Author Archives: Pam Larson
VVMI is a small mission. How can we encourage small churches to join with VVMI in partnership to spread the Gospel through video and other media?
Matthew Spandler-Davison has served as pastor of Redeemer Fellowship Church in Bardstown, Kentucky, since 2004. He is the director of the BCF Network and Urban Impact Missions. Originally from Scotland, he is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He writes at The Gospel Coalition blog:
Most churches in the United States have fewer than 100 in attendance, and many of us are serving in small towns. We have very real challenges when it comes to mobilizing our churches for missions. Many of our members have never traveled overseas. Many others cannot afford to spend thousands on airfare to go there. Moreover, a church that isn’t experiencing growth will often question the wisdom of committing resources beyond its own community.
But even a small church can be strategically involved in international missions. The missionary movement has never been divorced from the church; it is the church.
Churches, both big and small, can support VVMI.
VVMI is a mission that focuses on proclaiming the Gospel to peoples in their native, heart language (vernacular language). This was recently posted by the Global Outreach Department at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. It is a wonderful reminder of the importance of language, heart language.
When Jesus came in the flesh we explored some of the implications of incarnation the translation of divinity into humanity. (see Post 05) But as we enter holy week we meet a Messiah who is in the darkest hour of the human condition, face to face with the enemy of death. And yet his death is not completely like ours, just like his birth was not completely like ours. In his birth he came to make the message of God known in terms we could readily receive. In his death he was making a way that we could be received before the holy presence of the Father.
The biting pain of Jesus’ human crucifixion has been explored and expounded far more deeply by other authors but one aspect of his humanity is often overlooked – language. While language is not unique to the human condition, for God and angels speak intelligibly to mankind, the barriers of Babel still stand as a reminder of God’s mercy and judgment on the sons of Adam (see Post 06). Jesus, while yet on earth, was most likely trilingual speaking Hebrew (the language of his people and scriptures), Aramaic (the language of the region), and Greek (the language of the empire).
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,”Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46 ESV)
The New Testament was written in Koiné (common) Greek and yet here we find a place where the biblical author does not just give us Jesus’ words in Greek. Jesus’ cry is recorded in transliterated Aramaic (though the first two words here are Hebrew) which Matthew then goes on to translate into Greek (Mark does something similar in his account, Mk. 15:34). Why employ this narrative device? Why here at the climax of Jesus’ ministry? Why sidetrack us with linguistic details in the record of his darkest hour?
For one thing, it shows us that at this moment Jesus was probably not crying out in Greek but in a mingling of his heart languages. For another, as the skies overhead grew dark in judgment, the mere speech of men would not suffice but out of Jesus’ heart comes the very language of scripture to clothe his anguish. Many have recognized this phrase as coming from Psalm 22:1 which Jesus may well have known in all three languages, but again he quotes it in the languages closest to his heart and people. Debates abound regarding what Jesus was doing here, but suffice it to say here, Jesus is drawing up these despairing words of the psalmist in the language of the common people and in a tongue close to his heart. It just came out that way.
Language is not merely a tool that we use to convey information or ideas. Language is much more fundamental than that, it gets to the very core of humanity. We are spoken beings who come into this world with a cry and leave with a groan, and in between is filled with an expression of our spokenness. But Jesus’ heart cry from the cross was so that our final groans would not be final. He groaned at his abandonment that we might rejoice in our adoption. His cry was real, and it really took our place.
So we say, “Hallelu-yah!”
VVM’s newest production, Treasures in Clay Jars, was dedicated and premiered last weekend at a medical mission outreach partnership held in Amlimay in Benguet Province, Philippines. The following statistics were provided from the event: 600 patients were treated (dental, basic medical,
surgical, and optical); over 300 attended the VVM film showing; during the weekend 188 persons received Christ; 177 recommitted themselves to Christ; 157 wanted to join Bible studies; and 104 Bibles were distributed. Praise God!
Colin and Zach arrived in the Philippines and have several praises in direct answer to specific prayers:
- To go along with the good equipment sponsorship, God provided an additional and unexpected “no fee” third checked bag to Colin for the trip. More equipment could be carried and there was also room for a few clothes!
- A potential tropical depression (or worse) did not develop its full potential and moved away from the areas to be visited just before the team’s arrival in the Philippines. Air turbulence predicted by the pilot to be very bad did not occur. In fact, things went so well that the flight arrived over 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
- The team’s baggage all arrived and was located easily and then cleared customs without difficulty.
- VVM Director Bayani located the team without difficulty in spite of a brownout that made the lighting inadequate. o The team has been able to meet with several Bible translators who are encouraged by the good results of VVM’s Church Mobilization Initiative, and are hopeful that Bible distribution efforts and film production will expand.
