Film targets gang activity in Latin America

By August 2, 2010

Mexico (MNN) — A Federal judge in the United States has struck down parts of Arizona's controversial immigration law. Border security and illegal immigration issues have caused heated political debate. What can't be debated, however, is that gang activity has increased along the southern U.S. border, as well as borders of other Latin American nations.

The question is: How can it be stopped? Founder and President of OpenHope, Bob Hoskins, knows the answer. Jesus. And OneHope is actively reaching out to drug dealers and gang members.

"It's primarily young people that are involved," says Hoskins. "Since OneHope's calling is to take God's Word to the children and youth and affect their destiny, we said, 'How can we reach these young people who are caught up in these gangs?' And that was the motivation behind what we call En Tus Manos."

It means "In Your Hands" in English. The film depicts a young gang member who falls in love with a Christian girl. As part of his gang initiation, he has to kill a pastor. That pastor happens to be his girlfriend's father.

Hoskins says the film is important to changing the heart of a gang member or drug dealer. "Most of these gangs won't go to church. It's hard for a pastor or a Christian witness to penetrate them. That was the reasoning behind the production of En Tus Manos."

En Tus Manos made its premiere in May and has been seen in Colombia and Mexico. "Already over 700,000 have seen the film. We're going to roll it out to other countries in South America, and by the end of this year, we'll have reached more than two million with the film."

Hoskins says once it's seen by a young person, it resonates with them. "It's their story. They see a young man just like them and what he went through. They not only want to see it, they tell their friends, 'You've got to see this film.' God's given us a tool that reaches this very difficult group of young people."

Hoskins says Hispanic leaders in the U.S. want to use it, too. They'll be gathering in a few days to talk about how they can use the film in outreach in major U.S. cities were Hispanic gangs are operating. "Imagine what would happen if some of these young gang leaders get on fire for Jesus."

Hoskins is asking Christians to pray for protection for those going into these gang areas. Pray also for funding to purchase the special edition of Book of Hope that's handed out to everyone who attends a showing of En Tus Manos. It costs just 33-cents to put a Book of Hope into the hands of a gang member.

If you'd like to see a trailer of the film, click here.

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