A good movie is known to stir an audience, but not like this.
This past summer, a team of volunteers with Cru in Kenya showed the JESUS film to a warrior tribe in a remote region of Transmara.
Notorious for wielding spears and swords, the Masai people are nomadic cattle raisers who live in isolated places. Many have never seen a movie -- or even an automobile. More than 100 Masai warriors, called Morans, gathered for the showing of JESUS, which is based on the Gospel of Luke.
When it was shown on the big screen, some confused it with reality. "They thought the people on the screen were real human beings," says David Sonye, the national JESUS film coordinator for Kenya.
Some warriors probably thought the people were from a nearby tribe. They spoke the local dialect; the Roman soldiers wielded spears and swords. When the movie neared the crucifixion scene, many of the warriors grew irate. Here was a good man who wouldn't fight back.
"Let's defend this Jesus," said one of the warriors, as several moved toward the Roman soldiers on the screen. In a flash, a warrior hurled a spear, which tore the screen in half. "It spoiled the whole crucifixion scene," says David.
The team immediately shut off the projector and calmly explained it was only a movie. Fortunately, the team had a spare screen, and the showing resumed.
The movie proved more than entertainment; 30 of the warriors indicated decisions to follow Christ. The following day, five showed up to hear more about Jesus. "Which is very impressive," says David, "because Masai are usually too busy with their cattle during the day."