Jesus Film Project

An Eternal Birthday Present

For her 90th, Ruth Bates' friends gave a gift worthy of 50 years of friendship.

Evangeline Vergo

Over 50 years ago, Betty Carol Powell met Ruth Bates at a family birthday party. Ruth was 12-years older and Betty Carol was a young mother. Soon after they became neighbors and an enduring friendship grew.

"Ruth was like a mother to me, while I was trying to mother my young children," Betty Carol remembers.

So when Ruth began approaching her 90th birthday, Betty Carol wanted to do something special to celebrate Ruth's life.

But Ruth didn't want a big party. Her friends were stumped. Ruth was loved by a large circle of women, many of whom had been friends with her since they met in a Cru Bible study in the 1960's. 

Then, a month before Ruth's birthday, Betty Carol had an ambitious idea she believes God gave her -- to fund a JESUS film translation in honor of Ruth.

Ruth's friends quickly rallied around the idea. One friend, Nina Locke, had met Ruth in 1969 shortly after she had accepted Christ through their Bible study.

"Ruth's been very interested in the JESUS film," Nina says. "She has a heart for evangelism and reaching people."

In the end, around 30 women gave $41,500. The gifts ranged from $10 to thousands of dollars.

The money completed the translation of Magdalena: Released From Shame into Colloquial Egyptian Arabic, the Egyptian common language spoken by 46 million people. Magdalena is a version of the JESUS film tailored for women and produced by Nardine Productions.

When Ruth received a certificate explaining her gift, she was stunned. "It was the most wonderful thing that's happened to me other than coming to know Christ," Ruth says.

Now the friends are praying together for 10-20 million people to hear the gospel through "Ruth's translation."

"You give flowers and the flowers die," says Nina. "This is an eternal gift that will go on forever and ever and ever. When we go to be with the Lord, there will be Egyptians there because they saw this film."

Learn how you can fund a JESUS film translation in honor of a friend or loved one.

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