Over 400 Mayans have reportedly decided to become Christians after screenings of the "Jesus" film. The outreach was held in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula in three villages on three nights.
Erick Schenkel, executive director of The Jesus Film Project, which alongside their partners, The Message for Mayans, also played the films "The Story of Jesus for Children" and "Magdalena," shared in a blog post that the showings, presented in the Mayan language, attracted between 250 and 500 residents each night during a recent trip.
"We were especially touched on the third night by two tiny, wrinkled, old Mayan ladies sitting on chairs in the very front row just behind the children. They both leaned forward, captivated from the first moment by this film, shown on the big screen and featuring actors speaking their own language. When Jesus was arrested, the two ladies leaned forward, their eyes glued to the screen, hands covering their mouths," Schenkel wrote.
"Even the children hush, mouths gaping, eyebrows knit in concern. Jesus is nailed to the cross and the entire community gasps at once. And when the invitation is given, these two ladies joined well over one half of the village as they stepped forward to pray and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior."
The two-hour docudrama around the life of Jesus, based on the Gospel of Luke, has been seen in every country in the world and translated into hundreds of languages since 1979, The Jesus Film Project states.
"Our goal is to reach every nation, tribe, people and tongue, helping them see and hear the story of Jesus in a language they can understand," the website reads. "So whether a person speaks Swahili, French, or a language whose name is extremely difficult for most to pronounce, he or she will encounter the life and message of Jesus in a language 'of the heart.'"
The project estimates that over 200 million men, women and children have decided to turn to Christianity after viewing the film, and states that every eight seconds around the world, a person makes that same decision after watching "Jesus."
Berry Fiess, director of field information services for The Jesus Film Project, told The Christian Post in a 2012 interview that the reason behind the film's international success is that it is shown in people's own languages.
"One of the things that we've discovered is that the film has particular value to different groups when you put it into their mother tongue. That is one of the reasons why it has been so successful around the world," Fiess said.