I spent many years ministering at First Baptist Church of Clovis, NM. One of our members, an older gentleman that went by the name "Dub" (his actual name is William), was a very faithful member. In fact, he loved Bible study so much that he often went to an early service at another church before coming to our service each Sunday. I always found that amazing. I did not know him well, but always enjoyed talking with him at church. He was a friendly, hard working man that I assumed had spent his life in, and around Clovis. After all, you do not just move to a place like Clovis when you are 70 years old... you had to have ties there.
One day, Dub came into my office at the church. I could tell something was on his mind, so as we sat down to talk, I had no idea what to expect. Dub began to share his story with me. He had spent most of his adult life moving all over the world, in mining operations, construction jobs, and more. Had made a lot of money, lost it all and re-started... over and over in a seemingly endless cycle. I was amazed to hear the places he had been!
He then began to tell me about his time in the country of Liberia, during the 1990's. Liberia has been a very unstable country for many years, but Dub lived there and ran a diamond mining operation. He was there when a brutal revolution started during the 90's. He told me of his capture by rebel forces, and that he assumed he would be killed. To his surprise, the rebels released him... due to the fact that he had treated many of them fairly when they worked for his mining operation. Two Catholic nuns were able to get Dub out of the country, after which he returned to the USA. In the years following his return home, he gave his life to Jesus. God began to turn his heart away from his own wants and needs, and focus it on others. His life truly began to change.
His eyes began to fill with tears as he shared with me that he knew God was calling him to go back to Liberia to tell the people there about Jesus. However, Dub did not know exactly how to do that. For starters, Dub was not young. He was in his late 60's (I'm guessing here, didn't ask) when he came to see me. He also was not a public speaker, nor did he have any formal training to teach. However, he did have an idea...
That year, the movie "The Passion of the Christ" had been released in theaters, and was a powerful picture of what Jesus had done for us. What if he could somehow show that movie to the people there? Could he partner with local pastors in Liberia to show this movie? What would that look like? Keep in mind that the places he was talking about were deep in the bush, and many did not have much electricity. VERY poor and destitute areas, for sure.
He came to me because he knew of my knowledge and "expertise" in sound/video systems. During that meeting, a plan began to take shape. What if we built a system that was portable, and could easily be set up to play this movie in any location? We designed a system with a 9 x 12 ft. screen, sound system, and projector that could be packed up and transported in 3 Jeep-type vehicles, and run off of a generator. We ordered the components, and tested the system at a couple of in-town events just to work out any kinks before Dub headed overseas. Then, he packed it all up, along with 3 old SUVs, cases of Bibles, clothing, and small toys (which was nearly all donated by local churches) in a shipping container, and headed for Liberia.
During his first months in Liberia, I heard from Dub when he could find internet access, and once in a great while, he would call me. He, along with a group of Liberians, showed the movie over 50 times. Once, Dub sent me a picture of over 3000 men, women, and children STANDING IN THE RAIN to watch the movie. During that first trip, just over 20,000 people prayed to receive Christ! Dub stayed until his money ran out, and then he came back to New Mexico.
Upon his return, we met and talked about changes that we could make in the movie system, local church follow-up in Liberia, and much more. This became a familiar routine as Dub came home to work, save money, and gather support from local churches so that he could go back. His passion for the people there is amazing!
Over the past 10 years, Dub has been back to Liberia three more times since that first trip, and is now gearing up for his fifth trip. He has battled malaria, equipment problems due to unstable electricity, vehicle malfunctions, financial issues, you name it! However, he has shipped 10 full-sized shipping containers of clothing, Bibles, vehicles (because he nearly wears them out each time), toys and more to give to the people that he ministers to. His ministry has now shown "The Passion of the Christ" 409 times to over 1,000,000 people, most of whom live deep within the jungles and back-country in Liberia. Over 61,000 adults have prayed to receive Christ (each of their names have been recorded by hand for follow-up) and well over 60,000 children. Here is a picture of Dub with some of those kids.
Dub is now gearing up for his fifth trip to Liberia. Ebola is still a problem there, but he still feels very strongly that God wants him to go back. Please pray for Dub, and his ministry that he calls "Holy Cross Movie Ministries." If you would like to know a bit more about the ministry, their website is:
Dub still shakes his head in disbelief about how the whole thing has unfolded. God took a man that was willing to be obedient, and allowed him to be a part of some amazing ministry. How is God asking you to be obedient? God may be calling you to another place, or He may be calling you to be His hands and feet right where you live. Will you be obedient?
Here is a picture of the convoy in one of Dub's latest trips. It has grown a bit since that first trip!