual teaching resources, were brimming with excitement and questions. As I answered their questions I thought of this statement that Appian Media shared earlier in the year:
“Capturing and sharing visual media of the lands of the Bible, in order to make the unfamiliar, familiar… so that those seeking God can know him and respond to him in faith!”
Thank you for helping to create a resource that will benefit Biblical students the world over. They have already been a blessing on the south-eastern coast of Africa! On top of that, this weekend someone reached out to me asking what it would take to provide subtitles in additional languages. At this point we have budgeted to offer Following the Messiah in Spanish, but eventually we would love for it to be available in as many languages as possible. If you or someone you know would like to help us support more languages, please contact us. In the meantime, please continue praying for us during post-production and in our planning for next year!
Jeremy Dehut for the Appian Media team