International (MNN) — The most translated movie made just reached a milestone with the debut of the Son of God speaking in Baobab, a language spoken by about 250,000 in Tanzania.
Tennessee residents Bill and Brenda Kreis of Knoxville and Robert Troxel of Bluffton funded the translation–the 1,400th translation of the 1979 JESUS film.
“Most Americans have probably never heard of Baobab, but there are more than 250,000 people in Tanzania who speak it. And now we have the opportunity to begin sharing the Gospel story with them in their own language,” says Kary Hagen, director of the master studio department for The JESUS Film Project.
Hagen and his staff work with the organizations on the cutting edge of Bible translation: Wycliffe Bible Translators, Pioneer Bible Translators, the International Bible Society, and others.
“It’s important that we have a good, quality translation; and a lot of times, this will be the only Bible that some people will have. We take it very seriously,” he says. Hagen expects to reach the next milestone next year with the 1,500th translation. His goals are bigger for the film.
“We have big dreams,and we’re trusting God for big things,” he said. “We’re striving to do, by the end of 2025, every language that has 50,000 speakers or more.”
In 2010, they discovered that 865 languages were left in that category. Since then, they’ve completed projects in 200 of those.
If the 2025 goal is reached, Hagen says the Gospel will be available to 99.9% of the people on earth. It’s a goal that requires a lot of teamwork. “We depend a lot on our partners.”
Those partners have helped bring the Word of God to an estimated 5 billion, many of those in isolated villages in far-flung countries.
“I don’t think any other movie has gotten the traction that the JESUS film has,” says Hagen. “We’re thrilled with what God is doing. It’s been remarkable.”