By Jayna Richardson
“I’ve had a habit of abusing my own son because my mother abused me. I heard God’s sweet voice say, ‘You have a new beginning, and you are not your mother.’ Now my heart is flooded by grace for my son and my mother. I forgave my mom, and when I saw her, I felt at peace.” This is the testimony from a woman in Costa Rica after watching FamilyLife’s Like Arrows® movie.
The Spanish version of FamilyLife’s Like Arrows movie (Como Flechas) hit theaters in Latin America in March, and the impact of the movie and the follow-up resource, FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting® (AOP), has been encouraging! God is on the move among Spanish-speaking families.
Nearly 175,000 people have attended Spanish viewings in countries throughout Latin America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, and Puerto Rico.
The Like Arrows movie is being used as a platform to build momentum. FamilyLife staff and volunteers are using the movie to introduce Art of Parenting small groups to moviegoers before and after the movie. The AOP groups will help parents to learn biblical principles for raising children. Many groups have already started, but the full impact is unknown.
One woman in Mexico saw the movie and sent this message: “I have now spent two Saturdays taking the AOP course. Let me tell you, the material is of excellent quality; the content is very good and has been a great blessing for our family. The facilitators are very kind and capable; the course and the movie have transformed my life. We went to see the movie twice at the theater. I have learned a lot. I hope to be able to put it all into practice with all of its teachings. Once again, thank you a thousand times.”
In Paraguay, one moviegoer said, “We are fully in tune with this effort. This is not just another movie. It is truly an unequaled treasure. The quality follow-up resource is beautiful.”
Sebastián Díaz from Argentina was excited to report that a large church (nearly 5,000 members) offered use of their 2,000-seat auditorium to show the movie. “What God is doing is incredible!” Sebastián said. “We thought the impact would be much less, but the Lord is really amazing us!”
In one city of Argentina, people were turned away from the movie because the theater was completely sold out. At that showing, a FamilyLife volunteer shared the gospel, and 15 people made a decision to receive Christ.
Our staff and volunteers throughout Latin America were anxiously waiting for the “blackout period” (the period of time between the theater showings and the DVD release) to be over so that they could continue using the DVD of the Like Arrows movie to raise awareness of God’s answers for biblical parenting. On June 1, they started the second ministry cycle focusing on churches, schools, and military precincts.
Over 2,000 pastors and leader couples have been trained as Art of Parenting facilitators, with more to be trained soon. Thousands of moviegoers (who have never had any contact with FamilyLife before) have signed up online to join a local Art of Parenting small group.
Armando Tamayo, FamilyLife leader in Ecuador, plans to use the movie and small groups as part of a ministry to military families. He said, “In Ecuador we have over 300 AOP facilitators working with Art of Parentingsmall groups. We are firming up our plans to present the Like Arrows movie to the Armed Forces of Ecuador, touching more than 30,000 military personnel.” More than 2,500 people in Ecuador have already signed up to join AOP small groups.
This initiative that started in the US has now turned into a wildfire blazing across Latin America that will soon spread to other parts of the world. The work to translate and produce the movie and small-group materials into Mandarin is already underway. We may never know the full impact of these resources globally, but we can be confident that God is redeeming families throughout Latin America and the world.