In Genesis 12, God tells Abram, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
VVMI’s ministry partner, VIÑA, created “Deditos” to share the Good News of the Gospel with ethnic minority language groups in Guatemala. On the other side of the globe, another VVMI ministry partner, Vernacular Video Ministry (VVM), was creating original Gospel-proclaiming films in remote tribal villages in the Philippines. God, through VVMI, brought these two groups together. They began to share a vision and goal of reaching children for Christ. VIÑA shared, and VVM started the work of dubbing Deditos into multiple ethnic minority languages in the Philippines.
Through Abraham, and through VIÑA, all the nations will be blessed!Here’s the episode, Los Hijos de Abraham (The Sons of Abraham) with English subtitles.
A dramatized Bible story using actual fingers as actors. We are a small non profit showcasing our videos on Vimeo. Anyone wanting to dub these videos into their own language, contact us and we’ll be glad to arrange it.
Una historia bíblica usando dedos como actores. Esta serie esta diseñada para ser doblado a idiomas autóctonas.
For more information on VVMI or any of our partners, please go to vvmi.org
VVMI Board Chair and dentist, Dr. Jim N and his wife, Mary, just returned from an exciting short-term trip serving as Mission Volunteers to Palawan Province, Philippines. They were blessed to be able to serve at 4 clinics with the first medical outreach partnership team to that area. Jim and Mary – the only non-Filipinos on the team – worked with 25 to 30 others that included members of VVM, DIADEM (a Filipino holistic ministry), and VVM-mobilized local churches. The team experienced many answers to prayer and report that a total of 3,257 contacts were made. We praise God for the following people that were served and for the spiritual commitments:
- General medical patients 1,909
- Dental patients- 437 for extractions and 52 for restorations
- Surgical- 237
- Eye glasses- 622;
- Eye Consultations- 79
- Prayed to receive Christ- 1,953
- Committed to Home Bible Study- 1,207
- Recommitted their life to Christ- 816
- Bible Distribution- 750
Please pray for the follow-up by local pastors and churches, which will include Bible studies, worship services, home visits and vernacular film showings.
All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations. Psalm 22:27-28
Charles H. Spurgeon comments on verse 27 in The Treasury of David,
In reading this verse one is struck with the Messiah’s missionary spirit. It is evidently his grand consolation that Jehovah will be known throughout all places of his dominion. “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord.” Out from the inner circle of the present church the blessing is to spread in growing power until the remotest parts of the earth shall be ashamed of their idols, mindful of the true God, penitent for their offences, and unanimously earnest for reconciliation with Jehovah. Then shall false worship cease, “and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee,” O thou only living and true God. This hope which was the reward of Jesus is a stimulus to those who fight his battles.
It is well to mark the order of conversion as here set forth;
- they shall “remember”—this is reflection, like the prodigal who came unto himself;
- “and turn unto Jehovah”—this is repentance, like Manasseh who left his idols
- and “worship”—this is holy service, as Paul adored the Christ whom once he abhorred.
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession. Psalm 2:7-8
In the Old Testament, we see picture after picture of the Messiah, the heir of David who will bring ultimate salvation, not only to His own people, but to the nations. In Psalm 2 we see the picture of our sovereign God who laughs at the nations who rage against Him. I also see a promise that God is in control, He WILL send His Son, and the nations WILL ultimately bow before Him. The Apostle Paul looks forward to that; in the opening verses of Romans we read,
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
And Paul says in Philippians 2:9-11
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Let’s pray that the nations will see Him and rejoice in His grace now! Our missons prayer, “Make the nations Your heritage!”
Why missions? What is our mandate? Where does the power come from? Why can we trust that missions will succeed?
Here is a post from Bible-daily.org from today. This website encourages daily Bible reading, and this year will be reading with an emphasis on seeing the God of missions. Follow along this year!
In Acts 1, Luke tells us that, “ In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.”
What commands did Jesus give right before he ascended? In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Here is our mandate for missions. Jesus has commanded us to go, to make disciples and to teach. And He promises to be with us, and not only that, HE has all authority and says that is the REASON we can go confidently. HE is sovereign!
Jesus asked the disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit came on them with power, and then to go. Acts 1:8 “ He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
- God is sovereign over all missions!
- God has given all authority to Jesus…ALL!
- God has given us the promised Holy Spirit and power for missions!
- He has promised to be with us in missions!
- We are to GO as He has commanded…missions!
Would you like to be involved with missions this month in a very practical way? VVMI has two trips to the Philippines this month of January, and while it is probably too late for you to go this month, you can give toward a strategic project that the teams will be bringing over. This project is an iMac computer system that will be used to produce God-glorifying, Gospel videos for unreached peoples in northern Luzon. We are especially excited that some new children’s videos, “Deditos”, will be dubbed into more than a dozen languages in 2010.
To give toward this iMac project, send your donation to VVMI, PO Box 37, Austin, MN 55912 or by going to GiveMN.org and clicking on the Vernacular Video Mission International page and following the donation link.