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Jesus Film Makes Unusual Debut

The "Jesus" film has been shown in all types of places around the world, but this was a first for Missionary Mark Gardner — a wedding reception!

Missionaries bring the Jesus film into all kinds of remote locations and show the evangelistic film in all kinds of venues — indoors and outdoors. But for Missionaries Mark and Kim Gardner, they recently experienced a first — showing the film at a wedding reception!

 The Gardners minister to Namibia and Southern Africa as missionaries through AG World Missions, conducting adult and children’s crusades and outreaches. One of the Gardners’ close personal friends and co-worker, Tobias Nangolo, announced his intentions to get married to Rachel, a young woman from his hometown who also assists with some of the outreaches. 

Nangolo, who wears the new BGMC-provided “Tobias the Tiger” mascot costume for children’s crusades, wanted the wedding to include a Christian witness. 

“In October [2015], Tobias and I spoke about doing some outreach around the time of his wedding,” Mark Gardner says. “I planned on bringing the Jesus film to his village and showing the film either a couple days before the wedding or a couple days after the wedding.  A Ndonga wedding normally is a process of about three days.” 

However, as the time approached for the December wedding, the Gardners’ schedule began to fill and Mark was limited to spending only two days in the village as the travel time was extensive. 

“Tobias’ village is in the far northern part of Namibia, just 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) from the Angolan border,” explains Gardner, who is based in Swakopmund, located on the central west coast of Namibia. 

And just like weddings everywhere, things were busier than expected leading up to the wedding day. There simply was no time available to show the movie. 

“As Tobias was visiting people and collecting things in preparation for the wedding, he had told people that we would be showing the Jesus film,” Gardner says, “so people came with the expectation of seeing the film.”

With Gardner unable to extend his visit, the decision was made to show the film at the wedding’s reception — a decision that was warmly received by the wedding guests.

“We began the film and about three-fourths of the way through, the local AG pastor, Petrus Francisco, asked me to stop the film, whereupon he started preaching,” Gardner recalls. “His message was only about 10 minutes, but it was powerful and compelling. At least 30 people lifted their hands to respond, and then followed through by praying to receive Christ!”

Gardner says that among those who responded were members of both the bride's family and the groom's family, with children, adults, and even elderly people responding to the message.

Following the reception and showing of the film, Gardner says that the guests were very pleased and wanted him to come and show the film in their village again.

A missionary offered an open invitation to minister?

“We are already planning a follow-up trip,” Gardner says, “with even more film and preaching involved!”

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.